The Pandyan king Malayadhwaja and his queen Kanchanamala performed the 'Putra Kameshti Yaga' for a child. At the suggestion of Shiva, his eternal consort Parvathi consented to become the child of the pious king. She rose effulgent from the sacrificial fire as a little girl, with breasts; the third of which would disappear when Shiva set his eyes on her. The girl was named Thadathangai and she was brought up as a 'princess' under divine instructions. Princess Thadathangai succeeded her father to the throne and led armies on successful campaigns of conquest. In her last campaign in North India, she challenged Shiva himself at Kailas, but when She saw the great Lord, She fell in love with him. The bridegroom followed her home, married her, took the name Sundara Pandya and together they ruled Madurai. The legend says that the Lord performed several miracles during his wedding. There was nothing on the side of the bridegroom's party to match the regal splendour of the preparations made for his marriage; the story goes that on the wedding day, much to the astonishment of all, god Sundareshwara, the bridegroom came only with a dwarf "Gundodhara'. Meenakshi, with a view to show her husband that she was very rich and powerful than him, haughtily remarked that the grand wedding arrangements would go waste since the bridegroom had not brought with him a large retinue befitting the occasion. God Sundareshwarar said that it would be sufficient if they would be able to feed the dwarf brought with him. To the amazement of all, everything that Madurai could produce in shape of things to eat and drink was not enough to satisfy appetite of Gundodhara, as the legend relates. Gundodhara quickly consumed both cooked and uncooked things and started asking for more. When there was nothing else left to eat, the dwarf began cry for water to quench his thirst. All the water in the wells reservoirs of the city had gone in the same way as the food. It was only Mother Annapurneshwari that could satisfy his hunger and Ganga his thirst, when they were summoned for the purpose by Lord Shiva. Sundareshwarar asked the dwarf to place his palms on the ground and directed a flow of water which is said to be the picturesque Vaigai river on the banks of which grew the charming city of Madurai. Temple opening & closing time : 5.30am - 12pm, 4pm - 9pm
Azhagar Kovil (Alagar temple), is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated 21 km from the city of Madurai, which lies in the Tamil Nadu state of India. When some historic and original facts surface, people tend to treat them with reverence as it seems to be happening in Thenur, a village in the interiors, 20 km off Madurai city. Villagers here relive an event with much fanfare which is believed to have been performed here four Centuries ago. Mandooga Maharishi redemption is an event that was unique to our village. We are trying to revive the ritual, says hereditary temple trustee P. Neduchezia Pandian.Temple opening & closing time : 5.30am - 12pm, 4pm - 9pm
Thirupparankundram, which is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, stands 10km south from Madurai . It serves as the best among the Arupadai Veedu of Lord Muruga, attracting rolling crowds all the year. Thirupparankundram, the place where Lord Muruga was married with Devayanai, is considered as a sacred place for marriages. This rock cut temple has separate shrines for Lord Ganapathy, Shiva, Durgai, Vishnu and other deities. The entrance of the temple is built with 48 Nayaka period pillars with artistic carvings engraved on them. The speciality of Thirupparankundram temple is that the innermost shrine is carved from a single rock. Temple opening & closing time : 5.30am - 12pm, 4pm - 9pm
Pazhamutircolai is situated 19 kilometres from the temple town of Madurai. The place is full of natural beauty and sylvan surroundings. This hill is also known as Vrishabhadri or Idabagiri. At the foot of the hill is situated Azhakar Kovil, which is one among the 108 divyadesams sanctified by the hymns of Azhwars sung in praise of the Vishnu enshrined in this temple. Atop the hill Lord Muruga stands majestically in the temple as the Lord of the Hills popularly known as Kurinji Nilakkizhavan in Tamil. The temple of Pazhamutircolai can be reached by a motorable road leading to the hill. Pazhamutirc?lai is mentioned as the sixth of Lord Murugan''s ?ru Patai V?dukal, the six holiest Murugan shrines described by Cankam poet Nakk?rar in his poem Tirumuruk?rruppatai. Regarding the identity of the sixth major site, there is no consensus among scholars and many local temples are ascribed the distinction. Most scholars, priests and devotees identify Palamutirc?lai with the shrine of Palamutircolai, twelve miles north of Madurai in the Alagar Hills, above the Alagarcoil Vishnu temple. While this temple is not as large or bustling as the other five recognized shrines, it is just as incredible to visit.
