Exploring the Top 20 Spiritual Destinations in Madurai in 2023 with a Glimpse into the Past

by operator

The temple city and the pilgrim town of Madurai has captivated visitors for years. Ancient history and culture permeate every corner and mesmerizing Dravidian style temples dominate the skyline. Walking through the streets of bustling places like Pudhu Mandapam, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into the past as vendors call out and encourage you to buy famous Madurai cotton sarees and intricately designed brassware. Yet, the best remarkable places to visit in Madurai aren’t confined to temples and shops that look as ancient as time. There are many more destinations to explore, each as captivating as the next.

20 Finest Places To Visit In Madurai

Surely your escape will be magical with these highlights added to your itinerary! These places are certainly worth capturing. Take a look at the top tourist places in Madurai. Do not forget to add them to your list of remarkable Madurai places to visit.

  • Meenakshi Amman Temple: Vividly Artistic
  • Koodal Azhagar Temple: Appreciate The Beauty
  • Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple: Make A Visit
  • Alagar Kovil: Elaborate Carvings
  • Pudhu Mandapam: For Temple-Hopping
  • Gandhi Memorial Museum: Explore Deep In The History
  • Kazimar Big Mosque: Bow & Seek Blessings
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral: Praise The Lord
  • Yanaimalai: Hill Like Elephant
  • Thirumalai Nayak Mahal: Witness The Indo-Saracen Style
  • Vaigai Dam: Appreciate The Man-Made Marvel
  • Samanar Hills: For An Ideal Sunset View
  • Athisayam: Fun Place To Enjoy
  • Mariamman Teppakulam: Make A Visit With Fam
  • ISKCON Madurai: Seek Blessings
  • Goripalayam Dargah: Bow Down & Pray For Well-Being
  • Meghamalai: The High Wavy Mountains
  • Banana Market: An Offbeat Splurge
  • Murugan Idli Shop: Scrumptious Delicacies
  • Vilachery Pottery Village: A Walk Through Artistic Lanes

the best dravidian architecture

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple: Vividly Artistic

The most famous attraction in the city tops our list of the top Madurai places to explore. Actually, it should be the first stop on your sightseeing tour and activities to engage in Madurai. Showcasing some of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture, the complex is located in the heart of the city and immediately catches the eye with its towering gopurams. 13 acres of captivating shrines, a golden lotus sacred pool, and mandapas are waiting to be discovered. Even if you spend several hours at Meenakshi Amman Temple, you will still not be able to explore it completely!

Location: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001Operating Hours: 9 am – 7 pmAdmission Fee: INR 5 for Indians and INR 50 for foreign tourists

Essential Reading: 34 Places To Visit In Kodaikanal That’ll Make You Fall For The Western Ghats

temple dedicated to vishnu

2. Koodal Azhagar Temple: Appreciate The Beauty

Next on our Madurai tourist attractions list is Koodal Azhagar Temple, a breathtaking structure built in honor of Vishnu. As with temples in the city, it is built in the Dravidian style. A magnificent five-tiered rajagopuram dominates the landscape, standing at a height of over 120 feet. The temple is located near Meenakshi Amman and you must make a visit. Try to plan your trip during the float festival that lasts for 10 days.

Location: Perumal Koil Sannathi Street Near Periyar Bus Stand, Periyar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001Operating Hours: 7 am – 12 pm, 4 pm – 7:30 pmAdmission Fee: None

rock cut structure of temple

3. Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple: Pay A Visit

One of the finest places to visit in Madurai is the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple. It’s situated in Thiruparankundram, which is near to the city. The ancient structure is stunning in architecture particularly because it’s carved out of rock. Another unique feature is the positioning of the gods, Shiva and Vishnu, who face each other. Considering Shaivites and Vaishnavites have always been two distinct factions, this aspect distinguishes the temple.Don’t cease your exploration at the temple; take a stroll around the complex and visit the nearby pond to witness devotees providing sustenance to the fish.

