Places to Visit in Madurai

  • Post last modified:10 April 2022
  • Reading time:18 mins read

Madurai is one of the most culturally rich cities in entire India. The many beautiful temples and heritage buildings with rich history are dotted across Madurai. With so many places to visit in Madurai, proper planning of your trip is essential. Situated on the banks of River Vaigai, humans have been settled in this city for more than two thousand years.

One of the oldest settlements in India can be traced back to this wonderful city. Over the years, Madurai has been at the heart of various kingdoms like Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Cholas, Madurai Nayaks ,and the Carnatic Kingdom among many others. Due to this, the culture of Madurai is a beautiful blend. In this article, we mention some of the must-visit tourist places in Madurai.


Places to visit in Madurai

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple
  2. Gandhi Memorial Museum
  3. Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
  4. St Mary’s Cathedral Madurai
  5. Kazimar Big Mosque
  6. Rajaji Park
  7. Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple
  8. Athisayam
  9. Samanar Hills
  10. Vaigai Dam

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple situated in the heart of Madurai is one of the city’s most popular cultural and religious landmarks. Situated on the banks of the Vaigai river, Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the top places to visit in Madurai for people of all ages. The official name of the temple is Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple. The shrines and gopurams at the Meenakshi Amman Temple are a reflection of the architectural styles that were prevalent in the region at the time.

The gopurams of this temple boast intricate carvings that depict stories from Hindu Mythology. The thousand pillars mandapam at the Meenakshi Amman Temple is simply mesmerizing. Each pillar is carved with intricate sculptures. The unique architectural aspect of these pillars is that they all appeared to be situated in a straight line no matter which angle you look at it from

  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Thousand pillars mandapam
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hours
  • Things to do: Admire the architecture and seek blessings of the deities

Gandhi Memorial Museum

Gandhi Memorial Museum
Gandhi Memorial Museum

The Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai was established in the year 1959. This memorial was established to commemorate the life and struggles of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the Indian freedom struggle. One of the most significant pieces of history on display here is the blood-stained cloth of M.K Gandhi from the time he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. This museum was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru.

Letters written by M.K Gandhi to Naryanan Satsangi of Devakottai, Subramania Bharati, and Adolf Hitler are on display at this museum. An exhibition called India Fights for Freedom is a major attraction here. This exhibition has as many as 265 illustrations. These illustrations depict in detail the freedom struggle of India. This museum is one of the peace museums across the world as designated by the UNO. Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the most famous places in Madurai.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 01:00 PM, Monday to Saturday from 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Letters written by M.K Gandhi
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour
  • Things to do: Learn about the life of M.K Gandhi

Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace

Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace

Commissioned by King Tirumala Nayaka in the 17th Century, this palace is a stunning architectural gem that leaves visitors mesmerized. The blend of Italian, Dravidian, and Rajput styles of architecture gives this palace an appeal that is found in very few palaces in India. This palace is situated at a short distance from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace is a must-visit place for those who are fans of architectural wonders.

Once upon a time, during the reign of King Tirumala Nayaka, this palace was a prized jewel of Madurai. Visitors and traders from Europe used to admire the beauty of this palace and write about its allure all the time. Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace is one of the best places to visit in Madurai.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Architecture
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

St Mary’s Cathedral Madurai

St Mary’s Cathedral Madurai
St Mary’s Cathedral Madurai

In the land of temples, St Mary’s Cathedral is a breath of fresh air. St Mary’s Cathedral is one of the famous religious places in Madurai. The architecture is contrasting from the wide range of temples dotted across Madurai. This popular cathedral is a popular pilgrimage among Christians in the state. The patron saint of this cathedral is John de Britto. The official name of this church is the Church of Our Lady of Dolours. Standing at the current site for more than 150 years, this cathedral is truly a cultural and religious landmark.

The architecture of this cathedral has a Roman touch to it. The pointed towers and the intricate designs are distinguishing features of this cathedral. St Mary’s Cathedral has a history of more than 150 years. This cathedral is the face of religious tourism in Madurai.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Architecture
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour
  • Things to do: Attend the Sunday Mass

Kazimar Big Mosque

Kazimar Big Mosque
Kazimar Big Mosque

Kazimar Big Mosque is the oldest mosque in Madurai. This mosque was built in the year 1284. Since then, the Kazimar Big Mosque has been standing as the cultural and historical pride of Madurai. This historical mosque was founded by a descendant of Prophet Muhammed, Kazi Syed Tajuddin. The land to build the mosque was given to Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who arrived from Yemen, by Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I. He was the ruler of Madurai at the time. Kazimar Big Mosque is one of the best places to visit in Madurai.

This gesture of kindness and generosity symbolizes the religious harmony that existed in India even at the time. An outstanding example of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Kazimar Big Mosque boasts 1 dome and 8 minarets. This mosque has the capacity to accommodate 1200 devotees at a time.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 04:30 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: The Indo-Islamic architecture
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 Hour

Rajaji Park

Rajaji Park
Rajaji Park

Two life-size statues of giraffes welcome you at the entrance of this wonderful park. Slides, swings, playgrounds, and joy rides are some of the major attractions here that attract the little ones. If you are traveling with your family, the little ones can mingle with fellow kids and make friends at the playground here. This family-friendly park is one of the best places to see in Madurai.

