Things to do in Madurai – A complete travel guide

Madurai is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India. It is sometimes referred to as “Thoongada Nagaram,” which means “the city that never sleeps.” Book a taxi in Madurai to explore all the attractions in the cultural heart of Tamil Nadu. We are here with the Madurai travel guide to facilitate your visit to Madurai. 

Table of Contents

  1. About Madurai
  2. Things to do in Madurai
  3. Places to visit 
  4. How to Plan a trip to Madurai
  5. Hotels and Resorts in Madurai
  6. Road trips near Madurai

About Madurai 

Things to do in Madurai

Madurai is known for its rich cultural heritage, magnificent temples, and vibrant festivals. The most famous landmark of the city is the Meenakshi Amman Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and Lord Sundareshwar, a form of Lord Shiva. The temple complex is massive and is known for its intricate carvings and sculptures.

Pilgrims flock to see the intricate carvings of Hindu deities that adorn the Dravidian-style temple. Millions of people attend the Chithirai Festival throughout April to participate in the processions and rituals honoring Meenakshi and Lord Vishnu.

History of Madurai 

Important to keep in mind is that before Madurai was built on the banks of the Vaigai River, there was a forest known as Kadambavanam. There are few written accounts of the real circumstances that led to the construction of the magnificent metropolis. 


Dhananjaya, a farmer, once happened upon Lord Indra, monarch of the gods, as he strolled through the forest on a glorious day, praising the lingam installed beneath a Kadamba tree. As soon as the word cutter learned of the catastrophe, he informed Kulasekara Pandiyan, king of the Pandyan Empire. 

After the religious monarch gave orders to clear the woodlands, his attendants erected a temple around the lingam.

Facts about Madurai 

  • Madurai is a historic city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, situated on the banks of the Vaigai River.
  • This beautiful historical landmark was the Pandya dynasty’s capital and an important ancient religious and cultural hub.
  • Madurai, India’s third-largest city, is widely recognized as the country’s epicenter for manufacturing, chemicals, IT, and automobiles.
  • Since Lord Shiva performed the 64 marvels recorded as the “Thiruvilaiyadals,” Madurai has a storied past.
  • Koodal and Thirvalavai are two of the several names for the ancient South Asian civilization’s capital city.

Things to do by booking a Savaari taxi in Madurai  

temples in Madurai

Don’t forget to include the following activities in your itinerary while in Madurai. If you decide to look into the following options, you’ll have the time of your life. Listed here are some of the best things to do in Madurai to fill up your itinerary.

Activities to do in Madurai

  • Drive through Madurai 

Madurai is a fascinating destination, thanks to its rich heritage and numerous points of interest. While it’s exciting to strike out on your own, a guided tour is the ideal way to get acquainted with the city and find out what is there to know about it. 

You can choose a narrower tour of just one location, such as the major temple, or a broader one that takes in the neighborhood’s shops, eateries, and landmarks.

  • The Kutladampatti Waterfall

Day trips to the spectacular Kutladampatti Falls, located just an hour outside the city, are easy to arrange. The best time to see them is during the monsoon season, which runs from June to September. One can drive to Kutladampatti, ride a bus, or flag down a car rental from Madurai to get there. 

From the car park to the waterfall is a 20-minute hike. Keeping the area around the falls clear of trash is made easier by the ban on carrying food. Don your swimwear and cool yourself in the pool that forms at the base of the falls.

  • Visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace

After Meenakshi Temple, the Thirumalai Nayak Palace is the most visited monument in Madurai. It was built in 1636 as the residential palace for King Thirumalai Nayak with an Italian architect’s assistance. It is a prominent example of the convergence of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The palace has more than 240 pillars, making it a one-of-a-kind structure. 

The palace was used as a district court during the British era, a role it played until 1970. Every night, you can choose between a Tamil or English version of a sound and light show depicting the legendary Tamil love tale Silappathikaram.

  • Amazing Banana Market

Madurai, India, is home to a fascinating wholesale banana market. Bananas come in a wide variety, with 16 supposedly existing varieties. The vegetable market next to the banana market is a great spot to people-watch and is just as busy as the former.

Shopping in Madurai 

For the convenience of both tourists and locals, we’ve listed some of Madurai’s best shopping centers, malls, and markets.

  • Puthu Mandapam

See the tailors creating a rainbow of wares in the open. Although brass, bronze, and aluminum pots predominate in this market on the eastern side of the Meenakshi Temple, the tailors’ hoarding makes them impossible to ignore.

  • Milan’em Mall

Located in the heart of KK Nagar, the Milan ’em Shopping Mall is home to some of Madurai’s best stores.

  • Cottage Art Emporium

The handicrafts, an admirable part of Indian culture, are mainly made in smaller cities and towns. The Cottage Arts Emporium on Chitrai Street is one of the best places to shop in Madurai, and they are especially proud of their selection of one-of-a-kind handicrafts.

