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A famous centre of learning and pilgrimage, Madurai is one of the oldest cities of southern India. Located on the banks of Vaigai river and over 2,300 years old it is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. Tamil language is spoken in the most purest form here and is planned in the shape of a lotus. Madurai is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites of India. The city attracts a large number of pilgrims and tourists from within the country and abroad.
Places to see
Shree Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
One of the most famous temples of India, the Meenakshi Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every day from all over India. The Meenakshi temple has Gopurams intricately carved with multicoloured images of Gods, Goddesses, mythical figures and wildlife. It is a befitting example of the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is built on an area of around 6 hectares and has four entrances. The temple also houses a museum, known as the Temple Art Gallery. The 1,000 pillared hall has stone figures carved on the pillars some of which sound like metal when hit with a object. The metal stone or musical pillar although made of stone produces sounds of different metals.
Tirumalai Nayak Palace
Situated at a distance of just one kilometre from the Meenakshi Temple, this palace was built by Tirumalai Nayak in 1636. Except for the entrance, main hall and dance hall, much of the Palace is now in ruins. Furniture and utensils used by the kings is on exhibit inside the palace. The palace is equipped to perform "Light and Sound" shows depicting the story of "Silappathikaram", in both Tamil and English languages. The palace is in Indian films such as Bombay, Guru etc.
Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara
This famous mosque (masjid) is located at the heart of Madurai city.
The museum displays information about Mahatma Gandhi, and most importantly it showcases the original blood-stained garment of Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. The other piece of the garment is kept at the Gandhi Museum in Delhi. This museum, is one of the 5 museums in India (others in Mumbai, Barrackpore, Sabarmati and Patna) known as Gandhi Sanghralayas.
8 kms away from Madurai, this evocative cave temple is much older and has a more sacred atmosphere than the Meenakshi temple, particularly on Fridays, when women place candles or sit around the temple floor and create kolams or rangoli patterns on the ground using coloured powders, ash and flowers as an offering to goddess Durga.
A large part of the state being on the coastal edge of the country, the weather is tropical and sultry for most part of the year. The summer months of April, May, June are hottest where temperature ranges to 40 degrees.
December and January are the peak months for Chennai. The temp ranges from 20-22 degrees. To avoid peak rush October is better. The weather in these months is pleasant and easy to bear the humidity.