Madurai - the Magnificient City of Tamilnadu

This article is about Madurai city, which is one of the most ancient cities, in Tamilnadu. It attracts tourists from many parts of the world. The origin of this city, the most famous temples in and around Madurai, its other importances are described in detail.

Madurai city in Tamilnadu

Madurai being the second largest city of Tamilnadu, is a world famous pilgrim as well as tourist centre. It is also endowed with many special features which are described in detail in this article.

Origin of Madurai city

More than 2500 years ago, there was a forest with Kadamba trees in the place of present Madurai city. A Pandya king named Kulasekaren found a Sivalingam under a Kadamba tree in that forest. He built a temple for the lingam in that place. He also planned and built a lotus shaped city around that temple. On the day of naming ceremony for that newly built city, divine nectar(Madhu) flowed over this city from the head of Lord Shiva as blessings. So the city was named as Mathurapuri, which is now changed into Madurai. That temple is the world famous Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple.

Other names of Madurai

From ancient times, Madurai has various names like
• Kadamba vanam (forest with Kadamba trees)
• Koil managaram (temple city)
• Thoonga nagaram (sleepless and active city)
• Kooldal managaram (four-towered city)

Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple

Golden lotus pond in Meenakshi templeAmong all the temples in this city, Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple is a world famous one and is situated at the heart of the city. This temple with 12 towers covers an area of about 6 hectares.

The main deities are
• God - Shri Sundareswarar
• Goddess - Shri Meenakshi Amman

The Vimanams are gold plated. There are also other deities like
• Shri Mukkuruni Vinayagar
• Shri Murugan
• Shri Siddhar
• Sri Kalyana Sundareswarar
• Shri Durga
• Shri Saraswathi
• Shri Mahalakshmi
• Shri Hanuman

In this temple, there are several festivals all over the year, of which Chitirai festival is very famous and attractive one. The highlight of the Chitirai festival is Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Thirukalyanam. Theppam festival(Jan/Feb)is conducted in Vandiyoor Mariamman Teppakulam. Some other festivals are Vasanthotsavam, Adi pooram, Avani thirunal, Navarathiri etc.
The architectural excellence of this temple is really feast to our eyes. Some examples are:
• Thousand pillar hall
• golden lotus pond
• musical pillars

Shri Koodalazhagar Temple, Madurai

Shri Koodalazhagar temple vimanam

This Vishnu temple (one of 108 tirupathis) is situated very near to Periyar bus stand and Railway junction at Madurai.

• God - Shri Koodalazhagar alongwith Sridevi and Bhoomadevi
• Goddess - Shri Mathuravalli Thayar
• Vimanam - Ashtanga Vimanam

Other shrines within this temple are for
• Shri Andal
• Shri Chakkarathazhwar
• Shri Manavala Maamunigal

Navagrahas are worshipped here which is rare among Vishnu temples.

Shri Madhana Gopalaswamy Temple, Madurai

This Vishnu temple, situated in West Masi Street, is very near to Koodalazhagar temple.
The main deities are
• God - Shri Madhana gopalaswamy alongwith Rukmani and Sathyabama.
• Goddess - Shri Madhanavalli Thayar

Other shrines within this temple are for
• Shri Gajalakshmi
• Shri Chakkarthazhwar
• Shri Lakshmi Narasimhar
• Shri Panchamuka Hanuman
• Shri Durga

Here also Navagrahas are worshipped by the devotees.

Immaiyil Nanmai Tharuvar Temple, Madurai

This Shiva temple is older than Shri Meenakshi amman temple. When Shiva-Parvathi ruled over Madurai in the form of Sundareswarar-Meenakshi, they themselves worshipped in this temple.
The deities here are
• God - Lord shiva as Immaiyil nanmai tharuvar
• Goddess - Madhyapuri Amman
It is situated in West Masi street, Madurai.

Some other important temples in Madurai

Adi Chokkanathar temple is situated near Simmakkal bus stop in Madurai. The deities are Adi Chokkanathar and MeenakshiAmman.
Shri Murugan temple(Dindugal road Murugan temple) at Nethaji Road, Madurai.
Shri Anandha Ayyappan temple at West masi street, Madurai.
Shri Nehru Aalala Sundara Vinayagar temple at the junction of North masi - West masi streets, Madurai.
Shri Navaneetha Krishnaswamy temple at North masi street, Madurai.
Shri Pechiamman temple at Pechiamman Padithurai, Madurai.
Shri Chellathamman temple near Simmakkal, Madurai.
Shri Mangala Anjaneyar temple at Simmakkal.
Shri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple and Shri Karupanaswamy temple at Tallakulam, Madurai.

Famous Temples around Madurai

Vandiyoor Shri Mariamman temple is at Vandiyoor, nearly 5km from Madurai. The famous Vandiyoor Mariamman Teppakulam is situated beside this temple.

Vandiyoor Shri Veera Raghava Perumal temple is also at Vandiyoor.

Thiruparankundram Temple is the first among the six divine abodes of Shri Murugan, which is about 8 km from Madurai.In this place, the celestial wedding of Murugan-Deivayanai took place.

Shri Yoga Narasimhar Temple is at Narasingam, near Othakadai, about 8 km from Madurai. This is a rock-cut temple on the foot of Anamalai hills and is more than 5000 years old. The main deities are
    i) God - Shri Yoga Narasimhar
    ii) Goddess - Shri Narasingavalli Thayar
Sri Kalazhagar Temple at Azhagarkoil, being one of 108 tirupathis, is nearly at 20 km from Madurai. The deities are
    i)God - Shri Paramaswamy (Kalazhagar, Sundararajar)
    ii) Goddess - Kalyana Sundaravalli Thayar
    iii) Vimanam - Soma Chandha Vimanam
Pazhamuthirsolai, the sixth divine abode of Shri Murugan is on Azhagar hills at Azhagar koil. Here, Shri Murugan is alongwith Valli & Deivayanai.

Thirumogur Shri Kalamega Perumal Temple, being one of 108 thirupathis, is at a distance of 20 km from Madurai and near Melur. Here the deities are
    i)God - Shri Kalamega Perumal
    ii) Goddess - Shri Mohanavalli Thayar
    iii) Vimanam - Kethaki Vimanam
Ih this temple, Shri Chakkrathazhwar is in separate shrine and many devotees worship here to attain their wishes.

Shri Badrakali Amman Temple at Madapuram, is about 30 km from Madudrai. Here Shri Badrakali amman is under the sky without any roof. This temple attracts many devotees from various places.

Other Importances of Madurai

Vandiyoor Mariamman TeppakulamOther than temples, some other importances of Madurai are listed below:

• As Madurai, being situated on the banks of Vaigai river, had developed human culture, it is called as Athens of the East.
• In Madurai only, Lord Shiva had performed his 64 Thiruvilaiyadals (divine dramas).
• Tamil Sangams have been founded in Madurai for the purpose of enrichment of Tamil language.
• Madurai was the capital of the ancient Pandyan Kingdom.
• Madurai has three hills(Yanaimalai, Nagamalai, Pasumalai) as its boundaries.
• Madurai Kamaraj University is in Nagamalai Pudukottai,Madurai.
• Famous places to see are
    i) Thirumalai Naickar Mahal
    ii)Gandhi Museum
    iii)Rajaji children Park
• Madurai is famous for its Jasmine flowers (MaduraiMalli) and Jasmine flowers are exported to foreign countries for producing perfumes.
• Madurai Sungudi sarees are very famous.
• Madurai is famous for the beverage Jil Jil Jigarthanda.

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