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Difference between revisions of "Madurai"

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===Other Sites===
 
===Other Sites===
* '''Naickar Mahal''' '''NOTE: As of March, 2009 there was scaffolding/construction in much of the interior of hte palace, greatly decreasing it's attraction'''  The remains of the palace of the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Naickar who contributed extensively to the Meenakshi Temple.  Only a small portion of the original structure[which was four times as larger] remains. There were originally two parts-Swargavilasa[heavenly pavilion],meant for the King's harem and housing the darbar court,and the ranka vilasa,which was for the servants. Currently,entrance to the roof is prohibited due the renovation work being carried out by the Archaeological Department.They claim to finish work in 6 months.  There is a '''sound and light show''' in the evening (Both English & Tamil Version of the show).  There is also a museum, which houses not only the original portraits of  Thirumalai naicker,but also unearthed stine carvings of the 17th century,along with many sculptures of [[Hindu]] Gods like Brahma, Nataraja, Saraswati of the period. There is one rare painting on one of the pillars,which the Archaeological Department claim to have unearthed from one of the pillars.There is a painting hidden in every pillar,apparently.  The other portion of the palace, Rankavilasam was demolished by Thirumalai Naicker's Grandson. However, a small structure still remains known as "Ten pillars" or "Pathu Thoon"[in Tamil]. Sadly,these ten pillars of timeless beauty in [http://www.carrentalmadurai.com/TouristPlaces/Madurai/ThirumalaiNaickpalace/madurai-tour-vacation-visit-places.aspx?m=45&mm=46&mmm=50 Naickar Mahal] are now surrounded by shops and residential houses.
+
* '''Naickar Mahal''' '''NOTE: As of March, 2009 there was scaffolding/construction in much of the interior of hte palace, greatly decreasing it's attraction'''  The remains of the palace of the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Naickar who contributed extensively to the Meenakshi Temple.  Only a small portion of the original structure[which was four times as larger] remains. There were originally two parts-Swargavilasa[heavenly pavilion],meant for the King's harem and housing the darbar court,and the ranka vilasa,which was for the servants. Currently,entrance to the roof is prohibited due the renovation work being carried out by the Archaeological Department.They claim to finish work in 6 months.  There is a '''sound and light show''' in the evening (Both English & Tamil Version of the show).  There is also a museum, which houses not only the original portraits of  Thirumalai naicker,but also unearthed stine carvings of the 17th century,along with many sculptures of [[Hindu]] Gods like Brahma, Nataraja, Saraswati of the period. There is one rare painting on one of the pillars,which the Archaeological Department claim to have unearthed from one of the pillars.There is a painting hidden in every pillar,apparently.  The other portion of the palace, Rankavilasam was demolished by Thirumalai Naicker's Grandson. However, a small structure still remains known as "Ten pillars" or "Pathu Thoon"[in Tamil]. Sadly,these ten pillars of timeless beauty in [http://www.carrentalmadurai.com/TouristPlaces/Madurai/ThirumalaiNaickpalace/madurai-tour-vacation-visit-places.aspx?m=45&mm=46&mmm=50 Naickar Mahal] are now surrounded by shops and residential houses.
  
 
* '''Gandhi Museum'''.  This museum, located on the north side of the river in the palace of Rani Mangammal, houses Gandhi's bloodstained dhoti and little else by way of artifacts. Those interested in the freedom struggle, though, will be interested in the extensive text housed here.  Tamil speakers and long-term visitors may be interested in the classes and workshops offered in subjects as diverse as t'ai chi and local herbs. There is also a khadi bhavan (store selling village and handloom products) and bookstore, with (mostly Tamil) books on spiritual and natural health topics.  Also located on the campus of the museum is a government museum (across from the library). The museum is located in Tamukkam Palace near Goripalayam on the northern side of the river Vaigai.
 
* '''Gandhi Museum'''.  This museum, located on the north side of the river in the palace of Rani Mangammal, houses Gandhi's bloodstained dhoti and little else by way of artifacts. Those interested in the freedom struggle, though, will be interested in the extensive text housed here.  Tamil speakers and long-term visitors may be interested in the classes and workshops offered in subjects as diverse as t'ai chi and local herbs. There is also a khadi bhavan (store selling village and handloom products) and bookstore, with (mostly Tamil) books on spiritual and natural health topics.  Also located on the campus of the museum is a government museum (across from the library). The museum is located in Tamukkam Palace near Goripalayam on the northern side of the river Vaigai.