A small fountain, ferris wheel, as well as an aquarium are some of the major attractions at Rajaji Park. The aquarium housed in this park is an attraction in itself that attracts a large number of visitors, especially on weekends and holidays. You can learn about different species of marine life along with having fun during your visit to Rajaji Park in Madurai. This park is definitely one of the must-visit places in Madurai.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 08:30 PM
  • Major Attractions: The Aquarium
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 to 2 Hours

Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple

Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple
Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple

Since Madurai is known as the city of temples, it is not surprising to find a few temples in the list of top places to see in Madurai. One of the most important temples in Madurai is the Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple. This temple reflects the Dravidian style of architecture like the many other temples in Madurai. The gopuram of this temple is a landmark in itself which boasts intricate carvings. These carvings reflect the skills and vision of architects and masons at the time. This temple is one of the star attractions of religious sightseeing in Madurai.

The Elephant Vehicle Mandapam, Aryan Mandapam, Sixteen Pillared Mandapam, and Vasanta Mandapam are some of the popular halls housed inside this temple. Each hall boasts its own architectural brilliance and adds to the overall aesthetics of the temple. A total of six poojas are performed at this temple daily. Vishva Rupam, Pongal Kalam, Ucchik Kalam, Sayarakchai, Nithiyana Santhanam, and Sampakkalam are the six poojas performed here daily.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 06:00 AM to 12:30 PM,Monday to Sunday from 03:30 PM to 08:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Gopuram and the Sixteen Pillared Mandapam
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 1 to 2 Hours

Athisayam

Athisayam
Athisayam

This amusement park is one of the most fun destinations in Madurai for people of all ages. The various water rides at this amusement park offer plenty for those seeking adventure and an adrenaline rush. For a fun and memorable experience with your friends and family while at Madurai, visiting Athisayam is a must. The wave pool at Athisayam is a huge attraction that is suitable for people of all ages. Octopus, Tora Tora, Dashing Cars, Caterpillar, and Cup ‘n’ saucer are some of the rides here apart from the water rides.

Athisayam is one of the top places to visit in Madurai for families. Kids will love splashing in the pool and sliding down a fun yet safe water slide. Athisayam is spread across a total distance of 70 acres (28.32 hectares). Visiting this massive amusement park is sure to be an exciting experience for you.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 06:30 PM
  • Major Attractions: Water rides
  • Ideal Duration to Explore:5 to 6 Hours

Samanar Hills

Samanar Hills
Samanar Hills

Samanar Hills is a hill range situated in the Keelakuyilkudi village near Madurai. Such is the historical significance of Samanar Hills that it has been declared by the Archaeological Survey of India as a protected monument. The Settipodavu site on the Samanar Hills has a natural cave. This cave is home to carvings depicting chapters from Jain mythology. Apart from this, various Hindy mythology inscriptions can also be witnessed at the Samanar Hills. This attraction is one of the best places to visit in Madurai.

Karuppanasamy Temple situated on the Samanar Hills is immensely popular among Hindu devotees across the country The view of the lotus pond from the top of the Samanar Hills is unmatchable. A winding staircase takes you to the top of the Samanar Hills from where you can relish panoramic views.

  • Opening Hour: Monday to Sunday from Sunrise to Sunset
  • Major Attractions: Karuppanasamy Temple and the cave carvings
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 Hour
  • Things to do: Relish the panoramic views

Vaigai Dam

Vaigai Dam
Vaigai Dam

Vaigai Dam is situated on the Vaigai River that flows through multiple districts in Tamil Nadu. This magnificent dam was inaugurated in the year 1959. A large amount of water in this dam is held solely by the strength of the concrete. Usually, dams are built in areas where mountains are in the surrounding area. This is done to sort of provide a natural barricade to help hold the water in. This is not the case of Vaigai Dam as there are no mountains in the surrounding area. Vaigai Dam is one of the most beautiful places in Madurai.

The Vaigai Dam provides drinking water as well as water for irrigation to as many as five districts including Madurai. Apart from this, the dam is also a popular tourist attraction in Madurai. On Sundays, the dam is illuminated with lights making it look evermore beautiful. This dam is home to a children’s park and a hydro-electric plant. The Vaigai Dam is definitely one of the most extraordinary places to visit in Madurai.

  • Best Time to Visit Vaigai Dam: July to December
  • Major Attractions: Children’s Park
  • Ideal Duration to Explore: 2 to 3 Hours
  • Things to do: Enjoy a nice picnic

You won’t be short of things to do while in Madurai. The many cultural and historical landmarks dotted across the city have plenty to offer to tourists of all ages. The magical vibe of Madurai can be best explored if you make sure to visit all the places mentioned in our article. Madurai is truly the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu.


FAQ

Is one day enough for Madurai?

No, one day is not enough for exploring Madurai.

How many days to visit Madurai?

We suggest you keep aside at least 4 to 5 days for exploring Madurai.

Is Madurai worth visiting?

Yes, Madurai is definitely worth visiting. The many tourist attractions and landmarks here are ideal tourist destinations.

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