Meenakshi Temple is also known
as Meenakshi Amman Temple and attracts tourists and
pilgrims alike. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple
is named after the deity and goddess Parvati. Sundareswarar
means beautiful Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati is called
Meenakshi. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva
visited Madurai to marry Parvati since Madurai has been
The temple complex extends over an area of 6 hectares
and dates back to 2500 AD. The temple is known for
its beautiful architecture and has 12 gateways (Gopurams),
which are 45 to 50 metres in height. The tallest Gopuram
of the temple is the southern Gopuram. This gateway
is as high as nine storeys, with images of numerous
gods and goddesses.
The temple comprises 985 pillars and 14 towers, with
two towers dedicated to the main deities. The present
structure of the temple has been built in 16th century
by Nayak King of Madurai Vishwanatha Nayak. Tourists
can also get a bird's eye view of the city from the
southern Gopuram of the temple.
|Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Thirumalai Nayak Palace was built
in 16th century by Nayak ruler Thirumalai Nayak. This
palace depicts beautiful Indo-Sarcenic architecture.
The main highlight of the palace is the light and sound
show which is based on the life of Silapathikaram and
Originally, the temple was four times bigger than
what is present today. The palace consists of 248
pillars, each 58 feet in height. The ceiling of the
palace has paintings depicting Shaivite and Vaishnavite
themes. Moreover, the stucco architecture works on
the domes and arches of the palace exhibit architectural
Furthermore, items like furniture and utensils used
by the kings are displayed in the palace. The major
attractions of the palace are the entrance gate, dancing
hall and the main hall. The palace was renovated in
1866-72 by Lord Napier.
Gandhi Museum consists of memorabilia
of Mahatma Gandhi and is one of the five Gandhi Museums
in the country. The museum houses blood stained dhoti
that he was wearing at the time of his assassination
along with photographs of his lifetime.
The museum was earlier the palace of Rani Mangammal
of the Nayak dynasty. It was later converted into
Gandhi Museum by the Gandhi Memorial Trust after the
assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
The premises of the museum have a bookshop, which
provides a collection of books on the life and philosophy
of Mahatma Gandhi. The museum encompasses an open
air theatre which can accommodate around 8,000 people.
This theatre is used to organise cultural programmes,
weekly film shows and public meetings on special occasions.
|Kazimar Big Mosque and
Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara
is situated at a distance of a kilometre from the Madurai
Railway Junction and within 500 m of the Periyar bus
stand. This mosque was constructed in 13th century by
Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who came from Oman. He had
received this piece of land from Pandya king, Kulasekara
The mosque is popularly known as Periya Pallivasal,
meaning the Big Mosque, which can accommodate around
2,500 people. The Maqbara, which is the dargah of
descendants of Prophet Muhammad, is located within
the premises of the mosque.
The giant Vaigai Dam on the river
Vaigai is located close to Andipatti and is the source
of water of irrigation to the farms in and around the
region. The Agriculture Research Institute is close
by the dam so that comprehensive research can be carried
out on pulses, cereals and grains. Lush greenery flourishes
in and around the dam while the reservoir is perfect
Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple
is located at a distance of 8 km from the centre of
Madurai city. A rock-cut temple carved out of the mountain
is considered as one of the abodes of Lord Murugan.
Built in 8th century by Pandya King, the shrine in
the temple is cut out of a solid rock. The temple
houses shrines of Lord Subramanya, Lord Shiva, Lord
Vinayaka, Goddess Durga, Lord Vishnu and other deities.
There are number of cubical pillars with lotus medallions
at the entrance of temple. The temple has innumerable
cave shrines that are small and approached through
narrow dark passages. The inscriptions on the chamber
walls are believed to date back to the early medieval
The temple is a place from where sun and moon can
be seen together at different times of the day. This
temple is considered holy for conducting marriages,
as it is believed that marriage of Lord Subramanya
was celebrated in this temple.
|St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church
is located on the East Veli Street in Madurai. Situated
within 2 km towards south-east direction of Madurai
Railway Station, this church is one of the oldest Roman
Catholic churches in India. It attracts lots of tourists
owing to its European and Continental style architecture.
The church encompasses bell towers which are Roman
in style and are 42 m high. Furthermore, it was found
in the year 1840 and dedicated to Viagulamatha, who
was known as Viagulamatha Koil.
