Thursday, January 30, 2014

Madurai

During our last vacation to India, we visited Madurai.  We have never been to Madurai before.  So it was fascinating.  Some facts about Madurai.
 
Madurai is more than 2500 years old.
 
It is the 2nd largest city in Tamil Nadu, next only to Chennai. (Sorry Coimbatore. You may be the 2nd largest metropolitan city.)
 
It is said that once it was the seat of Tamil learning.

This city was planned and built in shape of a lotus. (BJP influence? No no. Not 2500 years ago.)
 
There are so many tourist attractions.  Since we stayed only for 2 days, we could visit only 4 places. 
 
Meenakshiamman Temple.  It is believed Lord Indra constructed this temple.  This temple was destroyed by Malik Kafur.  It was rebuilt by the second Nayak King, Thirumalai Nayak, in 1623.  It was in the list of top 30 nominees for the “new 7 wonders of the world”.
 
Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal.  This palace was built around 1626 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak. Architecture is a combination of Dravidian and Islamic styles.  There is a light and sound show in the evening narrating the story of Silappathikaram, both in Tamil and English languages.  We were kind of disappointed because we had too much expectations.  We somehow thought it would be something similar to Musical Fountain show in Akshardham in New Delhi.
 
Aayiram Kaal Mandapam (1000 Pillar Hall).  This was built in 1569. An engineering marvel.  It is said each pillar, when struck, produced different musical notes.  Over the years it has lost that ability.
 
Murugan Temple in Thiruparamkundram.  This is the first and foremost temple for Lord Muruga in India.  This is the first veedu (camp) of Lord Muruga’s Aarupadaiveedu   Aarupadaiveedu means six battle camps for Lord Muruga.

Finally, how can you leave Madurai without drinking Jigarthanda.  I am told it means cooling of heart.  Very famous in Madurai.  It is supposed to cool your body and heart during summer.  So we ordered not one but 2 large glasses for each of us.  Tasted good. I don’t know if it cooled our body and heart.  But it sure did raise our sugar level.
 
Here are a few photos.  (I could not take any photo inside Meenakhamman Temple and Aayiram Kaal Mandapam because the week before our visit, there was some bomb blast in Hyderabad.  Therefore, they prohibited any camera temporarily for 10 days.  If they banned cameras permanently I can live with it.  I do not understand the logic of temporarily banning cameras in Madurai for 10 days as a result of a bomb blast in Hyderabad.)

There is a saying in Tamil “Kumbakonathil idi idithaal Kutralathil mazhai peyyum”.  In my English translation, I will change the names of the cities for betting understanding.  Here goes: If there is a thunder in Ahmedabad, it will rain in Allahabad.  Same way – Bomb blast in Hyderabad, ban cameras for just 10 days in Madurai.  That too, only during our visit.

King Thirumalai Nayak
 
Meenakshiamman Temple 
 
 
Entrance to the Mahal (Palace)
 
 
 
King's Throne
 
Palace Museum Central Hall 
 
Tools used 100,000 years ago 
 
10th Century Thematic Sculpture
 
Palm Leaf Manuscripts
 
Evening Light & Sound Show
 
Aayiram Kaal Mandapam (1000 Pillar Hall)
Kind Courtesy of www.photostrophe.com 
 
Murugan Temple -  Thiruparamkundram
 
 
Our Jigarthanda 
 

PS: I want to thank Mr. Ragu Lakshminaarayanan of www.photostrophe.com for allowing me to use his photo of Aayiram Kaal Mandapam. 

39 comments:

  1. I love Madurai too particularly the Meenakshi Amman temple. But I wish the city corporation would take some interest in dealing with the traffic congestion

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like Jigarthanda. I tried some replicas in Chennai, but they were not up to the mark. Did you go to Murugan Idly shop? The one in Madurai is too good. But, one thing I have noticed is, you can even eat food on the road-side aachi kadai in Madurai and it tastes so good!!

    Need to visit Madurai someday, as a tourist! :)

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
  3. Madurai Meenakshi temple is just amazing. I visited Madurai when I was a kid and don't remember much. Thanks for the virtual tour SG.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments Meera. Lot of roadside shops contribute to traffic congestion.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. I am glad you also like Jigarthanda. In Madurai, we did not go to Murugan Idly shop. Instead, we had lunch at the original College House Restaurant in Town Hall Road.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for your comments Ash. Time to plan another visit to Madurai.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Madurai is more like cultural capital of tamil Nadu I feel. The grandeur of Meenakshi Kovil is a feast to our eyes. One of my friends from Tamil Nadu once quipped that an indirect way of inquiring about the dominance in a household is asking if your house is Madurai or Tanjavur? Too bad about the ban on cameras, many things in life defy logic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for your comments Reshma. Madurai is the cultural capital of Tamilnadu. To inquire about the dominance of a household is to ask "Is your house Madurai or Chidambaram". Madurai is ruled by Goddess Meenakshi and Chidambaram is ruled by Lord Nataraja (Shiva).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely photos..They reminded me of my trip to Madurai..I loved the place..

    meenakshi temple is so huge..

