A little bit of history: Madurai has long been the cultural epicentre of Tamil Nadu. Records of the city from the 3rd century BC depict a thriving trading centre, with links not only to other cities in India, but also to Rome and Greece. Under the Pandya kings, the city flourished and became a great centre of literature and learning. From the Pandyas, the city passed into the hands of many conquerors, including the Cholas, the Delhi Sultanate and the Vijayanagara Kingdom.
When the Vijayanagara kingdom collapsed, the Nayaks of Madurai, who had been appointed as local governors, became powerful and independent. It was the Nayaks who in the 17th century, expanded the Meenakshi Temple and brought it to the pinnacle of its glory. In the 18th century, the Nayaks lost control of Madurai to the Nawabs of Arcot, who in turn ceded power to the British East India Company. British control over Madurai endured for 150 years, until Indian independence in 1947.
What to see in Madurai: No visit to Madurai is complete without seeing the grand Meenakshi temple complex. It is a mini-city within itself, spread over 65000 square meters. The temple festivals and rituals define the daily rhythm of life in Madurai.
The temple bazaar is equally interesting, selling everything under the sun, giving us a glimpse of daily life in olden times. There are several other temples, of which some are very large and popular (see the Must-see’s tour). There are monuments as well, such as the beautiful palace of Thirumala Nayak and the Gandhi Museum.
Around Madurai: Madurai is part of the temple circuit of Tamil Nadu. Its proximity to Munnar in Kerala makes it a popular addition to Kerala itineraries as well. Around Madurai is the Chettinad region, known for the elaborate architecture of its mansions, its unique cuisine, and the beauty of small villages set amidst paddy fields. It makes for an interesting day excursion from Madurai.
How to book: The menu on the right contains the day tours which we offer in and around Madurai. To book a tour, or to obtain more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Deepa at +91 98677 07414.
If you are planning a longer trip through South India, we would be happy to recommend a plan based on your interests. For such trips, our packages include itinerary planning, hotels, ground transport, guided tours, as well as other immersive experiences such as cuisine trails, home visits etc.