Location: Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu 625005Timings: 5 am – 1 pm, 4 pm – 9 pmEntry fee: NA

colourful carvings of temple

4. Alagar Kovil: Elaborate Carvings

At first glance, the village of Alagar Kovil resembles any other in Madurai. However, if you observe carefully, you’ll notice that much of the community and lifestyle revolve around the Kallazhagar Temple. Set against a verdant hill, the temple ascends dramatically and entices visitors to explore it. Life-size sculptures and vibrant carvings provide ample sights to behold and appreciate. Unlike other larger temples positioned closer to the city, Kallazhagar exudes a tranquility that adds to its appeal. Perhaps it’s the hills or the leisurely pace of village life – either way, it’s one of the top places to see in Madurai.

Location: Alagar Kovil Main Rd, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 624401Timings: 6 am – 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm – 830 pmEntry fee: None

shopper's delight area

5. Pudhu Mandapam: For Temple-Hopping

Take a break from exploring temples to visit the vibrant shopping area of Pudhu Mandapam. It is situated near Meenakshi Amman. Surrounded by massive stone pillars, vendors sell various items ranging from wooden toys and fabrics to brassware and stoneware. It truly is a shopper’s paradise with plenty of souvenirs to bring home. Pudhu Mandapam is one of the more popular tourist spots in Madurai and attracts many visitors. Be prepared to negotiate for the best deals!

beautifully landscaped grounds

Location: E Chitrai St, Chinnakadai Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001

Timings: 9 am – 8:30 pm

Entry fee: NA

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6. Gandhi Memorial Museum: Delve Deep Into History

A sightseeing tour of Madurai should definitely include the Gandhi Memorial Museum. It is housed in the majestic Tamukkam Palace, constructed during the Nayak Dynasty era in the 17th century. The beautifully landscaped grounds with tall trees and sculptures provide a tranquil space for contemplation and allow visitors to immerse themselves in history.

The museum is divided into three sections, all of which are worth exploring. The “India Fights for Freedom” gallery showcases illustrated panels depicting the freedom movement. The “Visual Biography of Gandhi” gallery offers insights into his life through photographs, manuscripts, and selected letters. The final gallery, “Relics and Replicas,” displays artifacts used by Gandhi. A portion of his blood-stained garment worn at the time of his assassination is also exhibited, although some claim it to be a replica. It is one of the renowned places in Madurai.

Location: Collector Office Rd, Tamukkam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625020

Timings: 10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 5:45 pm

Entry fee: None

Suggested Read: 8 Premier Resorts In Madurai That Will Make You Wish To Extend Your Stay In This Temple City!

Kazimar Big Mosque

7. Kazimar Big Mosque: Bow & Seek Blessings

Next on the list of prominent places to visit in Madurai is Kazimar Big Mosque, which is believed to be the initial mosque in the city. It was established by Hazarat Kazi Syed Tajuddin who is claimed to be a direct descendant of Muhammed.

The mosque is massive and can accommodate up to 2,500 individuals. It is also renowned for its maqbara of significant hazrats of Madurai.

Location: Kazimar St, Periyar, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001

Timings: 4:30 am – 11 pm

Entry fee: None

Suggested Read: Visit These 26 Tourist Places In South India During Summer

8. St. Mary’s Cathedral: Praise The Lord

St. Mary’s Cathedral is a splendid blend of architectural styles that incorporate European and Roman influences. It is one of the finest places to explore in Madurai with its serene atmosphere. Attempt to go during Christmas to witness the remarkable Nativity scene and illuminations.

Although constructed as a modest chapel in the mid-19th century, it was designated as a cathedral in the late 1960s. Today, it serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai. The cathedral is exquisite as a whole, but the bell towers and orange vaulting are especially captivating.

Location: E Veli St, Mahalipatti, Tamil Nadu 625001

Timings: 7 am – 8 pm

Entry fee: None

Suggested Read: 9 Hotels In Madurai To Check-In For A Comfortable Stay

9. Yanaimalai: Hill Like Elephant

Yanaimalai or Elephant Hill is awe-inspiring in its grandeur. Resembling the shape of an elephant, it is one of the top attractions in Madurai, India. However, its appearance is not its only allure; it stands out for being a home to Shaivite and Vaishnavite temples as well as Jain sculptures. The latter are situated in caves on the hilltop while the temples can be found at the base of the hill.

overview of a hill

Yanaimalai offers fantastic hiking opportunities for travelers who are eager to venture into the great outdoors. Allocate a few hours to explore its numerous attractions.

