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Mulling over what to do in Madurai? Sri Meenakshi Temple takes the top spot here. If you only see one temple in India, make it this one. You’ll recognize its towers from the guidebooks: 14 enormous gateway towers – some more than 170ft tall – rise into the air, each with hundreds of brightly colored figures carved into its walls. Look out for the elephant that guards one of the gates – she’ll bless you if you give a small donation.
A particular highlight of this temple is the ‘hall of a thousand pillars’. Each of the 985 pillars emits a different tone when struck, giving this chamber an almost spooky atmosphere.
But this temple is much more than just a photo-op. As a place of worship, it’s fascinating to spend some time here, respectfully watching the local people give offerings of flowers, kneel before the shrines and pray in their hundreds. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and not to take pictures of individual visitors.
The Mahatma Gandhi Museum is also one of the most popular Madurai attractions. Here, you can see some pretty interesting stuff from Gandhi’s lifetime, including his reading glasses, his shawl and even the bloodstained dhoti he was wearing when he was assassinated. Slightly unnerving, yes, but fascinating, too.
Embracing Madurai is all about embracing the joys of an Indian city: ride in auto rickshaws, pay 7p for a samosa on the side of the road, and chat to the locals about their days. Go on, dive in.
You can add experience packs to your trip to make your holiday all about the things you love. Select the 'Authentic' experience pack and you’ll learn all about the creation of the mud dolls. Head to our itinerary builder to check them out.
Walk around a Hindu temple fizzing with colour, 33 million carvings, ornate decorated pillars, elaborate shrines and 14 spectacular towers. The Meenakshi Temple is a celebration of the love and marriage. Rumour has it that all gods, goddesses and living beings were invited. Some party.Discover more
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