Situated in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is the third biggest city of the state. The city is also one of the earliest constantly peopled cities in the world.

The city of Madurai serves as the governmental headquarters of the district of the same name and it was also the capital of the Pandyan dynasty.

What makes Madurai India famous?

The city has turned into a very popular tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers alike because of its temples and places of worship, which were constructed by the monarchs of the Madurai Nayak and Pandyan Dynasty.

The city is one of the major pilgrimage hubs for the followers of Hindu religion. The temples and religious compounds in the city were built by implementing the Dravidian pattern of architecture.

Location of Madurai geographically

The coordinates of the city are 9.93°N and 78.12°E. The mean elevation of the city is 101 meters. The distance of Madurai city from different major cities in the state of Tamil Nadu is as follows:
  • From Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu - 309 miles or 498 km
  • From Tiruchirappalli - 100 miles or 161 km
  • From Coimbatore - 228 miles or 367 km
  • From Kanniyakumari - 150 miles or 241 km
The city is located to the southwest of Chennai and to the north of Kanniyakumari.

The picturesque hills of Nagamalai and Sirumalai are situated to the northwest of Madurai. The city is nestled on the productive basin of the Vaigai River which flows across the city and splits it into two equal parts. The Vaigai River flows from the north to the south. The territory surrounding the city is used mostly for farming operations and this is supported by the Periyar Dam. The city covers a total area of 20.01 sq miles or 51.82 sq km.

The neighboring places of the city include the following municipalities:
  • Tiruparankunram
  • Tirumangalam
  • Anaiyur
  • Melur
  • Avaniapuram
Weather of Madurai

The weather of Madurai is quite warm and precipitations mostly take place during the months of October to December. The maximum temperature during the summer months can rise up to 40°C. The minimum temperature during the summer can be as low as 26.3°C. Nevertheless, on certain occasions, the mercury can touch 43°C and it is not unusual in the city.

During the winter months, temperatures vary between 18°C and 29.6°C. The mean yearly precipitation is approximately 85 cm.

Architecture of Madurai

The city was constructed close to the Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple. The whole city is set up like a lotus. The Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple is bordered by concentric quadrangular avenues which represent the shape of the universe. Some of these avenues and thoroughfares have been named according to the months in the Tamil Calendar.

History of Madurai

The history of Madurai can be traced back to the 3rd century BC. According to historical evidences, Megasthenes of Greece visited Madurai during that period. The historical records of Madurai prove that the city was under the reign of Pandiya rulers till 920 AD, when the Cholas defeated them. The Cholas ruled for more than 300 years and were overthrown by the Pandiyas in 1223 AD. In 1311, Madurai was attacked by Malik Kafur, general of Alauddin Khilji. Madurai easily fell to the invading army and became a part of the Delhi Empire in 1323.

In 1371, the Vijayanagar Dynasty of Hampi captured Madurai. They appointed a Nayak who looked after the administration of the city. In 1530, the Nayaks of Madurai declared themselves rulers, marking the beginning of the Nayak Dynasty. Thirumalai Nayak was the most prominent ruler of this dynasty. Madurai finally came under the rule of the British in 1781.

Geography of Madurai

Madurai is located at the geographical co-ordinates of 9.93° North Longitude and 78.12° East Latitude. The city is located at a height of 330 feet above sea level. Madurai is bordered by three hills, known as Yanaimalai, Nagamalai and Pasumalai and is spread over an area of 22.6 square kilometers.

Demographic features of Madurai

According to the census conducted in 2001, the population of Madurai was 928,869. The density of population is 46,426/sq mile or 17,925/km2. The population of the urban or metropolitan area was 1,203,095. About 49.46% of the population of the city is women while 50.53% of the population is men. The mean literacy rate of the city is 77.6%, which surpasses the countrywide mean of 64.5%. Literacy among women is 72.9% and literacy among men is 82.2%. Approximately 10.7% of the inhabitants of the city are below the age of six years. The sex ratio of the city is 979 women/1,000 men, which is somewhat more than the countrywide mean of 944. The incidence of crime is quite low in the city. The common language used for communication is Madurai Tamil. However, other dialects such as Urdu, Sourashtra, and English are also used. The expressions of Tamil language are incorporated in these languages.

Transportation system in Madurai City

  1. Roadways
    There are many important bus stands in the city which include the Madurai Integrated Bus Terminus (MIBT) located at Mattuthavani, Shopping Complex Bus Stand, and other bus stations at Periyar and Arappalayam. Buses are available in the city and to different places throughout Southern India. For local transportation, travelers can use auto rickshaws to cover short distances. Prepaid auto rickshaws are available near the Madurai Integrated Bus Terminus. The city is well linked to other places in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka via various National Highways (NH 45B, NH 7, and NH 49) such as Chennai, Trivandrum, Bengaluru, Ernakulam, and Mysore.

  2. Railways
    The Madurai Railway Junction is one of the busiest railway junctions in India. It is one of the well kept stations in the Southern Railways division of the Indian Railways. It fetches the second highest amount of income in the state after Chennai. The monorail project has also been undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Government. The major railway stations in and around the city are as follows:
    • Koodal Nagar
    • Madurai Junction
    • Sholavandan
    • Samayanallur
    • East Madurai
    • Vadipatti
    • Tirupuvanam
    • Silaiman
    • Tirumangalam
    • Thiruparankundram
    • Usilampatti
    • Chekanoorani
    If you are coming from Chennai by train, it will take around 8-10 hours to reach Madurai.

  3. Air Transport
    The closest airport is situated at a distance of 12 km from the city proper and it is named as the Madurai Airport. It is the fourth biggest airport in the state. The airport mostly operates domestic flights and the prominent airlines offering flights from the city include the following:
    • Jet Airways
    • Spice Jet
    • Air India
    • Kingfisher Airlines
    Between the months of January 2009 to October 2009, the airport transported about 300,000 travelers.

  4. Tiruchirappalli International Airport is the closest international airport to the city. It lies at Trichy.

Tourist Attractions in Madurai

The major tourist attractions in Madurai are listed below:
  1. Places of worship
    • Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple
    • Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara
    • Thiruparankundram
    • Goripalayam Dargah
    • Koodal Azhagar Koil
    • Theppakulam
    • St. Mary's Cathedral Church
  2. Tourism, culture, and entertainment hubs
    • Gandhi Memorial Museum
    • Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
    • The Eco Park
    • Rajaji Children Park
    • Hawa Valley
    • MGR Race Course Stadium
    • Thangam Theatre - The biggest theater hall in the Asian continent
What are the top hotels in Madurai?
The hotels in Madurai are available in three categories and they are as follows:
  1. Budget Hotels
    • Sree Devi
    • HI Hostel (Youth Hostel Association of India/Hostelling International)
    • M.M Lodge
    • College House
    • Elements Hostel
    • Hotel Sethu Tower
    • TM House
    • Hotel Aarathi
  2. Mid-range Hotels
    • Hotel Supreme
    • Madurai Residency
    • Hotel North Gate
    • Hotel Meenakshi Sunshine.
    • Hotel Rathna Residency
    • Hotel Park Plaza
  3. Luxury Hotels
    • Taj Garden Retreat
    • Hotel Chentoor
    • GRT Regency
    • Pandiyan Hotels
    • Hotel Sangam
    • GRT Regency
    • Heritage Madurai
    • Germanus Days Inn
  4. Other than the abovementioned accommodations, travelers can also stay at shared apartments like Madurai Service Apartments.

Last Updated on 28 September 2011