Revision as of 15:30, 28 March 2009

Madurai (Tamil: மதுரை) [1] is a major city in Tamil Nadu and home to the Meenakshi Temple. It is also known as the Temple City of India. You can find temples in almost every street in Madurai. The city is called "Thoongaa Nagaram", which means Sleepless City. You can find coffee/tea shops open at almost any time of day and night.

Contents

Understand

NOTE: AS OF THE END OF MARCH, 2009 RENOVATIONS ON THE TEMPLE GOPURAMS WERE FINISHING UP. THE SCAFFOLDING WAS BEING REMOVED. SOME WERE COMPLETELY VISIBLE THOUGH OTHERS REMAINED PARTIALLY OBSCURED. Even if not all the Gopurams are visible, the temple is once again worth the visit, especially since the new paint job is incredibly colorful.

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India and was ruled by Pandya kings over most of its history. The city is famous for is rich heritage and promoting Tamil language through "Sangams". The city has been in existence since about 4th century B.C and is mentioned in ancient texts of Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The Meenakshi Amman temple situated in the heart of the city is famous, and there are a number of temples in and around the city.

Madurai is also an important transit point for travellers bound south and also a local commercial hub.

Festivals

Madurai is famous for the Chithrai Festival which takes place during mid April-May, during the Tamil month of Chithrai, when millions pour into the city for the carnival. In 2009, the festival starts on April 14. The main events are:

  • Day 1: Flag hoisting, official start of festival
  • Day 8: Coronation of Meenakshi Amman
  • Day 9: Procession of the goddess
  • Day 10: Celestial wedding (Thirukalyanam) of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar
  • Day 11: Chariot procession (Ther Thiruvizhah)
  • Day 12: Float procession (Theppa Thiruvizhah)

Madurai is also famous for its yearly bull run "Jallikattu" which coincides with Pongal festival in the month of January.

Get in

Main modes of transport for travellers are by air and by train.

By air

Madurai has a domestic airport with fairly good facilities. It is served by several domestic airlines including

The flights connect mainly to Chennai (Madras).

The airport is about 15 km from the city off National Highway 47. It is best to hire a "pre-paid taxi" from the airport from the counter in the arrival lounge or arrange for someone to meet you at the airport.

Work is in progress to make it an international airport.

By train

Trains are the major mode of entry into the city. The railway station is centrally located and many facilites are accessible from there. Madurai is well connected by trains to many parts of India like Chennai , Bangalore, Mumbai (Bombay), and Delhi. A train journey from Chennai takes 8 to 10 hours and is the preferred railhead. Train tickets can be booked from Indian Railways' reservation centers or online from IRCTC[6].

If you book through a travel agent, please book through authorised agents only.

By road

Madurai is situated on National Highways NH-7, NH-45B, NH-49. Almost all of them are presently being upgraded to multi-lane ways as part of National highway development program. Travel from Chennai and Bangalore will take approximately 8-10 hours.

The city is well connected by buses to all major cities in Tamil Nadu via state government operated and private buses. Buses also ply from important cities in the neighbouring states of Kerala(Ernakulam, Trivandram) and Karnataka(Bangalore, Mysore). There are lots of ordinary buses and many luxury ones too.

Madurai has several bus stands. Most inter-state and overnight buses terminate at Mattuthavani Bus stand. Private buses are found closer to the city center near Periyar bus stand. Ticketing and reservation facilities are available at the bus-stands.



  • For Detailed report and photos of Munnar to Kodaikanal Route goto Munnar-Kodaikanal

By boat

Madurai is situated inland, and river Vaigai which runs through the city is mostly dry. However, the nearest ports for entry are Chennai(450 km) and Tuticorin(160 km).

Get around

Local transport is by means of bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw. Being a small city there are no metro or local train facilities, though there are passenger trains connecting nearby places. Refer to the timetable available at the railway station for more information.

