Traditional temple

Madurai: a temple city and its stories of glory

It is strange but heartwarming to note how Madurai effortlessly blends the magic of tradition with modernity. He does not draw the fine line between the two worlds on tiptoe but brings together the contradictions, engulfing everything in his synergy. Thoonga Nagaram — the city that never sleeps; the city which is one of the oldest in the world and which traded with ancient Rome – conquers you as soon as you lay eyes on the rhythmic bustle of its streets. The majesty of its temples, the lingering hint of jasmine in the air, the tinkle and sparkle of its brass, its mouth-watering aromas and thriving markets seem to waste no time in enchanting you.

The piece de resistance

The state of wonder quickly turns to fixation as the alleyways and alleys give way to the Meenakshi Amman Temple. As you stand stunned, unable to take your eyes off the brilliance of colors – hundreds and thousands of gods, goddesses, demons and saints telling their own stories on its gigantic gopurams, you suddenly feel like be part of a live 3D epic. The ensuing feeling of being lost in its labyrinth-like complex within adds further wonder to this abode of warrior goddess Meenakshi, dating back 2,000 years to a city believed to be inhabited since at least the third century BC. Whether it’s the Hall of 1,000 Pillars, the painted ceilings, the vibrant walls or the dwarf pillars, the place has magic written all over it. The destruction and plunder it saw in the 14th century at the hands of Malik Kafur, the general of Alauddin Khilji and the subsequent resurrection and expansion by the rulers of the Vijayanagar empire and the Nayak kings also add allure to it. of phoenix.

Only the worthy will survive

The Golden Lotus reservoir and tales of its divine powers leave you even more in awe. Because he is the one who has not only seen generations of talent come together and brainstorm alongside him, but also awarded the compositions of great poets and scholars. Legend has it that only deserving manuscripts would pass its test and float to the surface, the rest would drown. The energy and fun that runs through the self is amazingly channeled into instant stillness and calm upon entering the inner sanctum. It is customary to pay homage to Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Goddess Parvati, before her consort Sundareshwarar or Shiva. The latter, however, becomes the center of attraction every night. The place becomes mystical as the icon of Lord Shiva, engulfed in clouds of aromatic incense, makes its way to the Meenakshi shrine in a procession to spend the night.

Visit the city of temples

In the shadow of the Meenakshi Temple, the Koodal Azaghar Temple is a unique three-tiered construction dedicated to Lord Vishnu. While the deity sits, stands and reclines respectively on each level, its walls are a glimpse of the arts and poetry that made Madurai an important seat of the Sangam era. Visiting this temple city would be incomplete without paying homage to the favorite Tamil son – Karthikeya or Murugan. On the outskirts of Madurai, the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple is where Lord Shiva’s eldest son killed the demon Surapadman and married Indra’s daughter Deivayanai. Located at the foothills of Yanaimalai, the rock-carved statue of Narasimha at the Narasingam Yoga Narasimha Perumal Temple inside a cave is a sight to behold. The outer enclosure of the temple houses the idol of Yoga Narasimha, the fierce version.

Splendor lost

A classic blend of Dravidian, Rajput and Islamic architecture, Thirumalai Nayak Palace may be only a quarter of what it was in the 17th century, but its pillared corridors and stunning arches give a glimpse of the grandeur of ‘in the old days. The imagination doesn’t need to strain much to imagine the debates that would have taken place under those brightly painted ceilings, the light through the colored glasses adding to the effect. The building that stands today was the main palace in which the king lived. It was his own blood, however, that proved essential in bringing him much of his misfortune. King Thirumalai’s grandson Nayak dismantled much of the palace and removed precious jewelry and woodcarvings to build himself an equal if not greater dream in Tiruchirappalli. However, it wasn’t meant to be.

The charm of Madurai

Madurai is said to have originated as a forest known as Kadambavanam, where Indra worshiped a swayambhu (self-created Lingam). The then king, Kulasekara Pandya, cleared the forest and built a temple around the Lingam. A city was soon planned around it and on the day it was to be named, Lord Shiva appeared and drops of nectar from his hair fell into it. Hence Madurai, a derivative of madhura (sweet/nectar).

Wednesday is considered auspicious as it is the day when Goddess Meeankshi got married. The state empire is therefore offering 50% discount on sarees every
Wednesday morning.

It is also a foodie’s paradise with the fluffiest and softest idlis and the crispy ghee podi dosa being the best way to start the day Gorge on varieties of murukkus, idiyappams and curries. Then there’s Amma Mess in Thallakulam, known for its chicken dosa, prawn biryani, and mutton kola (fried mutton dumplings), among others.