A travel Guide to Madurai
Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India. Located on the banks of the Vaigai river, the ancient city has seen the rise and fall of many kingdoms like the Pandyas and the Cholas. It lies on the southeast of the Eastern Ghats and is home to several mountain ranges like the Palni and Sirumalai Hills, the Cardamom Hills, and the Varushanad and Andipatti Hills. Madurai, India, is a major transportation hub for the region as different modes like rail and airports emanate from it. There is also a predominance of various cotton and silk weaving factories.
Also known as the ‘Temple city of India’, there are many famous Madurai tourist attractions. The Meenakshi Amman temple is perhaps the most famous temple, especially for its intricate artwork. St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, Alagar Kovil, and the Gandhi Museum are some of the other popular attractions. The presence of hill stations like Kodaikanal and Munnar, situated nearby Madurai, enhance the tourist experience for all the visitors.
Through the many Madurai tours, one can indulge in the vastness of the city’s history and culture. So to relish in a place still stuck in the olden days, yet having the best of modernity, Madurai is the place to go.
Places to visit in Madurai
1. Meenakshi Amman Temple
2. Gandhi Memorial Museum
3. Vaigai Dam
4. Pazhamudhir Solai
5. Samanar Hills
Things to do in Madurai
The historically rich city offers uncountable things to do in Madurai which satisfy each tourist’s likings.
Shop at Puth Mandapam
Any Madurai travel guide must include shopping at the wonderful Puth Mandapam. It is a hall that is lined with numerous tailors and shops selling silky fabrics, jewellery, fashion accessories and other handicrafts. The Balbina boutique here is known to be quite popular amongst tourists. You can buy some beautiful Madhubani paintings at this shop.
Experience the magnificent Banana market
One of the most visited Madurai tourist places is the great Banana market. It is said that around 16 different types of bananas arrive here every day. All the sellers carry dozens at a time inside the market, directly from the vans and carts. The Banana market, as well as an adjacent vegetable market, are perfect places to experience the toil of the locals and feel the culture of the city.
Go on a food tour
One of the best things to do in Madurai tourism is going on an authentic food tour. These tours allow you to sample some delicious local delicacies from several famous eateries. You can bite into the yummy Kari Dosa (dosa topped with egg and fried mutton), Adhirasam (local doughnut-shaped sweet), Paruthi Pal (a beverage made from cotton seeds), and other dishes. Apart from the tasty food, you also get to relish the old world charm of the bustling city.
Visit the Vilachery Pottery village
Visit this spot to witness true craftsmanship. On the outskirts of Madurai, about 200 families inhabit the village and make Ganesh idols for Ganesh Chaturthi, Bommai Kolu dolls for Navratri, and small figurines for Christmas. It has become one of the popular Madurai attractions and strolling through here will also give you an insight into the lives of the villagers and how they live each day.
Best time to visit Madurai
Before planning a trip, you might wonder about the best time to visit Madurai. The summers are almost unbearable due to the extremely high temperatures, going up to around 34 degrees. Monsoons, on the other hand, experience heavy rainfalls throughout the region, which might be good for nature lovers, but ideally not the best time to visit.
In winters, the temperature is around 20-29 degrees, which is quite pleasant for the tourists. Hence, the best season to visit Madurai is during the winters.
How to Reach Madurai
Thinking about how to reach Madurai? There are many ways to reach the city like:
By Air: Flights to Madurai arrive at the Madurai airport, which is 10 km away from the main city. It is well-connected to all the major cities. Daily flights come in from places like Chennai, Coimbatore, and Bangalore.
By Rail: There are direct trains to the city which are available throughout the country. It takes a seven-hour journey to reach Madurai from Chennai and the Vaigai Express is the fastest train on this route. From the railway stations, you can take taxis to the many hotels in Madurai.
By Road: The city is well-linked with most parts of Southern India. One can book an AC or a non-AC bus for travelling purposes. Due to such services, transportation via road becomes easier.