The geography of Madurai comprises of its location, altitude and area. This religious city falls within its namesake district, Madurai, and also acts as the district headquarters. The city of Madurai is situated on the banks of the river Vaigai. It is located between 9.93 North Longitude and 78.12 East Latitude and lies at an altitude of 330 feet or 101 meters above sea level. This religious town of Tamil Nadu stretches over an area of 22.6 square kilometres. Famous for the Meenakshi temple, the city of Madurai is bordered by three hills. These hills are known as the Yanaimalai which mean an elephant, Nagamalai meaning snake and Pasumalai meaning cow.
Tourism Place in Madurai
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
It would be no exaggeration to state that Madurai is a true representation of the cultural ethos of India, and of the grandeur of Indian art. Central to this standing is the sprawling Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The plurality of faiths centred around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, the splendour of its festival traditions (as in the enactment of the Tiruvilayadal Puranam), and its association with the Golden age of Tamil literature - the Sangam period, all contribute to the temple's popularity. In addition, the temple has a wealth of sculpture which attracts many visitors. The literature of the pre Christian Sangam period speaks of Madurai. The devotional hymns of the Nayanmars venerate Somasundarar - or Aalavaayan, of Madurai. The Haalaasya Mahatmyam or the Tiruvilayadal Puranam speak of the various legends associated with Shiva, which still form a part of the festival traditions of this temple. In 2009 the temple complex was recognised as one of the 8th wonders of India.
Here ' Vishnu ' presides as Meenakshi's brother ' Azhgar '. During the Chithirai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai. A gold processional icon called the Sundararajar is carried by devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding rituals. Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill, about 4 kms higher. A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims stop to bathe is located here. Azhagar Kovil is located 21 kms. Northwest of Madurai; it is a Vishnu Temple on a picturesque wooded hill.
This festival takes place in January/ February in the Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. A specially constructed raft decorated with flowers and lights carries the deities around the tank.
Thirupparankundram is a cave temple where Lord Muruga was wedded to Devayanai, daughter of Indra, after annihilating Surapadman. In the temple there are separate shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathy, Lord Durgai, Lord Vishnu and other deities.
The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in Madurai. This Museum is one of the rare living memorials of "The Father of India."
Thirumalai Nayak Palace
This palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main palace where the King lived. The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure and consisted of two main parts: Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.