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Madurai
Landmarks in Madurai.
Madurai
Location of Madurai
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 9°48′N 78°06′E / 9.8°N 78.10°E / 9.8; 78.10
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Madurai district
Mayor Thenmozhi Gopinathan
Population
Density
928869[1] (2001)
8,522 /km2 (22,072 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area
Elevation
109 km2 (42 sq mi)
8 m (26 ft)
Website www.maduraicorporation.in

Madurai (Tamil: மதுரை and IPA: [mɐd̪ɯrəj]), is the oldest inhabited city in the Indian peninsula.[2] It is an ancient and prestigious city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, situated on the banks of the River Vaigai in Madurai district.

The city is widely known as the Temple city,[2] and is often also referred to as City of four junctions (Koodal Maanagar), Cultural Capital of Tamil Nadu (Kalaachaara thalainagar), City of Jasmine (Malligai Maanagar), Sleepless city (Thoonga Nagaram) Athens of the East and The city of festivals. With a population of 1,203,095 according to the 2001 Census,[3] it is the Second largest city in Tamil Nadu.

Madurai was the capital city of ancient Southern civilization. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C.E.[2][4]

Contents

History

Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1871 51,987
1881 73,807 42.0%
1891 87,428 18.5%
1901 105,984 21.2%
1911 134,130 26.6%
1921 138,894 3.6%
1931 182,018 31.0%
1941 239,744 31.7%
1951 361,781 50.9%
1961 424,810 17.4%
1971 549,114 29.3%
1981 820,891 49.5%
1991 940,989 14.6%
2001 928,869 −1.3%

Madurai has history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. It was the seat of power of the ancient Pandyan empire of Tamilakam. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.[5] As early as the 3rd century BC, Megasthenes visited Madurai. Later many people from Rome and Greece visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings.

In legend, the original town of Madurai, traditionally called ThenMadurai or Madurai of South was destroyed by a tsunami in ancient Kumari Kandam. The original city was in the area from Viraganoor to Silaiman behind Teppakulam today. The new city (today's Madurai) was home to the last Tamil Sangam in the early part of last Century. The great national poet Subramanya Bharathi worked as a Tamil language pandit / teacher in Sethupathy High School during the early 20th century. There is a village town in the neighbouring district of Dindigul called Vada Madurai, and another in the neighbouring district of Sivagangai called Manamadurai.

Madurai flourished till 10th century AD when it was captured by Cholas, the arch rivals of the Pandyas.[5] The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium as it later came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom and Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar.[5]

Geography and Climate

Madurai
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
20
 
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104
 
35
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119
 
34
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188
 
32
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145
 
30
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51
 
29
21
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Madurai city has an area of 52 km2, within an urban area now extending over as much as 130 km2,[6] and it is located at 9°56′N 78°07′E / 9.93°N 78.12°E / 9.93; 78.12.[7] It has an average elevation of 101 meters above mean sea level. The climate is dry and hot, with North East Monsoon rains during October-December. Temperatures during summer reach a maximum of 40 and a minimum of 26.3 degrees celsius,though temperatures over 43 degrees celsius are not uncommon. Winter temperatures range between 29.6 and 18 degrees Celsius. The average annual rainfall is about 85 cm.

Language

Tamil is spoken predominantly in and around Madurai. Madurai Tamil is the standard dialect spoken. Along with Tamil, other languages spoken are English, Urdu, Telugu and Saurashtra. However the words of some of these languages have Tamil words mixed in with them.

Demographics

Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Madurai has an average literacy rate of 89%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 74%. In Madurai, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age. There are 968 females per 1,000 males.[8]

Architecture

Madurai is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. Concentric rectangular streets surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos. The entire city is laid out in the shape of the lotus.[5] Some of these rectangular streets are named after Tamil months. The six major rectangular streets around Meenakshi temple are Aadi, Chithirai, Aavani Moola, Maasi, Maarat and Veli streets.

Civic administration

Madurai High court

The entire Madurai district comes under the dirct control of the Madurai District collector and the corporation limits within it is administered by the Madurai Municipal Corporation. This was the second corporation formed in 1971 next to chennai.[9] The corporation has received several National awards in the year 2008 for implementing development works.[10] The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day running of the municipal school board, the city bus service, the municipal hospital, and the city library. The city serves as the headquarters of Madurai district and as the seat of the Madurai bench of Madras High Court.

The High Court Bench started functioning with effect from 24-07-2004 with the jurisdiction of the Districts of Kanniyakumari, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Madurai, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli and Karur.[11]

The city has passport office and districts Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari & Dindugul come under its jurisdiction.[12]

Also the city has employment office where people from Madurai district register their educational qualifications for employment opportunities from Tamil Nadu government. This office also serves as a place for registration of postgraduates and professional degree holders from all southern and some of the western districts in Tamil nadu.

Religious Heads in Madurai

Being the oldest inhabited city, madurai is famous for its diverse culture[13] and religious harmony. The three religious heads famously called as Mummadha Thalaivargal (Leaders of The Three religion) strive to keep madurai in peace.

The Aadheenam

This is one of the oldest mutt in India constituted during the period of Thirugnana Sambanthar.There are lot of immovable properties donated for this mutt, right from the day of its origin. The tradition of madurai Aadinam goes back to 1300 years and Thirugnana Sambanthar being the 1st Maga Sannidhaanam The Madurai Aadheenam. The mutt is headed by the Guru Maga Sannidaanam, The Aadinam of Madurai. Though being a saiva, the Aadheenam is considered as the religious head of all Saiva and Vaishanava Hindus of Madurai. The Guru maga sannidanam, Arunachalam Swamy is the present Aadinam and he is 292nd Aadinam in their genealogy. The present Aadeenam is very well versed in the Knowledge of Vedas. The aadinam takes parts in all major festivals of madurai connected with Hindu religion and also in religious harmony meetings. Kumbhabishekams, Meenkshi-Shokkar marriage, Azhagar's entry into Vaigai and other Hindu festivals in the city are headed by the Aadinam. The sitting Aadinam, during his life time appoints his junior, who succeeds him after his death.

The Kaziyar

Kazi, the jury and religious head of Muslims, in Madurai is appointed by Govt. of Tamil Nadu. The tradition of Kazis in madurai goes back to 750 years. Syed Tajuddin was the 1st Kazi to the then Govt of Sultans. Till today, His descendants who live in the Kazimar street, Madurai are appointed as Kazis to the Govt. of Tamil Nadu in Madurai. Hazrat Moulana Moulvi, Meer Ahamad Ibrahim Rahmatullahi Alaihi (the first of Madurai Maqbara Hazrats), Moulana Syed Abdul Qadir Ibrahim, Moulvi, Syed Amjad Ahmad Ibrahim and Moulvi, Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Saahib Hazrat are remarkable Kazis to the Govt. during their tenure.[14] Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim, Saahib Hazrat the 19th Kaziyar of Madurai, who was fondly called by the people as Town Kaziyar, Kazisaab, Town Kazisaab etc., is remembered for his simplicity and hardwork towards literal and economical empowerment of Muslims in the city. The present Kajiyar of Madurai Moulvi.A.Syed Kaja Mueenuddeen is 20th in the genealogy of Kaziyars in Madurai, who is well known for his hard work towards religious harmony in Madurai together with, The Aadinam, Kundrakkudi Ponnambala Adigal and the Arch Bishop. Apart from working for religious harmony, the present Kaziyar also strives for political empowerment of Muslims of the locality. Kaziyar heads the prayers in Arasaradi, Edgah grounds on Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Also, the Kaziyar heads the 23 days congregation of Aashura with sunni faith, during the Islamic month of Muharram. Almost all Muslim marriages in madurai are solemnized by the Kaziyar and disputes arising if any thereafter are solved by him. Most of the zikr majlis and urus festivals in reliable darghas are headed by Kaziyar or any other Moulvi from the Kaziyars family.

The Archbishop

The tradition of the Archdiocese of Madura goes back 70 years and the Archbishop of Madurai is considered the head of Roman Catholic Christians in Madurai. The archdiocese of Madura was erected in the year 1938, and was renamed as the Archdiocese of Madurai in the year 1950. The Suffragan Dioceses of Dindigul, Kottar, Palayamkottai, Sivagangai, Tiruchirapalli and Tuticorin come under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Madurai.[15] Bishop John Peter Leonard was the 1st archbishop of Madurai with whom the genealogy of the Archdiocese of Madurai starts. Bishop Marianus Arokiasamy, the 4th Archbishop of Madurai, is well remembered for his works towards the religious harmony along with The Aadheenam and The Kaziyar to keep Madurai in peace when south Tamil Nadu was burning due to communal riots in late 1990s. Bishop Peter Fernanado is the 5th Archbishop of Madurai. Bishop Christopher Asir, who is the Archbishop of Madurai-Ramnad Diocese of CSI, is the head of C.S.I. Christians in Madurai.

Transport

Madurai is well connected all over India through Road, rail and by Air.

Rail

Madurai Junction

The railway station is one of the busiest in the country and has computerized reservation counters. Madurai division has repeatedly received the award for being the best-maintained station in the Southern Railway.[16] The railway station code for Madurai junction is MDU. It is connected to most major Indian cities and towns.

Madurai Railway Division is the second largest revenue generating division in Tamilnadu next only to Chennai.

