Travel Information About Madurai India
The City of Nectar, as Madurai has been nicknamed is the oldest and the second largest city in the state of Tamilnadu in India. Located on the banks of the Vaighar river, Madurai was a city of prime importance and the capital of the Pandyan rulers till the last part of the 14th century in South India. The city dates back to about 2500 years earlier when it flourished as a center of learning.
Madurai is also given the title of the Athens of the East because of the Bloody battle that took place on its soil and the war myths associated with it. During the ancient times it was called as Madhurapuram, as it was considered that honey or madhu have dripped from the long locks of Lord Shiva. Today it is of foremost importance as a Hindu pilgrimage destination with the ever imposing temples with grand architecture attracting thousand's of devotees. The Meenakshi temple built by the Nayaks can be cited for example. Once, Madurai was the seat of power of all the major South Indian Empires. Beginning from the Cholas to the Pandyas and finally regained by the Vijayanagar Kings and the Nayaks.
Major Travel Attractions of Madurai
» Meenakshi Temple : The Meenakshi temple, major travel attraction of Madurai, premise occupies a vast area and is combination of the architectural style of the Vijayanagara and the Nayaka dynasties. Dedicate to the highly beautiful Devi Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva, the original form of the temple was constructed by Kulasekara Pandya of the Pandya dynasty but the real credit for up liftment and bringing the temple in to the focus of the world goes to the great Tirumalai Nayak of the Nayakas, who brought back the lost glory of the magnificent structure. Placed in the midst of the city, the temple also known as Meenakshi-Sundareshwar temple is today of utmost importance to the Hindu pilgrimage. The whole city wakes up to the chant of the priest and the hymns that are sung in praise of the deities kept in the temple.
» Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam : Another important travel attraction is the Teppakulam tank, which is a large tank just 5 kms east of the temple of Meenakshi. The tank were earlier created for the pilgrims to rest by its surrounding. Also once in a year the deities are brought to the temple for a holy bath to the tank. The huge tank was discovered during the excavation to built the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, a palace but later on the site was sanctified and converted to this tank. The tank waters are brought from the Vagai river through underground channels. The tank liven's up during the float festival.
» Thirumalainayak Palace : In the whole of Madurai, The Thirumalai palace best describes the grand architectural style of the Nayakas. The palace of Tirumalai Nayak, one of the rulers of the Nayaks is situated at a distance of 1 km from the Sundeswara temple. The Indo saracenic edifice was given its final shape in the year 1523 and larger by four times than its present size. Divided in to mainly two parts, Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. The swargavilasa is of special attraction as it has the towering dome which lies beyond the courtyard. It picturises the magnificent skill of the builders of that times. The dome rises to a height of 20 meters without any kind of help and support. The Rangavilasa contains the the royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments and the armoury. To its outer side is a pond and a beautiful garden.
» Annamalai and Nagamalai : The two rock formations, Annamalai and Nagamalai are home to the ascetics of the Jain and the Hindu religion and one of the must travel places of Madurai. On the Caves at the rocky place that are difficult to access, there are inscriptions written on Tamil Brahmi inscriptions. The caves are chiselled out by the sages who go there for meditation as place for rest for reclusion days.
Nearby Travel Attractions of Madurai
» Manalur : 20 kms from the place of Madurai, Manalur, important travel attraction came to the limelight by the chance. Discovery of the 13th century idol of Lord Krshna in his child form along with Bikshadanur. There is also preserved a coonch, an ancient lamp. The discovery has thrown light on the fact that the place was a historical important place in the older times. On the side of the Vaiger river, the place is prominent for the Brick kilns and the sand quarries but to the astonishment it was the capital of the once powerful Pandyas.
» Shopping : Madurai is famous for the cotton and batiks and a special interest to the visitors. The Prithu Mandapam Market is a famous market of Madurai to buy these products. Also available are the hand loom and the handicraft of the state displayed at the West Tower Street, Handloom House, Khadi Krafts.
Accommodation at Madurai
The prominent hotels in Madurai offering exclusive comfort and luxury are the 5 star Taj Garden retreat, the 4 star hotel sangam, the Pandyan hotel . All these hotels provide 24 hr doctor call facilities,room service and deposit locker and laundry services.
How to reach
» By Air : There are daily flights available from Madurai Airport to Tiruchirapalli, Madras and Bangalore. From Bangalore International flights can be taken to any place of the world.
» By Rail : The railway station at Madurai connects it to Madras, which takes eight hours via Trichy and six hours from Rameshwaram. The journey to Madurai from Kerala can be interesting with lovely scenes of the Western Ghats.
» By Road : There are very good road networks from Madurai to most of the major cities in the state. State run or private buses commute at regular intervals to all prime locations of the state.
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