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One of the ancient cities in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is located on the banks of Vaigai River. It is one of the most prominent temple towns in south India and holds an important place in Tamilian culture, history and traditions. Its history dates back to more than 2500 years, and is one of the most visited places by tourists in Tamil Nadu. 

Today, the city that boasts of a glorious past, some of the most iconic monuments in India and scenic natural beauty all around, Madurai is known as the cultural capital of India and give an enchanting travel experience to all visitors. If you are visiting the city anytime soon, we give you a list of some of the best places to visit in Madurai.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

The Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai is one of the most prominent identities of the city. The temple perched on the southern banks of Vaigai River is one of the most popular temples not just in Madurai but all of Tamil Nadu. Everyday thousands of devotees from all over India come here to seek the almighty’s blessings, making it one of the most popular Madurai tourist places.  

Apart from its spiritual and religious importance, the temple is an architectural marvel and a fine example of Dravidian craftsmanship. Inside the temple you can see several intricate carvings and majestic structures, each of which has a legend associated with it that leaves the tourist enthralled and mesmerised. 

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, it is believed that women seeking marriage will have their prayers answered at the Temple.

Vaigai Dam

If the hustle and bustle of the Madurai city is too much for you to handle, and you want some solitude, you can visit the Vaigai Dam. Located about 60 km from the main city, the dam is built over Vaigai River and the surrounding beauty and the serene environment will surely give you the best Madurai sightseeing experience. 

 

Gandhi Memorial Museum

One of the most famous places in Madurai, the Gandhi Memorial Museum was once a royal palace during the Nayak Dynasty known as Tamukkam Palace. It was home to Rani Mangammal and its history dates back to 1670 AD. 

In 1959, the palace was converted into a museum and opened to the public. It is one of the best places to visit in Madurai to know about the life of one of the most admired freedom fighters and leaders of India, Mahatma Gandhi. 

The museum exhibits Gandhi’s pre-independence struggles through some of the rare photos you may not find anywhere else, manuscripts, photocopies of the letters he wrote, quotations, and other significant items during his time. It also displays a part of the blood-stained dhoti that he wore on the day of his assassination. 

If seeing some of the original and replica of the personal belongings of Gandhi does not give you goosebumps, you can learn more about the greatness of the great leader by immersing yourself into the vast collection of books that are written by him and on him in the library section of the museum. 

The museum also conducts cultural programs frequently in the open air theatre in the museum complex to educate people about the humble ways of life that Gandhi followed and about his struggles during the colonial era. 

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal 

Built in 1635, the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal was once the royal residence of King Thirumalai Nayak during the Nayak Dynasty. The Mahal is a cluster of temples and buildings that presents a beautiful amalgamation of the Islamic and Dravidian architecture, showcasing the cultural diversity of Madurai. 

Located close to the Meenakshi Amman Temple, the Mahal is one of the best places to visit in Madurai, especially if you are a history buff or have a keen eye for exploring the intricacies of the architectural brilliance of the bygone era. The original structure of the Mahal was renovated in 1866 and since then it stands strong as a testament to the great Nayak Dynasty that ruled Madurai.

Kazimar Big Mosque

The Kazimar Periya Pallivasal, the Tamil word for Kazimar Big Mosque is the oldest Mosque in Madurai city. It was constructed in the 13th Century by Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad who came to Madurai from Yemen. The land on which the mosque stands today was gifted to Tajuddin by the then Pandayan King, Kulasekara. 

Apart from being of religious importance for the locals, it attracts tourists from all over Tamil Nadu and other states in India who come here to revel in its majestic architecture that boasts of tall minarets and dome-shaped ceiling. 

The Mosque premises house the Maqbara or the graves of Kazi Syed Tajuddin and other Hazrats (a title given to honour the prophets) of Madurai such as Hazrat Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Rahmatullahi, and Hazrat Meer Amjad Ibrahim.

While you are in the city, exploring the various monuments and places, don’t forget to enjoy some of the amazing local food delicacies and at the top of your must-try list should be Jigarthanda, a cold refreshment made of milk, almond gum, and sugar. 

Madurai is truly a fascinating city in Tamil Nadu where the old charm is beautifully juxtaposed with modern hustle and bustle. From its places of worship to the natural beauty of the quaint hamlets, Madurai is the true representation of the great Tamil culture. 

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