Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises

Tripoto
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Madurai – The first thing that runs across your mind when you hear this name is the city’s association with temples, with Meenakshi Temple being the most obvious answer. We were also of the similar opinion, recollecting a little bit from the history textbooks we skimmed through in school days. However, a recent visit to this sleepy town in South India completely changed our notion of the place as the city continued to pull out surprises one after the other, just like a magician pulls out rabbits from the hat. Here’s what you can do if you happen to visit Madurai.

Get Mesmerized by Meenakshi Amman Temple

Built in 10th Century, Meenakshi Amman Temple is considered to be one of the oldest temples in India and has one of the biggest temple complexes in the world. Each and every corner of this gorgeous temple exudes architectural marvel. The 4 huge Gopurams in four directions outline the temple complex. Each of them are adorned with idols of Gods & Goddesses, a rough estimate is a combined total of around 3000 idols. Vivid and vibrant colours of immediately grab your attention towards them.

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar, and is believed to be their place of wedding. The hallways of the temple have their trademark style on display. The immensely serene atmosphere of the temple will bring you in a state of bliss, as you pass by the magnificent Puthu Mandapam and glorious 1000 Pillar Hall. The Celestial Wedding Hall is all about the grandeur of the place and the temple where the deity is established will bring you at peace amidst chaos.

Remain Awed by the architecture of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal

The more we see the ancient structures, the more respect we garner for the architects and designers. Built 450 years ago, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace is one stunning piece of design. A classic combination of Dravidian & Islamic styles of architecture, the King’s line of thought and love for art is clearly visible in the design.

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Love the Hallways

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Such a grand Palace

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Huge pillars ornate works surround the Royal Courtyard and there is no dearth of photogenic spots in this magnanimous palace. It is said that the palace was 4 times the present structure, and we leave it to the imagination to mold the thoughts around the look and feel of the palace in its heyday. The aura of the place is just amazing, enough to keep you spell bound for a long time.

Experience Heritage stay at Heritage Madurai

You seldom come across the places that look chic on the outside but have maintained a classic connect to the heritage from within. Heritage Madurai Resort is one such place. A one of a kind resort, it showcases a classic blend of vintage decors with modern amenities.

Cozy stays, peaceful environment and delightful setting is all you are set to experience during your stay at this marvelous property. We highly recommend stay at here, to know more about the experience and property, click here.

Explore the Dedicated Markets

One fascinating thing we found about Madurai was the markets. You name a thing and they have a dedicated market only for that thing. Don’t believe? Check the pictures below to believe.

The flower market is a place that bustles in the wee hours of the day. As fragrant as it can be, we bet you can find a flower of the colour you name.

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Madurai’s famous Malli Flowers, marigolds, roses, champa, and hibiscus are a few flowers we could recognise in the market, the scent of the surroundings still tingle in our nostrils.

That's a lot of Onions....

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

For the first time in our life did we see an onion market. Yes, an onion market. And we came to a conclusion that people in Madurai are rich, going by the amount of onions that were there on display.

Appreciate the Art at Vilachery

If you love art works and believe in supporting local & cottage industries, Vilacherry Village is the place for you to be. Known as the Vilachery Art Village, it has upheld the tradition of making clay dolls that are set up on display during Navratri in Tamil Households. Vibrant colours of these dolls definitely brings a smile on your face.

So vibrant and colorful

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir
Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

The Lady hear was weaving a 9 m Saree

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Just in the next lane from where these beautiful idols are made, is a place where beautiful sarees are hand woven. The weavers here have been carrying on the tradition for generations. We were delighted to see the process of weaving, the complex layout of the machine and the beautifully set manual algorithm that weaves a particular design at fixed intervals. Fell completely in love with it.

Hog onto the finger licking delicious local cuisine

The best surprise that Madurai pulled out, which literally swept us off our feet, was the extensive use of meat in their staple food. Yes, this temple town is a Non-Veg Lover’s Paradise. The flavours of the dishes have a dash of Chettinadu Cuisine and will definitely leave a lasting impression on your taste pallets.

Spicy and flavorful Kari Dosa

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Madurai Thali - Actually Mother of Thalis

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Jigarthanda - Similar in taste to that of Falooda, but does not get heavy on belly

Photo of Madurai - A temple town that is full of surprises by Mastane Musafir

Begin your day with fluffy soft idlis at Murugun Idli Shop, hog on to the melt-in-the-mouth meat balls at Amma Mess during lunch, taste the soft and creamy bun parotta on streets near Meenakshi Temple in evening and relish the lovely Kari Dosa with Elambu Roast at Konar Mess for dinner. To top it up, cease the fire in your belly with Famous Jigarthanda, highly recommended, and not to forget the Madurai Halwa.

It is so amazing to see a place that is known worldwide for its temples, has so much more to offer. We loved the surprises Madurai kept throwing at us, making our trip a great and a memorable one!!