Located on the banks of the holy River Vaigai, Madurai is one of the oldest cities in Tamilnadu that showcases its spiritual wealth and past glory. It is one of the top places of pilgrimage in India and among the must-visit places as part of Tamil Nadu Tour Packages. Known as the Cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, the town is dotted with the affluence of age-old temples, religious shrines, and historical sites. Moreover, the temples in Madurai are some of the most stunning architectural marvels in Tamil Nadu. From their intricate carvings to brilliant architecture, they make for enchanting visuals and also have believers who feel their wishes have come true here. We’ve rounded up some of the best temples that you must visit as part of the Madurai tour packages.
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Situated on the southern banks of River Vaigai, Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the biggest and most popular temples in India and among the top places for pilgrimage in Tamilnadu. Covering an area of around 45 acres, it has Dravidian-style architecture that includes 14 gateways or gopurams, holy sanctums, golden vimanas, and a majestic shrine that is dedicated to Goddess Parvati & Lord Shiva. The temple is considered an architectural marvel with an estimated 33,000 sculptures and was shortlisted as one of the top 30 nominees for the New Seven Wonders of the World. The corridors and pillars are adorned with wonderful artwork. The outer walls of the main shrines, Meenakshi Amman and Sundareswarar, have breathtakingly beautiful sculptures carved with so much detail. The sculptures depict the mythological stories, Shiva & Parvathi marriage scenes, etc. Besides, Meenakshi Temple is known for its annual ten-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam Festival, celebrated during the months of April and May, which draws millions of tourists and devotees to Madurai.
Koodal Azhagar Temple
Koodal Alagar Temple, also known as Arulmigu Koodal Azhagar Thirukoil, is another prominent temple in Madurai that is well known for its architectural brilliance. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is believed to be older than the Meenakshi temple, and among the 108 Divyadesam Vishnu temples that lie on the 65th spot. Covering an area of 2.5 acres, the unique feature of this temple is the three different postures of Vishnu i.e. standing, sitting, and reclining. The seated Lord Vishnu is locally known as Lord Koodal Alagar, from whom the temple derives its name, the reclining idol is known as Sri Ranganatha, and Sri Surya Narayan Perumal is the name for the standing image of Lord Vishnu. Among the important places to visit in Madurai, this temple possesses wonderful architecture and artwork.
Alagar Kovil Temple
Located in the Alagar Hills, Alagar Kovil, or Kallazhagar Temple is another breathtakingly beautiful temple in Madurai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The statue of the lord is made of stone and is a great masterpiece created by Kallalgar. Here Lord Vishnu presides as goddess Meenakshi’s brother ‘Azhagar’. Apart from that, several statues in different postures of the Lord are enshrined within the same roof. The temple has beautifully decorated large gopurams and pillared mandapams which are designed with finesse and colorful carvings that make it very attractive for the tourists who come here as part of their Tamil Nadu tour packages.
Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple
One of the six abodes of Murugan, the Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple is one of the sacred Hindu temples located in Madurai and among the major Madurai tourist places. Renowned for its 8th-century rock-cut cave, the sanctum sanctorum is constructed by a combination of nine minerals called Navabashana and has the statue of lord Murugan carved in his standing position. Also, the temple houses several other deities such as Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva, and Vishnu. Among several mandapas in the temple, an Aasthaana Mandapam with several artistically carved pillars leads one to the Rajagopuram which is 150 feet high. Besides, a curious feature of this temple is that the Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, which is a rare scene in ancient Hindu temples. The temple draws huge crowds during the annual festival which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Panguni (March / April).
Vandiyur Mariamman Temple
Vandiyur Mariamman Temple is another famous Hindu religious site in Madurai, well-known for its architecture. Situated on the banks of the Vaigai River, the temple was built in honor of Mariamman, the goddess of rain. The temple has a tank that is connected to the Vaigai River through underground channels and is considered the biggest tank in Tamilnadu. The tank is filled with water throughout the year and the idol of the temple was also obtained from the bottom of the tank while it was dug in the olden times and hence the temple was constructed at that place itself. The tank has an idol of Lord Ganesh on a platform and is the center of the famous Float Festival celebrating the birth of King Tirumalai Nayak of Madurai, among the top places to visit near Chennai.
Perched in the hills of Azhagar Kovil, Pazhamudhir Solai is a beautiful temple and among the popular sacred places to visit near Madurai. Built in the memory of Lord Subramaniya, this temple has the largest premises in South India, and is visited by several people throughout the year. People worship here by moving across the periphery of the temple a number of times, with the hope that their wish will come true. Also, the temple has great sculptures of lord Subramanian carved in wood and marble and is a wonderful temple with giant steps in the front of it.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.