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Where to Stay

Hotel Tamil Nadu I (0452-2337471-73)

Hotel Tamil Nadu - II (0452-2537461-65)

Hotel Sangam - 3 STAR (91-452-2537531) Fax : 91-452-2537530

Taj Garden Retreat (0452-2371601)

Hotel Madura Park Inn 0452-2371155

Hotel Padmam 2340702

Hotel Grand Central 2343940

Hotel Classic Residency 2343141

Hotel President 2621061

Pandian Hotel 2537090

Youth Hotel 2537773

Meenakshi Nilayam 2340677

YMCA International Guest House 2346649

University Guest House 2458333

Railway Retiring Rooms 2340142

Birla Visram 2345503

Vaigai Illam 2530748

Hotel Sangam 2537531


Madurai

Madurai

Madurai is Known as Athens of the East , Madurai is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu and Madurai lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is one of the liveliest cities in South India it was originally known as Kadambavanam or the " forest of Kadamba " or the Nauclea kadamba .

Legend says that Lord Shiva appeared in the dream on the king, Kulasekhara Pandya. The king was amazed to see drops of nectar or madhu falling down of earth from Lord Shiva's matted hair. The "madhu" was so sweet that the place where it fell came to be known as Madhurapuri , which in course of time became "Madurai."

Tamil and Greek documents record its existence from the 4th century B.C. Being in the heart of Tamil Nadu, Madurai has fostered an essentially Dravidian and Tamil culture. Famous for its cultural and scholarly pursuits, the city had an academy consisting of critics, poets and savants highly esteemed both by kings and commoners. It was in Madurai that three successful conferences of Tamil scholars called sangams flourished under benevolent royal support.

Madurai is famous for housing one of the five traditional dance halls where Lord Siva, in his form as the Silver Hall or the Velli Ambalam . It is situated within the Meenakshi Temple.

Madurai was the capital of the dynasty. The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Shrine is its central glory. The Muslims invaded Madurai in the 14th Century. Later it came under the rule of the Nayaks, and the rule of Thirumalai Nayak, who is remembered as the maker of modern Madurai, was an eventful one.

Madurai was known to be the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Today, Madurai is a modern commercial and industrial city, with a vast University campus and is renowned for its weaving mills and dyeing industry. The chungadi cotton sarees are the speciality of this city with its colourful tie and dye motifs. Handicrafts, brassware, bronze items and the famous wooden toys of Madurai are some of the notable artefacts.Madurai is 450 kms from Chennai.
Places to See

Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple  Synonymous with Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar twin-temple. It is the pivot around which the city has evolved. The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city on its own. It is one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too. The temple grew bigger with the contributions of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 sq. metres.

The temple was first built 2000 years ago and was substantially expanded during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak between the years (1623-55AD).

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Around Chennai

Srivilliputhur    The Nayak kings constructed the Vatapatrasayi Temple at Srivilliputhur, but its story goes a long way back to the Pandya times, when moved by her devotion, Lord Krishna married the poetess-devotee, Andaal.

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Fairs & Festivals

Air Madurai Airport is connected with Chennai, Mumbai

Rail Madurai is a major Railway junction connected with important cities of Tamil Nadu.

Road Madurai is connected with all the important cities of South India.

Fairs and Festivals
Name of the Festivals Month of the Year

Avanimoolom Festival

August/September.

Float Festival

January/February.

Chitirai Festival -

April/May

Govt. Chithirai Exhibition

April/May.

The Float Festival at Mariamman Teppakulam  Mariamman Teppakulam is a beautiful square tank spread over an area of almost 16acres. It is located about 5 kms east of Madurai. This tank is the scene of the colorful float festival held in January/February to celebrate the birth anniversary of king Thirumalai Nayak, who built this tank. 

The deities Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are placed in a float, called the "teppam" which is decorated with flowers and illuminated with hundreds of lights. This float is taken around the tank to the sound of traditional music. On the northern side of the tank a temple is dedicated to Mariamman, the village deity of Tamil Nadu.

Chithirai Festival  It is celebrated every year on the Full Moon day of the Tamil Month of Chithirai, (April-May). Legend has it that Lord Vishnu, as Azhagar, rode on a golden horse to Madurai to attend the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). This festival is marked by solemnity and serenity.

Tourist Festival During this festival there are cultural programmes depicting the ancient traditions and cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu. It is organised by the Department of Tourism within the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, during the Pongal festival. The Tamil Nadu Government also conducts the Chithirai Exhibition for a month, during the Chithirai Festival.

Aavanimoolam Festival   takes place during September. It is to celebrate the coronation of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). A lila or prayer is performed. The temple priests recite the stories of Lord Shiva and his 64 miracles, which is said to have protected the city of Madurai from adversity.

Kutladampatti Waterfalls   is located 36 kms from the Periyar City Bus Stand on the way to Kodaikanal. It is 7 Kms away from Kutladampatti near Vadipatti village. The waters of this fall drops from a height of 87 feet. During holidays and festival days tourists enjoy the natural beauty of this scenic spot and bathe in the waters of the fall. Near the falls is located a 500 years old temple dedicated to Goddes Thadagai Nachiamman.

Navratri Festival   for nine nights is held in honour of Goddess Meenakshi in all her forms. The forms embody fury, compassion and wisdom. During this nine-day festival, Goddess Meenakshi is offered nine varieties of cooked rice and nine varieties of flowers.

Pongal Festival   also known as the "harvest festival", takes place during the middle of January. The Department of Tourism makes special arrangements for foreign tourists to view Pongal festivities and the famous Jallikattu , which is the Taming of the bull at Alanganallur.


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