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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 the steps.

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.

Courtallam Near 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 immersion.

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 Pandiyan Kingdom.

Thiruvengadam

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 remembered forever.

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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Meenakshi Temple
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