As the TN's second largest City strucks daily with a single railway terminal unable to handle the heavy Passenger Crowds, Southern Railway has come-up with a plan of extension & modification of the City Junction. Works are going on in the same at fast pace.

Railways also planned to divide the passenger traffic at City Junction by creating one more state-of-art Railway terminal at North Madurai Koodal Nagar. The Project cost is more than Rs.100 Crores and the Works are going on for the same,now.

The Stations in Madurai railway are :

Madurai City Railway Junction Koodal Nagar Samayanallur Vadipatti East Madurai Tirupuvanam Tiruparankundram Tirumangalam Chekanoorani Usilampatti etc.

Road

Ellis Nagar bridge

Madurai has several major bus stands: Madurai Integrated Bus Terminus (MIBT) at Maattuthavani (North), Palanganatham (South), Arappalayam (West), Periyar (Central) and Anna Bus stand (East). From MIBT, many buses to locations all over the south India operate round the clock. From Arapalayam bus stand, buses to places of western Tamil Nadu like Theni, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Salem operate and Periyar bus stand is where only city buses and private buses to major cities operate. Anna bus stand and Palanganatham are not in operation currently.

Apart fom city buses, three-wheeled, black and yellow auto-rickshaws, referred to as autos, are available for travel with in the city. MIBT has pre-paid auto counter where commuters can pay fixed auto-fare depends on destination and hire.

Madurai is connected by the following major National Highways:

Bridges have been constructed across the Vaigai river to connect Madurai at various points. Flyovers have been constructed within the city to overcome traffic congestion. Four lane express highways to Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Bangalore make Madurai well-connected by road.

Air

Madurai Airport is 11 kilometers from the Madurai railway station, and it offers flights to major cities in southern and western India. Paramount Airways, Jet Air Ways, Kingfisher Airlines, Air India operates flights from and to Madurai. Flight services to Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai are available at Madurai airport.

Madurai Airport is under a major expansion now with a state-of-art new Terminal of 17,560 Sq.ms space which is the second largest terminal in Tamilnadu next only to Chennai.

With a Good Domestic Network, New Low-Cost airlines like Air Dravida, Star Aviation,TransIndia Airlines etc proposed to Connect Madurai in new Domestic routes..

The terminal is all set to come for operation by Second Quarters of 2010..Many Foreign airlines approached AAI to start international services from Madurai.So,When the new terminal is open, many new international flights are expected to take-off from Madurai.

Madurai airport has handled 3 lacks passengers between the period Jan 2009 to Oct 2009 [17]

Madurai Airport is promising a Good-Future with the report of Pricewater CooperHouse Ltd.s research survey that It will become one of the busiest airports in South India once the international flights are allowed..It also added that the airport has a Golden chance for Heavy Cargo Traffic by the year 2012.

Education

Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

Madurai has a literacy rate and human development index above the state average. Madurai Kamaraj University is situated in Madurai. It pioneered the concept of Distance education throughout India. The University was accorded the status of "University with Potential for Excellence".[18] The city has a Medical College, Madurai Medical College (established in the year 1954), an Agricultural College and Research Institute, a Law College, and many Engineering and Arts & Science Colleges. The Aravind Eye Research Institute has started Ph.D programme in the areas of Genetics,immunology,ophthalmology, biomedical sciences, Humanities and social sciences as well as bio-technology in affiliation with universities like Madurai Kamaraj university,Dr. MGR Medical University and Indian Institute of Technology Madras. It has research collaborators from London and USA.

Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai (established in the year 1957) is one of the premier institutions in Tamil Nadu. Madurai has many reputed Schools, Polytechnics and Industrial training institutes (ITIs) as well. Madura College is 120 years old and was started as a Zilla school in 1856.[19] The department of physics has installed an Electron Microscope which is first in madurai.The American College in Madurai is one of the oldest colleges in India. It was founded in 1881 by American Christian missionaries. Thiagarajar college of Arts and Science (founded in 1949) is also another older institution. Thiagarajar School of Management (well-known as TSM in South India, founded in 1962) is a premier institute for Management Studies. Other notable colleges include K.L.N. Engineering College, Raja Engineering college, Sethu Engineering College, Vickram College of Engineering, SACS M.A.V.M.M Engineering College, Velammal College of Engineering and Technology and P.T.R College of Engineering and Technology. M.S.S.Wakf Board college, K.K.Nagar and S.V.N College Nagamalai are among the reputed institutions in Madurai since 1965. There are significant number of Hotel Management & Catering institutes[20] in the city. The Madura College (Autonomous) is one of the ancient colleges in Madurai.

Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Vickram College of Engineering and KLN College of Engineering are in the forefront in developing research facilities[citation needed]and have forged coordination with multinational corporations like National Instruments,[21] Intel,[22] Oracle[23] IBM[24] and leading industry organisations within the country like HCL.[25] In recent years, the city is a witness to campus interviews by leading industry organisations and successful placement programmes organised by the University. Industry estimates put that about 15 to 20 per cent of manpower working in IT industries in metros are from Madurai and surrounding districts.[26] Other reputed educational institutions are Ma Foi and VETA.

A new but upcoming centre of innovative education is in Pulloothu. It is Tata-Dhan Academy[27] having a two year unique program in Development Management. It is widely acclaimed as a pioneer institute in this field and is supported by Dhan foundation and Sir Ratan Tata Trust.[citation needed]

Healthcare

In addition to Government Rajaji Hospital, many private hospitals such as Aravind Eye Hospital, Apollo Specialty Hospital, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Center, Vadamalayan Hospital and Quality Care Hospital, make the city a destination for health care combined with heritage tourism at an affordable cost.[28]

Aravind Eye Hospital at Anna nagar

Madurai is a home to Aravind Eye Care System founded in 1976 by Dr.Govindappa Venkataswamy. Today it is one of the finest eye hospitals in the world.[29] Today, in addition to the hospital in Madurai, there are four other Aravind Eye Hospitals in Theni, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, and Puducherry with a total of 3,590 beds. Aravind Eye Hospitals has gained national and international reputation for its service orientation, modern ophthalmic techniques and its community-based outreach activities which deliver quality eye care to the rural masses.[30] 2,313,398 outpatient visits were handled and 270,444 surgeries were performed at the Aravind Eye Hospitals in 2006. Two-third of the outpatient visits and three-fourth of the surgeries were serviced to the poor, free of cost.

Apollo Specialty Hospitals, Madurai was founded in 1997. The hospital has an overall success rate of 98% and sees an average of 15,000 patients a year. A 24-hour panel of super-specialists are present at the hospital. The hospital has first Intensive Care Unit for Nephrology and first Renal Artery Angioplasty in South India. It is the No. 1 Centre in India and 5th in the world to perform Laparoscopic Renal Transplantation (Donor Nephrectomy).[31].

In addition to two dental colleges ( CSI Dental and Best dental ) there is world class dental treatment available in Madurai. Shanker Dental and Craniofacial Centre is Madurai's largest dental care centre. [1] is a one of a kind, modern purpose built multi-specialty centre situated in the heart of Madurai,at Gandhi Nagar- next to Aravind Eye Hospital.All the necessary infrastructure is under one roof complete with state of the art dental treatment suites, dental and maxillofacial radiology (including OPG - full mouth X-ray facility), modern integrated operating theatres and in-patient facilities. The doctors are trained in the UK and Ireland and provide world class dental care at an affordable cost.

Tourism and Landmarks

Madurai is one of the most important tourist spot of India. The city attracts a large number of tourists from within the country and abroad. About 4,100,000 tourists visited Madurai in 2007, out of which foreigners numbered 224,000.[32]

Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple

Madurai's Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, which stands today as one of the India's greatest cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. It is also one of the greatest Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu. The labyrinthine Meenakshi Temple, celebrating the love of the Meenakshi goddess and her groom Sundareswarar(the Handsome God) is of world renown.[2] The ancient city of Madurai was supposedly laid out in a lotus-like formation, with the temple at the center and the streets and main thoroughfares layered one after the other concentrically, outward from the center. One legend says that on the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva blessed the land and its people while divine nectar showered on the city from his matted locks. The city hence came to be known as Madhurapuri meaning The City of Divine Nectar. The legend is likely a late tale attempting to Sanskritise the otherwise-Dravidian derivative of Madurai. This is the place where Lord Natarajar performed the dance raising his right leg. (Kal maariya Aadiya natarajar). Lord shiva was very happy with the temple construction and performed a different dance. This is the temple which is believed to be survived after Kannagi burnt the complete city. All of the towers are currently draped in scaffolding and opaque coverings obscuring the sculptures at least until the end of 2009.

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

This palace complex was constructed in the Indo-Saracen style by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636. It is a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.

The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. It was divided into two parts, Swarga-vilasa and Ranga-vilasa. In each of these there are royal residences, theater, shrines, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings showing Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes.

The portico known as Swarga Vilasam is an arcaded octagon wholly constructed of bricks and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder. The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent architectural mastery. The courtyard and the dancing hall are central attractions for visitors. There are 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. Furniture and utensils used by the kings is on exhibit inside the palace. The palace is equipped to perform "Light and Sound" shows depicting the story of "Silappathikaram", in both Tamil and English languages. The palace is in Indian films such as Bombay, Iruvar, Guru and Jodi.

