Places Around Madurai
Suruli Falls Kumbakarai Falls Coutralam Falls
Suruli falls is about 120 Kms from Madurai enroute to Thekkady.The falls originates from Meghamalai range and falls from a height of 150 feet in to a pool and from there falls downwards to a depth of 40 feet.Above the Suruli falls at a height of 800 feet is the Kailasanathar cave temple.The Tamilnadu Tourist Corporation also organises trips to this place during the season.
Kumbakarai falls is around 90 Kms from Madurai.The falls originates from the foot of the Kodaikanal Hills.Water flows throughout the year in this water falls.It is a scenic beauty.Many Tamil films were shot here right from the 'Vennira Adai' days.The rocks are slippery and one has to be very careful while walking over the slippery rocks.
Coutralam water falls originates in the Pothigai Hills in the western Ghats and is the most famous water falls in Tamilnadu.It is about 160 Kms from Madurai enroute to Shenkottai.There are 9 water falls in this small scenic town.The water falls also has curative properties as the water flows through innumerable powerful herbs in the mountain.The season is normaly from July to August.The very ancient Kutralanathar(Lord Shiva) temple is also at the foot of the falls.There are herbal oil massage facilities near the falls.The nine falls are main falls,chitraruvi,old falls,new falls,shenbagadevi,tiger falls,five falls,thenaruvi and pazhathotta aruvi.(Aruvi in Tamil means Falls).
Athisayam Theme Park
Athisayam is about 15 Kms from Madurai in the Madurai-Dindugal National Highway.It is a water theme cum amusement park.This theme park has the usual water sports,jolly rides,giant wheels and roller coasters.The latest attraction is an artificial water falls.Good restaurant,Change rooms and safe vaults are available like any other theme park.There are about 40 games and 20 water rides and the park is located in a 40 acre area.
Kodai Mist,Lake,Pillar Rock,Silver Cascade,Cokers Walk,Palani Slope,Guna Caves,Kurinji Flower
Kodaikanal is the famous hill resort near Madurai.It is about 120 Kms from Madurai.This captivating hill station is on the Palani hills.Kodai hills is at a height of 2200 Metres .Kodaikanal has a man made artificial lake.The Kodai Boat club was founded in 1890.The boat club has number of boats for the use of its members and for hire by tourists.Kodai temperature during summer will be 19.8 degree celsius and during winter will be around 17.3 degree celsius.The nearest Railway station is Kodaikanal Road in the Madurai-Dindugal section.There are frequent buses to Kodaikanal from Madurai,Dindugal,Periyakulam Palani and Batlagundu.There are about 4 falls in Kodaikanal called Silver cascade,Bear Shola Falls,Pambar Falls and Thalaiyar Falls.Silver cascade is just before kodai and is enroute.Bear shola falls is 2 Kms from the lake.The other two falls are not easily accessible.Byrant Park is another attraction in Kodai.Seasonal flower shows are conducted here by the Horticulture department.Strobilanthes Kunthiana popularly known as Kurinji flower in Tamil blooms in Kodai once in 12 years.It is a blue purple flower.In the year 1872 Lt Coaker formed a pedestrian path along the edge of a steep slope around the mountain.This is called Coaker's Walk.There is a tower with a telescope in Coker's Walk.On a cloudless day one can have an aerial view of Periyakulam and even the city of Madurai through this telescope.Three large rocks measuring a height of about 400 feet can be seen close to each other.They are impressive big boulders and are called Pillar rocks.It is an imposing sight.The gap between the pillars are known as the 'Devil's Kitchen'.Dolphin's nose is a flat cliff projecting over a 6000 feet deep rift valley.The Kodaikanal Observatory is world renowned and was established in 1898.It is situated at a height of 7700 feet.There is a temple dedicated to Lord Muruga called Kurinji Andavar Temple.From the temple Palani Temple and Vaiagi dam can be viewed.There are two mosques also.St.Mary's Church,St Joseph's church and Luthern Mission Church are among the few Churches at Kodai.There is a hill route from Kodai to Palani.Buses ply between Palani and Kodai in the hill route.
Vaigai dam is about 69 Kms from Madurai.It is built across the river Vaigai near Andipatti.It is the main water resource for irrigation in Madurai and Dindugal districts.An agricultural Research Station of the Tamilnadu government is also situated near the dam.There is also an exquisite Park near the dam site.The height of the dam is 111 feet and can store 71 feet of water.This dam was built in1959.On sunday evenings the dam site is illuminated and looks scenic.
Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary
The Periyar Wild life sanctuary is situated close to Kerala Tamilnadu border town Kumily and is around 100 Kms from Madurai.It is at equidistance from Madurai and Kottayam(in Kerala). Nearest town in Tamilnadu limits is Cumbum.But the sanctuary is situated at Thekkady in Kerala limits.The central government has delcared it as a National park and a TigerReserve.The sanctuary is situated across 140 square miles of dense forest.Herds of Elephants,deers,tigers and lion tailed Macaques can be seen here. The Mullai Periyar dam authorites have formed an artifical lake across the Periyar river in the sanctuary.Elephant herds visitng the lake nonchalantly is a sight worth seeing.Thekkady is richly endowed with natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove.There are facilities for trekking,elephant riding and boating.While boating in the serene lake one can watch the wild animals closely.The Mangala devi temple is situated at a height of 1337 M above sea level at a distance of 13 Kms from Kumily.The temple will be open only once in a year during the Chithra full moon day.The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mangala Devi.The temple is built in Pandyan style of architecture.The temple can be reached only in Four Wheel Drive vehicles like Jeep,Maruti Gypsy etc.Chellar Kovil is another place at a distance of 15 Kms from Kumily endowed with lot of natural water falls.
Places of Worship
Pillayarpatti Kundrakudi Tirukoshityur Rameswaram Azhagar Kovil Pazhamuthircholai
Pillayarpatti temple is at a distance of 70 Kms from Madurai.It is near Tiupathur(Tirupathur is on the Madurai-Puthukottai Road) on the Tirupathur Karaikudi route.Buses are available from Madurai,Karaikudi and Sivagangai.It is a rock cut temple.The Lord Vinayagar at Pillayarpatti is knwn as 'Karpaga Vinayagar'.The ganesha idol at Pillayarpatti is a 'Valampuri Vinayagar'(The trunk of Lord Ganesh turns towards the right).Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in this temple for 10 days in a grand manner.The Ganesh idol is 6 feet tall. When adorned in 'Thanga Kavasam'(Golden armour),Lord Ganesha at Pillayarpatti is enthralling to devotees. This temple is 1600 years old.Lord Shiva in this temple is known as Marudeeswarar.The shiva Lingam is also rock cut.The goddess in this temple is known as 'Vadamalar Mangai'.
Kundrakudi is a small town near Karaikudi.It is about 10 KMs from Karaikudi and around 5 to 6Kms from Pillayarpatti.Kundrakudi is also known as Kunnakudi.Lord Shanmuganathan temple in Kundrakudi is a famous ancient cave temple.Panguni uthiram Tirukarthikai,Thai Poosam and Kanda Shashti are celebrated in this temple in a grand way.The temple is situated on a small hill.There are steps to go up to the sanctum.It is said the hill is in the shape of a peacock, the vehicle of Lord Muruga.Arunagirinathar has sung hymns about this temple. Tirukoshtiyur is located at 10 KMs from Tirupathur in the Tirupathur-Sivagangai route.The Soumya Narayana Perumal temple at Tirukoshityur is one among the 108 Divya Desham temples.The Lord in this temple can be seen in 3 postures(standing ,sitting and reclining).Vaishnavite saint Ramanujar has chanted 'Om Namo Narayana' mantra to the world from this temple.Periyalwar has also sung about this temple.The float festival of this temple attracts devotees from all over the state.
Rameswaram is an island town 170 Kms away from Madurai.Along with Kasi,Rameswaram is considered to be the holiest places to Hindus.People from all over India visit Rameswaram through out the year .It is believed Rama has built the Ram sethu from here to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita Devi.After killing Ravana,to atone his sin,Rama worshipped Lord Shiva in this place.The Shiva Lingam Worshipped by Raman is the presiding dieity of this temple known as Ramanatha swamy.There are lot of worth seeing places associated with the great epic Ramayan in this island town.
