Madurai In A Day


Madurai in a Day (68)

We were travelling as a family to Rameswaram and did not get a direct train thus had to stop over at Madurai. I had been to Madurai in the year 2002 but a lot had changed since then. Moreover, I was not a blogger then thus my approach towards the city was very different. So I had one full day in the city so had to utilize it to the maximum.

For a luck, I managed to book a hotel (Hotel Rani Mangammal Residencies) in the city which was located bang opposite to the Madurai Railway Station gate thus no running behind auto drivers no bargaining. Just took the luggage straight to the hotel and the rates were extremely economical considering the strategic location and the room type. Later on, however, I learnt that the hotel was operated by Madurai Municipal Corporation which was another shocker considering its beautiful ambience and maintenance. The manager at the front desk was extremely helpful and guided me to the list of important places that I could visit within a day with some comfort and enough time at each location to enjoy the beauty.

Madurai is relatively a small town thus can be easily covered with an Auto, however, there are some spots which are located on the outskirts so if you plan to visit those as well then hiring a car would be advisable. An Auto will charge around Rs. 500 – 600 for local sightseeing but before committing anything please do ensure that that Auto driver is fully aware of the total number of places that he will take you else they tend to skip a few just to save some time.

Madurai in a Day (1)
Travelling Around Madurai in an Auto Is the Best and Cheapest Option

Madurai is basically a temple town thus obviously almost all of the main attractions revolve around temple especially Meenakshi Temple. But don’t let that fool you, this city also has a very important museum. The best itinerary would be to cover the please farthest from the centre of the town and keep Meenakshi Temple for the last as it does take a lot of time to go around considering the amount of steady crowd.

 

So basically in a day this is what we covered with an auto:-

Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace (Mahal)

Vandiyur Mariyamman Temple – Teppakulam (Lake)

Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Teppakulam

Koodal Azhagar Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Gandhi Museum & Government Museum

 

Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple

This is a classic rock-cut temple and apart from the front façade with its gopuram, most of the temple actually is cut out from the rock front. To get the best view step back and walk around hundred meters back from the main entrance and then you will be able to see the full majestic view. Photography is prohibited inside the temple but you are free to access it from the front courtyard.

Dated around the 6th century this temple was built by the Pandayas and as per legend lord Murugan slayed the demon Surapadman and married Deivayanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra.

Madurai in a Day (2)
Giant Chariot Kept Outside the Temple (Used During Festivals)
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Entrance
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Colourful Painted Ceilings
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Colourful Painted Ceilings
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Devotees Praying In front Of the Various Gods
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Ganesha
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Various Gods Depicted In the Stone Columns
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Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple – Colourful Pained Ceilings

 

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace (Mahal)

Once considered one of the wonders of Southern India this palace is just a fraction of what it once used to be. The palace was built by the Nayaks one of the last kingdoms to have ruled Madurai before the takeover by the East India Company.

This palace was built around 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak and is unique in its design with a fusion of Dravidian, Rajput and Mughal style. Since most portions of the palace do not exist anymore what you see now are just some portions namely Svarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) which is the central hall along with some rooms and chambers all around. This place is famous for its gigantic pillars which gives it’s a dramatic architectural perspective.

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Signboard at the Entrance
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Signboard at the Entrance
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Ticket Counter
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Entrance
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Giant Columns
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace - Svarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion)
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Svarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion)
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Svarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion)
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Colourfully Painted Ceilings
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Ornamental Ceiling Decorations
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Throne for the King
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Colourfully Painted Ceilings
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Colourfully Painted Ceilings
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Colourfully Painted Ceilings
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Stone Horse with a Warrior (Missing) In a Dilapidated State
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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Columns and Arches A Mix of Different Architectural Styles
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Beautifully Painted Ceilings
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Beautifully Painted Ceilings
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Beautifully Painted Ceilings
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Beautifully Painted Ceilings
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Decorated Arches
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Decorated Arches
Madurai in a Day (29)
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – Statue of the Last Nayak King

 

Vandiyur Mariyamman Temple – Teppakulam (Lake)

This temple was once located within an artificial waterbody more that of a large pond but due to recent droughts and building of dams the lake is now dried up and now has turned into a cricket ground. Only during the festival, the local civic body manages to fill it up with large pumps drawing water from nearby water bodies.

The temple was constructed around 1645 with the soil around being excavated for building the Thirumalai Nayakar Palace. During mid-January to mid-February special festivities take place during which the deities of Meenakshi Temple are brought to the lake in processions.

 

Madurai in a Day (30)
Vandiyur Mariyamman Temple Surrounded By a Dried Artificial Water Tank

 

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Vandiyur Mariyamman Temple Surrounded By a Dried Artificial Water Tank

 

 

Madurai in a Day (32)
Dried Artificial Water Tank
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Stairs Leading To the Dry Bed
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Children Can Be Seen Playing a Game of Cricket in the Dry Bed

 

Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Teppakulam

This is a Durga temple which is around 2000 years old. Mariamman is considered as the custodian deity of Madurai and no celebration in the city can start without first visiting this temple and seeking its blessings.

Madurai in a Day (35)
Arulmigu Mariamman Temple
Madurai in a Day (36)
Arulmigu Mariamman Temple
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Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Stone Five Headed Naag (Snake) Smeared With Turmeric
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Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Interiors
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Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Temple Priest Performing Puja
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Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Interiors
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Arulmigu Mariamman Temple – Interiors

 

Important Information:-

You would need to buy a Rs. 20 ticket for photography. The Ticket counter is located near the entrance.

