|STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES OF INDIA|
ancient city was the land of the Tamil Sangams. This second largest
city in Tamilnadu is located on the banks of the river Vaigai. It
is the land, where Lord Shiva performed the sixty-four wonders called Thiruvilaiyadals.
This city is famous for the fragrant jasmine flowers.
A lotus shaped
city is said to have been built by the Pandyan king Kulasekhara around
the siva linga worshipped by Indra in the forest of Kadamba trees.
When Lord Siva came to bless them, nectar dripped from his matted locks
& hence the city was named Madhurapuri (madhu - honey), & is now
known as Madurai.
the capital of the Pandyas. Art & trade flourished. They maintained
trade links with Greece & Rome. The Pandya rule was overthrown by Malik
Kafur. Next followed the rule by the Hindu Vijayanagar kings of Hampi.
After the fall of Vijayanagar, in 1565, the Nayaks ruled Madurai until
Sundareswarar temple (twin temples) is one of the biggest temples in India.
The original temple built by Kulasekara Pandyan was in ruins. The
plan for the current temple structure was laid by Viswanath Naikar and
was completed by Tirumalai Nayakar.
There are 12
massive gopurams in the temple, the four tallest gopurams at the outer
walls. The golden lotus pond (Potraamarai Kulam) is located to the
left of the Meenakshi shrine. Sundareswarar gives darshan in the
form of a linga.
The thousand pillared
hall (Aayirangaal Mandapam) is an architectural & engineering marvel,
built in the 16th century. The pillars have the Yazhi figure sculpted
on them. There are musical granite pillars here, which when struck
yield different musical notes.
also known as the festival city. All the usual festivals are celebrated,
yet the Chitrai festival that is held in April/May (for 3 days), is very
important when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar is
celebrated, drawing a huge crowd of people from all over the state.
Other important festivals celebrated here are the Avanimoola Festival (Sep
- Oct ) & Navarathri Festival.
of Sculptures in the 1000 Pillared Hall
Nayakar Mahal is located about 1 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman temple.
It has been constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style by Thirumalai nayakar
in 1636. The portico known as Swarga Vilasam is an arcaded octagon
wholly constructed of brick and mortar without the support of a single
rafter or girder, standing testimony to the skill of the Nayaks.
Sound & light shows are held everyday depicting th eTamil classic Silapadhikaram.
This museum located
in the 1000 pillared hall boasts of a good collection of temple art and
This is located
in a 300 year old palace (Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal). The
museum houses a picture gallery, a gallery of relics, personal memorabilia
of the Mahatma (It has the blood - stained dhoti worn by Mahatma Gandhi,
at the time of his assassination), a library, Khadi and village industries
section and a South India handicrafts section.
Memorial Trust decided on seven locations which had close associations
with Gandhiji's life. Madurai was one of the selected locations,
for it was here that Gandhiji chose the loin cloth as his dress, until
all Indians could dress properly. Also Gandhiji succeeded in his
struggle to allow harijans to enter the Hindu temples here. He entered
the Meenakshi Amman temple along with the harijans. The Gandhi Memorial
Museum at Madurai has been built and organised by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi.
This museum was
established during the 5th World Tamil Conference held in 1981 and is situated
within the Gandhi Museum complex.
This huge tank
also known as the Mariamman tank is at the eastern end of the city and
is almost equal in area to that of the Meenakshi Amman temple. There
is a mandapam in the centre of the tank enshrining Lord Vigneswara.
was found here when earth was being dug for the Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal.
A tank was created in this area with the Ganesha idol. This tank
is fed with water from the Vaigai through an ingenious system of underground
channels. A colourful float festival is held on Thai Poosam day (in January/February)
to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tirumalai Nayakar. Various
temple deities are taken in decorated floats.
of interest near Madurai