By bus

Local buses are run by the government and are safe to use. Travelling them is extremely cheap, and quite an experience in itself. However, they will be crowded during peak hours. There are also specific services available at night, though the charges are double. Please carry coins to buy tickets.Remember that in India everyone lives by asking each other for directions. The friendly people are often more than happy to help a foreigner find his/her way by giving directions. Just dont get friendly or pay money . Most people speak the working national Language "English" , at bus stops dont form a queue, ask whether the bus you are boarding goes to where you need to and get on, the conductor will drop you off if you are not on the right bus, no worries! Now the buses are colour coded. orange buses with yellow seats are expensive ( USD 0.20)! so are not crowded. choose to wait and travel comfortably. If you really want to rough it out try the cheaper version of the city buses and be ready to shower and use deodorant after ! I would also keep a watch on my wallet. But Tamilnadu is better policed than most other states. Travel at night is also safe.So relax, forget your travel guide and discover a whole new culture of friendliness.

The boards in buses are displayed only in Tamil, so please ask the conductor regarding the destination and route.

Madurai has 4 main bus-stands.

  • Periyar Bus stand - Exclusive local bus terminal, about 5 minutes walk from railway station. Commonly referred as "Periyar".
  • Shopping Complex bus stand - Right opposite to Periyar bus stand, often referred by the same name. Private inter-city buses depart from here.
  • Arapalayam bus stand - Some local buses and those bound west/northwest towards Theni, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Palani, Kodaikanal, Salem, Erode, Batlagundu or Vaththalakundu, Periyakulam depart from here.
  • Mattuthavani Integrated bus stand - Simply called Mattuthavani, and located in the outskirts about 10 km from Periyar bus stand. This is the location for long distance government buses and other places. Private buses also stop here.

All bus-stands are interconnected by buses or you can hire an auto.

By car

It is difficult to drive in India, as traffic can be totally chaotic. Please see India article for more. However, taxies are abundant and you can book one from your hotel.

Average car rental rate in Madurai to go to places like Alagar Temple,Thiruparakundram,Naicker Mahal,Palamudurcholai is Rs.600-650. Please be beware of cheats as foreign tourists are easily duped into paying more.

One can move around by car in Madurai. There are many car rental companies and private taxis available. Most hotels also offer cab services.

By Auto Rickshaws

The Auto Rickshaws are not metered, which means you need to negotiate your fare before commencing your travel. The rule of thumb rate is Rs10 per km of travel during day time and Rs 15 per km during night. They are usually safe to hire from central, well lit locations like the railway station. It is likely for auto rickshaw drivers to quote exorbitant rates to Foreigners and non-Tamilian Indians.

See

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

AS OF THE END OF MARCH, 2009 RENOVATIONS ON THE TEMPLE GOPURAMS WERE FINISHING UP. THE SCAFFOLDING WAS BEING REMOVED. SOME WERE COMPLETELY VISIBLE THOUGH OTHERS REMAINED PARTIALLY OBSCURED By far, the most common reason for visiting the city is the Meenakshi Temple [7], dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi (considered a form of Parvati) with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar (or Siva). Actually, historically, the Sundereshwar shrine is the larger and older of the two temple complexes. The complex itself is a splendid example of the south Indian Dravida architectural idiom. Four immense gopurams or temple towers crown the gateways at each cardinal direction, easily visible from a distance. Each tower is encrusted with more than a thousand brilliantly painted sculptures depicting an assortment of mythological and auspicious themes. It is traditional to enter through the south gopuram and, unusually, worship the Goddess before her consort. Inside the shelter for shoe-storage, offering baskets of coconuts, bananas and incense are available in addition to images of the Goddess for home altars. Many pilgrims -- particularly the men in black or orange sarongs who are devotees of the god Ayyappan -- circumambulate the main temple itself in the prakara or space between the outer wall and main temple. In addition, snake shrines and an assortment of offices and classrooms of religious foundations are found here.

Within the temple, devotees line up for darshan or viewing of the deities. Please note, however, that non-Hindus are not permitted into the inner sancta of Meenakshi or Sundareshwarar; anyone who looks suspicious can and will be pulled out of line by attendants. However, there is an abundance of sculpture and painting accessible to all. In addition, the steps of the Pottramaraikulam or Golden Lotus Pond is open to all and is a common meeting place for inhabitants of the city, in addition to pilgrims and tourists. In ancient times, the sangam or assembly of poets was said to gather at this pool to judge the merits of new compositions, often by throwing the manuscripts into the pool itself. Those that sank were inferior while those that floated were worthy of praise and propagation.

There are many shops within the east gate, selling everything from plastic toys to bronze images of the Goddess. Be sure to bargain hard. NOTE:One can buy the special tickets at the counter[each Rs.15] to get a special darshan,which is nothing but cutting short the line by at least a half.

