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Getting Familiar with Madurai - The Lotus City of India
History of Madurai:
Most Prominent Religious Sites
Meenakshi Temple: This is undoubtedly the most famous religious place in Madurai and is also referred to as the Madurai temple. Although the temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva, but the temple is named on his wife Goddess Parvati who is also known by the name of Meenakshi. The temple was constructed around 2500 Ad and is spread over an area of nearly 6 hectares. Apart from its magnificent architecture and 12 gateways called Gopurams, the other prominent features of the temple include its 985 pillars and 14 towers. In addition visitors also like the bird’s eye view of the city which they can have from the top of the southern Gopuram.
Koodal Azhagar Temple: Dedicated to Vishnu lord, Koodal Ashagar is one of the oldest temples of South India. The front of this temple features a huge statue of Lord Vishnu, which can be seen in three different positions namely sitting, standing and reclining. The temple also has the coronations of Lord Rama, which are displayed in the form of wooden carvings.
Kazimar Big Mosque and Maqbara: This 13th century mosque is located just a kilometer away from the of Railway Junction of Madurai. The mosque was built by Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin of Oman, on this small area of land given to him by Kulasekara Pandya, a ruler from the Pandya dynasty. Known locally as Periya Pallivasal, which means big mosque, it has room for 2,500 people at once. The mosque also features a dargah of the successors of Prophet Muhammad.
Goripalayam Dargah: This largest mosque of Madurai is believed to have been constructed in the 13th century by Thirumalai Nayak. The mosque features two huge tombs and a dome which has a diameter of 70ft and a height of 20ft. The most amazing aspect of this tomb is that it is made from a single stone. The mosque also houses the graves of Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha (Radiyallah and) Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha (Radiyallah) of Oman, the two Muslim saints and rulers of Madurai. The dargah sees a huge rush of devotees especially during the annual Urs festival, which is organized on the 15th night of Islamic month of Rabi-al-awwal by the hijri calendar.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church: This church, which is located nearly 2 kms away from Madurai Railway Station, on the East Veli Street, is amongst the oldest Roman Catholic Churches of India. Its European and Continental style of architecture attracts numerous tourists from different parts of the world. The church, which was established in 1840 and is dedicated to Viagulamatha, features 42 ft high bell towers built in the Roman style. However, after its original construction, the church was rebuilt in 1916 and later in 1938 the bishop’s throne was established here. The church was bestowed with the status of a cathedral in 1969.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This palace is located at a place which is 1.5 Km from Meenakshi temple which was built in the year 1636 by king Thirumalai. This palace is famous for its Stuccowork on the domes as well as for its impressive arches.
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