If you have been
stunned by the rich heritage and architectural splendor of Madurai,
hold on, the city has much more to offer. There are a number of
tourist places around the temple city, to make your trip memorable.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, these excursions not
only provide relief but also rejuvenate your senses completely. So
pick up your bags and move on to explore some of the most popular as
well as the most exotic locations of the India.
Rameshwaram (167 kms)
The sacred island town of Rameswaram at the extreme south-eastern
limit of the Indian Peninsula, has one of India's most venerated
temples. A fine example of South Indian architecture, the temple is
renowed for its many pillared corridors, about 1220 metres in
length. this is the Mecca for Hindus. For a truly devout Hindu, the
quest for salvation begins in Varanasi and culminates in Rameswaram.
According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, this is the place that Lord
Rama sanctified by worshipping Siva after the war against Ravana,
thus making it sacred to both Saivites and Vaishnavites.
Ramanathaswamy temple situated close to the sea on the eastern side
of the Island is known for its magnificent structure, long corridors
and aesthetically carved pillars lining it. The corridor is the
longest in Asia. It is 197 metres long east-west, and 133 metres in
length on south-north. The temple was built by the rulers of
different dynasties in different periods from 12th century onwards.
The importance of modern day Rameswaram arises from the fact that
apart from being a major tourist attraction, it is also one of the
leading marine food centres of the South. There is an Indo-Norwegian
Fisheries Project at Mandapam to help develop the fishing industry
on modern lines
Palani (111.3 kms)
111.3 kms from Madurai is the temple dedicated to Lord Subramanyam.
The temple is located on top of a hill 180 meter high. the temple
attracts many devotees and people coming to Madurai do not miss
visiting Palani. Important religious place for Hindus where the
famous temple of Lord Subramanya is adorned. This temple is situated
on a hill top and is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. The
presiding deity here is called Dandayuthapani and the idol is made
of medicinal herbs. There is an electrically operated winch from the
foot to the top of the hill for those pilgrims who prefer not to use
Thiruchendur (181 Kms)
This beautiful shore temple is one of the six abodes of Lord
Subramanya. It is believed to be the place where Subramanya once
offered victory prayers to Lord Siva.
Sri Andal Temple Srivilliputtur (80 kms)
The Tower of this temple is the emblem of Tamil Nadu Government.
Srivilliputhur is a small town and the birth place of the
saint-poetess Sri Andal. The Andal temple has two main shrines
dedicated to Vatapatrasayi and Andal. The gopuram(tower) of the
temple is 58 metres high and the ratha(car) which is one of the
biggest in South India has beautiful carvings from the scriptures.
Thenkasi (165 KMS)
Courtallam is located about 167 kms on the Western Ghats and is an
excellent health resort in this part of the country. This place is
also known as the 'Spa of the South'. Courtallam is located just 160
kms from Madurai. This place has nine splendid waterfalls which
attracts a large number of visitors. Coutrallam is one of the major
tourist attractions of the state. The waters run through forests of
herbs before their descent and thus have a soothing effect on young
and old alike. Apart from the falls, there is a temple here which is
dedicated to Lord Siva. The presiding deity is Thirukutralanathar.
The temple has several inscriptions relating to Chola and Pandya
kings. About a furlong away from here, there is yet another small
temple called Chitra Sabha(hall of pictures) which is supposed to be
one of the five sabhas where Lord Nataraja performed the Cosmic
Dance. TTDC offers here a boat house accommodation apart from the
restaurant. The best season to visit this health resort is between
June and September.
Kanyakumari (246 KMS)
Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of peninsular India. The glory
of this place lies in its spectacular sunrise and sunset, which are
unique, because the phenonmenon takes place at the point where the
three seas ie., the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of
Bengal meet. This the only place in India where on a full moon day,
one can see the sunset and the moon rise simultaneously.
Gandhi Memorial at Kanyakumar
A portion of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was immersed in the three
seas and to keep alive the memory of the Father of the Nation, the
Gandhi Mandapam was built at the place where the ashes were kept for
public view. On 2nd October, every year(Mahatma's birth day) the
sun's rays fall at the exact spot where the ashes were kept before
Vivekanandar Rock at Kanyakumari
Off the shore at Kaniyakumari, southeast of the Kumari Amman Temple,
there are two rocks from where one can clearly see the land's end of
India. One of these rocks is called sripada parai which means the
rock that has been blessed by the touch of the feet of the goddess.