WARNING: Beware of guides who offer to take you to vantage points outside the temple to get a better view. You will be lured into shops that have a very hard sell..

Other temples

  • Koodal Alagar Temple. Important Vaishnav Temple magnificient, has three stairs of the lord posture. Sitting posture of the lord (Main moola deity), one level up is a standing posture of the lord, and the 3rd level up is the lying down posture of the lord. The temple is a spectacular one. It is located in the heart of the city, one of the Divya Desams ( 108). Worshipped by "Alwars - Vasihnav Saints ". Worth to see and worship.
  • Thiruparankundram. One of the important old Temple dedicated to Lord Muruga - Karthikeya located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city. First Arupadai Veedu. References to this ancient temple are available in scriptures from 6th century AD (Paripadal). The temple interior is a huge rectangular chamber carved out of the hill, with side chambers housing various deities of Hindu religion approached via narrow passages. The Thiruparankundram temple is accessible via road from Madurai and has a railway station 1 km away. Most express trains do not stop there though.
  • Alagar Temple. Another Vaishnav temple Alagar Koil,20 km away from the city located in the nearby hills. At the top of the hill is a natural stream from where the water is carried fresh daily by the temple priest for the Lord. Famous for Chittrai Festival(First Tamil month)/9April-May)-Summer Festival. The Lord is considered the brother of Meenakshi (Lordes Paravathi) given in wedding with Sundareshwar (Lord Shiva).
  • Pazhamudhir Solai. Near to Alagar Koil, important Temple for Lord Karthikeya on the hills , of course inside of Solai - jungle. One of the six important temple for Lord Muruga - Karthikeya. This is a very large and beautiful temple. You can take an Auto rickshaw from the Meenakshi temple to visit this temple for a charge of around Rs 100 (2007). Regular bus service is offered by the Transport Corporation. There is a utsavam of the diety on a golden chariot at 7PM.

Other Sites

  • Naickar Mahal NOTE: As of March, 2009 there was scaffolding/construction in much of the interior of hte palace, greatly decreasing it's attraction The remains of the palace of the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Naickar who contributed extensively to the Meenakshi Temple. Only a small portion of the original structure[which was four times as larger] remains. There were originally two parts-Swargavilasa[heavenly pavilion],meant for the King's harem and housing the darbar court,and the ranka vilasa,which was for the servants. Currently,entrance to the roof is prohibited due the renovation work being carried out by the Archaeological Department.They claim to finish work in 6 months. There is a sound and light show in the evening (Both English & Tamil Version of the show). There is also a museum, which houses not only the original portraits of Thirumalai naicker,but also unearthed stine carvings of the 17th century,along with many sculptures of Hindu Gods like Brahma, Nataraja, Saraswati of the period. There is one rare painting on one of the pillars,which the Archaeological Department claim to have unearthed from one of the pillars.There is a painting hidden in every pillar,apparently. The other portion of the palace, Rankavilasam was demolished by Thirumalai Naicker's Grandson. However, a small structure still remains known as "Ten pillars" or "Pathu Thoon"[in Tamil]. Sadly,these ten pillars of timeless beauty in Naickar Mahal are now surrounded by shops and residential houses.
  • Gandhi Museum. This museum, located on the north side of the river in the palace of Rani Mangammal, houses Gandhi's bloodstained dhoti and little else by way of artifacts. Those interested in the freedom struggle, though, will be interested in the extensive text housed here. Tamil speakers and long-term visitors may be interested in the classes and workshops offered in subjects as diverse as t'ai chi and local herbs. There is also a khadi bhavan (store selling village and handloom products) and bookstore, with (mostly Tamil) books on spiritual and natural health topics. Also located on the campus of the museum is a government museum (across from the library). The museum is located in Tamukkam Palace near Goripalayam on the northern side of the river Vaigai.
  • Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam. A temple built in the middle of a man-made pond. Mariamman Teppakulam Famous for its float festival (teppa tiruvila) conducted during the Thai Poosam (falls in the second half of January). Popular story is that the spot was excavated for its soil to be used for building 17th Century king Tirumala Nayakkar's palace. The king had ordered excavated spot to be converted into a 16 acre lake fed from Vaigai river through under ground channels. The river itself boasts of water only during North-East Monsoon season (Oct-Nov) and hence the lake has water from Nov to Feb.

