Madurai is counted amongst the oldest city of India and it is also the second largest city of state Tamil Nadu, situated on the bank of river Vaigai. The name of the city is originated from the word ‘Maduram’, which means nector. According to a legend, few drops of nector fell down from the vessel of Hindu God Shiva, when he came here to marry Devi Meenakshi. Hence it was named as Madirapuri, which later changed into Madurai. It is also known as the ” City of Temple”.
This ancient city is 2600 years old and it was then an important commercial center of South India and the capital of Pandya as well. Now a days Madurai is a progressive and modern city of Tamil Nadu with a lot of monuments, temples and cultural heritages in its lap.
Highlights of Madurai:
Meenakshi Sundereshwara Temple: Madurai is renowned all over India for Meenakshi temple, it is the landmark of Madurai, which was constructed by early Pandya king Kulasekara. It is called one of the best temples of God Shiva in the whole state, which is nationwide famous for its greatest cultural as well as architectural value.
According to the legend this is the temple, where Lord Shiva performed his famous dance form ‘Natarajam’, as He got cherished with the construction of the temple. There are a number of shrines and grand pillared halls all around the temple complex. There are total 12 towers, that add several moon to the beauty of temple complex. These towers, having a solid granite base, are beautifully decorated with colorful stucco figures of god, goddess, monsters and animals. Everyday around six thousand visitors come to see this fascinating temple.
Kazimar Big Mosque (Periya Pallivasal) and Maqbara: Kazimar Mosque is located in the center of Madurai, just at a distance of 800 m from Meenakshi temple. It is the first Muslims’ worship place of Madurai, constructed by Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin during 13th century. Mudaral Maqbara is also located inside this mosque, which is the famous dargah of Mudaral Hazrats.
Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal: Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal is a palace complex, which was constructed by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636 in Indo Saracean style. It is now a national monument and is under the maintenance of Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department. The palace complex is divided into two parts, each with royal residence, theater, shrines, apartments, armory, quarters, ponds, gardens etc.
St Mary’s Cathedral Church: St Mary’s Church is one of the oldest Roman Catholic Churches in India. It is the seat of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai, located 200 m from Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal.
Theppakulam: Theppakulam is related to somewhat Vandiyur Mariyamman temple, which was built around the period of 1500 AD. It has now been made as a picnic spot. At the center of the place an artificial island of stone is made, that attracts the visitors.