Madurai is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. At more than 2,500 years old it was believed to have been built by the Pandyan King Kulasekara. It was the capital of the Pandyan Kings (apart from a short period when it fell to the Cholas) until the end of the Pandyan Empire. The main attraction is the huge and impressive temple dedicated to Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva. Located in the heart of the town it is a wonderful example of Dravidian architecture. The gopurams are covered in brightly painted mythological figures. Non-Hindus are allowed into all but the inner sanctum of the Sri Meenakshi Temple.

Note: It is possible to visit Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin – the tip of the sub-continent) from Madurai. The national highway links the two pilgrimage centres and if you are coming from or going to Trivandrum/Kovalam this journey can be done in a day including stopping at Kanyakumari and the Padmanabhapuram (Wooden) Palace on the way.

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