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If Chennai is the heart of Tamil Nadu, then Madurai can be termed as its soul. One of the oldest cities of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is famous for its Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. If you are keen to visit a place that has a glorious past and a busy present with great temples that flaunt the architectural brilliance of the artisans, you need to be in Madurai.
Tourists from around the world come here to witness the architectural beauty of the city. A centre dominated by a medieval temple and an economy increasingly driven by IT, Madurai is known by several names: Koodal nagaram (City of Junctions), Malligai maanagar (City of Jasmine), Koil maanagar (Temple city), Thoonga nagaram(City that never sleeps) and Naanmada koodal (junction of four towers, that refers here to the four major temples that Madurai was known for) among others.

Apart from being a pilgrim town, a popular tourist destination, a cultural hotspot and the erstwhile capital of the Pandyan dynasty, Madurai is also known for its festivals. Meenakshi Tirukalyanam, the 10-day annual festival celebrated during April-May, attracts over a million visitors. The Jallikattu, the game of taming angry bulls, is similar to the Pampalona Bull Run held in Spain.

The beautiful city also serves as the gateway to hill stations like Kodaikanal and Munnar and to the famous wildlife hot spot Periyar National Park.
The city can also be termed as shoppers’ heaven. Stroll through the spacious Puthu Mandapam, a 17th century pillared entrance hall opposite the Meenakshi Temple's east tower, to find rows of tailors and stalls selling fabric, scarves, jewellery, fashion accessories, handicrafts, and art work. You can get good quality clothes, including decent replicas.
Madurai lives up to its sobriquet, the city that never sleeps. Hotels, shops and markets in Madurai are open 24*7. Madurai will quench your thirst you with some unique flavoured drinks like Jigarthanda and Paruthi Pal. Unlike other pilgrimage towns, restaurants in Madurai also serve non-vegetarian food. Food Joints serving authentic Iyengar style meals and breakfast can also be found easily in the city. Some restaurants also offer Rajasthani thalis. Chinese, Continental and Chettinad cuisine can be savored in addition to the ubiquitous south Indian specialties.
This piece of information will definitely boost your gluttony; Madurai's wholesale banana market is a fascinating place to visit. Apparently, 16 varieties of bananas are sold there! There's also a vegetable market next to the banana market, which is also a hive of activity.

The beautiful city of artistic brilliance has accommodation for all budgets. Most of the budget hotels are located close to the railway station; some are located close to the Meenakshi temple. Most of the mid-range and luxury hotels are located within a 10 km radius of the airport. Summers tend to be hot so it is advisable to book air conditioned rooms.
This city of Tamil Nadu is a lively tourist attraction. Some of Madurai’s dishes are famous all over the world. Along with enjoying the cultural heritage of the city, you can also treat your taste buds with specialties of Madurai.

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