Madurai, which is also known as ‘Athens of the East’ is one of the major cities in Tamil Nadu. Ruled by several dynasties Madurai has some shining examples of the cultural heritage and blend of the finest architectural designs and rich historic dynasties, all that makes this city so special and famous. With divine aura, unique rituals, and amazing enough to make visitors explore here. The religious shrines, the city’s rich cultural heritage, people’s architectural skills will amaze you. Enrich your spiritual experience and include Madurai at the top of your religious tour bucket list and trust me you won’t regret doing this. Let’s start with some famous temples here.
Most Famous Temples in & Around Madurai
Meenakshi Amman Temple
One of the most famous and eminent Hindu temples sitting on the southern bank of Vaigai River, this temple is considered to be the most sacred and outstanding pilgrimage for Hindu devotees which is dedicated to Goddess Parvati known as Meenakshi and Lord Shiva, her spouse. With 14 gopurams with the tallest one of 170 feet, this beautiful temple showcases sculptural artistry and has a Dravidian style of architectural design. Spread over 45 acres, this temple houses 33,000 sculptures along with several shrines, pillars, corridors that are carved with wonderful artwork and depicts the stories about the marriage scenes of Shiva and Parvati. There are many festivals that are celebrated here, and draws the attention of lakhs of devotees.
- Address: East Chitrai Street, Venmani Road, Sellur, Madurai
- How To Reach: The nearest railway station is Madurai JUnction which is 1 km away, the nearest airport is Madurai airport is 10 km from the city. It can be reached by local buses and cabs.
- Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
- Temple Website (If any): https://www.maduraimeenakshi.org/
- Best Time To Visit: Chitra, Avanimoola, and Masi Mandala festival and Navaratri festival time.
- Top Attractions: Architectural beauty, festivals.
Koodal Azhagar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu and located in the center of the city of Madurai, this temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams. Koodal, another name for Madurai and Azhagar here means ‘the beautiful one’. Apart from it, the temple is also famous for its awe-struck architecture and which are admired by everyone. The temple features the three postures of Lord Vishnu sitting in different positions that are sitting, standing and reclining nd its meticulously carved out of granite. Be ready for the crowd here to see as many people come here to worship daily.
- Address: Near Periyar Bus Stand, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
- How To Reach: Central bus stand is the nearest bus stand Madurai railway is the nearest railway station. Madurai airport is 10 km from the city and can be reached easily by cabs and auto-rickshaws.
- Timings: 05.30 AM – 12.00 PM and 04.00 PM – 09.00 PM
- Temple Website (If any): http://koodalalagartemple.tnhrce.in/
- Best Time To Visit: The 10 days float festival (month of Maasi on Star Makham).
- Top Attractions: Architecture of the temple, shrines, and festivals here.
Tirupparam Kunram Murugan Temple
This huge and carved in rock temple is devoted to son of Lord Shiva, Kartikeya who is known as Lord Muruga. With its awe-struck designs, this temple is one of the only temples in which Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu face each other. The temple dates back to the 6th century, is one of the ancient temples which has other shrines also of Lord Shiva, Lord Vinayak, and Goddess Durga.
- Address: Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu 625005
- How To Reach: Its only 8 km from the railway station and 9 km from the airport. It can be reached by taxi and cab which is easily available.
- Timings: 5.30 AM-1 PM, 4 PM-9 PM
- Temple Website (If any): http://www.thiruparankundrammurugantemple.tnhrce.in/
- Best Time To Visit: Brahmotsavam festival time
- Top Attractions: Famous holy sites for the worship of Lord Shiva.
Azhagar Kovil Temple
One of the most celebrated temples around Madurai with pillared mandapams, beautiful large gopurams devoted to Lord Vishnu. The shrine of Karupana Swami is present on the main tower entrance which remains closed always except for one day in a year. With an immense history, these temples are famous for their historical scriptures which are related to the inhabitants of the Tamilian village Alagar koyil. The important festival celebrated here is Chithirai Thiruvizha in the Tamil month Chithirai.
- Address: A.Valayapatti, Tamil Nadu 624401
- How To Reach: The Nearest railway station is the Madurai junction and the airport is 31 km from here.
- Timings: 6.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 3.30 PM to 8.00 PM
- Temple Website (If any): http://www.alagarkoil.tnhrce.in/
- Best Time To Visit: Chitra festival ( on full moon day) in April and May every year.
- Top Attractions: Festivals.