Learn

Madurai is a popular destination of learning in the surrounding areas. Madurai Kamaraj University is situated in Nagamalai Pudukkottai area about 7 km from the city. Madurai also has various public and private colleges offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses. Prominent schools & colleges in Madurai include:

  1. Madurai Kamaraj University, Nagamalai Pudukkottai
  2. Madurai Medical College, Near Gandhi Museum
  3. Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Thirparankunram
  4. American college for Arts and Sciences, Goripalayam
  5. Madurai Agricultural college, Ottakadai
  6. Thiagarajar school of management, Thiruparankunram
  7. Lakshmi School(ICSE), Karuppayurani
  8. TVS Lakshmi Matric Higher Secondary School, TVS Nagar
  9. SBOA Matriculation & Higher Secondary School, Nagamalai
  10. Vikaasa School, Ponnagaram
  11. Mahatma Montessori School, Anna Nagar
  12. Jeevana Matric Higher Secondary school, Ponmeni

Additionally, Gandhi Museum houses a library specializing in Gandhian studies.

Work

As with any place in India you should have a work permit. Madurai is not yet into IT boom, so the main activities are into business, banking, government, religion etc. Most of the other work is related to textile and other small scale industries. Paramount airways, a new private airlines, has its head quarters in Madurai. Honeywell Pvt Ltd has set up its development facility in Madurai, near Thiagarajar College of Engineering, approx 15km from the city. Majority of folks work in Government or Government based sectors (like nationalized banks, insurance firms etc). Sizable numbers work for small and medium business establishments too. Madurai being a commercial center, is an active place to trade and exchange for agricultural products from surrounding towns and villages.

Buy

Madurai is a major commercial center in South India. The main activity is concentrated around the Meenakshi Temple. These are the places to visit for shopping, and actually many have specific markets for groceries (East Masi street), jewellery (South Avani Moola street), Electronics (Town hall road) etc. Madurai is famous for cotton Sungidi Sarees ( Hand Loom) , Brass works, Tanjore Paintings, Handicrafts and antiques. Pudumandapam is an old mall (about 500 years old) of sorts, where you can find tailors, books, handicrafts and bronze items in quaint shops (don't expect brands here). Handloom cotton sarees are available in co-operative stores (often a union of several weavers and/or looms) like Co-optex.

Beware of touts who may try to sell at higher prices.

ATMs of most nationalised banks are available in the city. There are sufficient numbers of private bank ATMs too. However, you may not find ATMs of international banks like Citi, Barclays etc.

Almost all ATMs accept standard VISA/MASTERCARD/CIRRUS cards.

Credit cards are also accepted in most stores, however they may not be available with small shops. The size of the shop is usually an indicator for this. There may be a nominal service fee at a few shops.

Major banks accept foreign exchange, and you can walk into any branch to enquire. You will also find money exchangers in mid and high range hotels. The area around railway station also has commercial money changers available.

Eat

Guide:

Atmosphere NNNN = Extremely noisy and crowded; NNN = Noisy and crowded; NN = Moderately noisy and crowded; N = Spacious and reduced noise level

Food type

[S] = Spicy; [H] = Hot (meaning: Garam); [T] = Tasty!; [NV] = Non-vegetarian; [V] = Vegetarian; [J] = Jain food; [NVV] = Non-vegetarian and Vegetarian There are any number of restaurants but any college Boy Knows how to have the best dinner at one of the " Evening Mutton Stalls " for a pittance. The stromg aroma of eye watering dishes is not for the faint hearted. The next morning you will be reminded of your spicy excapades into culinary discovery. If spicy hot is not your cup of tea, your starting point should be with "Kotthu Parotta" without The gravy or chillies or chilly powder or pepper mixed in it. The music of the Kotthu ladles drumming on the flat hot plate of a charcoal fired Barbeque is Nirvana to a hungry mans ears. I recomend the roadside eatery near the central bus stand branch office of KPN travels. Spare the shoddy service and test the immunity of your bowels! all the best!(NNN). (NV)

