It is narrated in legend that Madurai was originally a forest known as Kadambavanam. One day, a farmer named Dhananjaya who was passing through the forest, saw Indra (The king of the gods), worshipping a swayambhu (self created Lingam ) under kadamba tree. Dhananjaya, the farmer immediately reported this to King Kulasekara Pandya. Kulasekara Pandya cleared the forest and built a temple around the Lingam. A city was soon planned with the temple as its centre. On the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva is said to have appeared and drops of nectar from his hair fell on the town. So, the place was named Madurai – mathuram meaning “sweetness” in Tamil.
Places to visit
- Sri Meenakshi – Sundareswarar Temple
Timings :The temple is usually open between 0500hrs and 1230hrs and again between 1600 hrs and 21.30 hrs.
Synonymous with Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar twin Temple, the pivot around which the city has evolved. The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city – one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too. The temple grew with the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 Sq m. The temple first came in to being 2000 years ago and was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak(1623-55 AD).
A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure know as“Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. View from any angle these pillars appear to be in a straight line, an architectural masterpiece indeed In the outermost corridors are situated the matchless musical pillars carved out of stones. When it is tapped, each pillar produces different musical note.
Other tourist interested places are
- Thirumalai Nayak Palace
- Thirupparankundram Temple
- Alagar koil
- Gandhi Museum
- Mariamman Teppakulam