Kazimar Big Mosque(Periya pallivasal) and Maqbara

Kazimar Big Mosque, Madurai
Madurai Hazrat's Maqbara located within the Big Mosque

This famous mosque (masjid) is located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar (Central) bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Railway Junction and 800 meters south west of the Meenakshi Temple. His Holiness Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin (a descendant of Prophet Muhammad) who came from Oman during 13th century, received this land from the then Panidiya king, Ku(n) Pandiyan, and constructed the mosque which is the first Muslims' place of worship in Madurai. Madurai Maqbara, the dargah of famous Madurai Hazrats (Their Holiness Hazrat Meer Ahamad Ibrahim, Hazrat Meer Amjad Ibrahim and Hazrat Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Rahmatullahi Alaihim - Descendants of Prophet Muhammad) is also located inside the mosque premises. All of Kazi Syed Thajuddheen's descendants (Huqdars - shareholders of this mosque called as Syeds) have lived in the same locality (Kazimar street) for more than 700 years, and have managed the mosque since then. Syed Tajuddin was appointed as Kazi of the sultans, and still his descendants who live at Kazimar street, Madurai, are appointed as Kazis to the Government of Tamil Nadu. All Syeds belong to the Sunni sect of Islam, its Hanafi school and most of the descendants of Kazi Syed Tajuddin are shadhilis (shazuli) who follow the Sufi order Fassiyatush Shadhiliya.

Gandhi Museum

Gandhi Museum

Rani Mangamma's palace has been renewed and converted to Gandhi museum.The museum displays information about Mahatma Gandhi, and most importantly it showcases the original blood-stained garment of Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. The other piece of the garment is kept at the Gandhi Museum in Delhi. This museum, is one of the 5 museums in India (others in Mumbai, Barrackpore, Sabarmati and Patna) known as Gandhi Sanghralayas.[33] Also lot of pictures taken during the Life time of Gandhi with various leaders all around the world and also during various incidents of freedom struggle is kept. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the museum during his tour of India in 1959 and is said to have got his inspiration to launch a series of peaceful agitations against racial discrimination.[34] No entry fee for museum visitors.

Thiruparankundram

Dargah of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandhar Badhusha Shaheed, at the top of Thiruparankundram hills.

Thiruparankundram is 8 km (5.0 mi) from the Madurai city center. Thiruparakundram temple has become a symbol of the religious harmony as of the people of Madurai. An Islamic Durgah (shrine) is located at the top of the hill, where the grave of an Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah Shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu, who came from Jeddah along with Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinah (now in Erwadi, Ramanathapuram district) during the early 13th century, is found. Irrespective of religion, people from all parts of Tamil Nadu and from Kerala visit this durgah. People who visit the Ervadi Durgah in Ramanathapuram district are supposed to visit this durgah. Many poems have been written in praise of Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha, by Syed Abdussalam Ibrahim Saalim Hazrat, the third in the list of Madurai Hazrats and his Maternal grandson Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Saahib Hazrat and they are published in the Erwadi manaaqib. It is seen that people who come here with a wish see it answered in a very short time, and so He is also called Mustajab ad Du'aa Sikandhar Badhushah. Mustajab Ad Du'aa in Arabic means A saint whose Supplications are immediately answered by Allah. The Anniversary urus festival of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandar badusha Shaheed is commomerated on 17th Night of the islamic Month of Rajab every Hijri year.


The traditional legend is that Murugan married Deivanai at Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple, which also is the first among the Six Holy Abodes of Murugan (Arupadai Veedu, literally "Six Battle Camps").[35][36] This evocative cave temple is much older and has a more sacred atmosphere than the Meenakshi temple, particularly on Fridays, when women place candles or sit around the temple floor and create kolams or rangoli patterns on the ground using coloured powders, ash and flowers as an offering to goddess Durga.[2]

Goripalayam Dargah

Gorippalayam Durgah on Urus.

The name Gorippalayam comes from the Persian word Gor which means Grave. This area is called as Goripalayam because the Graves of the two famous saints of Islam and rulers of Madurai Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha (Radiyallah) and Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badhusha (Radiyallah) are located here. A beautiful green coloured tomb can be seen from the A.V.Bridge madurai, which is the Gorippalayam Dargah located in the northern banks of vaigai River. It is amazing to see that, the domb which is 70 feet in diameter and 20 feet in height is made of a single block of stone which was brought from the Azhaga Hills. People from all over Tamil Nadu come here to seek blessings and go back fruitfully. The two rulers were brothers who ruled the northern part of madurai after coming from oman during 13th century to spread Islam. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin Radiyallah of Kazimar street was Govt. Kazi (Islamic Legal advisor and jury) to them. An ancient Tamil inscription, can be found planted on the outer campus of the Maqbara of the dargah campus. The information found in that inscription is,

"The descendants of Sulthan Alauddin Badusha, and Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha (called as Sultans of Delhi) purchased from the then King Koo(n) Pandiyan the land of Gorippalayam Dargah for a Feet of Gold piece and other six villages (namely Bibi Kulam, Chokkikulam, Cholikudi, Chirudoor, Kannanendal, Thiruppalai) at the rate of 14,000 Gold pieces for the maintenance of Gorippalayam Dargah. During the reign of King Veerappa nayakkar a dispute arose between the Huqdars of the Durgah and the employees of the Nayakkar Government regarding the six villages. The case was taken to King Veerappa Nayakkar, who inquired and verified the documents written by King Koo(n) Pandiyan and gave his verdict in the year 1573 A.D. as the Six villages and the Dargah land belongs to the Descendants of Sultans and it should be in their enjoyment till the existence of Sun and Moon and who violates this will be liable for the sin of slaughtering a cow in the bank of river Ganga."

This inscription is considered as one of the evidences to prove the existence of the Dargah since 13th century. The anniversary urus festival of this dargah is held on 15th night of the Islamic month of Rabi al-awwal on every hijri year.This year the festival held on 3rd March.

Theppakulam

Theppakulam belongs to Vandiyur Mariyamman temple. It has become quite a picnic spot now. There is an artificial island at the centre, made of stone. It is was built sometime around 1500 A.D.

Koodal Azhagar Koil

A beautiful Vishnu temple which has Navagraham also (usually Navagraham is found only in Shivan temple). There is a hayagrivar temple close to this temple where hayagrivar (Horse/"haya"griva avataram) is the main deity. Most of the students do their regular prayer here as hayagrivar is the one who brought the epic fallen into water back to the earth. This is one of the temple found in center of city. This is located 100 mtrs north to the Kazimar Big Mosque (Periya pallivasal) and to the south of Sunnambukara street. This temple is belived to be older than the Meenakshi temple.

Near by this temple another Siva temple is located and the temple is called the Nanmai Tharuvar temple. The legend has it that this temple was build by Shiva himself when he was the king of Madurai. Still you can find a full grandie statue of Shiva along with Meenakshi worship Linga in the Karuvari of the temple. Another notable Vishnu temple found near the Kodal Azhagar temple is the Madhana Gopalan Temple which is a temple dedicated to lord Krishna.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Church

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Madurai is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai. It is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in India and is situated 2 km South East of Madurai Railway station and 200 meters from the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal.

Economy

Madurai district houses reputed organizations in the private sector which are engaged in the production of variety of goods such as tyres, industrial rubber products, machinery, textiles, conveyor belts, chemicals etc. Madurai is the home to TVS group.[37]

2,500 HP engine in Harvey Mills, Madura, circa 1914

Automobile

In manufacturing and automobile sector, Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE) (one among the top five tractor manufacturers in the world), Fenner (India) Ltd (Industrial and Automotive V-Belts, Oilseals and Power Transmission Accessories), Hi-Tech Arai Ltd (oil seals and automobile components),[38] George oakes ltd, ZF Electronics TVS (India) Private Limited (Switch manufacturing, joint venture between TVS Group, India and Zf Electronics Corporation, USA), Sundaram Fasteners Ltd (manufacturer of high tensile fasteners), Firestone TVS Private Ltd(manufacturer of air spring), Madras suspensions Ltd.,, TVS Sewing Needles Limted, TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons Limited (distributor of Heavy Duty Commercial Vehicles, Jeeps and Cars) and Susee Group (Sales, Service, Parts, Finance of Automobiles across Tamil Nadu) are notable companies. All automobile majors, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda, are regular buyers of automobile components produced in the city.[39] The state government is planning to develop industrial estate in Madurai which is to come up on 2,000 acres and would focus on the manufacturing industry, especially on automobile component manufacturers.[40]

Rubber

Because of city's proximity to rubber producing centers, it has had rubber as a traditional industry. Besides gloves, sports goods, mats and other utility products, Madurai contributes to the production of automobile components made of rubber in a big way. Rubber goods worth about Rs.2,000 crore are produced here annually.[39] The rubber industry, industrialists feel, has a rich potential to transform Madurai economy. TVS Srichakra (tyre manufacturing), Sundaram Industries Limited (Rubber Division, Coach division) , FENNER India Limited and LANXESS India Private Limited are some of the rubber based industries. Bharath Rubber India Limited (BRIL) is one of the leading producers of v-belts and fan belts and sells all over India in the brand name VEEHOLD. The anticipated growth in this industry, triggered by a boom in automobile sector, will have a cascading effect on other wings of the local economy. Despite being an industry with potential to cause pollution, the manufacturers are taking “special care” to adopt environment-friendly processes. The city is planned to have a rubber cluster soon. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries’ Association (MADITSSIA) and Rubber Park (Madurai) Limited.[41] Some of the on-going industrial projects are BHEL ancillary units[42] and Caparo Engineering India Pvt Ltd.[43]

IT and ITES

Honeywell office at Thirupparankundram

Over the recent years the IT industry has made a mark in the economy of Madurai. Software Technology Parks of India, an agency of the Government of India, has authorized several companies in Madurai to receive benefits under its national information technology development program. City houses MNCs like Honeywell Technologies India and other notable companies like Alfa web solutions and AJ Square consultancy. A detailed list of IT and ITES service providers from madurai can be found at Software companies in Madurai. Due to work culture, low attrition rates and the presence of educational institutions, the city attracts IT majors like HCL, Satyam, Oracle[44] and Sutherland Global Services.[45][46] Tamil Nadu government has proposed two IT- Special Economic Zone (SEZ)s in Madurai and they have been fully occupied by various IT companies.[47] The work on provision of infrastructure is in progress in Information Technology parks.[48] Considering the high growth rate of Quality Human resource in and around madurai India's No.2 IT major Infosys is eyeing Madurai for its expansion and to open its development centre.[49] The list of various software companies operating from and contributing to the revenue of Madurai can be viewed here Software companies in Madurai.