  • Modern Restaurant $$/NN/[S]/[T]/[V] One of the heritage vegetarian restaurants located on west Avani street behind the YMCA. It is the best place to savour a traditional south Indian meal. They still serve the most authentic idly, dosa, pongal and kesari (as you would find in a traditional bramhin household). Their clientele has boasted of the famous Nehru and even Mahatma Gandhi. Even till a few years ago, their walls were covered with photographs of who's who of India. A must see and eat place!!
  • Amma mess $$/NNN/[S]/[T]/[NV] Amma (Tamil equivalent for Mother) mess is a very popular dining place among the locals as well as those travelling from neighbouring districts. Located on Alagar Kovil Road at Tallakulam, it is at a equal distance from Tamukkam Post Office bus stop as well as Tallakulam Perumal Kovil bus stop. If you get down at the former, head NE else head SW if latter. Their lunch is very popular. Buses to Mattuthavani should take you to this place.
  • Jaffer's Home Biryani $/NN/[NV]/[T] Popular place for Biryanis and side dishes. In the evening, they make Parottas as well. Buses to Mattuthavani or Alagarkovil should take you to this place. The nearest bus stop is Evening Madurai Kamaraj Univ stop or Madurai Corporation Eco Park stop. The dining place is located on a small street opposite to the Thyagaraja Petrol Station.
  • Chappati Park $/NN/[V]/[T], nearby the K.K.Nagar Arch. As the name implies, the dining place is known for its variety with Chappati (roti like item). You name it, they got it! You can notice creative stuffing with Chappatis. Popular place for dinner. The nearest bus stop would be K.K.Nagar Court (Neetheemandram). Head E if you get down at the above stop. Buses to Mattuthavani would take you to this place.
  • Hotel Sabarish $/NNNN/[V]/[T]/, Town Hall Road. A very popular dining place for dosas and uthappams. Don't miss it! It is very nearby to the Madurai Railway Junction. If you head towards the Town Hall Rd from the Railway station, the hotel is situated nearby the second 4-road intersection.
  • Hotel meeenakshi Bhavan $$/NN/[V]/[T] Serves very good south Indian food. Also, the north Indian food is pretty good. But all hotels serve north Indian food only during Dinnertime.
  • Hotel Harish $/NN/[V] South Masi Road. Pure veg restaurant. Excellent fast food items like pizzas and chat.It houses a bakery too.
  • New Ariya Bhavan, West Masi Street, it serves good Bombay/marwadi thali and south indian thali. Also,it has some fine bengali sweets in addition to local south Indian sweets and savouries.
  • Murugan Idly Shop, West Masi Street. Exclusively for very soft Idlies. Also good for DOSAs and other south Indian food.Try once.
  • Hotel Aarthi [V], just behind to Koodal Alagar Temple, Near Town Bus stand. Serves Good and safefood of South Indian and Continental dishes.

However, dinner options are limited. Wherever you are, please don't forget to savour the hot "raw banana bhajia' or Kela Bhajia or valakkai bhajji Tamil. Also be wary of drinking water, better to buy water bottles.

Drink

Try the tender coconut drink. The tender coconut drink is sold by roadside sellers on their tricycles parked under the shade of a tree. Tea shops are always around the corner. Madurai is famous for its unique drink "Jigardanda" though it is not popular nowadays.

Alcohol is served in up-market hotels and it is advised to avoid other places for a drink.

Sleep

There are many hotels around railway station. The more luxurious ones are situated a little further.

Budget

  • HI Hostel (Youth Hostel Madurai City), BBC Building, 33 / 61B Dhanappa Mudali Street, Madurai 625001, 0452 - 3256671 / 2347217, [8]. Email: mciyouthhostel@sify.com
  • Sree Devi, 20 West Avani Moola Street (Near Shri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple), 0452-2347431. checkout: 12 noon. Nice, clean hotel with lots of rooms. Great locations. The staff are very keen to sell you beer. There is no bar/restaurant. Great view of Temples from the roof. Double: Rs300.
  • College House, (Near Railway Station). Also a popular landmark
  • M.M LODGE, town hall road (Opposite to Railway Station), 9791392717. Rs.100.
  • Hotel Sethu Tower, No 35 Nanmai Tharuvar Kovil Street, Nethaji Road, Madurai-1 Contact Number 0452 2343326
  • Elements Hostel, No.642, K.K. Nagar, (Opp. to Hindu Office) TamilNadu, (India). +91 452 439 1116, Calling From UK :02070783946 or 08000968832 (toll free), Calling From US or Canada: 646 536 3472 or 888 694 9257 (toll free). [9] The Elements Hostel is and affordable, safe and comfortable place to stay in Madurai. Air-conditioned, No Age limits, No curfew.
  • TM House, Perumal veli street, Cost effective, Safe & Comfortable.
  • Hotel Aarathi , Ph: 0452 2331571 / 2336341, Just behind to the Koodal Azhakar Temple. Safe & comfortable. You can enjoy good viewing of the pictorial temple towers from the Room or Roof top of the hotel. Tourists prefer to stay here to view the temple towers and to enjoy south indian food.