Location: Narasingam, Tamil Nadu 625104Operating hours: 7 am – 12 noon, 4 pm – 8 pmAdmission fee: None

10. Thirumalai Nayak Mahal: Witness The Indo-Saracen Style

Dating back to 1636, this palace complex is constructed in the Indo-Saracen style of architecture. It stands as one of the finest Madurai destinations to explore. In the bygone era, the palace consisted of two parts, of which only Swargavilasa has withstood the test of time. The interior of the palace is adorned with Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes, and the Darbar hall (courtyard) and the Natakasala (dancing hall) are the main highlights of Thirumalai Nayak Mahal. After exploring these attractions, consider visiting a few places near Madurai for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal

Location: Panthadi 1st St, Mahal Area, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001Operating hours: 9 am – 5 pmAdmission fee: INR 10 per adult, INR 5 per child

11. Vaigai Dam: Admire The Human-Made Wonder

If you wish to witness a true human-made marvel, then a visit to Vaigai Dam is a must. It is regarded as one of the top tourist destinations to visit in Madurai. The dam is constructed across River Vaigai, thus explaining its name. For the best experience, visit this place in the evenings on weekends when the dam is illuminated, offering a splendid view.

Vaigai Dam

Location: Guest House Rd, Melmangalam, Tamil Nadu 625562Operating hours: 6 am – 6 pmAdmission fee: Free

12. Samanar Hills: For An Ideal Sunset View

Another one listed in the top places to explore in Madurai is Samanar Hills where you can enjoy a flawless sunrise or sunset view. It is essentially a hill made of rock caves where Tamil Jain monks used to reside. Now, it has transformed into a perfect place for tourism for history enthusiasts as the walls of the caves are engraved with intricate drawings. In addition to this, you will also discover a lotus temple on the premises of this tourist attraction.

Samanar Hills

Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625019Operating Hours: 6 am – 6 pmAdmission fee: None

13. Athisayam: Fun Place To Enjoy

If you are planning a vacation with your friends or family, then one of the most renowned places to visit in Madurai is Athisayam Amusement & Water Park. It covers an area of 70 acres and boasts of its water rides and games. The most exciting aspect of this place is that there is also a 7D cinema where you can experience something extraordinary. Apart from this, the place is also equipped with a recreation garden designed for children as well as a dining establishment where you can indulge in some exceptional local cuisine.


Location: Madurai – Dindigul Main Road,Paravai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625402Operating Hours: 10:30 am – 6 pmEntrance Fee: INR 800 (Adults), INR 500 (Children)

14. Mariamman Teppakulam: Pay A Visit With the Family

Dedicated to Lord Vigneshwara, Mariamman Teppakulam Temple is situated at a distance of only 5 kilometers from Meenakshi Temple. It is among the splendid places to explore in Madurai, India. The temple overlooks an immense reservoir which is considered to be the largest in the entire Tamil Nadu. It is believed that the idol was unearthed from the same reservoir, which is why this temple gained popularity. To witness the true enchantment of this place, plan your visit during the festival season.

Mariamman Teppakulam

Location: Meenakshi Nagar, Tamil Nadu 625009Timings: 5 am – 9 pmEntry fee: None

15. ISKCON Madurai: Seek Blessings

Everyone is familiar with ISKCON temples that are scattered across the globe to promote peace and love. The temple is devoted to Lord Krishna & Goddess Radha, and locals visit this place almost every day. Chantings and melodious songs can be heard constantly in this temple. This is what makes it one of the serene places to encounter in Madurai, India. Furthermore, the devotees are served prasad and there is a vegetarian eatery on the premises where you can relish some delectable dishes.

