Often referred as the ‘Temple City’ of South India’, Madurai is also known to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. The city is said to be over 2500 years old. Mostly known for the famous Meenakshi temple, the city of Madurai is home to around ten important temples.
It is believed that the city of Madurai has been built on the principles of urban planning as mentioned in sacred texts called ‘ShilpShastras’. It was made by the first Madurai King of Nayak dynasty - VishwanathaNayak.
What to See
Madurai is a much revered pilgrimage centre for the Hindus in the country. It used to be the capital for the rulers of the Pandya dynasty. Due to presence of a large number of temples and monuments, Madurai is also known as ‘Athens of the East’. Besides the temples, the city also houses several mosques and churches. The entire city of Madurai is built around the Meenakshi Amman temple. The temple was made by the Pandyan and Nayak clans. Besides the religious aspects, the city is also a growing industrial and educational centre. It is also famous for the jasmine flowers grown here in abundance. Locally these are known as ‘Madurai Malli’. It is not only used in temples and during festivals but also exported globally. The Jasmine flowers are widely used in preparation of oils, soap, shampoo and perfumes.
For a tourist, the city offers lot more than just temples and architectural extravagance. It boasts of several museums, clubs, restaurants and cinema theatres. There are also several markets where visitors can indulge in shopping. If one gets an opportunity to visit in January, one can witness the famous ‘Float Festival’ where religious processions are organized.
Best Time to visit
A good time to visit Madurai is the winter months period from November to February. Temperatures range between 23 to 32 degrees Celsius. During summer months from April onwards, temperatures can go above 40 degrees Celsius and it is not a very pleasant experience.