Madurai in Tamilnadu, is known popularly as the 'City of Festivals'. And among the many festivals big and small which take place there throughout the year, one of the most picturesque is the Float Festival or ' Teppothsavam'. On that day, the idols of Goddess Meenakshi and her consort Lord Sudareshwarar are taken in grand procession to the big lake called Teppakolam, and drawn round and round a shrine built in the middle of the small island in the center of the lake, seated on a decorated float called 'Teppa'. The float festival was originated in the 17th century by king Tirumala Nayaka who reigned in Madurai. The local story is that the king had a new palace built and to make bricks for it, a great excavation was made. Later, he converted the excavated depression into a sixteen acre lake, fed the same by the Vaigai river through underground channels and built the temple of Ganesha on the artificial island in the middle. Then he started the custom of taking the divine idols for a boat ride on the waters of the lake on his birthday. Generally, this festival is celebrated during January of the year beginning with Sankranthi (Pongal) festival. At dawn, the processional idols of Meenakshi and Sundareshwarar start out from the main temple in great pomp. The deities are carried in golden palanquins escorted by elephants, horses, musicians and thousands of devotees. After reaching the Teppakolam, about three kilometres away, the deities are placed in a prepared 'Mandapam' on the banks of the lake, where the devotees are allowed to worship them. The idols are then taken in palanquins and placed on a great raft-like structure, colourfully decorated with varieties of flower garlands, silken buntings, paper lanterns and masses of flowers.
This sthalam is situated in Madurai, which is famous for all the temples found here. And, Madurai is famous for the Meenakshi Amman temple. All the Devas of the Lokam and Munivar came all together for the Meenakshi Amman to Sivaperumaan in this sthalam and because of this, the sthalam is called as "Koodal". Koodal means all of the persons (or) group of people coming (or) joining together. Sivaperumaanwho is the entire structure of Gnanam, and Sakthi are married to each other, and the Paramathma, Sri Emperumaan is assisting and helped them in getting married. Gnanam, sakthi, Beauty, Bhakti and wealth are joined together on the same place and they give their Kalyana seva to the entire world. When Konedu Maaran Sri Vallabha devan was ruling the city, Periyalwar on seeing the beauty of Azhagar, he sang the great, "Thiruppallanndu" in praise of Azhagar. Temple opening & closing time : 5.30am - 12pm, 4pm - 9pm
The building that houses the Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai is the historic Tamukkam Palace Rani Mangammal of Nayak Dynasty built about 1670 A.D. Later, Rain Mangammal this was under the occupation of the Nawab of Carnatic, The East India Company and a few others. Finally the Palace had remained for many years as the official residence of the British District, Collector of Madurai, It was in 1955 the palace with about 13 acres of land was gifted by the Tamil Nadu State Government to the All India Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for the purpose of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum. Besides the major renovation to the original building a complete new wing on the northern side was constructed for the Library Opean Air Theatre as also several other buildings and an Gandhi.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59, in the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace where the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. In its heyday, Tirumalai Nayak Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South.This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Histroy of Madurai
|Area : 3,676 sq.km|
|Population : 30,41,038 (2011)|
|STD Code : 0452|
|Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium; it later on came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.|
The Sangam age or the Golden age of Tamil literature – produced masterpieces way back in the Pre christian era and in early 1st millennium . Madurai was the seat of the Tamil Sangam or Academy of learning. The entire city of Madurai, is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple – the temple par excellence. Concentric rectangular streets surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos.
As early as the 3rd century BC, Megasthanes visited Madurai. Later many people from Rome and Greece visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings. Madurai flourished till 10th century AD when it was captured by Cholas the arch rivals of the Pandyas.
The 1371, the Vijayanagar dynasty of Hampi captured Madurai and it became part of the Vijayanagar empire. Kings of this dynasty were in habit of leaving the captured land to governors called Nayaks. This was done for the efficient management of their empire. The Nayaks paid fixed amount annually to the Vijayanagar empire. After the death of Krishna Deva Raya (King of Vijayanagar empire) in 1530 AD, the Nayaks became independent and ruled the territories under their control. Among Nayaks, Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) was very popular, even now he is popular among people, since, it was he who contributed to the creation of many magnificent structures in and around Madurai. The Raja Gopuram of the Meenakshi Amman Temple, The Pudu Mandapam and The Thirumalai Nayakar's Palace are living monuments to his artistic fervor. Madurai started slipping into the hands of the British's East India Company. In 1781, British appointed their representatives to look after Madurai. George Procter was the first collector of Madurai.