Leisure Places

Adhisyam is an amusement theme park located in Paravai on Madurai – Dindigul National Highway,15km from Madurai. Athisayam opens at 10 am in the morning.It was established in the year 2000 and is now the largest water park in area. It provides several water sports for having fun in the water. Adhisyam is an ideal place for family entertainment.The park is located on a 70 acres site and features about 40 games and 20 water rides. The park is popular for its water rides recreating the experience of Courtalam waterfalls.

Samanar Hills is a hill rock complex located in Keelakuyilkudi village, 15 kilometres from Madurai. The hill has been declared as a protected monument by the Archaeological survey of india.This hill has caves where tamil jain is called as Samanar monks lived.The hill was also known as Thiruvuruvagam. Samanar Malai has several Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, a number of stone beds and many sculptures, which shows authority for Jainism in the ancient.The hill contains two famous sculptures, Settipodavu and Pechipallam, that show images of Jain Tirthankaras made by Jain monks in the 9thcentury BCE.The Settipodavu contains the image of Mahavira, the last tirthankara of Jainism. The Pechipallam contains eight sculptures, including Mahavira. The findings through the Tamil and Kannada inscriptions show that there was a Jain monastery at the top of the hill known as Maadevi Perumpalli.The kings from the Pandyan Dynasty, who ruled Madurai, visited the academy. In the foothills, there is a Karuppanasamy temple and lotus pond. Some idols made by Jain monks are in Karuppanasamy temple. The caves in the hill have been damaged by illegal quarrying in the region.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai nayakar, a king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59. This palace is situated 2km south east of the Meenakshi Amman temple.This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace where the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. King Thirumalai Nayak's grandson had demolished much of the fine structure and removed most of the jewels and woodcarvings in order to build his own palace in Tiruchirapalli. However Lord Napier,the Governor of Madras, had partially restored the palace in 1866-72. The palace is well equipped to perform Light & Sound shows depicting the story of Silappathikaram both in Tamil and English languages.This palace is open for the visitors from 9am to 5pm.Sound & Light Show held at 6.45 PM to 7.35 PM in English and 8.00 PM to 8.50 PM in Tamil on allworking days.

Museums & Art Galleries

Gandhi Museum was established in the year 1959 is a memorial museum for Gandhi located in Madurai. It is now one of the five Gandhi Museums in the country. It includes a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.This museum was inaugurated by the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 April 1959. Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai comes under the Peace Museums Worldwide selected by United Nations Organisation.The palace of Rani Mangammal has been renovated and converted into the museum.A Original letter written personally by Gandhi to Narayanan Sathsangi of Devakottai. A congratulatory message sent by Gandhi to freedom fighter and poet Subramania Bharati is also preserved in this museum. An another interesting letter is the one, written by the Mahatma Gandhi to Adolf Hitler addressing him as Dear Friend.it is a very good memorial of Gandhiji, it contains a "Visual Biography of Bapuji" containing photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations and some of the selected Photostat copies of many of letters written by him and some of his renderings. This section contains 124 rare photographs depicting various phases of Mahatma Gandhi right from his childhood days until being taken to the crematorium.

Places of Worship

Alagarkoil is located 21kms north east of Madurai, stands a celebrated Vishnu temple dedicated to Lord Alagar. The temple is situated on a hill amidst panoramic surroundings. The shrine is known as Alagarkoil and the hill is known Solaimalai. The temple also contain some beautiful carvings and makes the visit rewarding. Solai malai Mandapam, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is located atop the hill.The architecture of the Azhakar temple corresponds to any of those of south Indian temples, with large gopurams and pillared mandapams.The gopuram of the Karuppa swamy shrine depicts the passionate side of human relationship in the form of beautiful statues.

