Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of India. Ruled by Pandya kings for the longest time in its history, it is called as the 'Lotus City' as it was planned and built in the shape of a lotus. Madurai is known for Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar.
There are many other ancient temples in Madurai, including Thiruparankundram. It is one of the important old temples dedicated to Lord Muruga(Karthikeya) and is located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city. Having trade ties with ancient Rome, the place holds a great cultural heritage. With bustling bazaars and fantastic street food, Madurai has heritage walks conducted throughout the day. Madurai is instrumental in promoting Tamil language and preserving the culture.
A prominent city of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is easily accessible from almost throughout the country. The city has its own airport and a railway station, making it convenient for all to commute to the city easily. Other nearest airports and railway stations happen to be Chennai and Coimbatore.
Madurai has its own airport which is well-connected by the rest of India. Number domestic airlines operate on the route and several flights ply on a daily basis to Madurai. Another option is to take a flight to Chennai from any part of India and then take another flight to Madurai from thereafter.
Just like the airport, Madurai has its own railway junction which is well-connected to all major cities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Even if you cannot avail a direct train to Madurai, you can avail trains either from Chennai or Coimbatore. Express trains from Trichy, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are also available connecting the cities to Madurai.
Madurai can also be reached by road. Travellers can take either a bus or a car. National Highway 45 and 45B connects Madurai to Chennai. It is one of the amazing drives that one can experience. Apart from that, Madurai can be reached from Bengaluru via NH 49. Other cities from where direct buses for Madurai are available include Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Local transport is by means of bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw. If wishing to visit nearby places, you can board a passenger train. However, remember to keep the train timetable in mind.
October to March is the best time to visit Madurai. With a hot and dry climate for most of the year, Madurai is best visited during the winter season. The town is known for its ancient temples and other architectural and religious masterpieces and receives a generous crowd of people throughout the year. Madurai is the most fascinating and welcoming during the months between October and March which coincides with its winter season.
Madurai in Monsoon (June-August)
Monsoon season in Madurai lasts from June to August. Although the monsoon season continues for a smaller amount of time, the south-west monsoon winds bring in a large amount of rainfall which is extremely heavy. This rainfall also makes the weather gloomy but still makes the city beautiful as the nature around Madurai mainly benefits from this rain. This is the perfect time to visit Madurai for people who love greenery and the lush natural surroundings.
Madurai in Winter (December-February)
Many locals look forward to the winter season in Madurai due to the relief it brings from the summers. The season lasts from December to February. The temperature during the winter months ranges from 20 degree Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius. The season is characterised by moderately cool temperatures which make travelling around the city a pleasant experience for all individuals. Pongal, a widely celebrated festival is regarded as extremely special in Madurai. The festival lasts for three days and comprises of praying for a good harvest by locals and farmers alike. Other religious festivals are also celebrated with great vigour. However, hotel prices may climb up as this is the peak tourist season.
Madurai in Summer (March-July)
The summer season in Madurai lasts from March to May. The temperatures during this season range from 24 degree Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius. This means that the weather in Madurai during these months is uncharacteristically hot. It is also really dry which makes the heat more noticeable and discourages travellers to visit. The summer season is, therefore, an offseason for Madurai, and the crowds are comparatively less as well.
Madurai is often referred to as the food capital of Tamil Nadu, given the huge variety in styles, cuisines, genres and sizes that it offers. In Madurai, you can taste the most authentic of traditional delicacies as well as indulge in fast food, Bengali, Italian, Chinese and North-Indian cuisines. Also, the food is lip smacking all though its streets to the elaborate restaurants.
The local delicacies include Paruthi paal, jigarthanda, panangkarkandu paal and chettinadu varieties like appam, kuzhi paniyaram, etc. as well as beverages like Paruthi, Jigarthanda as well as the popular Filter coffee. Other than these, find local favorites from all over Bengal Fish curry, Pizzas, Chaats, Fish and Chips, Gulab Jamuns, Samosas, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken and lots more.
Murugan Idli Shop
This casual dining restaurant is renowned for its South Indian tiffin cuisine. Serving hygienic food, this air-conditioned restaurant is best known for its authentic idlis, dosas, Jigarthanda, varied accompaniments and meals.
49, West Perumal Maistry Street, (Old Ganesh Mess)Near Chennai Silks,Madurai-625001.
South Indian, North Indian, Chinese
6am? 11pm (Mon-Sun)
This multi-cuisine family restaurant serves quality vegetarian food to its guests. With prompt service and an inexpensive menu, this restaurant is a local favourite.
