One of the most spiritually and religiously inclined city of South India – Madurai is famous all over the globe for its beautiful and majestic temples. The architecture of this city can leave you enthralled and spell bounded. The temple town of Madurai is filled with beautifully carved temples and splendid monuments, so magnificent and exquisite that it earned an ally name the ‘Athens of the East’.
Like many other cities of India, the history of Madurai dates back to a very old period of Sangam, almost 2500 years earlier and has many interesting stories attached to it, this entire city is laid out in the shape of a lotus. One can easily feel the influence of Lord Shiva on the city of Madurai. According to a famous story, one night a lotus shaped city sprung up around an ancient temple overnight and then Lord Shiva appeared and dropped some drops of nectar on the town. That is why; this city has been named ‘Madurai’ which literally means the ‘city of nectar’.
Every temple in this city has its own tale. The most famous is the Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple; it is the biggest temple complexes in India and is spread over an area of 65000 sq. m. This architectural masterpiece is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, the companion of Lord Shiva and Sundareshwar (an incarnation of Lord Shiva). This temple has been included in the new list of the Seven Wonders of the World. The beauty of this temple is primarily because of the carvings of gods, goddesses, mythical figures and animals, which are interestingly carved in the temple’s premises. All these carvings boast about the miracles of Lord Shiva.
There are many other attractions of the city: Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Gandhi Memorial Museum and another interesting temple is the Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple. This temple has high regards because it is believed that Lord Subhrahmanya was married here, and even today this temple is considered a holy place for marriages to be formalized.
Madurai is also famous for its traditional clothes and handlooms. Here, you can buy stunning items made out of wood and brass. Visiting Madurai is a must for those who have an inclination towards architecture, cultural heritage and history.