Special Places to Stay in Madurai
'$' Signs against Hotels indicate its Category
Royal Court ($)
Royal Court is a moderate business hotel in the heart of Madurai; within walking distance of the Meenakshi temple, the flower market, and the newer shopping areas, an area which dominates Madurai's spiritual and social life.
The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai ($$)
Previously known as the Taj Garden Retreat Madurai, the 63 room Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai is located on 60 acres of land on a hill overlooking Madurai, providing a peaceful place to relax in a beautiful setting.
Things to see and do in Madurai
Tamil Nadu's spiritual capital, Madurai is the home of the fish-eyed Goddess Meenakshi. Here the Goddess is placed even higher than her consort Shiva, who is the secondary deity. Goddess Meenakshi rules the town with absolute power and panache, welcoming the town's residents into the temple complex that spreads over a staggering 6 hectares! This is possibly one of the best places to see temple rituals, mass weddings, and many such ceremonies.
The Meenakshi temple is one of the finest and the largest example of Dravidian architecture. The most fascinating feature of the temple is its musical pillars, each of which is carved out of a single block of granite and when tapped produces a unique musical note. The hall of a Thousand Pillars has been converted into a museum filled with sculptures and antique treasures.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace
When you finally tear yourself away from the temple's exuberantly decorated and coloured gopurams (gateways), make your way to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace to see how the royals lived. Situated just 1 km from the Meenakshi temple, it was built in 1636 by the king Thirumalai Nayak, it has pillars in Italian style, a Mughal arch and Dravidian decoration.
The Mariamman Tank is a huge temple tank with a mandapam in the centre. During the 'floating festival', the temple deities are taken out on the lake in floats.