Azhagar kovil is about 20 Kms from Madurai.This temple is one among the 108 Divya Desham temples.The presiding Lord Vishnu in this temple is Meenakshi's brother and is known as Azhagar in the Madurai region.The temple is situated at the foot of the Azhagarmalai(Azhagar Hills).This is a very ancient temple.During the Chitra festival at Madurai,the idol of Lord Azhagar from this temple is taken in a grand procession to Madurai to attend his sister Meenakshi's wedding.Tamil epic Silapthikaram a literary work that dates back to 3rd BC mentions about this temple.Since the Lord comes in the disguise of a bandit to attend his siters marraige,the Lord is known as 'Kallazhagar'.The Azhagar hill is richly endowed with valuable herbs with medicinal properties.
Pazhamuthircholai is one among the six abodes of Lord Muruga. Pazhamuthircholai is situated on the Azhagar Hills.In this temple Lord Murugan is seen with his two consorts Valli and Deivanai.There is a motorable road to the Murugan temple from the foot of the Azhagar hills.It is about 10 Kms from the foot of the Azhagar hills.At the hill top is a perennial water spring called 'Nupura Gangai'.Arunagirinathar has sung 16 hymns about this divine place in his 'Tirupukazh'.Nakkeerar has sung about this place in 'Tirumurugatrupadai'.It is beleived Lord Murugan tested saint Avvaiyar beneath a 'Nelli Maram' (gooseberry tree) at this place.That tree is still worshipped by devotees visiting this temple.Pazhamuthircholai is the last of the six abodes of Lord Muruga.It is also notewrothy that the first and the last abode of Lord Muruga is around Madurai.
Srivilliputhur Kazhugumalai Sankarankovil Tiruchendur
Srivilliputhur is the birth place of Periyalwar and Andal.Srivilliputhur is 75 Kms from Madurai.The 12 tiered ,192 feet high Srivilliputhur Vatapatrasayee temple tower is the official emblem of Tamil nadu Government.Srivilliputhur Andal temple is one of the 108 Divyadesam temples.Srivilliputhur is one of the holiest cities of Tamilnadu.Andal authored Tiruppavai at Villiputhur.Andal later married Lord Rangamannar at Srirangam.The Srivilliputhur temple chariot is considered to be one of the biggest temple chariots of Tamilnadu.The Car festival during 'Adi Pooram' is equally well known.
Kazhukaumalai is a small town in the Sankaran kovil-Kovilpatti route .It is about 100 Kms from Madurai.Kazhugachalamurthy temple in Kazhugumalai is dedicated to Lord Murugan.It is a cave temple.Arunagirinathar has sung hymns about this temple in Tirupukazh.This is also a very ancient temple.The presiding diety is rock cut in a cave.The peacock mount of the Lord is positioned on the left in this temple unlike the normal right side in all other temples.Dakshinamurthy in Kazhugumalai temple is seen as playing a mirudanga.This is very unique and can't be seen anywhere else.
Sankaran kovil is about 110 Kms from Madurai.Sankaran kovil is also known as Sankaranainar kovil.The famous Sankara narayanan temple is situated here.The godess is known as Gomathi Amman.This temple is visited by both saivites and Vaishnavites because Lord shiva appears as Sankaranarayanar a combined manifestation of Shiva and Vishnu,in this temple which is very unique.This is a 11th century temple.This temple has a very ancient ant hill, originally formed by ants and later occupied by serpents.This ant hill is known as 'Putru' in Tamil.The 'Putru Mann' (sand particles from the ant hill) is the most revered prasad of this temple.This 'putru mann' is considered the nostrum for all ills by the devotees.The temple pond is called 'Naga sunai' in this temple.The tank water is considered as an antidote for poisonous bites.People affected by poisonous creature stings take a holy dip in this temple tank for relief.It is also said the presiding dieity of this temple and goddess were installed by Adi Shanakara.
Tiruchendur is 186 Kms from Madurai(via Tuticorin).The famous Murugan temple considered as second among the six abodes of Lord Muruga is situated in Tiuchendur.This temple is situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.The presiding dieity in this temple town is known as Senthilandavar. The temple is overlooking the sea and is an impressive sight.The Tamil epic 'Silapathikaram' mentions about this temple.This shows the antiquity of this temple.Arunagirinathar has sung 83 hymns on this holy place.Unlike the other five abodes of Lord Muruga situated on hills, this abode of Lord Muruga is on a seashore and is very special among devotees.Another attraction near Tiruchendur is the 9 Divyadeshams of Lord Vishnu called 'Nava Tirupathi' situated in the route between Tiruchendur and Tirunelveli with in a distance of 25 to 30 Kms starting from Srivaikuntam.