ISKCON temple

Location: Sri Sri Radha Mathurapathi Temple, Mani Nagaram Main Rd, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001Timings: 4:45 am – 12:30 pm, 4:45 pm – 8:15 pmEntry fee: None

16. Goripalayam Dargah: Bow Down & Pray For Well-Being

If you are searching for sacred places to explore in Madurai, then you should consider visiting Goripalayam Dargah, which is a renowned location in the region. The structure is adorned with green and white paint, along with an impressive dome in the center and towering minarets. The mosque houses the shrines of Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha and Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha.

Goripalayam Dargah

Location: Madurai, Tamil NaduOperating hours: 7 am – 7 pmAdmission fee: None

17. Meghamalai: The High Undulating Mountains

: Shivmirthyu for Needpix

Located in the Western Ghats, Meghamalai boasts expansive grasslands. The fragrant plantations of cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon make it one of the premier destinations to visit in Madurai. The verdant greens discovered in this location truly make it a delight not only for the spirit but also for the eyes. This town is also renowned for its abundant flora and fauna. The diverse wildlife acts as an attraction for nature enthusiasts out there. There is plenty to witness when in Meghamalai. From Wildlife Sanctuary to Waterfalls, from dams to viewpoints, this place never fails to impress. 


Situated at a high elevation, Meghamalai is an excellent retreat from the heat. It is among the best hill stations near Madurai. 

Location: Western Ghats Hills, Theni District, Tami NnaduOperating hours: Open 24 hoursAdmission fee: No admission fee

18. Banana Market: An Unconventional Shopping Experience 

: DomJ for Pexels

When someone thinks of shopping in Madurai in a market, they usually envision the basic items such as garments, handicrafts, accessories, and the like. However, this market in Madurai is one of a kind. South India is known for its bananas and that is precisely what the market sells. One of the unique and renowned places to visit in Madurai is the Banana market that offers around 16 different varieties of this fruit. It is a bustling trading place located in towns and always bustling with locals and tourists alike. The market starts bustling in the early morning itself when the local vendors bring the fruit from various factory outlets and sell them here. 

banana market

Location: No. 4/1, East Swami Shanthi Street, Near Amma Store, East, Swami, Shanthi St, Madurai MainOperating hours: 9 am – 7 pm Admission fee: No admission fee

19. Murugan Idli Shop: Delectable Delicacies

: Surya Prakash.S.A. for Wikimedia Commons One thing that the southern region of this country is renowned for and boasts about has to be the tantalizing delicacies that one can never have enough of. Talking about delicacies, one thing that everyone visiting Madurai should try are the idlis. And for this reason, Murugan Idli Shop has found itself at the top among the renowned tourist places in Madurai. The relaxed ambiance, impeccably delicious food, and friendly staff ensure that one has a tremendous experience in this casual dining eatery.

Murugan Idli Shop

Location: Madurai Main, MaduraiOperating hours: NAAdmission fee: None

20. Vilachery Pottery Village: A Stroll Through Artistic Lanes

: pxfuel Another one of the tourist places in Madurai that one should not miss out on is the quaint, little pottery village of Vilachery. This is the spot in the southern country where a variety of different idols of Gods and goddesses are crafted. The vibrant colors, stunning artwork, and the artistic flair are a delight for both the eyes and the soul here. Simply stroll through the village, admire the beauty of craftsmanship, and capture the beautiful moments as you visit this town.

Pottery Village

Location: Vilacheri, MaduraiOperating hours: 9:30 am – 11 pmAdmission fee: None

Further Reading: 8 Temples In Madurai That Will Make You Fall In Love With The City

These places to visit in Madurai truly transport you back in time – to the good old days when life was simple. So if you’re planning a visit to this spiritual – historic city, do let us know about your experience in the comments section below. It is time to plan a vacation to Madurai!

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Frequently Asked Question About Places To Visit In Madurai

What is the famous cuisine in Madurai?

Madurai is famous for its extensive range of street food options, among which one of the best ones is the Idli which is fluffy and soft in its texture. You will find crispy Dosas here as well alongside Kari Dosa in other street food options. The entire array of South Indian cuisine is deemed the best type of cuisine in Madurai.

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