Exquisite palaces, temples with intricate architectural bearing, ethnic delicacies and the still-in-practice age-old traditions of the folklore, all mellifluously rhapsodizing the cultural heritage of the place make Madurai the cultural capital of TamilNadu. Formerly known as Madhurapuri and Kadambavanam the city is the oldest in its state, having found reference in Greek and Tamil documents of as early as the 4th century BC. Madurai is known to have been the greatest centre of learning as well as pilgrimage for any number of centuries and is now advancing to a major commercial and industrial spot bustling with incessant trade and activities. The architecture and design of this ancient city-lotus shaped city with the globally acclaimed Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple at its centre still don’t fail to stun the modern day architects. It is known as the ‘Athens of the East’.
- Chithirai Festival- a famous annual festival held in Madurai in April. It’s one of the longest celebrations in the world and goes on for a month. It starts with the hoisting of the holy flag and ends with the most celebrated event of the coming of Lord Alagar to the Vaigai River.
- Jallikattu-a globally known event/sport of taming ferocious bulls held on January 15th.
- Avanimoolam-10-days festival held in August/September dedicated to reenacting the Leela or divine acts performed by Lord Shiva in this city.
- Festival of Cradle-Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva are taken in a huge procession to a mirror chamber and are gently rocked in a swing for 9 days.
- Pongal-3-days festival held in January to pay tribute to the Sun God.
- Navarathri-The deity Meenakshi appears in unique dress and form each day of this 10-days festival held in October.
- Karthigai-On the day of Kaarthigai in November one lakh lamps will be lit in the temple.
ICONIC ITEMS OF MADURAI
- Fresh Jasmine Flowers
- Thalam Poo Kumkum-fragrant kumkum made of screw pine flowers
- Sungadi Sarees
- Also, if you are interested, the Aruvaal-a type of billhook
MUST-SEE CULTURAL VICINITIES:
- Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple with its astonishing Ayiram-Kaal Mandapam or 1000 Pillar Hall
- Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal- a palace built in 1636 famous for its majestic pillars and impressive arches
- Alagar Kovil-Celebrated Vishnu Temple
- Gandhi Museum-has original artifacts used by Mahatma Gandhi
- Koodal Azhagar Temple-an ancient Vishnu Temple
- Thirupparankundram-one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga
- Mariamman Theppakulam-beautiful temple tank of Vandiyur Temple
- Thirumohur-an ancient temple to Lord Kalamega Perumal
- Vaigai Dam-an impressive dam on the Vaigai river
- Athisayam-amusement theme park.
- Hawa Valley-a serene picnic spot known for go-karting and boating.
- Vishaal De Mall-mall offering indoor gaming, kids’ zone, 7D Cinema, theatre, Food Court and shopping.
- Aakaash Club-Family club offering swimming pool, spa, games, theatre, health clubs, restaurant,etc.
- Sound and Light Show-a daily show in the palace depicting the life of King Naicker.