Nightlife in Madurai 

Apart from the city’s many temples, the following are the most interesting places for first-time travelers to explore the city at night:

  • Ecstasy bar

This tavern, located close to American College, is a popular hangout for students and locals. A full bar stocked with delicious drinks is included. 

  • The Freedom Bar

This bar in the Hotel Golden Park is laid-back and casual. In addition to the standard wines, beers, vodkas, whiskies, etc., they offer some truly amazing cocktails.

  • Aphrodisiac Club

You should visit another cool club in the city with a dance floor. This nightclub attracts a diverse crowd who like to party late into the night. The club has great drinks, a dance floor, and relaxing lighting.

  • The Disco Vijay

Madurai is home to a lively discotheque where people may dance the night away. It has excellent disco lighting and a great dancing floor. DJs are in charge of keeping the dance floor packed with their expert remixing skills.

Must-try food in Madurai 

It is well known that Madurai serves as both the cultural heart and gastronomic center of Tamil Nadu. The cuisine of Madurai is a fusion of flavors and cooking methods from the city’s many different trading partners throughout its history. These partners included ancient Rome, Saurashtra, and Sri Lanka. You cannot visit the city that never stops moving without sampling these three delectable specialties.

  • Jigarthanda 
  • Parottas 
  • Kari Dosa

Festivals and events you can’t miss in Madurai 


Famous for its annual celebrations, Madurai is a cultural epicenter in Tamil Nadu. If you’re planning a trip to a city that never sleeps, we’ve put together a list of the festivals and events you must attend.

  • Pongal (Harvest Festival) 

Pongal, also known as the Harvest Festival, is celebrated by praising the sun, Mother Nature, and animals for a successful harvest. A lot of pomp and circumstance goes into the three-day event.

  • Chithirai Festival

The day of the full moon in the Tamil calendar month of Chithirai is set aside annually for this celebration. (April/May). The solemnity and quietness of this festival set it apart.

  • Festival of the Cradle

Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Siva) and Goddess Meenakshi are escorted to a mirror room during the ceremony in a procession. They enjoy a swing ride on a gently swaying swing for nine days.

  • Celebration with Plenty of Dances

The tourism office is putting on a fifteen-day dancing festival. A wide range of dance styles is represented at this festival, which attracts performers from across the country.

Places to visit in Madurai

Places to visit for fun

If you travel to Madurai in quest of amusement, you should come prepared to have a packed agenda. People in this bustling metropolitan area understand how to have a good time. All kinds of tourists will be wowed by the abundance of exciting things to do and interesting sites to view in the area. 

  • Madurai Athisayam: Madurai Athisayam is an amusement park. Some of the most popular rides include roller coasters, water slides, and other thrill rides, while there are also calmer options for young children and families.
  • Vaigi River Mini Dam: Vaigi River Mini Dam is a popular spot for picnics and day trips, and many locals come here to enjoy the scenic views and relax in the natural surroundings.
  • Foodies Day Out: The company offers guided tours of the city’s best food and drink spots, taking visitors to local restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors to sample traditional Tamil cuisine.

Places to visit for spiritual callings

Meenakshi temple

When you plan your trip to include all these must-see locations, you can’t help but have a terrific holiday. See the most noteworthy destinations for religious tourism that the city has to offer. You shouldn’t leave Madurai until you’ve seen these important sights first.

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple: The Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the heart of Madurai. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, a local deity who is worshipped by millions of people in South India. Here is your perfect travel guide for witnessing this iconic place down South.
  2. Koodal Azhagar Temple: The Koodal Azhagar Temple is another important Hindu temple in Madurai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the most important deities in Hinduism, and is known for its impressive architecture and ornate carvings.
  3. Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple: The Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, a popular Hindu deity who is worshipped throughout South India. The temple is located on a hill outside of Madurai and is known for its unique architecture and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  4. Alagar Kovil: Alagar Kovil is a Hindu temple located outside of Madurai in the foothills of the Western Ghats. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its impressive architecture and natural surroundings. The temple complex includes several shrines and halls, as well as a large tank (pond) that is used for ritual bathing and other ceremonies.
  5. Pudhu Mandapam: Pudhu Mandapam is a historic market hall located in the center of Madurai. The hall was built in the 16th century and is known for its impressive architecture and ornate carvings. Today, the hall is a popular spot for shopping and sightseeing, with several vendors selling traditional Tamil handicrafts and souvenirs.

Places to visit for nature lovers 

Here is a list of top Madurai places that will help you have the perfect tour of the city for nature lovers: 

  • Vaigai Dam
  • Berijam Lake
  • Coonoor
  • Samanar Hills 
  • Idukki

Most recommended places to eat by Savaari customers 

Madurai is a popular visit because of its status as a religious center. In October, November, December, January, February, and March, the city sees a large influx of visitors. The peak season, from October to March, is when you can hope for pleasant weather and reasonably temperate temperatures, but you should also prepare for heavy rain and excessive humidity. 

