You will find a ton of wonderful places to visit in Madurai, one of the best tourist places in South India. With a history dating back almost 3,500 years, Madurai is a major cultural and art center of Tamil Nadu. It is fondly referred to as the Athens of the East owing to its identical alleyways and beautiful architecture. History lovers should take a walking tour to completely explore the marvelous past of this awesome city. Make Madurai your travel destination this vacation and explore as many of its amazing attractions as you can! Here’s our take on the best ones below.
- Meenakshi Temple
Among the most beautiful temples in South India, the Meenakshi Temple is a must-visit. The temple is considered to be the focal point of the city because supposedly, the city was designed and constructed around the Shiva lingam which can be found in the temple. Sprawled across 15 acres, the temple complex is home to 12 towers and about 4,500 pillars. You will find this place crowded regardless of when you visit.
- Thirumalai Nayakar Palace
About a kilometer from the Meenakshi Temple and on its south-east, you will find Thirumalai Nayakar Palace – one of the best places to visit in Madurai. The impressive structure is among the best attractions to explore whether you’re on a planned vacation or arriving on last minute flights. Built sometime in the 1600’s by King Thirumalai Nayakar, the palace served as his residence. With a blend of Islamic and Dravidian styles, the architecture of the palace is mesmerizing, to say the least.
- Puthu Mandapam
One of the best places for shopping in Madurai, Puthu Mandapam is also a heritage spot. Enter this spellbinding 17th-century pillared hall located directly opposite the east tower of Meenakshi Temple. You will come across endless rows of shops and tailors selling some of the best fabric you will ever see. Buy anything and everything from scarves and apparel to jewelry and handicraft items. This is one of the places to visit in Madurai if you’re looking to snag cheap replicas of branded stuff.
- Banana Market
Believe it or not, there are reportedly about 16 different types of bananas sold here! Among the most interesting places to visit in Madurai, the wholesale banana market is also one of the best photoshoot places in Madurai. There are scores of tourists perpetually lining up to click pictures of (and with) bananas of various shades, shapes, and sizes. If you wish to explore further, there’s a vegetable market nearby you can stroll through as well.
- Murugan Idli Shop
For lovers of South Indian food, there is no better place to visit than Murugan Idli Shop. Located on West Masi Street, the traditional and unpretentious restaurant is always abuzz with hungry locals and tourists alike. Besides the decor and a typical South Indian vibe, the shop is famed for serving lip-smacking dishes. While idli, dosa and other food items are much sought-after, the main crowd-puller is the perfect blend of spicy chutney power.
- Vilachery Pottery Village
One of the most offbeat places to visit in Madurai, the Vilachery Pottery Village never fails to enthrall art-loving tourists. There are about 200 families that reside here and make clay idols of Hindu deities which are then used during festivals. For instance, the artisans make Bommai Kolu clay dolls for Navratri celebrations, Ganesh idols during Vinayaka Chaturthi, and nativity sets for Christmas. A walk through the village will be among the most interesting strolls you’ll ever take.
If you can spare more than a mere 24 hours on the best places to visit in Madurai, you can visit certain amazing nearby attractions as well. If you’re traveling with your beloved on business class flights, Kodaikanal is the best hill station near Madurai you can halt at. There are several Trichy to Madurai tourist places as well which serve as ideal romantic getaways. Dhanushkodi is among the best picnic spots near Madurai if you’re visiting with family. Thanjavur, Thekkady, and Rameshwaram are other awesome nearby attractions you can enjoy. Alternatively, you can check out Chennai to Madurai tourist places as well. You can look for several other tourist places near Madurai with distance and other details online.
Best time to visit:
Madurai is known to witness a dry, humid, and hot climate for most part of the year. Thereby, the ideal time to explore the amazing places to visit in Madurai is between October and March. Winter (December to February) and monsoon (June to August) are also ideal to visit Madurai. So book cheap flights during any of these seasons and have the best South Indian vacay ever!
How to reach:
You can book flights to Madurai Airport (IXM) which is about 12 km from the city’s center. The airport is well-connected to other major cities in India via domestic flights. For instance, you can book cheap flights to Chennai as well from Madurai in case you wish to enjoy a complete tour of South India. International flights from Dubai and Colombo arrive here as well. Alternatively, the Madurai Junction Railway Station is a good option for those who prefer trains. Also, there is a wide network of national and state highways for those who prefer buses or cabs. So this vacation, enjoy exploring some of the best places to visit in Madurai!