Textile

Some of the existing textile/chemical industries are Thiagarajar Mills (P) Limited (one of the largest manufacturer and exporter of 100% Indian Cotton Yarn), Kasim Textile Mills, Sundaram Textiles Limited, Madura Coats Pvt. Ltd, Paramount Mills (P) Ltd, Weaves India (P) Ltd, First Garment Manufacturing Company (India) Pvt Ltd, Vaigai Group (chemicals, edible oils, textiles, construction), Alaya Dhoties, Sarathi Dhoties and SLM International, Saraswathi Handloom Textiles (P) Ltd and T.s.Madhavan & son for cotton sarees a leading reliable quality textile product manufactures for the past 70 years in madurai.

Granite

There are also few Granite industries like PRP Exports (one of India's largest granite processors and exporters) Madurai Arkay Rock, P.R.Granites, Duniterocks private limited (Granite gangsaw slabs) and Arkay Glenrock. There is a proposal to set up a granite industry near Melur, and a polishing factory in Madurai.

Electronics

TVS Interconnect Systems Ltd is a manufacturer of high end Electronic components like electronic connectors, RF (Radio frequency) connectors, cable assemblies, Fiber optic products Elevator Safety Products & other accessories for telecommunication, consumer electronics and automobile industries. Town hall road madurai acts as a one stop solution for Electronic goods in madurai.

Retail

Retail industry plays a major role in the revenue of the city. This is evident from existing super markets like Reliance Super, Spencer's Daily and on-going malls construction like Milan-em mall,[50] Big Bazaar and Madurai City Center.In line with the ancient architecture of the city, the business set up in the city is confined to a particular industry in a street and can find series of shops selling the similar products. East Gate is crowded with hundreds of household utensils shops. East Masi Street is fully stuffed with thousands of groceries shops, West Masi Street with Electrical and Plumbing goods, Garments and Textiles in South Masi Street, Goods Transports and Fruit Godowns in North Masi Street, Electronic goods in Town Hall Road, Automobile spare parts in North Veli street and Mobile show rooms in Krishna Rayar tank street, Pharmas in Nayakkar new steet, Sculptures at pasumalai, Jewellery markets in the Jewellery Bazaar street and South avani moola street. Printing and Hotels in West Perumal Maistry Street, Books and Note Books in New Mandapam. There are separate streets with retail shops for decorative articles, Bangles, Gift Articles, Gold and Ornaments, Chemicals and Pharmas etc. Madurai is the only city in India, with this kind of set up where hundreds of same shops being clustered in one street with competitors next door.
There are cinema halls or multiplexes for all classes of people. Apart from Tamil movies, some of Hindi and English movies also released in the city. Aparna Towers and Kaziyar Complex in S.S.Colony form the major landmarks for the retail business outlets in madurai city. Meenakshi bazaar, Pondi Bazaar, Town-Hall road, Golcha Complex constitute the retail shops fro foreign goods There are other shopping places like Naidu Hall (Naihaa), Pothys, Outfit, Mega Mart, A.K. Ahmad Co., British bakery, Cafe Coffee day, Meenakshi bazaar, etc.

Media

City hosts several radio stations like Radio Mirchi ,Hello FM, Suryan FM and it has two major English dailies The Hindu and The New Indian Express. Tamil language morning dailies include Dina Malar, Dina Thanthi, Dina Mani and Dinakaran. The evening dailies published in Madurai are Tamil Murasu, Malai Murasu and Malai Malar. Also one of the famous network in Tamilnadu, the Sun TV Network, with SUN TV, K TV, Sun News etc., has its regional office at uththangudi, madurai. Many other channels like, Vijay TV, Raj TV, Jaya TV, SS Music etc., have their offices in Madurai for their speedy coverage of news and other programmes.

Entertainment

The city houses the following weekend spots:

Athisayam water theme park

The water park situated on the outskirts of Madurai (20 km from the city) attracts people of all age groups and from different places in and around Madurai. Several high-tech entertainment games offer interesting experiences to visitors. The park is scientifically designed and perfect during the summer heat.

  • Eco park:

The park situated near city corporation building where the lighting and fountain arrangements are impressive and the illuminated optic fiber trees add luster to the beauty. The most attractive thing in the park is the water show with music.

  • Hava valley:

It is located on the Natham road in the outskirts of Madurai. This place is filled with natural beauty with the hills in the backdrop. It houses a restaurant and also a Modern go-kart track.

  • Rajaji children park:

It is situated in between the Gandhi museum, and the Tamukkam grounds. It has lots of children play with some hotels like Poonga Arya bhavan and some other eateries shops. Also there are some collection of birds and some Light and music play. This park is run by madurai corporation within its limits.

  • MGR Race Course Stadium:

It is an athletic stadium which has a synthetic track. Several National Meets are held here and also International Kabadi Championship was held here.

  • Arasaradi & Majura College Grounds houses the full fledged Cricket Stadium in the city.

Hospitality

Gateway Hotel (Taj Garden Retreat)

In the recent years, the city has seen growth in the hospitality industry. A luxury five star hotel "Heritance Madurai"[51][52] is one of the top luxury hotels in India. Some of the other top rated hotels are Royal Court, Hotel GRT Regency,the Park Plaza, the Gateway Hotel (Taj Garden Retreat), Hotel Germanus, North Gate, Madurai Residency, Hotel Sangam and Hotel Fortune Pandiyan. South Indian, Punjabi, Mughalai consitituting bulk of Indian variety and also Chinese, Continental food are available in hotels/restaurants[53][54] of the city. Madurai is known for its idlies which is available with variety of chutneys in almost all the restaurants. Murugan Idly Shop at west Masi Street and railway station is famous for its idly all over Tamil Nadu.

Festivals

Lot of festivals are celebrated by Madurai People. Some of the important festival are, Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam, The Chittirai Festival,Car Festival etc.[55][56][57][58]

Meenakshi marriage & The Chittirai festival

The annual Bhramhotsavam celebrated in the month of Chittirai (Aries) is the most important one and it ties in the legends related to the Madurai temple such as the coronation of Meenakshi, the Divine marriage etc. The Chittirai festival also coincides with the annual festival at Tirumaaliruncholai. The Divine marriage involves a procession of deities from Tirupparamkunram as well, and hence during this time the entire area in and around Madurai is transformed into one of a great celebratory space.

The Chittirai festival begins on the 5th day of the bright half of the month of Chittirai. The key events fall on the 8th, 9th and the 10th days of the festival. The eighth day of the Chittirai festival witnesses the coronation of Meenakshi and procession on silver thrones, while the 9th day is the digvijaya festival. The 10th day (Chitra Purnima) marks the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar.

Legend has it that Vishnu gave his sister away in marriage to Shiva. In commemoration of this legend, an image of Vishnu is brought in procession from Tirupparamkunram to Madurai. Since Subramanya is the presiding deity of the Tirupparamkunram temple, an image of Subramanya leads the procession. Following the wedding, images of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken out in a grand procession on a palanquin and a silver elephant respectively. (It is to be noted that the Tirukkalyaanam festival is celebrated on Chitra Pournami in all Shiva temples celebrating the annual Bhramhotsavam in the month of Chittirai).

During this time, Kallazhagar from Azhagar Koyil (Tirumaaliruncholai) makes a visit to Vandiyur, near the Vaigai river, on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is believed that Kallazhagar realizes that he is too late for his sisters wedding, so refuses to cross the river and returns disappointed to Azhagar koyil.

Historically, the chittirai festival used to be celebrated in Maasi, hence the festival processions use the Maasi streets. The festival apparently was moved to the month of Chittirai in the period of the Naik kings so that the timing would synchronize with that of Azhagar Koyil.

The Ther (chariot) festival is celebrated on the 11th day of the annual festival.

The Santhanakoodu festivals

Santhanakoodu festivals are celebrated in Darghas as a rememberance of the saints in the respective darghas. Darghas in and around madurai and their Santhanakoodu festival dates.