The off-season is the hottest time of year here, with temperatures reaching the 90s. While planning what to do and see in the city, don’t forget to factor in time for eating at restaurants and shopping along the city’s many food streets. There are a number of great eateries in the city; however, the most well-known ones include:

  • Murugan Idli Shop
  • Kari Kanji
  • Kumar Mess
  • Phil’s Bistro
  • Ahaaram Multi Cuisine Restaurant
  • Hotel Sree Sabarees

Places to visit near Madurai by road 

Both domestic and international tourists flock to Madurai every year, making it one of the world’s most visited cities. You may find the perfect blend of hill towns, hiking routes, and animal sanctuaries close to Madurai. Tourists and adventurers alike will find the sites within a day’s drive of Madurai to be the perfect weekend getaway. 

Around Madurai, you can visit a plethora of must-see tourist spots that showcase the region’s beauty and make for an amazing holiday. The following are some of the top places to visit in the vicinity of the city:

  • Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal, in Tamil Nadu, is a favorite destination for newlyweds throughout India. When you think of Kodaikanal, you probably picture a pleasant climate, mist-covered cliffs, cloud-cloaked mountains, and beautiful lakes and valleys. All of these statements are correct when describing this hill station. In general, September through May is the peak travel season. Click here for a comprehensive travel guide on Kodaikanal.

  • Munnar, Kerala

Located in the Western Ghats of Kerala is the picturesque hill town of Munnar, famous for its tea estates, unusual lush foliage, and craggy peaks. There, headquarters for some of the world’s largest tea farms can be found. Click here to read the comprehensive travel guide on Munnar and other relevant information.

  • Sri Thanjavur Temple

Thanjavur is known as Tanjore or the “city of temples” due to the prevalence of religious architecture in the area. The city is also renowned for its antiques, handicrafts, textiles, saris, and Carnatic music and musical instruments. As a bonus, it’s also culturally significant.

How to plan a trip to Madurai?

Meenakshi temple

How to reach Madurai?

By train 

The city features first-rate rail links throughout the region. One can gain access to the rest of India by traveling to the Madurai Junction, also called the Madurai train station. You may reach Madurai by train from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata, all major transportation hubs in India.

By road 

You can visit Madurai from any of the major cities like Mumbai and Chennai by road. It is also possible to reach the city without much difficulty from the neighbouring states of Kerala and Goa. The best way to travel to Madurai by road is to book a cab from Chennai or any other major cities in Tamil Nadu to safely travel to your destination.

By flight 

The most accessible and easiest airport is the Madurai International Airport, located near the city. You may quickly and easily travel from this airport to any other major city in India. Book an airport taxi from Madurai International Airport to comfortably travel to your accommodation in the city.

Best time to visit 

Since the temperature during the winter ranges from 20 to 29 degrees Celsius, this is the most pleasant time of year to travel there. This is the most beautiful time of year to visit the city because it is in its most photogenic state. It becomes really hot throughout the summertime. The thermometer is currently reading anywhere between 24 and 34 degrees.

Hotels and Resorts in Madurai

Hotel Name Address Phone Number
Hotel Templecity Dreamz Inn 3.4 Km from city center (Free Cancellation), E.B. Colony 08220433332
Hotel Vijay 3.0 Km from City Centre ( Free Cancellation), TPK road  04522336321
Hotel North Gate Pvt. Ltd. 0.7 Km from City Centre (Free Cancellation), Pattaraikara Street 04522523030
Astoria Hotels 4 Kms from City Centre, Near Madurai Jn 0452 260 0071
Hotel Pearls 3.1 Kms from City Centre, Near Meenakshi Temple 0452 234 1566

Ultimately, Madurai will be more than just a rich historical city; it will be an adventure that mesmerizes and captivates its visitors. It doesn’t matter if you’re a foodie, a history buff, or a hopeless romantic; Madurai might have something that appeals to you. 

All you need to do to be transported to a realm of grace, beauty, and love by the allure of this city is to come here and take it all in for yourself. We recommend that you download the Savaari app so that it makes hiring a car simple and convenient.

The highest road trip taken from Madurai by Savaari customers 

Is a weekend trip to a fun place near Madurai more your speed, or do you want to add a couple of hilltowns to your vacation plans by going through the highest road trips taken from Madurai by Savaari customers? To that end, we have created a list of 10 picturesque hill towns near Madurai that will surely win you over. 

These places are accessible by booking a car rental from Madurai and are less than 300 kilometers distant. Any of these locations, depending on the direction you take, might make for excellent day trips from Madurai. 

Place Distance in Km
Kodaikanal 118
Munnar 154
Bellikkal 185
Kolli Hills 212
Yercaud 261
Kotagiri 282
Coonoor 287
Ooty 303

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Shabari Shankar

A quick summary
Pandya Kingdom's Treasures Explored - Things to do in Madurai
Article Name
Pandya Kingdom's Treasures Explored - Things to do in Madurai
Madurai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India. Click here to read all about the cultural heart of Tamil Nadu.
Savaari Car Rentals

About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.