Garden All Day
This global cuisine restaurant in the Taj Gateway Hotel is renowned in Madurai. From the garden-decor to the delectable spread of dishes par excellence, Garden All Day is one of the best dining experiences in town.
57, Alagar Kovil Road, Tallakulam, KK Nagar, Madurai
11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 6:30 PM to 11 PM
This casual dining mess serves authentic South Indian cuisine. Best known for its Kali dosa and mutton Kola Urundai, this local favourite is renowned for its traditional authenticity and quality.
1. JC Residency Madurai
Facilites: Parking, Bar, Wifi, Pool, Food
A 3-minute walk from 'Lady Doak College, JC Residency in Madurai provides an outdoor pool and a gym. Fitted with rich wood furnishings, the elegant air-conditioned rooms all come with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. Parking is free.
Hotel with 3 room options
? 5,180 onwards
3.8 kms from city centre
Facilities: Parking, WIFI, Bar, Pool, Food
Just 4 km away from Madurai Railway Junction, Heritage Madurai offers a 24-hour front desk and features an outdoor swimming pool and concierge service. The property is just 5 km away from the famous Meenakshi Temple.
5-star resort with 3 room options
? 7,080 onwards
1.1 kms from city centre
Facilites: Parking, Wifi
Located in Madurai, 1 km from Meenakshi Temple, Mani's residency features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and express check-in and check-out. Featuring a tour desk, this property also provides guests with a terrace.
Book without credit card
Hotel with 3 room options
? 1,886 onwards
4. Avea Accommodation
3.2 kms from city centre
Facilites: Parking, Wifi
Featuring free WiFi, Avea Accommodation offers accommodation in Madurai. Free private parking is available on site. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom.
Homestay with 5 room options
? 2,086 onwards
2.8 kms from city centre
Facilites: Parking, Wifi , Bar , Pool , Food
Located in Madurai, 3.7 km from Meenakshi Temple, Courtyard by Marriott Madurai provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a garden.
4-star hotel with 5 room options
? 5,605 onwards
2.8 kms from city centre
The Lost Hostel, Madurai in Madurai provides adults-only accommodation with a shared lounge and a terrace. The property is around 3.1 km from Meenakshi Temple, 2.3 km from Koodal Azhagar Temple and 3.5 km from Aarapalayam Bus Terminus.
Hostel with 4 room options
? 500 onwards
Much like Varanasi in the north, Madurai is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in India. Situated on the banks of Vaigai river in Tamil Nadu, the city is known for its Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. Apart from being a pilgrim town, a popular tourist destination, a cultural hotspot and the erstwhile capital of the Pandyan dynasty Madurai is also known for its food, cuisine, architecture, shopping and endearing people.
Madurai is known by several names: Koodal nagaram (City of Junctions), Malligai maanagar (City of Jasmine), Koil maanagar (Temple city), Thoonga nagaram(City that never sleeps) and Naanmada koodal (junction of four towers, that refers here to the four major temples that Madurai was known for) among others. The city even finds mention in the Tamil classical epic, Silappatikaram that revolves around Kannagi who avenges her husband’s death by destroying the Pandyan kingdom.
Puthu Mandapam: It’s Time for Shopping
Your visit to Madurai will perhaps remain incomplete if you don’t explore the Puthu Mandapam shopping area. Located just opposite to the famous Meenakshi Temple, this shopping complex is home to the rows of tailors and stalls who sell wide range of countless varieties of fabric, scarves, jewellery, fashion accessories, handicrafts and art work. You can buy any such stuff that becomes a perfect souvenir that you visited Madurai. Almost all tourists visiting Madurai ensure exploring this market to buy high quality modern clothes, including decent replicas. Foreigners frequently visit this market to buy clothes which they take back to their respective countries as the memories to keep. So, make sure that you include it in your itinerary as it is one of the fun things to do in Madurai.
Location: E Chitrai St, Chinnakadai Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 2-3 hours
Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Spend Some Time Praying
People from different religious views and faiths often attend to the prayers at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu in India which is often denoted with its religious harmony. Popularly known with the name Church of Our Lady of Dolours, the Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church is one of the most popular and visited churches in Tamil Nadu. Constructed in the year 1841 by the New Madurai Mission, this church was later expanded to accommodate large gathering of people that comprised of domestic and international tourists. Notable attraction of this church is the magnificent architecture which features the two tall bell towers. Its stunning stained-glass work appeals to all and so is it a perfect amalgamation of the Roman, European and several other architectural styles.
