Madurai has been a flourishing market town since at least the 2nd century BCE, the centre of power for many dynasties, and a seat of divinity from time immemorial. In a city that has been so much to so many, is it any wonder that you stumble upon stories wherever you go? Why would a street in Madurai be named after a man who had a piece of its history razed to the ground? How could a bad case of the sniffles shape a city’s history, or a little toad halt the grandiose plans of a mighty king?
Join Story trails on a short walk through this ancient city and chance upon her stories; stories that zigzag the obscure lines separating history and myth; stories of people who made Madurai, and of those who were her undoing; stories of fickle kings and towering monuments, of whimsical Gods and extraordinary mortals; stories that take you behind the scenes for a glimpse into the city’s heart.
Why you will love it
- Unravelling the mysteries behind the many narratives which confound the mind
- Discovering a city which is not only about temples and scents of jasmine flowers
- Visiting iconic temples embellished with hundreds of myths of gods and men
What you will experience
The evocative scent of its iconic flower, the jasmine (Madurai malliga) will remain with you forever. The all-pervasive effervescent scent of this pristine pearl of a floral wonder is intrinsic to Madurai's everyday world – be it in its shrines, its art forms, its festivals, its weddings, its local myths or those cultural linkages from past to present. So integral is it to the culture of the city it attained the GI tag in 2013 and is a protected floral species.
One of South India’s most important pilgrimage centres, Madurai India’s jasmine capital, will imprint itself in your mind for its stunning temples. The Historic Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple with its 14 colourful gopurams abounds with stories and legends galore. Constructed in the honour of Lord Vigneshwara, Mariamman Teppakulam temple stands a short distance away. The astonishing Thirumalai Nayakar Palace dating to 1636 AD is a melange of Dravidian and Rajput architectural styles. Constructed era of the Nayak Dynasty it is seen as the most illustrious monument built by the Nayak rulers. The statue of Virgin Mary installed in Madurai's St Maryês Cathedral, also known as the Church of Our Lady Dolores, is dressed in a saree!