Koodal Azhagar Koil is a famous hindu temple dedicated to lord vishnu located in the center of the city of Madurai.The temple is an ancient one and very close to the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple.It is one of the 108 divya desam the holy abodes of Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorums of this temple are seen one above the other, it is unique to this temple. Convenient steps have been provided to reach the top floors. Just like the Peria koil tower of Tanjore, the shadows of Astanganga vimanam do not fall on the ground. The stone walls on the 3 sides of the Athittanam are full of artistic works. Sun's rays reach the sanctum sanctorum through the 7 windows in this wall. Also Periyalwar had praised this temple in his literary work "Thiruppallandu". Attanga vimana considered the foremost among the 94 vimanas is found over the sanctum sanctorum of this temple. It is rare to see Attanga vimana in temples, which adds to the uniqueness of Sri Koodal alagar temple.

Meenakshi Amman Kovil is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the vaigai river in the temple city of Madurai.It is dedicated to parvati, known as Meenakshi and her consort shiva, here named Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the tamil people, mentioned since antiquity in tamil literature though the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655 CE.It houses 14 gopurams ranging from 45-50m in height. The tallest is the southern tower, 170 ft high, and two golden sculptured vimanas, the shrines over the garbhagrihas of the main deities. The Meenakshi temple is believed to have been founded by indra, king of Deva celestial deities while he was on a pilgrimage to atone for his misdeeds. He felt his burden lifting as he neared the swayambu lingam of madurai. He ascribed this miracle to the lingam and constructed the temple to enshrine it. Indra worshipped Shiva, who caused golden lotuses to appear in the nearby pool.Tamil literature speaks of the temple over the last two millennia. Thirugnansambandar, the famous Hindu saint,mentioned this temple as early as the 7th century, and described the deity as Aalavai Iraivan.The temple is believed to have been sacked by the infamous Muslim invader Malik kafur in 1310 and all the ancient elements were destroyed. The initiative to rebuild the structure was taken by first Nayak king of Madurai, Viswanatha Nayak 1559–1600.The original design by Vishwanatha Nayak in 1560 was substantially expanded to the current structure during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak from 1623–55.He took considerable interest in erecting many complexes inside the temple. His major contributions are the Vasantha Mandapam for celebrating vasanthorsavam and Kilikoondu Mandapam . The corridors of the temple tank and Meenakshi Nayakar Mandapam were built by Rani Mangammal. The temple is the geographic and ritual center of the ancient city of Madurai and one of the largest temple complexes in Tamil Nadu.It is one of the few temples in Tamil Nadu to have four entrances facing four directions.The complex is in around 45 acres. The Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam "Hall of 100 pillars" has two rows of pillars carved with images of yali,mythological beast with body of lion and head of an elephant, commonly used as the symbol of Nayak power.It is situated to the north of Sundareswarar flag staff hall. The Thousand Pillar Hall contains 985 instead of 1000 carved pillars.The hall was built by Ariyanatha mudaliar in 1569.

Pazhamudircholai is a hindu temple located about 16 kilometres north of Madurai on top a hill covered with dense forests. One of the six important abodes of Lord muruga, it is close to the Vishnu temple of Alagar kovil. It is said that the actual temple was Alagar kovil which was shifted or relocated now as Pazhamudircholai during Thirumalai Naicker rule in Madurai.Pazhamudircholai is rich in fruits, vegetables and flowers. It is a dense forest where Valli is supposed to have lived. It is a small temple with Valli, Deivayanai, and Lord Muruga in a separate shrine. Among the Arupadaiveedu Pazhamudircholai is the last. This Lord Murugan at Pazhamudircholai is praised in old Tamil literature such as Silappathikaram, Ettuthokai and Patthupattu.The great Tamil poet and saint Avvaiyar had been tested by Lord Murugan here. In order to play with Avvaiyar who was one of the very famous devotees of Lord Muruga, the Lord played a drama.