 

Koodal Azhagar Temple

This temple is dedicated to Vishnu is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu. As per stone inscription within the temple the date refers to that of 8th century AD with further expansion during the Nayak dynasty rule in the 16th century. Some historians even date the temple back to 3 BC.

Madurai in a Day (42)
Koodal Azhagar Temple
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Koodal Azhagar Temple

 

Meenakshi Amman Temple

The most famous amongst all the temples in this town and perhaps one of the most important one in the whole of Southern India. The town basically gets related to Meenakshi Temple more often than any other famous temple that is dotted around the town.

Photography is not allowed inside the temple now but as luck would have it when I had visited the temple in the year 2004 I had clicked some with my film camera.

The temple has a fixed opening and closing time thus please coordinate your visit accordingly. This being one of the most famous temples in the town and the region you can expect quite a long queue thus be prepared accordingly.

It is a fairly large temple structure with around four Rajagopurams (majestic towers), there are five towers on top of the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord, three on top of the sanctum sanctorum of the Goddess and two golden towers or gopurams. As the name suggests this temple is dedicated to Meenakshi (Parvati) and Sundareswar (Shiva). As per some records, the temple existed from around 6th century, much of the temple was destroyed in the 14th century by the invaders and was rebuilt and massively expanded in the year 17th century by the Nayaks. When visiting this temple make sure you have enough time in your hand and make sure to follow the dress code.

Important Information:-

Temple Opening Hours – 05.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 02.30 PM to 10.00 PM
Darshan Time – 05.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM
Paid Darshan – Meenakshi Amman Sannathi Rs. 20 per person
Swami Amman Sannathi Rs. 20 per person

Special Darshan – Meenakshi Amman Sannathi Rs. 50 per person
Swami Amman Sannathi Rs. 50 per person

Foreigners Entry Fee – Rs. 50 per person

Mobile Camera – Rs. 50

Madurai in a Day (44)
Meenakshi Amman Temple – South Tower
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Meenakshi Amman Temple – West Tower
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Meenakshi Amman Temple – West Tower
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Meenakshi Amman Temple – North Tower
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Meenakshi Amman Temple – East Tower
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Structures Outside Meenakshi Amman Temple Now Part Of a Market

 

Gandhi Museum & Government Museum

Honestly, I really had no interest in visiting this museum since I was not fully aware of this place initially. Almost reluctantly I dragged myself to this place and I must confess that this was the most eye-opening experience that I had during this short trip to Madurai.

There are around five Gandhi museums in the country and Madurai is one of them. This museum was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1959. This building which now houses the museum was once a palace of Rani Mangammal (one of the Nayak queen). This museum has the life and history of Gandhi depicted in multiple framed photographs and paintings along with many original and replica artefacts belonging to Gandhi. Amongst the most important piece of historical item that can be seen here is the bloodstained cloth belonging to Gandhi the day he was shot and killed. Overall this is a very informative museum.

Apart from the Gandhi museum, there is another small museum (Madurai Government Museum) located in the adjacent building which houses generic artefacts.

Important Information:-

(Gandhi Museum) Photography / Videography / Mobile  – Rs. 50

(Madurai Government Museum)  Entry Fee – Adult Rs. 5, Child Rs. 3, School Children (Nil), Foreigners Rs. 100

(Madurai Government Museum)  Photography Fee – Rs. 20

(Madurai Government Museum)  – Visiting Hours 09.30 AM to 05.00 PM (Friday, Second Saturday and National Holidays closed)

Madurai in a Day (50)
Gandhi Museum – Madurai
Statue of Mahatma Gandhi Outside Gandhi Museum
Statue of Mahatma Gandhi Outside Gandhi Museum
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Gandhi Museum – Inauguration Plaque
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Gandhi Museum – Interiors
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Gandhi Museum – History of Indian Independence Movement
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Gandhi Museum – History of Indian Independence Movement
Gandhi Museum – Depiction of Divide of Bengal
Gandhi Museum – Depiction of Divide of Bengal
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Gandhi Museum – Interiors
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Gandhi Museum – Interiors
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Gandhi Museum – Original Blood Stained Cloth Worn By Mahatma Gandhi on the Day of His Assassination
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Gandhi Museum – Original Blood Stained Cloth Worn By Mahatma Gandhi on the Day of His Assassination
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Gandhi Museum – Interiors
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Gandhi Museum – Original Hand Written Letter by Gandhi to Narayanasath Sanghi Devakotai (Signed by Gandhi in Tamil Script)
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Government Museum – Madurai
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Government Museum – Interiors
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Government Museum – Interiors
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Government Museum – Interiors

 

Special thanks to my blogger friend Rashmi Gopal Rao (http://rashminotes.com) for helping me out in finalizing the plan. Hope you have enjoyed travelling with me around Madurai in a day, my next destination was Rameswaram so watch out for my next blog.

 

Map with the Tourist Spots Visited

 

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11 thoughts on “Madurai In A Day

  1. I’ve been wanting to go to Madurai just to see the gopurams and the pillared halls of Meenakshi temple. Nice to know that that’s not the only temple with those ornate pillars and ceilings.

    Like

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