The church was rebuilt again in 1916 and in 1938
the bishop’s throne was installed. The church
was elevated to the status of cathedral in 1969.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace of Kanyakumari,
a symbol of rich cultural heritage, is one of the chief
attractions of Tamil Nadu. Padmanabhapuram Palace is
located in Padmanabhapuram village of Kanyakumari District,
nearby Thuckalay, at a distance of about 15 km from
Nagercoil and 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is rated among the top ten
palaces in the world. The Rajas of Travancore ruled
the city of Travancore from this fort till 1790. Later
the capital of Travancore was shifted from Padmanabhapuram
to Thiruvananthapuram, situated in the adjacent state
Padmanabhapuram Palace that spread over a sprawling
6 acres is situated at the foot of Veli Hills of Western
Ghats. This Palace was built by Iravipillai Iravivarma
Kulasekhara Perumal in the 17th century. Padmanabhapuram
Palace is mostly a wooden structure that exhibits
the traditional architectural style of Kerala.
|Vivekananda Rock Memorial
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is dedicated
to Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
Paramahamsa, the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. Vivekananda
Rock Memorial was built between 1963 and 1970 in red
and blue granite. It is situated on the top of a rock
island, at a height of about 17 meters above sea level,
covering an area of about 6 acres.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial is about 490 meters offshore
nearby the confluence of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal
and Indian Ocean. In 1970, Swami Vireshwarananda,
the president of Ramakrishna Mission, consecrated
Vivekananda Rock Memorial and it was opened to the
public by V.V. Giri, the then President of India.
Vivekananda Rock Memorial consists of two main structures
– Vivekananda Mandapam and Shripada Mandapam.
Shripada Mandapam is situated on Shripada Parai, an
ancient sacred spot believed to be blessed by Goddess
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial or
Gandhi Mandapam is one among the frequented tourist
attractions in Kanyakumari. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
was built to honour Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the
The Memorial was built in 1956, in the Orissa temple
architectural style. The memorial is built in the
same place where his ashes were kept for the public
to pay homage, before its immersion in the confluence.
The central structure of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
is 79 feet high, which represents his age at the time
of his death. The Gandhi Memorial is designed in such
a way that at noon, on October 2nd every year, the
sun rays fall on the exact spot where the ash of Gandhiji
was kept before immersion.
Thiruvalluvar Statue is a popular
tourist spot in Kanyakumari. Thiruvalluvar Statue is
one of the biggest statues in India located atop a small
island in Kanyakumari, nearby the confluence of the
Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.
Thiruvalluvar Statue was built in the year 2000 to
commemorate Thiruvalluvar who was a renowned ancient
Tamil saint and poet who wrote Thirukkural.
The statue of Thirukkural stands on a 3 – tier
pedestal, known as Atharapeedam. Atharapeedam is surrounded
by the 38 feet high Alankara Mandapam. There are ten
elephant statues surrounding the Alankara Mandapam
that symbolise the ten directions – eight for
earth, one for sky and one for the space down.
The statue of Thiruvalluvar is so designed that it
reflects the structure of Thirukkural. Thirukkural,
‘The Sacred Couplets’, has three sub sections,
which are the Books of Aram, Porul and Inbam.
Kanyakumari Beach is a beach destination
as well as religious spot located towards the southern-most
tip of peninsular India. The sun set and sun rise at
Kanyakumari Beach, especially during Chaitrapurnima
(full moon days in April), are highly popular among
visitors. During Chaitrapurnima, visitors can watch
both sunset and moon rise simultaneously at Kanyakumari
Kanyakumari Beach has rocky shores and the sea is
rough due to the confluence of the three waters –
Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. The sand
of Kanyakumari Beach is famous for its softness and
There is a light house at Kanyakumari Beach from
where panoramic views of the sea are available.
Kanyakumari Temple or the Kanyakumari
Bhagavathiamman Temple is a chief attraction of Kanyakumari
and is dedicated to the virgin Goddess Kanyakumari,
an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi.
Goddess Kanyakumari is the presiding deity of Kanyakumari.
As per legends, the marriage between Goddess Kanyakumari
and Lord Shiva did not take place, as a result of
which the Goddess determined to remain a virgin. It
is believed that the rice and cereals which were meant
for the marriage were left uncooked and they turned
to stones. The stones resembling cereals can be seen
The Kumari Amman Temple of Kanyakumari has a peculiar
architectural style which is an amalgamation of the
architectural styles of different eras. Kumari Amman
Temple was originally built by the kings of the Pandya
Dynasty in the 8th century. It was later renovated
by the Chola, Vijayanagara and Nayaka rulers.
Located at a distance of 14 km
from the town of Nagercoil at Puliyoorkurichi on the
Thiruvananthapuram – Nagercoil National Highway,
Udayagiri Fort stands as a remnant of the historic Travancore
Udayagiri Fort is an ancient fort which was constructed
in 1600 AD. It was later re-built by the Travancore
King Marthanda Varma between 1741 – 1744. Udayagiri
Fort was an important garrison town for the Travancore
kings. Later it came under the control of the East
India Company in the 19th century.
During the reign of Marthanda Varma, Udayagiri Fort
was known by the name De Lannoy's Fort or Dillannai
Kottai. De Lannoy was a Dutch general who was defeated
by Marthanda Varma in the battle at Vattakottai Fort.
He became the trusted General of Marthanda Varma and
remained loyal to him for 37 years.
Udayagiri Fort encloses the tomb of De Lannoy, inside
a chapel. The tombs of De Lannoy's wife and son can
also be seen here. A foundry for casting guns can
also be seen in the fort. The fort also encloses a
Biodiversity Park where visitors can see deer, ducks,
birds and more than 100 varieties of trees.