Tiruvaadavur is located near Melur in Madurai and has been a center of worship even during the time of Maanikkavaacakar.Tiruvaadavur is the birthplace of one of the most revered saints in Tamil Saivite Manikkavacakar, who is the author of the celebrated Tamil works Tiruvaacakam, Tiruvempaavai, Tiruppalliezhuchi and Sivapuraanam.The temple enshrines Lord Shiva as Tirumarainaathar and his consort Aranavalliyaar. Here Lord Shiva is also known as Aatmanathar, Prananathar and Jivanathar.Lord Shiva was worshipped here by Vaayu and by the Vedas.There is a shrine to Maanikkavacakar close to the Tiruvaadavur temple.Just like the Madurai Meenakshi Somasundareswarar temple,Ambaal's shrine is situated to the right of Tirumarainathar's shrine. The outermost prakaram houses this shrine, the Makizha maram and the hall with one hundred pillars which is said to have been built by Maanikkavacakar himself. Also in this prakaram are the Bhairava Theertham and a shrine to Kaaleesar.The inner prakaram is centered around the Tirumarainaathar shrine and has a shrine to Manikkavacakar facing west and shrines for Vinayakar, Natarajar, Kaasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi, as well as images of Dakshinamurthy and Lingodbhavar.

Thirumohoor Kalamegaperumal Temple is a hindu temple near Melur in Madurai.The temple is one of the 108 divya desam and is located 12km north-east of Madurai. There are four prakarams to the temple. The moolavar is Kalaamegha perumal in nindra thirukolam and in same posture like Varadharaja perumal of kanchipuram with gadhe in left hand and right hand as if blessing the devotees. The utsavar is Thirumogur aapthan. The utsavar here is found with pancha aayudams. There are sculptures of Lord Kondanda Ramar, Sita, Lakshma, Kamadevan and Rathidevi in the Garuda mandapam of the temple. The specialty of the temple is the presence of Chakratalwar with 16 hands and each hand holding a different weapon. There is Lord Narasimha behind chakratalwar with shanku chakra. There are 154 alphabets carved in the 6 circles and there are pictures of 48 gods. Chakratalwar is found in Prathyaaletha posture that implies that the readiness to help devotees all the time. The place got its name as moghur due to the Mohini avatharam taken by Lord Vishnu.It is believed that a drop of amrutham fell into the temple tank and hence it is also known as periya thirupaarkadal and siriya thirupaarkadal.There is one more perumal sannadhi with the lord giving darshan in Prathana Sayana thirukolam on adisheshan with Sridevi and Bhoomidevi thayaar praying at the Lord's feet. .

Thirupparamkundram Murugan Temple is one of the arupadaiveedu of Lord Muruga,the temple at Tiruparankundram offers a mystic beauty. The temple is located 8 kilometres from Madurai.It is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. According to legend it is where Lord Muruga married Deivayanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven indra, and he is said to have worshipped shiva here as Parangirinathar. In the main shrine, apart from Muruga, deities of Lord shiva, Lord vishnu, Lord vinayaka and Goddess Durga are housed. There are several architectural features of interest, especially the rock-cut portions of this hill temple dating back to the Pandya period and the life sized sculptures in the mandapams of the nayakar period. An Aasthaana Mandapam with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet high Rajagopuram at the entrance. The Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam are situated at different levels. The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock. A curious feature of this temple is that the Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, and this is a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. This is because Hinduism always held two distinct worshipping groups - shaivites(worshippers of Lord Shiva) and vaishnavites(worshippers of Lord Vishnu).This temple was built by carving the hill.

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is situated at a distance of about 5 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Teppakulam mainly used for devotional festivals.This is the location where the king Thirumalai Naicker excavated the soil to fabricate the bricks required for constructing his palace, Thirumalai Nayakkar mahal. The pit that was thus formed is seen as tank now. It is approximately 305 M long and 290 M wide, nearly equal area to that of Meenakshi Amman Temple. Built in 1645 A.D.,this is the biggest tank in Tamil Nadu gets water supply from the Vaigai River. 7 foot tall Mukuruny Vinayakar idol in Meenakshi Amman Temple is believed to be found during excavation process of this pond.