Dargah Name of the saint Location Date of Santhanakoodu festival (Hijri calendar)
Kazimar Mosque Qutbul Akbar Ghouthul Ashar Hazrat Seyyidina Imam Nooruddeen Abul hasan Ali Ash Shadhili Kazimar Street Shawwal 12
Sikandhar malai Hazrat Sulthan Sikandhar Badhusha Shaheed Razi.. Thiruparankundram Rajab 16
Kanavai Hazrat Varushai Syed Ibrahim waliyullah Razi.. Melakkal Rabi' al-thani (Rabiul Aakhir) 2
Thiruvedagam Hazrat Sha Husain Parhez Razi... Sholavandan Muharram 26
Karseri Hazrath Syed Ibrahim Shaheedh Razi.. Sakkimangalam Jumada al-thani (Jamaadil Aakhir) 15
Pallichandai Hazrat Syed Saalaar Sha Shaheed Silaiman Jumada al-thani
Kazimar Pallivasal Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin Razi.. Kazimar Street Rajab 15
Goripalayam Mosque Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Razi.. Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Razi.. Gorippalayam Rabi' al-awwal 15
Therku Vasal Dargah Gousul Aalam Muhaiddeen Abdul Qadir Gilani razi.. Therku Vasal Rabi' al-thani 11
Madurai Maqbara Hazrat Meer Ahmad Ibrahim Razi.. Periya Hazrat Kazimar Street Ramadan 13
Madurai Maqbara Hazrat Meer Amjad Ibrahim Razi... Chinna Hazrath Kazimar Street Shawwal 28
Madurai Maqbara Hazrat Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Razi... Saalim Hazrat Kazimar Street Rabi' al-thani 18

===Thepporchavam=== Tank Festival :

Mariamman theppakkulam (temple tank)

There is a temple pool called Theppakulam belonging to Vandiyur Mariyamman temple. It has become quite a picnic spot now. There is an artificial island at the centre, made of stone. It is was built sometime around 1500 A.D. The Thepporchavam festival celebrated in the month of January, on the full moon day of Tamil Month Thai. The ornamented icons of the Meenakshi and her consort are taken out in a colourful procession from the Meenakshi Temple to the Huge Mariamman Teppakulam. The icons are floated in the tank on a raft decked with flowers and flickering lamps. Refere Here

Mattu pongal & The famous Alanganallur Jallikattu

A victorious bull throwing youth at Alanganallur Jallikattu
A victorious youth taking control of the bull at Alanganallur Jallikattu

Mattu pongal is celebrated on the next day of Pongal to honour bulls which works hard throughout the year. Bulls are given bath, their horns are painted, and in some villages they are being worn new sarees too. In Alanganallur, ferocious bulls are left open in a ground and a youth who holds it's hump until the victory line is considered victorious. Bulls were harmed in a large scale for this game which provoked animal activists to take the matter to the Supreme Court of India which imposed a ban on this.[59] Finally, after an undertaking given from the Government of Tamil Nadu to ensure that animals are not being harmed the apex court lifted its ban with certain conditions. In Alanganallur which is located 17 km North west of madurai city Jallikattu is conducted with whole spirit on the 3rd day of Tamil month of thai which falls on 16 January every year.

Tourist attractions around Madurai

Madurai acts as a tourism hub of south Tamil Nadu because of its strategic location. There are various tourist visiting places around Madurai.

Alagar Kovil

Is located about 25 km from the city, is a Vishnu shrine. The location is surrounded by hills. The principal god of the shrine is that of Lord Kallazhagar. The Tamil new year festival called Chittirai Thiruvizha has been celebrated for centuries in this temple. In the entrance of the Azhagar Kovil one can view the Badhri Narayanan temple, built similar to Badrinath near Mount Kailash in northern India: the principal idol in this shrine represents Vishnu in a meditative posture, flanked by Nara-Narayan.

The Kallalagar is said to visit the temple on the eve of the Chittirai festival, one of the famous festivals in Tamil Nadu. He starts the journey from the Alagar Koil, crossing the Badri Narayanan Shrine. During this time, he visits Vandiyur, near the Vaigai River, on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is believed that he realizes he is too late for his sister's wedding, so refuses to cross the river, and returns disappointed to Alagar Koil. On the top of the hills, is a shrine of Lord Muruga, popularly known as Pazhamudircholai. This is the last of Murugan's Arupadai Veedu and he is seen along with his consorts, Deivanai and Valli.

Around 120 km away from Madurai is Kodaikanal, one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. It is also known as princess of Hills. Kodai is located 2,130 m above the sea level in the Western Ghats.

About 70 km from Madurai on the way to Thekkady is Vaigai Dam. The dam offers a breathtaking sight on weekends when it is illuminated.

The holy city of Rameswaram lies about 164 kilometres from the temple city of Madurai.

  • [Suruli Falls]

Situated amidst rich flora and fauna, Suruli Falls serve as a perfect picnic spot. They lie on the way to Thekkady, at a distance of 123 km from Madurai.

Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki District of Kerala. Spread across 777 km2, of which 360;km2 is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. It lies 155 km from Madurai and is home to many animals and birds.

It lies 160 km from Madurai and is famous for its waterfalls. Popularly known as the 'Spa of the South', it is blessed with immense natural beauty.

See also

References

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Madurai (Tamil: மதுரை) [1] is a major city in Tamil Nadu and home to the Meenakshi Temple. It is also known as the Temple City of India. You can find temples in almost every street in Madurai. The city is called "Thoongaa Nagaram", which means Sleepless City. You can find coffee/tea shops open at almost any time of day and night.

Understand

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India and was ruled by Pandya kings over most of its history. The city is famous for is rich heritage and promoting Tamil language through "Sangams". The city has been in existence since about 4th century B.C and is mentioned in ancient texts of Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The Meenakshi Amman temple situated in the heart of the city is famous, and there are a number of temples in and around the city. The "Maha Kumbabhishekam" of the temple was performed in April 2009 after the renovation (re-painting) work on the gopurams(towers) of the temple. It is usually performed once every 14 years or more. There are numerous remarkable sculptures on the gopurams as well as inside the premises of the temple. Look out for the "yaali", a mythical creature similar to a dragon on the pillars in the 'pragaram' of the temple. Also, keep looking at the ceiling to catch a glimse of the beautiful ancient paintings that adorn them

Madurai is also an important transit point for travelers bound south and also a local commercial hub.

Festivals

Madurai is famous for the Chithrai Festival which takes place during mid April-May, during the Tamil month of Chithrai, when millions pour into the city for the carnival. In 2009, the festival starts on April 14. The main events are:

  • Day 1: Flag hoisting, official start of festival
  • Day 8: Coronation of Meenakshi Amman
  • Day 9: Procession of the goddess
  • Day 10: Celestial wedding (Thirukalyanam) of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar
  • Day 11: Chariot procession (Ther Thiruvizhah)
  • Day 12: Float procession (Theppa Thiruvizhah)

Madurai is also famous for its yearly bull run "Jallikattu" which coincides with Pongal festival in the month of January.

Get in

Main modes of transport for travelers are by air and by train.

By air

Madurai has a domestic airport with fairly good facilities. It is served by several domestic airlines including

The flights connect mainly to Chennai (Madras).

The airport is about 15 km from the city off National Highway 47. It is best to hire a "pre-paid taxi" from the airport from the counter in the arrival lounge or arrange for someone to meet you at the airport.

Work is in progress to make it an international airport.

By train

Trains are the major mode of entry into the city. The railway station is centrally located and many facilities are accessible from there. Madurai is well connected by trains to many parts of India like Chennai , Bangalore, Mumbai (Bombay), and Delhi. A train journey from Chennai takes 8 to 10 hours and is the preferred railhead. Train tickets can be booked from Indian Railways' reservation centers or online from IRCTC[6].

If you book through a travel agent, please book through authorized agents only.

By road

Madurai is situated on National Highways NH-7, NH-45B, NH-49. Almost all of them are presently being upgraded to multi-lane ways as part of National highway development program. Travel from Chennai and Bangalore will take approximately 8-10 hours.

The city is well connected by buses to all major cities in Tamil Nadu via state government operated and private buses. Buses also ply from important cities in the neighboring states of Kerala (Ernakulam, Trivandram) and Karnataka(Bangalore, Mysore). There are lots of ordinary buses and many luxury ones too.

Madurai has several bus stands. Most inter-state and overnight buses terminate at Mattuthavani Bus stand. Private buses are found closer to the city center near Periyar bus stand. Ticketing and reservation facilities are available at the bus-stands.

  • For Detailed report and photos of Munnar to Kodaikanal Route goto Munnar-Kodaikanal

By boat

Madurai is situated inland, and river Vaigai which runs through the city is mostly dry. However, the nearest ports for entry are Chennai(450 km) and Tuticorin(160 km).

Get around

Local transport is by means of bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw. Being a small city there are no metro or local train facilities, though there are passenger trains connecting nearby places. Refer to the timetable available at the railway station for more information.

By bus

Local buses are run by the government and are safe to use. Travelling them is extremely cheap, and quite an experience in itself. However, they will be crowded during peak hours. There are also specific services available at night, though the charges are double. Please carry coins to buy tickets. Remember that in India everyone lives by asking each other for directions. The friendly people are often more than happy to help a foreigner find his/her way by giving directions. Just don’t get friendly or pay money. Most people speak the working national Language "English" , at bus stops don’t form a queue, ask whether the bus you are boarding goes to where you need to and get on, the conductor will drop you off if you are not on the right bus, no worries! Now the buses are color coded. Orange buses with yellow seats are expensive (USD 0.20), so are not crowded. Choose to wait and travel comfortably. If you really want to rough it out try the cheaper version of the city buses and be ready to shower and use deodorant after! I would also keep a watch on my wallet. But Tamilnadu is better policed than most other states. Travel at night is also safe. So relax, forget your travel guide and discover a whole new culture of friendliness.

