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Madurai is one of the major cities in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The third largest city in Tamil Nadu, and the 25th most populated city in India. Located on the banks of River Vaiga. Madurai is closely associated with the Tamil language, and the third Tamil Sangam, a major congregation of Tamil scholars said to have been held in the city. The recorded history of the city goes back to the 3rd century BCE, Signs of human settlements and Roman trade links dating back to 300BC are evident from excavations by Archeological Survey of India in Manalur. The city is believed to be of significant antiquity and has been ruled, at different times, by the Pandyas, Cholas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire,Madurai Nayaks, Carnatic kingdom, and the British East India Company British Raj.
Popular places in Madurai
1.Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
The historic Meenakshi Amman temple is located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Built sometime between the year 1623 and 1655, the wonderful architecture of the place is renowned globally. Meenakshi Temple is primarily dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi. The most striking feature of the temple is its exquisite facade, which has highly minute details with great art pieces incorporated in the walls and pillars. Meenakshi Amman temple complex is made in accordance to the Shilpa Shastra and has 14 gateway towers or 'gopurams', golden 'vimanas', holy sanctums and shrines dedicated to the revered Goddess Meenakshi and many others. It is a major tourist attraction, with thousands of devotees visiting the shrine on a daily basis.
2.Alagar koil Madurai
Alagar Koil is an exquisite temple situated in the north east of Madurai. The temple is the rest place of Lord Vishnu and is the sacred place for several followers of Lord Vishnu in the region.It is situated in the Alagar hills and is also known as Azhagarkovil. The statue of the lord is made entirely of stone and is a splendid masterpiece created from kallalgar. The people of the region consider Lord Vishnu to be an extremely knowledgable,humble yet powerful king and the ruler of the earth. The devotees offer holy prayers from the bottom of their hearts.
Vaigai Dam, a magnificent man-made structure, is constructed over River Vaigai near Andipatti, Theni District in the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Andipatti lies about 70 kilometres from Madurai and travellers on their way to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary often visit this massive and wondrous dam. Over the years, the site has become a popular picnic spot for group excursions and photo fanatics, especially for its mesmerising scenery. The massive dam was built in 1959 and is often referred to as the lifeline of the region as the areas have flourished by leaps and bounds from its waters. Vaigai Dam is the central source of water for drinking and irrigation purposes in Madurai and hence of great strategic and political importance.
4.Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
Thirumalai Nayakar Palace was erected in 1636 AD in the city of Madurai, by King Thirumalai Nayak. The palace depicts the perfect blend of Dravidian and Rajput styles. After Independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and till date continues to be one of the spectacular monuments of Southern India. The Thirumalai Nayak Palace was the residence of King Thirumalai Nayak and was approximately four times bigger than what is seen today. There are a total of 248 pillars in this grand palace. The main palace is divided into two sections, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are various sections of the royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, royal bandstand, pond and garden. This glorious palace is widely considered as the most illustrious monument constructed by the Madurai Nayak Dynasty.
5.Koodal Azhagar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Koodal Azhagar Temple, located in the centre of Madurai city of Tamil Nadu is a unique and famous temple of historical significance constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and supposedly built by the Pandyas. Koodal is another name for the city of Madurai and Azghar in Tamil translates to 'beautiful one', referring to Vishnu as Koodal Alagar and his consort Lakshmi as Mathuravalli. Glorified in the words of ancient literature, from the Sangam period to the works of Alvars, the temple is the present embodiment of unparalleled craftsmanship of a past era.
The Gandhi Memorial Museum serves as a remembrance and tribute to the efforts of our very own father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is one of the five great Gandhi Museums in the country which depict the life of the Father of the nation and India's freedom struggle from 1757 until 1947.Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the premises on 15th April 1959, and the plethora of appetizing information with the help of illustrations and graphic representations convey an understanding of the struggle for freedom during the British era. The enclosure is associated with a rich history, and the building itself is a former 17th-century palace. Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai comes under the Peace Museums Worldwide selected by United Nations Organization (UNO).
Pazhamudhir Solai is a beautiful temple created in the memory of Lord Subramaniya who is worshipped by several people in southern India. It has great sculptures of Lord Subramaniya carved in wood and marble and is a wonderful temple with giant steps in the front of it.People worship the temple by moving across the periphery of the temple a several number of times, with the hope that their wish would come true. It is the giant temple of Lord subhramaniya in southern India and one of the most beautiful too. Its located on the hills of Azharar koil and falls in Madurai in Tamil nadu.
Constructed in the honor of Lord Vigneshwara, this divine temple is situated about 5 km from the meenakshi temple. It has a huge tank in the compound of the temple and holds the record of being the biggest tank in the region of Tamil Nadu. The tank is filled with water all year long. Legends say that the idol of the temple too was obtained from the bottom of the tank, while it was dug in the olden times.So the tank gained its popularity since then and the temple too was constructed in its memory. Several different kinds of festivals are celebrated in the temple and all rituals are done with great pomp and pleasure and the people have a wonderful time while they are in the temple.