Madurai – Rameshwaram
Madurai is an exquisite city which is most popular for its marvelous temples that are magnificent examples of rich architecture and breathtaking sculptural works. Madurai is located in Tamil Nadu and attracts numerous tourists all the year round by its inescapable charm. There are many tourist attractions in Madurai that are reminiscent of the rich culture and heritage of this town during the ancient and medieval ages.
Rameshwaram is a sea swept sacred island of great tourist potential. Rameswaram is one of the foremost religious cities in Tamil Nadu. An important pilgrimage center for both Shaivites and Vaishnavaites, it was at Rameswaram where Lord Rama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Indian epic – The Ramayana) performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Shiva after his triumph over the demon king Ravana in the battle at Sri Lanka. Rameswaram is located on eastern side of the island in the Gulf of Mannar.
Tourist Attractions in Madurai:
Sree Meenakshi Temple:
It is one of the most prominent among the temples of Madurai. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva who was known here as Sundareshvara and his wife Parvati or Meenakshi. This temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya and the most impressive feature of this temple is the 12 gopurams. It also has soaring towers that stand on the granite bases and have stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters tinted in vibrant colors.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace:
It is a magnificent palace that was built by King Thirumalai Nayak with valuable assistance of an Italian architect in the year 1636. The palace had two parts known as Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. You will come across theatre, shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden while taking a stroll inside this imposing palace.
About 21 Kms North East of Madurai, stands a celebrated Vishnu Temple dedicated to Lord Alagar. The temple is situated on a hill amidst panoramic surroundings. The shrine is know as Alagarkoil and the hill , Solaimalai. The temple also contain some beautiful carvings and makes the visit rewarding. Pazhamudircholai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya is located atop the Hill.
This is the most distinguished among the tourist attractions in Madurai and is a living memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. This museum houses photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations, and some articles that were used by him.
It is also among one of the many things to watch in Madurai and is located at a distance of 5 km to the east of Meenakshi temple. There is a tank having an idol of Vinayaka which is located on a platform in the centre. It is also a venue of the temple’s annual Teppakulam float festival which is celebrated with huge zeal and excitement.
Tirupparankundram is famous for the Pandyan rock-cut shrines that date back to the 8th century that later came to be known as the Nayaka Hindu temple. You will find a wide range of Hindu deities carved on the walls on your visit to this temple. Located on the top a hill, people believe that it is one of six abodes of Lord Subramanya.
Besides these tourist attractions in Madurai, there are lots of other places of tourist interest that are located nearby such as Vaigai Dam, Kodaikanal and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tourist Attractions in Rameshwaram
As a pristine example of late Dravidian architecture, the Ramanathaswamy temple attracts pilgrims in hordes. This is most renowned for its magnificent corridors lined with massive sculptured pillars that have elaborate design, style and rich carving. According to legends, Rama sanctified this place by worshipping Siva here after the battle of Sri Lanka. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the inner sanctum. An extensive worship of Rama is held during June 15 to July 15 each year.
Kothandaraswamy Temple & Dhanushkodi:
Another popular tourist attraction, this temple is believed to be at the site where Vibishana, brother of Sita’s abductor Ravana, surrendered to Rama. About 12 kms from the town, this temple is the sole structure to survive after the severe cyclone of 1964.
Adam’s Bridge is a long fragmented passage through the Indian Ocean that almost connects the India to Sri Lanka. Legends have it that Rama built up the bridge in quest to raid Lanka in order to retrieve his consort Sita. However, the Adam’s bridge consists of the chain of reefs, sandbanks and islets.
Dhanushkodi beach is quite popular among tourists. Its closeness to town makes it quite visited spot. The serene beach with shallow water here are ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
About a mile and a half west of the Ramanathaswamy Temple, Gandhamadana Parvatam offers a panoramic view of the countryside. It has stepped mandapam or hall and also treasures a footprint that is believed to be of Lord Rama.