Chennai may be the capital of Tamil Nadu, but Madurai claims its soul. Madurai is Tamil-born and Tamil-rooted, one of the oldest cities in India, a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome and was a great capital long before Chennai was even dreamt of.
Tourists, Indian and foreign, usually come here to see the Meenakshi Amman Temple, a labyrinthine structure ranking among the greatest temples of India. Otherwise, Madurai, perhaps appropriately given her age, captures many of India’s glaring dichotomies with a centre dominated by a medieval temple and an economy increasingly driven by IT, all overlaid with the energy and excitement of a large Indian city and slotted into a much more manageable package than Chennai’s sprawl.
Madurai destination guides
South India Unplugged
Unplug from everyday routine and head to the beaches and backwaters of southern India. Explore the lush landscapes, intriguing religions, exotic bazaars and incredible contrasts of this region. Jump on and off local transport, go rural through backwater coconut groves and fishing villages, and discover the heart of the subcontinent.