Best Places to Explore in Madurai

The beautiful city of Madurai, rightly called the Athens of the East, is the only Indian city with a written history of 2500 years old. On the banks of the bountiful Vaigai, lies the lotus-shaped city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Be it the classical temples, the rustic street life, the green country-side or the folksy culture, the essence of Madurai is unmistakable! So, the tourists and travelers can come and get colored in the hues of history! Listed here are the best places to visit in Madurai!

1# Meenakshi Amman Temple: Madurai is closely associated with the beautiful Meenakshi Amman Temple. Known to be one of the majestic Hindu temples of India, Meenakshi temple is the 2000-year old temple known for its remarkable piece of art and architecture. This temple is bestowed to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva. Located right at the heart of Madurai, the temple is the shining jewel in the crown of the city. Meenakshi temple is also nominated for the contest of “World Wonders”.

The beautiful Madurai temple in Madurai (

The temple is surrounded by 14 towers, the tallest among them is the South Tower which stands at a great height of 51.9 meters [170 ft], and two golden sculptured vimanas [shrines] over the sanctums of the main deities. With more than a dozen pyramid-like Gopurams rising in the skies, the area of the temple is spread across 15 acres. Visitors can have a wonderful view of the Meenakshi temple that is adorned with nritya postures; when they enter the temple, they can view all the towers from the middle. They can go around the pillars and prakarams, and look at the Gopurams and count the number of statues on them. With thousands of stucco statues on each of the Gopurams, Meenakshi temple presents a brilliant sight to behold during mornings and evenings. This is really a fascinating experience to watch the Gopurams’ colors bloom in the sunlight. Meenakshi Temple attracts more than 15,000 visitors per day.

Inside of Meenakshi temple (Cultural India)

Timing of temple worship: Meenakshi temple remains open:

5 am – 12.30 pm (morning) & 4 pm to 10 pm (evening).

Pooja Kaalams:

Morning poojas/prayers: from 5.00 am to 12.00 pm.

  • Thiruvanandal pooja 5.00 – 6.00 am.
  • Vizha pooja: 6.30 – 7.00 am.
  • Kalasandhi pooja: 7.30 – 8.30 am.
  • Thrikalasandhi pooja: 10.30 – 11.30 am.
  • Uchikkala pooja: 10.30 – 11.30 am.

Evening poojas: from 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

  • Maalai pooja: 4.30 – 5.00 pm.
  • Ardhajama pooja: 7.30 – 8.30 pm.
  • Palliarai pooja: 9.15 – 10.00 pm.

2# Tirumalai Nayak Palace: The tourists can watch the sound-and-light show at Madurai Tirumalai Nayak Palace and relive the royal glory of the times of eminent King Tirumalai Nayak. The ideal 16th-century palace signifies a new era of architecture in the Indo-Saracenic style of South Indian palaces.

Tirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai (Madurai District)

Open all-days: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

3# Gandhi Memorial Museum: Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai is one of the six museums in India. Tourists and locals should visit this museum that includes a few of the original and replicas of items used and worn of the Mahatma. Madurai’s Gandhi Museum has the dress that Mahatma Gandhi wore on his final day. Madurai’s Gandhi Museum has the dress that Mahatma Gandhi wore on his final day.

Gandhi Memorial Museum (

Open all-days: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm & 2.00 am to 5.30 pm.

4# Sangam Art Gallery: If you have come to Madurai, visit the Sangam Art Gallery for understanding the cultural ethos of Tamils and make a round of Sangam building to explore the 1330 kurals [couplets] of the Tirukural which is the second most translated literary work in the world. Madurai boosts the World Tamil Sangam and it’s visible in the art gallery.