The serenity of this place prompted the great philosopher-leader,
Swami Vivekananda to go into the meditation. It was here that
Vivekananda, a simple monk, was transformed into a powerful
crusader. This rock is now called Vivekananda Rock on which is built
the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. Constructed in 1970, it is an unique
memorial which has adapted the architectural style of all the
regions of India.
Suchindram (247 KMS)
The presiding deity at the Thanumalayan temple here is a
representation of the Hindu trinity of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. The
temple has a collection of art treasures belonging to various ages.
There are inscriptions dating back to the 9th century. Of particular
note are the temple tower, musical pillars and the Hanuman statue.
Kodaikanal (115 KMS)
One of the best hill stations in India and one of the few in South
India, Kodaikkanal or Kodai is a very beautiful place near Madurai.
It takes just 121 kms of travel to reach Kodai. Kodai is located
2130 m above the sea level in the Western ghats. It is a well known
hill station located 90 kms from Dindigul. This beautiful hill
station is one of the most famous tourist spots in the South. At a
height of 2133 metres above the sea level, Kodai, as it is popularly
known, is set amidst the wooded slopes and jungles or sholays of the
ghats, making for a very pleasant climate the year round. This hill
station is famours for hill plantains and plums. Several varieties
of flowers abound here, including the Kurinji, which blossoms once
in twelve years.
Ooty (307 KMS)
Ootacamund, the queen of the hill stations of South India, is
situated in the Nilgiris at an altitude of 2240 metres. One can see
many profiles of nature, each with a distinctive orandeur. Ooty is
nited for its extraordinary scenic beauty and salubrious climate
amidst the "Nilgiris" or "Blue Mountains".
Periyar Wild Life Sancctuary (Tekkadi) (139.3 kms)
One of the well known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar
sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also
called the Tekkadi wild life sanctuary, this place is appropriate to
watch and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The forest
of this sanctuary slope into the man made lake at the bottom of the
hill. This lake serves as the water hole for the animals and they
come here to drink or bathe. Thus one gets a good view of the
animals when they come to the lake. There are Elephants, Gaur,
Sambhar and even tiger which can be spotted here. There are boat
services which takes the visitor around the lake. The Periyar
wildlife sanctuary is located 139.3 kms from Madurai. The best
season visit the park is between October to June.
Vaigai Dam ( 67 KMS )
On the way to Periyar wildlife, sanctuary is the Vaigai dam, a
popular picnic spot.Man-made gardens on one side of the dam compete
with the rugged naturalness Of the mountains, that border the river
on the other side. On Sundays, the dam site Is illuminated. About
35-km farther east, on the way to Periyar, are the Surili
Waterfalls, another picnic spot. The dam is situated about 75 km
from the city and Is well connected by regular buses.
Thiruvvadavur (29.3 KMS)
29.3-km north east of Madurai is the birthplace of saint
Manickavasagar, a great Saivite poet who was a minister in the
Towards west of
Madurai is beautiful temple on the left bank of river Vaigai
Dedicated to Lord Siva. The drive from Madurai to this place under
shady trees Surrounded by plantain groves and paddy fields will be
Kumbakkarai Water Falls (87.1 kms)
Located amidst the splendid beauty of the Kodai Hills, the
Kumbakkarai Water Falls lie at a distance of 105 km from Madurai.
These falls serve as a perfect destination for trekkers. Enjoying
the scintillating water of the falls and then exploring the pristine
beauty of the woods is a unique experience.
Meghamalai (117 kms)
Megamalai is located on the slopes of the Western Ghats, amidst the
lush green Tea plantations and Cardamom estates. It is popularly
called 'High Wavy Mountains'. It is a cool and misty mountain range
and lies at a distance of 117 km from Madurai.
Suruli Falls (123 kms)
Situated amidst rich flora fauna, Suruli Falls serve as a perfect
picnic spot. They lie on the way to Periyar National Park, at a
distance of 123 km from Madurai. The falls originate from the
Megamalai hills and descend from a height of 150 feet.
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