Mid-range

  • Madurai Residency. This is a fairly decent mid-range hotel. This is very near to railway station and Menakshi Amman temple. This hotel is near to the main shopping area also.
  • Hotel Supreme. near Railway station
  • Hotel North Gate. Alagarkoil Road
  • Hotel Park Plaza. Near railway station

Splurge

  • Taj Garden Retreat (now renamed Gateway Hotel), Pasumalai Hill, Madurai-4. Starting from US$110+.
  • Pandiyan Hotels. Alagar Koil Road, Madurai-2 (Starting from Rs. 2000)
  • GRT Regency. 38, Madakulam Main Road, Palanganatham, Madurai - 3 (Starting from Rs.2000 or US$50)
  • Hotel Sangam. Alagarkoil Road
  • Hotel Days Inn. By-Pass Road

Contact

Emergency phone numbers are displayed in various prominent locations is the city. But, don't be surprised to find a poster over it. The main contact numbers from landline phones are:

  • Emergency police: 100
  • Emergency Fire: 101
  • Emergency Ambulance: 103 (Government Rajaji Hospital)
  • Railway enquiry: 131
  • Maattuthaavani Bus Stand:
  • Government Rajaji Hospital blood bank: 2532535, 2580680
  • Apollo emergency ambulance services: 1066

Connectivity

Landline phones and mobile phones are available throughtout the city, and services are like anywhere in India. Broadband is also available from various providers. Internet cafes are dotted all around the city and it will cost from Rs 15-Rs 30 per hour. Prominent cybercafe chains like i-Way and Reliance Webworld are also available.

Wi-fi access is very limited and is available at the airport, railway station and a few hotels.

There are many post offices and couriers available in the city. The main GPO is located near Meenakshi Bazaar, about 10 minutes walk from railway station.

The international dialing code for Madurai is +91-452

The STD code for dialing within India is 0452

Stay safe

Madurai is a relatively safe place and the city stays awake through night to do business. But, there is no such nightlife is Madurai and it is better not to wander/shop during night time. There have been incidences of violence in the past, though it is extremely rare to affect the common man. Be aware of touts and pick-pockets, and do not hesitate to contact local police in case of trouble. Emergency contact numbers are displayed at many prominent places in the city. Also, Madurai is a politically active area for many parties, so it is not unusual to face traffic diversions, shop shutdowns etc in case of an occasion.

Women are advised not to wear extreme(provocative) clothes during any time.

Stay healthy

Water is supplied by the Madurai Corporation. But it is advised to drink bottled water, they are available everywhere.

The local food served in restaurants is hygenic however it is best avoided eating at roadside eateries.

The city can get hot and dusty during peak summer, hence drink lot of fluids like coconut water.

There are sufficient medical shops and nearly all major medications are available, but do bring the ones you use regularly.

Petty theft and pick-pocketing occur in crowded locations, so take caution with your belongings. Incidences of mugging though are quite rare. It is safe to hire an auto to get around, but exhibit caution at night. There have been stray occurences of auto-drivers mugging the passengers, though this is extremely rare. As usual be aware of touts & cheats at places of interest.

Hospitals

Below is a list of major hospitals in Madurai

  • Government Rajaji Hospital
  • Aravind Eye Hospital
  • Apollo Hospitals
  • Bose Hospital
  • Meenakshi Mission Hospital
  • Christian Mission Hospital
  • Jawahar Hospital
  • Vadamalayan Hospital
  • Shenbagam Nursing Home

Cope

The people of Madurai are proud of their city and heritage, so jokes on it are mostly not tolerated. Refrain from making jokes about a person or his family, as it could be disastrous sometimes. The most accepted way of greeting is "Vanakkam" with hands folded at chest. The locals are of friendly sort who will help you in times of need, but be ware of touts.

Get out

Madurai is an ideal hub for touring the extreme south of India. Most places are accessible within a day's travel. Prominent destinations near Madurai include Kodaikanal, Munnar, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Thekkady and Kuttralam




Reference site: Madurai Tours.

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