The boards in buses are displayed only in Tamil, so please ask the conductor regarding the destination and route.

Madurai has 4 main bus-stands.

  • Periyar Bus stand - Exclusive local bus terminal, about 5 minutes walk from railway station. Commonly referred as "Periyar".
  • Shopping Complex bus stand - Right opposite to Periyar bus stand, often referred by the same name. Private inter-city buses depart from here.
  • Arapalayam bus stand - Some local buses and those bound west/northwest towards Theni, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Palani, Kodaikanal, Salem, Erode, Batlagundu or Vaththalakundu, Periyakulam depart from here.
  • Mattuthavani Integrated bus stand - Simply called Mattuthavani, and located in the outskirts about 10 km from Periyar bus stand. This is the location for long distance government buses and other places. Private buses also stop here.

All bus-stands are interconnected by buses or you can hire an auto.

By car

It is difficult to drive in India, as traffic can be totally chaotic. Please see India article for more. However, taxies are abundant and you can book one from your hotel.

Average car rental rate in Madurai to go to places like Alagar Temple,Thiruparakundram,Naicker Mahal,Palamudurcholai is Rs.600-650. Please be beware of cheats as foreign tourists are easily duped into paying more.

One can move around by car in Madurai. There are many car rental companies and private taxis available. Most hotels also offer cab services.

By Auto Rickshaws

The Auto Rickshaws are not metered, which means you need to negotiate your fare before commencing your travel. The rule of thumb rate is Rs10 per km of travel during day time and Rs 15 per km during night. They are usually safe to hire from central, well lit locations like the railway station. It is likely for auto rickshaw drivers to quote exorbitant rates to Foreigners and non-Tamilian Indians.

Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

' By far, the most common reason for visiting the city is the Meenakshi Temple [7], dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi (considered a form of Parvati) with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar (or Siva). Actually, historically, the Sundereshwar shrine is the larger and older of the two temple complexes. The complex itself is a splendid example of the south Indian Dravida architectural idiom. Four immense gopurams or temple towers crown the gateways at each cardinal direction, easily visible from a distance. Each tower is encrusted with more than a thousand brilliantly painted sculptures depicting an assortment of mythological and auspicious themes. It is traditional to enter through the south gopuram and, unusually, worship the Goddess before her consort. Inside the shelter for shoe-storage, offering baskets of coconuts, bananas and incense are available in addition to images of the Goddess for home altars. Many pilgrims -- particularly the men in black or orange sarongs who are devotees of the god Ayyappan -- circumambulate the main temple itself in the prakara or space between the outer wall and main temple. In addition, snake shrines and an assortment of offices and classrooms of religious foundations are found here.

Within the temple, devotees line up for darshan or viewing of the deities. Please note, however, that non-Hindus are not permitted into the inner sancta of Meenakshi or Sundareshwarar; anyone who looks suspicious can and will be pulled out of line by attendants. However, there is an abundance of sculpture and painting accessible to all. In addition, the steps of the Pottramaraikulam or Golden Lotus Pond is open to all and is a common meeting place for inhabitants of the city, in addition to pilgrims and tourists. In ancient times, the sangam or assembly of poets was said to gather at this pool to judge the merits of new compositions, often by throwing the manuscripts into the pool itself. Those that sank were inferior while those that floated were worthy of praise and propagation.

There are many shops within the east gate, selling everything from plastic toys to bronze images of the Goddess. Be sure to bargain hard.

NOTE: One can buy the special tickets at the counter [each Rs.15] to get a special darshan, which is nothing but cutting short the line by at least a half.

WARNING: Beware of guides, many of whom are or claim to be tailors, who offer to take you to vantage points outside the temple to get a better view. You will be lured into shops that have a very hard sell..

  • Koodal Alagar Temple. Important Vaishnav Temple magnificient, has three stairs of the lord posture. Sitting posture of the lord (Main moola deity), one level up is a standing posture of the lord, and the 3rd level up is the lying down posture of the lord. The temple is a spectacular one. It is located in the heart of the city, one of the Divya Desams ( 108). Worshipped by "Alwars - Vasihnav Saints ". Worth to see and worship.
  • Thiruparankundram. One of the important old Temple dedicated to Lord Muruga - Karthikeya located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city. First Arupadai Veedu. References to this ancient temple are available in scriptures from 6th century AD (Paripadal). The temple interior is a huge rectangular chamber carved out of the hill, with side chambers housing various deities of Hindu religion approached via narrow passages. The Thiruparankundram temple is accessible via road from Madurai and has a railway station 1 km away. Most express trains do not stop there though.
  • Alagar Temple. Another Vaishnav temple Alagar Koil,20 km away from the city located in the nearby hills. At the top of the hill is a natural stream from where the water is carried fresh daily by the temple priest for the Lord. Famous for Chittrai Festival(First Tamil month)/9April-May)-Summer Festival. The Lord is considered the brother of Meenakshi (Lordes Paravathi) given in wedding with Sundareshwar (Lord Shiva).
  • Pazhamudhir Solai. Near to Alagar Koil, important Temple for Lord Karthikeya on the hills , of course inside of Solai - jungle. One of the six important temple for Lord Muruga - Karthikeya. This is a very large and beautiful temple. You can take an Auto rickshaw from the Meenakshi temple to visit this temple for a charge of around Rs 100 (2007). Regular bus service is offered by the Transport Corporation. There is a utsavam of the deity on a golden chariot at 7PM.
  • Naickar Mahal NOTE: As of March, 2009 there was scaffolding/construction in much of the interior of the palace, greatly decreasing it's attraction The remains of the palace of the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Naickar who contributed extensively to the Meenakshi Temple. Only a small portion of the original structure[which was four times as larger] remains. There were originally two parts-Swargavilasa [heavenly pavilion], meant for the King's harem and housing the darbar court, and the ranka vilasa, which was for the servants. Currently, entrance to the roof is prohibited due the renovation work being carried out by the Archaeological Department. They claim to finish work in 6 months. There is a sound and light show in the evening (Both English & Tamil Version of the show). There is also a museum, which houses not only the original portraits of Thirumalai naicker, but also unearthed stine carvings of the 17th century, along with many sculptures of Hindu Gods like Brahma, Nataraja, Saraswati of the period. There is one rare painting on one of the pillars, which the Archaeological Department claim to have unearthed from one of the pillars. There is a painting hidden in every pillar, apparently. The other portion of the palace, Rankavilasam was demolished by Thirumalai Naicker's Grandson. However, a small structure still remains known as "Ten pillars" or "Pathu Thoon"[in Tamil]. Sadly, these ten pillars of timeless beauty in Naickar Mahal are now surrounded by shops and residential houses.
  • Thirupparankundram. An Islamic Durgah (shrine) is located at the top of the hill, where the grave of an Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu, who came from Jeddah along with Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinah (now in Erwadi, Ramanathapuram district) during the early 13th century, is found. Irrespective of religion, people from all parts of Tamil Nadu and from Kerala visit this durgah. People who visit the Ervadi Durgah in Ramanathapuram district are supposed to visit this durgah. Many poems were written in praise of Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha, by Syed Abdussalam Ibrahim Saalim Hazrat,the third in the list of Madurai Hazrats and his Maternal grandson Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Saahib Hazrat. It is seen that people who come here with a wish see it answered in a very short time, and so He is also called Mustajab ad Du'aa Sikandhar Badhushah. Mustajab Ad Du'aa in Arabic means A saint whose Supplications are immediately answered by Allah. The Anniversary urus festival of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandar badusha Shaheed is commomerated on 17th Night of the islamic Month of Rajab every Hijri year
  • Gandhi Museum. This museum, located on the north side of the river in the palace of Rani Mangammal, houses Gandhi's bloodstained dhoti and little else by way of artifacts. Those interested in the freedom struggle, though, will be interested in the extensive text housed here. Tamil speakers and long-term visitors may be interested in the classes and workshops offered in subjects as diverse as t'ai chi and local herbs. There is also a khadi bhavan (store selling village and handloom products) and bookstore, with (mostly Tamil) books on spiritual and natural health topics. Also located on the campus of the museum is a government museum (across from the library). The museum is located in Tamukkam Palace near Goripalayam on the northern side of the river Vaigai.
  • Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara. This traditional mosque (masjid) is located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar (Central) bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Railway Junction. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who came from Oman during 13th century, received this land from the then Panidiya king, Koo(n) Pandiyan, and constructed the mosque which is the first Muslims' place of worship in Madurai. Maqbara the dargah of famous Madurai Hazrats (Hazrat Meer Ahamad Ibrahim, Hazrat Meer Amjad Ibrahim and Hazrat Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Rahmatullahi Alaihim) is also located inside the mosque premises. All of Kazi Syed Thajuddheen's descendants (Huqdars - shareholders of this mosque called as Syeds) have lived in the same locality (Kazimar street) for more than 700 years, and have managed the mosque since then. Syed Tajuddin was appointed as Kazi of the sultans, and still his descendants who live at Kazimar street, Madurai, are appointed as Kazis to the Government of Tamil Nadu.All Syeds belong to the Sunni sect of Islam and belong to Hanafi school of Islam. Most of the descendants of Kazi Syed Tajuddin are Khadiris and shadhilis and follow the Sufi order At-Thariqathu KhadiriyaFassiyatush Shadhiliya.
  • Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. A temple built in the middle of a man-made pond. Mariamman Teppakulam Famous for its float festival (teppa tiruvila) conducted during the Thai Poosam (falls in the second half of January). Popular story is that the spot was excavated for its soil to be used for building 17th Century king Tirumala Nayakkar's palace. The king had ordered excavated spot to be converted into a 16 acre lake fed from Vaigai river through under ground channels. The river itself boasts of water only during North-East Monsoon season (Oct-Nov) and hence the lake has water from Nov to Feb.
  • Gorippalayam Dargah. The name Gorippalayam comes from the Persian word Gor which means Grave. This area is called as Goripalayam because the Graves of the two famous saints of Islam and rulers of Madurai Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha (Radiyallah) and Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badhusha (Radiyallah) are located here. A beautiful green coloured tomb can be seen from the A.V.Bridge madurai, which is the Gorippalayam Dargah located in the northern banks of vaigai River. It is amazing to see that, the domb which is 70 feet in diameter and 20 feet in height is made of a single block of stone which was brought from the Azhaga Hills. People from all over Tamil Nadu come here to seek blessings and go back fruitfully. The two rulers were brothers who ruled the northern part of madurai after coming from oman during 13th century to spread Islam. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin Radiyallah of Kazimar street was Govt. Kazi (Islamic Legal advisor and jury) to them. An ancient Tamil inscription, can be found planted on the outer campus of the Maqbara of the dargah campus. The information found in that inscription is,

