Madurai, cultural capital • Tamil Nadu, India

"Escape time, explore Madurai, jewel of India. 14 minutes to cross 2500 years of history. Let yourself be lulled by the story of its rich past, from Roman times to the Pandya and Chola dynasties, until to the English colonial era. Discover the majestic temple of Meenakshi, a shining symbol of the architecture of the South, and the grandiose palace of the Nayaka, a silent witness of a bygone era. Let ancient India awaken before your eyes, like a colorful epic. Embark on this journey to Madurai, and let the beauty of this timeless city bewitch you."

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip India • South India 2018 • Tamil Nadu and Kerala (EN)

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

00:08 • Arulmigu Meenkashi Sunareswarar Thirukovil

(Meenakshi Amman Temple)

08:53 • Thirumalai Nayakar Mandir



Madurai is a city that can boast of having over 2,500 years of history. The city was already flourishing when it traded with the Romans.

Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India and is part of the inner circle of the most continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Cultural capital of the region for many centuries, Madurai has countless temples, which sometimes earned it the nickname of Athens of the East. Moreover, the ancient Greeks knew the city very well, since a Greek ambassador was sent there from the 3rd century before Jesus Christ.

The Pandya dynasty prospered the city for over 1,000 years, until the city was conquered by the Pandya's rivals, the Chola. The Chola ruled Madurai for over 300 years, after which the Pandyas took back their kingdom. And with the return of the Pandyas, culture returned to Madurai. Tamil literature among others flourished at this time.

However, this rebirth was only going to have a time ... The Muslim sultans settled in Delhi, attack and plunder the city on several occasions, taking with them all the gold, precious stones, jewelry and other treasures they have. could find in the city. These forays led the Pandya kingdom to its fall in 1323.

Half a century later, Madurai fell under the control of the kingdom of Vijayanagara which used to let the local authorities rule over their conquests, in exchange for a substantial tribute paid annually. Later, on the death of the great king Vijayanagara, Krishnadevaraya Tuluva, the rulers of Madurai distanced themselves from the central power and its quasi-independence lasted until 1736.

One of these rulers (named Nayaka), Tirumalai Nayaka who reigned in the mid-17th century, constructed many buildings, including the Nayaka Palace and the Minakshi Temple.

Their reign ended with the arrival of the English from the English East India Company in 1801.

The temple of Mînâkshî

The temple of Mînâkshî is one of the most important temples in activity in India. The temple is dedicated to Minakshi, an avatar of Shiva's wife, Parvati. Indian goddesses to whom temples are dedicated are rare. Minakshi is one of them.

The temple is one of the largest and most impressive temples in South India. One of the differences between the temples in the South and those in the North of India is the fact that the South ones are painted with bright colors. The temples are repainted every 7 years, as a sign of respect and also to counter the effects of time. The facades of the Menakshi temple are absolutely remarkable.

Unfortunately, for a few years, photos have not been allowed inside this temple, as a security measure following an attack in 2018.

the palace of the Nayaka

Another imposing construction left by Tirumalai Nayaka is the grand palace. The palace which is still visible today is only part of the original building. It is estimated to be about a quarter of what was originally built. These are the king's apartments that have remained standing until today.

The effects of time and even more destructive effects of wars have destroyed a large part of this magnificent palace. The buildings that remained standing when the British East India Company arrived were used as warehouses, powder magazines and barracks.

King Thirumalai Nayak's grandson had part of the buildings destroyed after removing most of the valuables and wood carvings to build his own palace in Tiruchirappalli.

What remained of the original palace was restored in the second half of the 19th century by the English governor of Madras (Chennai) Francis Napier.


about the place, Madurai:

Madurai is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu in India. It is the third city of the state in terms of inhabitants. The origin of the city goes back more than 2,500 years. Madurai has many artistic monuments including the famous Meenakshi temple and Tirumalai Nayak palace. 

Some inhabitants continue to call their city Marudhai, probably the original name of the city and which means "fertile land"



one of the entrances of the temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu • India

What's the weather like in Madurai?

Spoken comments in the film: 

The Palace of the Nayaks of Madurai dates from 1636, and was built by King Tirumalai.

Currently, only the buildings where the king lived are still standing. The palace was originally four times the size.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of indian traditional music in "Madurai, cultural capital • Tamil Nadu, India", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Thirumalai Nayakar Mandir, central courtyard of the palace, Madurai • India • Tamil Nadu

Thirumalai Nayakar Mandir, central courtyard of the palace

Thirumalai Nayakar Mandir, detail of a pediment around the central courtyard, Madurai • India • Tamil Nadu

Thirumalai Nayakar Mandir, detail of a pediment around the central courtyard

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, facade detail, Madurai • India • Tamil Nadu

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, facade detail

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, main entrance, Madurai • India • Tamil Nadu

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, main entrance

Madurai, Tamil Badu India

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