Sangam Art Gallery, Madurai (The Hindu)

Open all-days: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

5# Alagar Koil: This is an attractive temple located in the north-east of Madurai, known to be a resting place of Lord Vishnu. The statue of the Lord is built of stone, a superb masterpiece crafted from Kallalgar. There are various statues in distinct postures of the Lord that are placed in the temple under the very same roof. Also known as Azhagar Kovil, Alagar Koil is surrounded by Alagar Hills as the Lord Thirumal is familiar with the name of Alagar here, thus the hills are named on the Lord.

Alagar Koil/Azhagar Kovil in Madurai (Madurai District)

Open all-days: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

6# Athisayam: Situated 10 kms from the city center of Madurai, Athisayam is a great water-cum-amusement park which boosts of 40 games and 20 water-rides. Children and adults would love visiting Athisayam if they enjoy amusement parks. The park also consists of 7D theatre, a recreation garden, and an eatery.

Athisayam, Madurai (

7# Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary: One can go for a nature bird trip to the tanks of Avaniyapuram in the outskirts of Madurai. The city is home to a number of residents and winter migratory birds.

Vettankudy Birds’ Sanctuary (Sivaganga District)

In the migratory season, one may witness roosting of Open Bill Storks at the Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary, Tirupathur. Though a crowded city, Madurai offers islands of greenery and peace amidst its chaotic streets, for people to take a leisure walk – Eco Park, Vandiyur Tank, and Race-course stadium.

Various birds in the sanctuary (HolidayLandmark)

8# The Jain Circuit: Numerous Jain caves are located on rocky hillocks on the periphery of Madurai and involve a short trek of about 30-45 minutes from where one gets a birds-eye view of Madurai. The inscriptions date back between the 7th and 8th centuries AD.

The Jain Circuit, Madurai (Indian Panorama)

9# Festival-time visits:

Float Festival – The Mariamman Teppakulam tank hosts a colorful float festival every year in January/February. There are great celebrations on land along with dance, music, food, and revelry while the deities of Meenakshi and Shiva are taken around in the beautifully illuminated float. If you are traveling to Madurai during this time, you can take part in this celebration.

Float Festival in Madurai (India Tours)

Pongal Festival – Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamils, retains the earthy flavor in Madurai, replete with folk dance performances, Jallikattu, and abundance of food. Every January 14 to 16, the three-day festival is celebrated with fervour. If anyone would be interested to watch this live, they shouldn’t miss the opportunity.

Pongal festival (

Chithirai Festival – The Annual cultural extravaganza is the star attraction of Madurai. The 10-day fiesta attracts millions of people from far and wide. Goddess Meenakshi’s celestial wedding with Lord Shiva and Lord Azhagar’s iconic entry into River Vaigai are the magnum opus of the festival, held during the Tamil month of Chithirai [April-May]. If you want to partake at this festival, you should visit Madurai.

Chithirai Festival in Madurai (

Getting There

Madurai is very well-connected through air, rail, and road, to various cities in India. Various long-distance express trains and local trains connect the city to various parts of the country. Taxis operated by OLA cabs (use an app) and FastTrack (04522888999) are available on call. Autorickshaws are also available for hire on a point-to-point basis. One can also hire different kinds of Chauffeured cars which will be at your disposal to travel when you wish.

Madurai – the beautiful city (

Madurai is the least polluted among all cities in Tamil Nadu. It also boasts of large tracts of greenery and vibrancy. One can also shop for traditional sarees and suits from the Madurai’s retail showroom; Pudumandapam is a shopper’s paradise and things to buy can include Sungudi Saris, Souvenirs, Golu dolls, and Brassware. Visit Madurai anytime you wish as the climate is also pretty good. Share your views and experiences with us if you have visited Madurai already! 🙂

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Sanghamitra Roychoudhary

Sanghamitra Roychoudhary

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A proficient Web Content Developer (Technical and Non-Technical Writer), Blogger, and Freelance Content Writer. A happy author of! She is a creative person, always eager to learn new aspects, and seeking new ways for improving skills in her field. She loves traveling & photography; also, a sports enthusiast!
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Sanghamitra Roychoudhary

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