"The descendants of Sulthan Alauddin Badusha, and Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha (called as Sultans of Delhi) purchased from the then King Koo(n) Pandiyan the land of Gorippalayam Dargah for a Feet of Gold piece and other six villages (namely Bibi Kulam, Chokkikulam, Cholikudi, Chirudoor, Kannanendal, Thiruppalai) at the rate of 14,000 Gold pieces for the maintenance of Gorippalayam Dargah. During the reign of King Veerappa nayakkar a dispute arose between the Huqdars of the Durgah and the employees of the Nayakkar Government regarding the six villages. The case was taken to King Veerappa Nayakkar, who inquired and verified the documents written by King Koo(n) Pandiyan and gave his verdict in the year 1573 A.D. as the Six villages and the Dargah land belongs to the Descendants of Sultans and it should be in their enjoyment till the existence of Sun and Moon and who violates this will be liable for the sin of slaughtering a cow in the bank of river Ganga."

This inscription is considered as one of the evidences to prove the existence of the Dargah since 13th century. The anniversary urus festival of this dargah is held on 15th night of the Islamic month of Rabi al-awwal on every hijri year.

Learn

Madurai is a popular destination of learning in the surrounding areas. Madurai Kamaraj University is situated in Nagamalai Pudukkottai area about 7 km from the city. Madurai also has various public and private colleges offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses. Prominent schools & colleges in Madurai include:

  1. Madurai Kamaraj University, Nagamalai Pudukkottai
  2. Madurai Medical College, Near Gandhi Museum
  3. Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Thirparankunram
  4. American college for Arts and Sciences, Goripalayam
  5. Madurai Agricultural college, Ottakadai
  6. Thiagarajar school of management, Thiruparankunram
  7. Lakshmi School(ICSE), Karuppayurani
  8. Tata-Dhan Academy , Pulloothu[8]
  9. TVS Lakshmi Matric Higher Secondary School, TVS Nagar
  10. SBOA Matriculation & Higher Secondary School, Nagamalai
  11. Sourashtra college,pasumalai
  12. Vikaasa School, Ponnagaram
  13. Mahatma Montessori School, Anna Nagar
  14. Jeevana Matric Higher Secondary school, Ponmeni

Additionally, Gandhi Museum houses a library specializing in Gandhian studies.

Work

As with any place in India you should have a work permit. Madurai is not yet into IT boom, so the main activities are into business, banking, government, religion etc. Most of the other work is related to textile and other small scale industries. Paramount airways, a new private airlines, has its head quarters in Madurai. Honeywell Pvt Ltd has set up its development facility in Madurai, near Thiagarajar College of Engineering, approx 15km from the city. Majority of folks work in Government or Government based sectors (like nationalized banks, insurance firms etc). Sizable numbers work for small and medium business establishments too. Madurai being a commercial center, is an active place to trade and exchange for agricultural products from surrounding towns and villages.

Buy

Madurai is a major commercial center in South India. The main activity is concentrated around the Meenakshi Temple. These are the places to visit for shopping, and actually many have specific markets for groceries (East Masi street), jewelry (South Avani Moola street), Electronics (Town hall road) etc. Madurai is famous for cotton Sungidi Sarees ( Hand Loom) , Brass works, Tanjore Paintings, Handicrafts and antiques. Pudumandapam is an old mall (about 500 years old) of sorts, where you can find tailors, books, handicrafts and bronze items in quaint shops (don't expect brands here). Handloom cotton sarees are available in co-operative stores (often a union of several weavers and/or looms) like Co-optex.

Beware of touts who may try to sell at higher prices.

ATMs of most nationalized banks are available in the city. There are sufficient numbers of private bank ATMs too. However, you may not find ATMs of international banks like Citi, Barclays etc.

Almost all ATMs accept standard VISA/MASTERCARD/CIRRUS cards.

Credit cards are also accepted in most stores, however they may not be available with small shops. The size of the shop is usually an indicator for this. There may be a nominal service fee at a few shops.

Major banks accept foreign exchange, and you can walk into any branch to enquire. You will also find money exchangers in mid and high range hotels. The area around railway station also has commercial money changers available.

Eat

Guide:

Atmosphere NNNN = Extremely noisy and crowded; NNN = Noisy and crowded; NN = Moderately noisy and crowded; N = Spacious and reduced noise level

Food type

[S] = Spicy; [H] = Hot (meaning: Garam); [T] = Tasty!; [NV] = Non-vegetarian; [V] = Vegetarian; [J] = Jain food; [NVV] = Non-vegetarian and Vegetarian

There are any number of restaurants but any college Boy Knows how to have the best dinner at one of the " Evening Mutton Stalls " for a pittance. The strong aroma of eye watering dishes is not for the faint hearted. The next morning you will be reminded of your spicy escapades into culinary discovery. If spicy hot is not your cup of tea, your starting point should be with "Kotthu Parotta" without the gravy, chilies, or chili powder or pepper mixed in it. The music of the Kotthu ladles drumming on the flat hot plate of a charcoal fired Barbeque is Nirvana to a hungry mans ears. I recommend the roadside eatery near the central bus stand branch office of KPN travels. Spare the shoddy service and test the immunity of your bowels! all the best!(NNN). (NV)

  • Hotel Kanna, 59 A Netaji Road. Tasty Biryani, Parota, Non-Vegetarian dishes. Close to shopping.  edit
  • Hotel Janakiram 1, Tamil Sangam Road. Best Non-Vegetarian restaurant. Amazing service.  edit
  • Hotel Janakiram 2, Tallakulam. Beats Amma Mess in taste quality and service. No 1 in Madurai for taste.  edit
  • Hotel Janakiram 3, Goods Shed Street. High class Non-Vegetarian Restaurant. Fully Air-Conditioned. Authentic Taste.  edit
  • Modern Restaurant $$/NN/[S]/[T]/[V] One of the heritage vegetarian restaurants located on west Avani street behind the YMCA. It is the best place to savor a traditional south Indian meal. They still serve the most authentic idly, dosa, pongal and kesari (as you would find in a traditional bramhin household). Their clientele has boasted of the famous Nehru and even Mahatma Gandhi. Even till a few years ago, their walls were covered with photographs of who's who of India. A must see and eat place!!
  • Amma mess $$/NNN/[S]/[T]/[NV] Amma (Tamil equivalent for Mother) mess is a very popular dining place among the locals as well as those travelling from neighboring districts. Located on Alagar Kovil Road at Tallakulam, it is at a equal distance from Tamukkam Post Office bus stop as well as Tallakulam Perumal Kovil bus stop. If you get down at the former, head NE else head SW if latter. Their lunch is very popular. Buses to Mattuthavani should take you to this place.
  • Jaffer's Home Biryani $/NN/[NV]/[T] Popular place for Biryanis and side dishes. In the evening, they make Parottas as well. Buses to Mattuthavani or Alagarkovil should take you to this place. The nearest bus stop is Evening Madurai Kamaraj Univ stop or Madurai Corporation Eco Park stop. The dining place is located on a small street opposite to the Thyagaraja Petrol Station.
  • Chappati Park $/NN/[V]/[T], nearby the K.K.Nagar Arch. As the name implies, the dining place is known for its variety with Chappati (roti like item). You name it, they got it! You can notice creative stuffing with Chappatis. Popular place for dinner. The nearest bus stop would be K.K.Nagar Court (Neetheemandram). Head E if you get down at the above stop. Buses to Mattuthavani would take you to this place.
  • Hotel Sabarish $/NNNN/[V]/[T]/, Town Hall Road. A very popular dining place for dosas and uthappams. Don't miss it! It is very nearby to the Madurai Railway Junction. If you head towards the Town Hall Rd from the Railway station, the hotel is situated nearby the second 4-road intersection.
  • Hotel meeenakshi Bhavan $$/NN/[V]/[T] Serves very good south Indian food. Also, the north Indian food is pretty good. But all hotels serve north Indian food only during Dinnertime.
  • Hotel Harish $/NN/[V] South Masi Road. Pure veg restaurant. Excellent fast food items like pizzas and chat.It houses a bakery too.
  • New Ariya Bhavan, West Masi Street, it serves good Bombay/marwadi thali and south Indian thali. Also, it has some fine Bengali sweets in addition to local south Indian sweets and savories.
  • Murugan Idly Shop, West Masi Street. Exclusively for very soft Idlies. Also good for DOSAs and other south Indian food. Try once.
  • Hotel Aarthi [V], just behind to Koodal Alagar Temple, Near Town Bus stand. Serves Good and safefood of South Indian and Continental dishes.

