Madurai – a must visit Indian city
Whilst India has a lot of places to be seen and appreciated, Madurai gets into the top list of places in every world traveller’s list. Madurai is located in South India, TamilNadu. It is one of the cities in the state with fame for many things.Madurai is quite popular by being the home to the World Famous Meenakshi temple. It is a wonder not to be missed!
I have lived in Madurai for few years (I take utmost pride in saying that) and have gotten the opportunity to enjoy the grand and architecturally beautiful temple many times as a child and as an adult. I haven’t seen any other beautiful temple like this! I always pay a visit to the Goddess Meenakshi whenever I visit Madurai. The visit always gives a sense of happiness. Beyond religious reasons, this temple is very attractive due to the beautiful stone carvings.
Situated in the center of the city, it looks giant with its high raised Towers on all the four directions – East, West, South and North. As you step inside, you get to admire the charming sculptures that decor the towers. You are greeted by a very long open corridor that runs along the four sides.
Crossing the corridor leads you to the inner corridor where you can see a big pond with steps on all 4 sides. Not only that, the inner corridor again hosts a ton of beautiful paintings on the ceilings, with pillars carved with eye-catching sculptures.
Then there is the Lords shrines and further inner corridors with similar style of architecture. It takes about two hours to complete the dharshan of the lords, but if you are interested in the architecture, you need a couple of hours to walk around the temple and see all places. Go there on a quiet day-avoiding weekends and Fridays, as the temple gets busier during these times and you will not be able to enjoy it as much as you like to. Check with the temple administration to see whether they allow photography inside the inner corridor.Check their sitehere
These are some pictures I took when visiting recently:
The marriage of goddess Meenakshi:
Madurai is also popular with the variety of food cuisines it offers. In restaurants you can get food in the banana leaf, which is a rarity in the capital city Chennai. The people of Madurai are also warm and welcoming.
If you visit the city during summer season, you will get to see the notorius jasmine flowers tied beautifully and sold. The aroma of the flower sold there is very special and I am yet to see a place where it is better than Madurai.
Madurai is a city not to be missed, you get plenty of train services from Chennai as well as flights. Do mark this city in your list without fail!
Update: I recently visited the temple again and as of 2019, they have banned taking mobile phones inside the temple. You have phone lockers available next to the temple entrance. You can deposit there, get a receipt and get the phones back when you come out of the temple. Make note which side of the temple you enter from, as that is where you have to collect the phones back again.