Vandiyur Mariamman Temple
Dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of Rain, Mariamman, the temple has a legacy of 2000-year-old. Sitting on the banks of the Vaigai river, the temple has its own huge water pond also which is called Vandiyur Mariamman. This is one of the famous religious sites in Madurai which organizes many festivals here and one of the famous festivals here is a float festival of Thaipusam which is of 10 days in the month of January and the temple glitters and beautifully lit up on these days.
- Address: Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple, Madurai
- How To Reach: A 30 mins drive from the Madurai rail junction and Madurai Periyar bus stand is the nearest.
- Timings: 5:30AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM
- Best Time To Visit: Float Festival in January
- Top Attractions: Festivals.
Shri Solaimalai Murugan Temple
Located on the top of a hill and surrounded by dense forest, this temple is one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan and only one among Murugan’s Aaru Padai Veedu temples. For the one who wants to learn more about the lore and culture can visit here as the temple has a vast history. Tamil New Year, Vaikasi Visakam, AadiKruthika, and Annual Abhisek festival, Skanda Shashti, Tirukarthikai and Panguni Uthiram are some of the festivals celebrated here.
- Address: Alagar Hills R.F., Tamil Nadu 624401
- How To Reach: Azhagar Kovil is 23 km from Madurai central bus stand, 3 km from the temple. Temple authorities organize bus service from azhagar kovil to the temple.
- Timings: 5.30 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 9 PM.
- Best Time To Visit: Annual Abhisek festival
- Top Attractions: Festivals and location.
Narasingam Yoga Narasimha Perumal Temple
Built atop the Yanaimalai Hills, this cave temple is dedicated to Yoga Narasimha Perumal whose idol is carved out of the hill itself. Featuring a lion face and the goddess Lakshmi in his heart, the temple is built during the Pandya Dynasty in 770 AD. Narasimha Jayanthi festival and Gajendra Moksha festival are the festivals celebrated here.
- Address: Narasingam, Tamil Nadu 625104
- How To Reach: The nearest railway station is, Madurai junction and the nearest bus stand is the Matuthavani bus stand from where autos and buses can be taken to reach the temple.
- Timings: 7 am-12 noon and 4 pm-8 pm
- Best Time To Visit: Gajendra Moksha festival
- Top Attractions: Architecture.
Sri Mavoottru Velappar Temple
Devoted to Lord Murugan, this temple is located in dense forests and mountains and one has o take the plight of 300 steps to reach the temple. Paliyars are the local tribes here that conduct the puja here. The natural spring that comes out from the stream on the side of the temple and it is said that eating food cooked in this water and taking bath can cure the diseases.
- Address: Mavoottru Velappar Temple, Varusanadu hills, Mavoottru road, Tamil Nadu 625705
- How To Reach: The distance between the temple and Madurai is 98 km and the bus or train can be taken to reach here.
- Timings: 6:30AM to 12:00 PM and 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM.
- Best Time To Visit: Thai and Adi Amavasya days in July and August
- Top Attractions: The natural spring and the scenic environment.
Devoted to Lord Krishna and his consort Goddess Radha, ISCKON is not only popular in India but also in Abroad. The prominent festivals celebrated here are Radha Ashtami, Gaur Purnima or Holi, Ekadashi, and Sri Krishna Janmashtami. The devotees indulge themselves in the prayers and kirtans done here to celebrate the love for Hare Krishna.
- Address: No.12/37, Mani Nagaram Main Road, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
- How To Reach: Ths temple can be accessed via all transportation modes and is just 2 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. 3 KM from the Madurai railway junction and 10km from Madurai airport.
- Timings: 7:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 5:00 PM – 8:15 PM
- Temple Website (If any): http://www.iskcon.org/
- Best Time To Visit: During festivals.
Sri Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple
Dedicated to Lord Murugan, a temple is a sacred place for Hindus and the richest temple in Tamil Nadu in terms of revenues which is generated by the offerings of the devotees. Aarupadal is the third and most predominant shrine among the six temples of Lord Muruga. Situated on the hill Sivagiri, the temple was built during the 9th century by the Kings of Chera dynasty.
- Address: Netaji road, Madurai- 625 001
- How To Reach: The nearest railway station is the Madurai railway junction(4.2 km). The nearest airport is Madurai(11 km).
- Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
- Best Time To Visit: September-October.
- Top Attractions: Alankara, dressing of Lord Muruga.
Filled with big and small temples, Madurai has so many things to offer you and amaze you at your every step. With some glorious history, this places captures the heart of the visitors here. So, Make some time, and soak yourself in the beauty of this place.