However, dinner options are limited. Wherever you are, please don't forget to savor the hot "raw banana bhajia' or Kela Bhajia or valakkai bhajji Tamil. Also be wary of drinking water, better to buy water bottles.

  • Vaigai mess, out post Tallakulam (Oppsite to canara bank ATM which is on the way to k.k.nagar). A first class non-veg hotel. It is popular in the noon. you can have your lunch there. Chicken biriyani, mutton biriyani are famous there. Fish fray, mutton fray, chicken fraya and a lot of spicy to taste. Higenic hotel in madurai. You should be there before 3 PM to get all the items or else you can't.  edit

Drink

Try the tender coconut drink. The tender coconut drink is sold by roadside sellers on their tricycles parked under the shade of a tree. Tea shops are always around the corner. Madurai is famous for its unique drink "Jigardanda" though it is not popular nowadays.

Alcohol is served in up-market hotels and it is advised to avoid other places for a drink.

Sleep

There are many hotels around railway station. The more luxurious ones are situated a little further.

  • HI Hostel (Hostelling International / Youth Hostel Association of India) ('''Youth Hostel Madurai City'''), BBC Building, 33 / 61B Dhanappa Mudali Street, Madurai 625001, 0452 - 3256671 / 2347217, [9]. Email: mciyouthhostel@sify.com   edit
  • Sree Devi, 20 West Avani Moola Street (Near Shri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple), 0452-2347431. checkout: 12 noon. Nice, clean hotel with lots of rooms. Great locations. The staff are very keen to sell you beer. There is no bar/restaurant. Great view of Temples from the roof. Double: Rs300.  edit
  • College House, (Near Railway Station). Also a popular landmark  edit
  • M.M LODGE, town hall road (Opposite to Railway Station), 9791392717. Rs.100.  edit
  • Hotel Sethu Tower, No 35 Nanmai Tharuvar Kovil Street, Nethaji Road, Madurai-1 Contact Number 0452 2343326
  • Elements Hostel, No.642, K.K. Nagar, (Opp. to Hindu Office) TamilNadu, (India). +91 452 439 1116, Calling From UK :02070783946 or 08000968832 (toll free), Calling From US or Canada: 646 536 3472 or 888 694 9257 (toll free). [10] The Elements Hostel is and affordable, safe and comfortable place to stay in Madurai. Air-conditioned, No Age limits, No curfew.
  • TM House, Perumal veli street, Cost effective, Safe & Comfortable.
  • Hotel Aarathi , Ph: 0452 2331571 / 2336341, Just behind to the Koodal Azhakar Temple. Safe & comfortable. You can enjoy good viewing of the pictorial temple towers from the Room or Roof top of the hotel. Tourists prefer to stay here to view the temple towers and to enjoy south Indian food.
  • Madurai Residency. This is a fairly decent mid-range hotel. This is very near to railway station and Menakshi Amman temple. This hotel is near to the main shopping area also.  edit
  • Hotel Supreme. near Railway station  edit
  • Hotel North Gate. Alagarkoil Road  edit
  • Hotel Park Plaza. Near railway station  edit
  • Taj Garden Retreat (now renamed Gateway Hotel), Pasumalai Hill, Madurai-4. Starting from US$110+.  edit
  • Pandiyan Hotels. Alagar Koil Road, Madurai-2 (Starting from Rs. 2000)  edit
  • GRT Regency. 38, Madakulam Main Road, Palanganatham, Madurai - 3 (Starting from Rs.2000 or US$50)  edit
  • Hotel Sangam. Alagarkoil Road  edit
  • Hotel Days Inn. By-Pass Road  edit
  • Heritance Madurai. Melakkal Main Road, Kochadai, Madurai-16 (Starting from Rs. 8000)  edit
  • Madurai Service Apartments, Madurai, +91 94430 23320, [11]. INR1500 Per double bedroom. Email : zafar.salim@gmail.com  edit

Contact

Emergency phone numbers are displayed in various prominent locations is the city. But, don't be surprised to find a poster over it. The main contact numbers from landline phones are:

  • Emergency police: 100
  • Emergency Fire: 101
  • Emergency Ambulance: 103 (Government Rajaji Hospital)
  • Railway enquiry: 131
  • Maattuthaavani Bus Stand:
  • Government Rajaji Hospital blood bank: 2532535, 2580680
  • Apollo emergency ambulance services: 1066

Connectivity

Landline phones and mobile phones are available throughout the city, and services are like anywhere in India. Broadband is also available from various providers. Internet cafes are dotted all around the city and it will cost from Rs 15-Rs 30 per hour. Prominent cybercafé chains like i-Way and Reliance Webworld are also available.

Wi-fi access is very limited and is available at the airport, railway station and a few hotels.

There are many post offices and couriers available in the city. The main GPO is located near Meenakshi Bazaar, about 10 minutes walk from railway station.

The international dialing code for Madurai is +91-452

The STD code for dialing within India is 0452

Stay safe

Madurai is a relatively safe place and the city stays awake through night to do business. But, there is no such nightlife is Madurai and it is better not to wander/shop during night time. There have been incidences of violence in the past, though it is extremely rare to affect the common man. Be aware of touts and pick-pockets, and do not hesitate to contact local police in case of trouble. Emergency contact numbers are displayed at many prominent places in the city. Also, Madurai is a politically active area for many parties, so it is not unusual to face traffic diversions, shop shutdowns etc in case of an occasion.

Women are advised not to wear extreme (provocative) clothes during any time.

Stay healthy

Water is supplied by the Madurai Corporation. But it is advised to drink bottled water, they are available everywhere.

The local food served in restaurants is hygienic however it is best avoided eating at roadside eateries.

The city can get hot and dusty during peak summer, hence drink lot of fluids like coconut water.

There are sufficient medical shops and nearly all major medications are available, but do bring the ones you use regularly.

Petty theft and pick-pocketing occur in crowded locations, so take caution with your belongings. Incidences of mugging though are quite rare. It is safe to hire an auto to get around, but exhibit caution at night. There have been stray occurrences of auto-drivers mugging the passengers, though this is extremely rare. As usual be aware of touts and cheats at places of interest.

Hospitals

Below is a list of major hospitals in Madurai

  • Government Rajaji Hospital
  • Aravind Eye Hospital
  • Apollo Hospitals
  • Bose Hospital
  • Meenakshi Mission Hospital
  • Christian Mission Hospital
  • Jawahar Hospital
  • Vadamalayan Hospital
  • Shenbagam Nursing Home

Cope

The people of Madurai are proud of their city and heritage, so jokes on it are mostly not tolerated. Refrain from making jokes about a person or his family, as it could be disastrous sometimes. The most accepted way of greeting is "Vanakkam" with hands folded at chest. The locals are of friendly sort who will help you in times of need, but be ware of touts.

Get out

Madurai is an ideal hub for touring the extreme south of India. Most places are accessible within a day's travel. Prominent destinations near Madurai include Kodaikanal, Munnar, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Thekkady and Kuttralam

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Madurai

  1. Third largest city of Tamil Nadu, India. It is a major cultural and educational center in southern India. It is also known as the temple city because of its many temple complexes.

Simple English

Madurai is a city in Tamil Nadu, India. It was the capital of the earlier Pandyan Kingdom.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Oyiram Kal Mandabam (Hall of Thousand Pillars) are some of the important tourist places in Madurai. Madurai is a city in Tamil Nadu, India. It was the capital of the earlier Pandyan Kingdom.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Oyiram Kal Mandabam (Hall of Thousand Pillars) are some of the important tourist places in Madurai.

Madurai always considered to be a good pilgrim center. Tourists from various part of the country and world are coming to madurai and enjoying a historical excellence.

The main attraction of the city is meenakshi amman temple. Various other tourist and pilgrimage places also there such as Alagar Koil, Thiruparangkundram, Palarmuthir solai ( means Garden with fruits), Thirumalai naicker Mahal (palace of Naickers), Teppakulam (A Square tank almost half a kilometer length as one side length), gandi museum (where we can find blood spotted final dress of Gandiji), etc.

The city is said to be as City of Festivals almost all the days in year is having at least a small festival. The city is also called as 'thoonganagaram' which means Non-sleeping city.

Road side idly shops are very famous in Madurai where all can get good foods in cheaper costs. Jigardhanda, a typical muslim cool drink is one of the famous drink from madurai.

External Link:

A Blog for Madurai - News, Updates, Views and Improvement Thoughts[1]


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