The weather is uniformly hot and humid. May is the hottest month with the
temperature sometimes rising to 42 degree celcius and the mean temperature
about 33 degree celcius. December and January are the coolest months with a
mean temperature of 24 degree celcius.
This temple city is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage centres.
Madurai - the city of nectar :
Madurai, the "city of nectar", is ancient city of Tamil Nadu
which was the home to the ancient Tamil Sangam, the literary session that
produced the first epic, Silappathikaram. The city of Madurai is known to
produce some of the finest textiles in India and some of the best harvests
of jasmine flowers. Mennakshi temple is the main attraction in the city
which in itself is an architectural masterpiece and is a source of
inspiration for other works of art. Madurai has also been mentioned in
Megasthenes' Indica, where the ancient Greek diplomat and envoy to India in
the 3rd century BC wrote about this city of temples in most glorious words.
Madurai reached the heights of glory during the time of the Cholas and then
during the Pandyas' regime in the 13th century.
Famous for - the Rock Fort Temple :
The name of this temple has become synonymous with the city and it is the
feature which actually represents the city. This 17th century temple has two
sanctum Sanctorums where one is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Sundareswar ("Lord
of Beauty") and the other to Meenakshi, his wife. Here goddess,
Meenakshi holds a parrot and bouquet. Meenakshi in Sanskrit means "one
who has eyes like a fish". It is believed that just like a mother fish
has to just look on her spawn to develop life in them, similarly it is
believed that when goddess Meenakshi will look at her devotees all the
wishes will come to reality.
It is estimated that there are 33 million carvings in the temple which
portrays some of the best architecture in India. About 10,000 people visit
the temple every day and around 25,000 people visit on Fridays, which is the
day sacred to the Goddess.
» By Air -
Madurai is connected by direct daily
flights with Chennai andother important cities.
» By Rail -
Madurai is one of the major railway
junctions of South India. It is connected with all the main tourist as well
as religious places in Southern India. Overnight Express trains connect
Chennai with Madurai.
» By Road -
Madurai is 150 kms from Trichy and also
150 kms from Periyar.
Additional Highlights of the City :
» Mariamman Teppakkulam Tank -
This enormous tank is
around 300 m (1000 feet) by 285 m (950 feet) and is located 5 km east of the
Meenakshi Temple. The well known Teppam Float Festival is celebrated here
during which the deities are taken out on felicitated boats in January /
» Thirumalai Nayak Palace :
Situated about one km.
south-east of the Sri Meenakshi Temple this palace was built in a
Indo-Saracenic style by Thirumalai Naicker. A sound and light programme
telling the story of Thirumalai Nayak and of Silappathikaram is conducted
here daily at 6.45 pm.
» Thirupparankunram :
This renowned temple is one of
Subrahmanya's six sacred abodes. The temple has been carved out of a
mountain and is dedicated to Lord Muruga (Subramanya). This temple actually
celebrates the God's marriage to Indra's daughter, Devayanai.
Things to Buy in Madurai :
Madurai, an age old textile center, sells readymade as well as fabric
material on the streets and lanes are lined with shops. The Puthu Mandapam,
an old pillared hall along the entrance to Meenakshi temple is visited by
people for the cotton fabric and the Batiks. The graceful Sungundi Sarees
are in extremely popular among Indian women. Brass lamps of Madurai are also
in great demand and are purchased for their exquisite designs and looks.
Shopping Areas in Madurai :
Puthu Mandapam, Chithirai, Avanimoola, Puthumandapam and Thevangu Chetty
Choultry. The handicrafts Emporiums of the states are also here which offer
handicrafts from all over the India.