Madurai is called Athens of the East because of the way myth meets life here. Originally called Madhurapuram because honey (madhu) is said to have dripped off the locks of Shiva here, Madurai is now the second largest city in Tamil Nadu and a tourism destination that is popular with pilgrims. Legends of warrior princesses, the gods falling in love and divine promises abound. Always an important city politically, it is now among the most important pilgrimages for Hindus. Madurai is a renowned pilgrim destination with its chief attraction being the imposing Meenakshi temple, which was built mainly by the Nayaks.
So travel to Madurai to pay obeisance at the sacred temples of this town.
How to Reach Madurai?
By Air : Madurai is connected by air to Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai with daily connections from Chennai, Trichy and Bangalore. The airport is 10km away from Madurai City. Taxis are exorbitant; alternatively take a bus, which plies once every hour.
By Rail : A major junction of Southern Railways, Madurai has daily train services to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai (8 hrs), Rameshwaram (6 hrs), Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli. Many Madurai bound trains cross Trichy Jn, approximately 2.5hrs away. The best journeys are those from Kerala, which take you over the Eastern Ghats.
By Road : National Highways NH7 and NH 45 connect Madurai to other parts of South India. Government and private bus companies operate services to various small and big towns of Tamil Nadu and to towns and cities in the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Kerala. There are five bus terminals in Madurai, Periyar Bus Stand in the centre of the city, Anna Bus Stand (city buses), Matthuthavani (north and east bound buses), Palanganatham (south bound buses) and Arapalayam (west bound buses).
Best Time to Visit Madurai
The best time to visit Madurai is from October to March, when the temperature is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing, vacationing and outdoor activities.
During the summer season, from March to June, it is extremely hot with temperature varying between 26°C and 41°C hence it is not advisable to visit Madurai during this time.
Madurai experiences medium to heavy rainfall during the monsoon months, from July to August and because outdoor activities and sightseeing are not possible during monsoon, it is best to avoid visiting Madurai in monsoon months.
Things to do in Madurai
Make the rounds of the beautiful temples of Madurai - the Meenakshi Temple included! Madurai is really a pilgrimage town so all activities and things to do are centered around the various spiritual places here.
Places Near Madurai
If you are looking to make a foray out to some places nearby Madurai, try the ones we have listed below.
Vaigai Dam (70 km) is a popular picnic spot.
Kodaikanal is a lovely hill station is only 120 km. away. Its natural beauty is mostly intact and it isn’t plagued by hordes of rampaging tourists. Good for a peaceful getaway.
Periyar Tiger Reserve (155km) in Thekkadi (Kerala) is actually more famous for its wild elephants. The Asiatic elephant is smaller and otherwise different from its African counterpart but great to see in the wild anyway. There are several species of deer in Periyar and though tigers are difficult to spot, they do visit the 100yr. old reservoir at Thekkadi. The season is from October to June when one can see a wide variety of birds and animals. Kerala Tourism has a range of places to stay in Thekkadi.
Hotels in Madurai – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Madurai ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.