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for your comments Renu. I am glad you liked my photos.

    ReplyDelete
  11. One of my fav places too. i Loved the clicks. makes me all nostalgic ..:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. some lovely pics and info about madurai. Is there a sound and light show there?

    I voted for madurai meenakshi temple when it was nominated for the new seven wonders of the world. It was amongst the top 30.

    I have passed by and stopped at madurai on my way to tirunelveli and munnar but never gone around. Must go as a tourist and taste that jigarthanda.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Loved the Madurai visit., This is one place I used to visit frequently as I was in Dindigul. You could have included one more Arupadai veedu of Muruga which is just a distance of 8-10 Kms from Madurai,pazhamudir cholai. Try to visit that next time.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for your comments Menachery. And, welcome to my blog. I am glad you liked these photos.

    Menachery, please visit here as often as possible. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for your comments Asha. Yes, there is a sound and light show at Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal. But we were not impressed. May be we expected too much. Would want to visit Madurai again just for jigarthanda.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for your comments Chitra. We stayed in Madurai for only 2 days and therefore could not visit all the places we wanted to see. During our next trip, we plan to include Pazhamudir Cholai and Azhagar Koil.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love the post! It was easy to follow, funny enough to remember the facts and wonderful with photographs! I am stunned by the beauty of the temple architecture! Thank you for arising a desire to visit Madhurai :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had been to Madurai on a couple of times a decade ago. The serenity of the the temple of course captures our attention.But the the civic sense of the people? The sides of the road to the vehicle were dirtied with excrement.Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Probably the best post about Madurai - short and crisp. I have always visited the Meenakshi temple and never others. The four entrances always confuse me and I dont get to know which way I entered or exited.

    ReplyDelete
  20. beautiful travelogue... Loved the pictures. The Mandapam looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Last week i visited madurai. Security Personals in meenakshi temple not allowing camera (i think they made it permanently). I just preparing to make a post on madurai.

    Your post is awesome and photos are good

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have traveled over TamilNadu and ,besides,other places,I liked Madurai
    There is so much freshness about the place.
    And yes,how can one not mention the temples.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hav enever been to Madurai and this one was a wonderful virtual tour. Thank you :) This Jigarthanda is made up what??

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for your comments Sindhu. I am glad you liked this post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for your comments Sarala. They should clean up the side walk.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for your comments Insignia. You should visit Madurai again, at least for drinking 2 large glasses of jigarthanda.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for your comments Rajlakshmi. I am glad you liked this post.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks for your comments Amelia. And, thanks for visiting my blog. I am glad you liked this post.

    Amelia, please visit here as often as you can. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for your comments Krishna. If they ban the cameras permanently, I can understand and live with it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for your comments Mr. Chowla. I am glad you liked Madurai and this post on Madurai.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. I am glad you liked this post. I do not know what are the ingredients in jigarthanda. So I asked my wife. She said it is mainly a combination of milk, ice cream, resin of a badam tree, and sarsaparilla syrup. I don’t know the hindi word for this. In Tamil it is called Nannari syrup. In addition, every vendor adds a secret ingredient. That is why this made in Madurai is very famous.

    ReplyDelete
  32. @ Shilpa,

    Just found out the Hindi word for Nannari. It is called Anantamul.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Madurai and Meenakshi Amman temple are almost synonymous. Nice to know they come second after us (Chennai). I havent tried it there, but I was told that the Jigirthanda there is better than the best quality we get here.

    ReplyDelete
  34. did u click these pics
    I have never been to Madurai but loved this virtual trip

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great post... Loved the pictures. I have some faint memories of this city... Scent of fresh Jasmine flowers best describes Madurai for me :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Nice blog. I loved the pictures. An ancient city dating back to 550 AD, Madurai, in Tamil Nadu is known for housing age old temples in its heart. Explore all places to visit in Madurai.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is really very nice blog. Madurai is very near to my place. I visited there so many times. This is such a wonderful place to visit.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Places to visit in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  38. Being from southern belt, I had been to Madurai multiple times and been to all these places. However this blog consolidate all the various inputs with details, photographs. Kudos to the good work team. thanks

    ReplyDelete