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Madurai

Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a gorgeous temple around which he created a lotus shaped city. Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri". This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad.

Meenakshi Temple

The life of Madurai revolves around the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. This magnificently carved temple is the main attraction of Madurai and its huge Gopurams towers over the city. Meenakshi temple has a thousand pillared 'Mandapam'. Precisely there are 985 pillars and each of them is delicately and exquisitely carved. Among these are the musical pillars, which produce music when tapped.

Surprisingly, these musical pillars are carved out of a single granite rock. The temple has been a hub of Tamil culture and has been sponsoring literature, art, music, and dance in the region for a long time. The temple also has an art museum. The city apart from temple is crammed with shops, street markets and temples, pilgrims choultries, hotels and restaurants. Though Madurai is considered as pilgrimage but it has also developed as a business centre and is famed for its traditional handicrafts in bronze and brass.


Thirumalai Nayak Mahal

This palace is an excellent example of Indo-Sarcenic architecture. It was built in 1523 AD and originally was four times larger than what it is today. The gardens, the defensive wall all have gone and what remains are the main entrance gate, the dancing hall and the main hall. Lord Napier renovated the palace in 1866-72 and later further restoration works were carried on. Today, the main attraction of the palace is light and sound show, which is based on the life of "Tirumalai Nayak" and "Silapathikaram".

The Gandhi Museum

The museum was initially the palace of Rani Mangammal. It gives a clear account of the history of Independence movement of India. This museum also tells some little known facts about Gandhiji but the real piece of Gandhi Memorabilia is the blood stained Dhoti, which he was wearing at the time of his assassination. The local government museum is also situated over here. The small bookshop offers plenty of reading material from Gandhiji's works.

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam

This huge tank is covers an area equal to the six of Meenakshi temple. Tirumalai Nayak built it in 1646. It is said that channels from the Vaigai River connect the tank. Today, this tank remains empty for most of the year except during the Teppam Festival.The tank is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground Channels. It has total of 12 long stairs (steps) made of granite on all four sides. The temple as well as the stairs was built by the King Thirumalai Nayak. In the centre of the tank there is a Madapam called Maiya Mandapam (Central Mandapam) with Vinayakar temple and garden

Koodal Azhagar Temple

One of the most ancient temples in Madurai, Koodal Azhagar temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In this temple he is seen in various postures sitting, standing, reclining one over the other. There are intricate woodcarvings in here, including one of Lord Rama's coronation.Koodal Azhagar Koil is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in the center of the city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. Koodal is another name for Madurai and Azhaghar means The beautiful one, in Tamil.

Thirupparankundram

This is one of the abodes of Lord Sundareshwara, a rock cut temple carved out of a mountain, just 8-km from the city.Thiruparankundram is known for its ancient temple of Hindu Deity Murugan. The temple is the first among the six abodes of Murugan, the Arupadaiveedu, literally "Six Battle Houses", and one of the most visited tourist spots in Madurai, next only to the Meenakshi Amman Temple[citation needed]. It has the Islamic Dargah (Grave shrine) of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandhar Badhusha Shaheed at the top of Thiruparankundram hill.

Azhagar Koil

This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located 18-km northeast of Madurai on a picturesque hilltop. The gold image of Azhagar travels for the Celestial marriage during the Chithirai festival.Azhakar Kovil (Thirumaliruncholai or Azhakar temple), is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated 21 km from the city of Madurai, which lies in the Tamil Nadu state of India.“Mandooga Maharishi’s redemption is an event that was unique to our village. We are trying to revive the ritual,” says hereditary temple trustee P. Neduchezia Pandian.

Vaigai Dam

Vaigai dam is surrounded by well-manicured gardens and has come up as a popular picnic spots, just 70-km from Madurai.The Vaigai Dam is built across the Vaigai River near Andipatti, in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu, southern India. It provides water for irrigation for the Madurai district and the Dindigul district as well as drinking water to Madurai and Andipatti.Near the dam, the Government of Tamil Nadu has constructed an Agricultural Research Station for researching the growing of a variety of crops, including rice, sorghum, blackgram, cowpea and cotton.

Pazhamudhirsolai

On the same hills of Azhagar Koilthis is again one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya.Pazhamudircholai is rich in fruits, vegetables and flowers. It is a dense forest where Valli is supposed to have lived. It is a small temple with Valli, Deivayanai, and Lord Muruga in a separate shrine. Lord Ganesha is also present in a separate shrine. There is a Temple Tower and monkeys play around the area. There is another small temple above Pazhamudhir Cholai. Local tribes lead their lives here. It is a fertile hill with many natural springs and herbs.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the well-known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the Tekkadi wildlife sanctuary, this place is appropriate to watch and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The forest of this sanctuary slope into the man made lake at the bottom of the hill.

Periyar National Park is located at the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border in India. This Tiger Reserve lies 155 km from Madurai and is host to many animals and birds. The Park came to existence because of the love of the Maharaja of Travancore for nature. Amidst the high ranges of Western Ghats and Savannah grasslands, the sanctuary is situated on the bank of Lake Periyar, which is surely a nature's delight. Periyar Lake was constructed by the British in 1895 and now holds great importance for both the wildlife of the park as well its visitors.

Megamalai

The tea estates on the slopes of the Western Ghats nestles Megamalai. This lovely place is bound to capture your imagination. Good place to stay and enjoy a lovely surrounding. One can also watch the animals roaming in the forest, which are close to Megamalai, Just 130-km from Madurai.Meghamalai,(மேகமலை) popularly called High Wavy Mountains, is a cool and misty mountain range situated in the Western Ghats in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, near Kumaly Idukki District, South India. It is a place of natural beauty dotted with cardamom plantations and tea estates.

The place is situated at an elevation of 1,500 m above sea level and it is rich in flora and fauna. This area, now mostly planted with tea, includes Cloudlands, Highwavys and Manalaar estates, the access to which is now largely restricted. It still includes large untouched remnants of evergreen forest.

Suruli Falls

123-km from Madurai city is Suruli falls, which are located in a picturesque area. It is an ideal spot and an excellent picnic spot to spend one day.Suruli falls (Tamil: சுருளி அருவி), is located 56 km (35 mi) from Theni and 10 km (6.2 mi) from Cumbum in the Theni District in Tamil Nadu, India. It is a 2 stage Cascading water fall. The Suruli River supplying the falls originates from the Meghamalai mountain range. The falls drop from a height of 150 feet (46 m) gathers into a pool, flows for a short distance and again plummets an additional 40 feet

Courtallam

Courtallam is located about 167-km on the Western Ghats and is an excellent health resort in this part of the country. This place is also known as the 'Spa of the South'. Courtallam is located just 160-km from Madurai. This place has got nine splendid waterfalls, which attracts a large number of visitors. TTDC offers here a boathouse accommodation apart from the restaurant.

The falls carry a good amount of water only when there is a rain on the hills. Season begins from June of every year till September. The South West Monsoon brings in the cold breeze with mild temperature. From October to December North East Monsoon sets over in Tamil Nadu and the climate is cold and the rains are very heavy sometimes.

Many seasonal and few perennial rivers such as the Chittar River, the Manimuthar River, the Pachaiyar River and the Tambaraparani River originate in this region. The numerous waterfalls and cascades along with the ubiquitous health resorts in the area have earned it the title the Spa of South India.The falls carry a good amount of water only when there is a rain on the hills. Season begins from June of every year till September. The South West Monsoon brings in the cold breeze with mild temperature. From October to December North East Monsoon sets over in Tamil Nadu and the climate is cold and the rains are very heavy sometimes. Sometimes the falls get flooded and people are not allowed to take bath during floods.




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