Location: E Veli St, Mahalipatti, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 1-2 hours
Built in the 17th century, Thirumalai Nayak Palace is one of the most visited places in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu state of India. This palace had been built by the then King Tirumala Nayaka who had remained an influential king of the Madurai’s Nayaka Dynasty. Made of the Dravidian and Islamic architecture, this place is worth admiring and exploring while it comes to exploring a Madurai tour today. Besides offering enough avenues to the history lovers to digress into the past era, this palace also keeps the common tourists hooked to visit to enjoy the sound and light shows. Such shows are conducted every evening at the palace to showcase the glimpse of the past era. The palace maintains peaceful and calm surroundings. It is one more reason for the tourist to gather and feel the tranquility here thus enjoy the Madurai tour to the best.
Location: Palace Rd, Mahal Area, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 3-4 hours
If you are the one willing to explore the Jain sculptures and are looking for adventurous things to do in Madurai, then you must consider a hike between the Samanar Hills to the Jain caves for an experience to keep for the whole life. In the midway, there is a Keelakuyilkudi village, which is popular for its collection of the painted mud horses and Jain sculptures. Tourists stop by the village as they can easily encounter the mud horses in the surrounding of the village’s picturesque Karuppasamy Temple.
Such beautifully decorated mud horses are donated by the potters from Vilachery to the villagers for their village festivals that take place every year. Apart from ancient rock-cut sculptures of Jain deities, a tour to this region lets you to come across a panoramic view over the countryside.
Location: Nethaji St, Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu 625005
Time required: 3-4 hours
Are you one of those who love eating bananas? If your answer is in affirmation, then you must plan a tour to the Banana Market in Madurai and unravel how this market remains unique. This wholesale banana market offers you approximately 16 varieties of bananas. Therefore, it receives the attention of the tourists as much as the banana traders. Being one of the main tourist attractions of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, you will be urged in this market to buy variety of bananas. Tourists always spot the workers unloading several dozens of banana branches and selling them in the market. You can directly purchase bananas to enjoy their deliciousness.
Location: Swami, No. 4/1, East Swami Shanthi Street, Near Amma Store, East, Shanthi St, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 2-3 hours
Gandhi Memorial Museum: Gain More Knowledge
Located at the Nayak Queen Rani Mangammal, this famous Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the select few museums in India which is exclusively dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. This museum comprises of several items that were used by him such as his shawl, spectacles, yarn, and the blood-stained dhoti (loincloth). He was wearing those clothes while he had been assassinated in Delhi in 1948. Entry to this museum is free for all.
Location: Collector Office Rd, Tamukkam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625020
Time required: 1-2 hours
Thiruparankundram: Explore The Abode Of Lord Murugan
If you love exploring Indian monuments, then you must plan Thiruparankundram visit which is a notable landmark in Madurai. It receives large chunk of tourists who are both domestic and international travellers. The Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan that is known as a handsome son of the Lord Shiva. Due to being having the deity of the one of the favourite Gods which Tamil’s worship, this temple in Madurai receives devotees and pilgrims in large numbers every day and throughout the year.
You can also explore a 14th century grave shrine of the Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha nearby it. It is an indication of the best religious harmony preserved to showcase the secular values enshrined in the Indian societies which reflects from this place in Madurai.
Time required: 1 day
The city of Madurai is popular for several South Indian food ventures from the rich South Indian cuisines. If you are a food lover and want to taste best of the South Indian food in town, you should consider the renowned Murugan Idli Shop. It is famous among the locals as well as international tourists. Besides the simple and delicious taste of recipes cooked here, this restaurant maintains extreme level of hygiene. That is perhaps one of the primary reasons that this restaurant is always flocked by the food lovers. The famous recipes like Idli and Dosa are the must taste items in this restaurant. Such recipes are served to the food lovers with special blend of spicy chutney powders.
Madurai is famous for temples belonging to the Nayaka and Pandyan regimes, some of them even dating to the 7th-century like the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, etc. It is also famous for its vibrant festivals like Pongal & Chithirai, delicious traditional Tamil cuisine, and silks.
2 nights and 3 days are sufficient to see all its architectural beauty in the famous temples, palaces, and museums. This time is also perfect for you to visit several market places to pick up traditional textiles and handicrafts and try a range of delicious Tamilian cuisine.