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Celebrating Chithirai Thiruvizha

The ancient and historical city of Madurai (Tamil Nadu) celebrates the Chithirai Festival in the Hindu lunar calendar month of Chaitra or Chitirai in Tamil. It is a month-long festival in which the first fifteen days see the coronation ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and her holy matrimony with Lord Sundareshwara. In the last fifteen days, devotees have witnessed Lord Alagar's journey from Kallazhagar Temple (Alagar Kovil) to the holy city of Madurai.

According to legends, the brother Lord Alagar was coming to attend the wedding of his sister Goddess Meenakshi from Alagar Kovil. Still, before he could reach her, the marriage had already taken place. Hearing this, he was angry and went to Alagar Kovil without entering Madurai.

Chithirai Festival 2023

According to the Tamil calendar, the Chithirai Festival 2023 will take place between the 22nd of March – the 08th of April.

Like every year, the Chithirai Festival 2023 will start from the Meenakshi Temple premises and ends with a narration of the event in a mandapam built in the middle of River Vaigai in which Lord Alagar gets angry and goes back to Alagar Kovil.

Places to visit in and around Madurai

Known as the Temple city of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is dotted with temples, most of which were built during ancient times.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple

During Madurai sightseeing, this temple is first on the list of "must visit." Also known as the Meenakshi Amman Temple, the Madurai Meenakshi Temple is a famous pilgrimage place known for its architecture, beautiful works of art, and sculptures. The Thousand Pillar Hall consists of 985 beautifully carved pillars, and the musical pillars outside the hall are the architectural marvel of ancient times.

As always, the annual Chithirai Festival 2021 will start from the Temple, which makes it one of the most critical places in the city.

Timings: 5:00-12:30 and 16:00-21:30

Alagar Kovil

About 20 kilometers from Madurai, high up in the hills, the Alagar Kovil Temple is dedicated to Lord Azaghar, the brother of Goddess Meenakshi. Like all south Indian temples, it is also known for its beautifully carved stone walls and sculptures. The statue of the residing Lord is sculpted out of one single piece of rock.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace

The Nayak King Thirumalai Nayak built the beautiful palace in the 16th century, and it is a "must-visit" during the Madurai sightseeing. The palace is influenced by Indo-Saracenic architecture and has 248 tall pillars that stand 58 feet tall. The ceilings have beautiful Shaivite and Vaishnavite paintings. The palace also displays things and personal items which have been used by the Nayak Kings, including the throne.

Timings: 9:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00

Entry fee: Rs. 10 (Adults), Rs. 5 (Child)

Gandhi Museum

Started in 1959 by Queen Rani of the Nayak clan, the Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the five museums dedicated to India's "Father of the Nation," Mahatma Gandhi.

The museum displays some remarkable and exciting personal things about Mahatma Gandhi, including the blood-stained clothes he had worn during his assassination. The museum also showcases his life and India's freedom struggle.

Timings: 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:45 (Saturday-Thursday)

Entry Fee: No entry fee. Camera fee: Rs. 50


After the Chithirai Festival, a trip from Madurai to Rameshwaram is a must if you have a day or two in hand. The Madurai to Rameshwaram bus trip takes about 9 hours, depending on the traffic, road, and climatic condition. The holy city of Rameshwaram is a beautiful island separated from Sri Lanka by the Pamban Channel.

As per Hindu beliefs, it was here that the Monkey Goddess Hanuman, along with his "vanar sena," had built a bridge across the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka. The floating stone used in the making of the bridge by Hanumanji and his army is kept in the Five-Faced Hanuman Temple.

While in Rameshwaram, visit the famous Ramanathaswamy Temple, known for having the longest corridor in the world.

Many visitors prefer tour buses from Madurai to Rameshwaram since Madurai to Rameshwaram distance by road is 148 kilometers, whereas, by rail, Madurai to Rameshwaram distance is about 161 kilometers. However, for a Madurai to Rameshwaram bus journey, visit redBus and save big on online bus tickets.

*To experience the thrill of crossing slowly over the Pamban Bridge over the Indian Ocean, travel back from Rameshwaram to Madurai by train.


Instead of returning from Rameshwaram to Madurai, tourists can take a 7-hour bus ride to the tip of India, Kanyakumari.

Kanyakumari is one of the most tourist-populated places in India. A few important places to visit are the Kanyakumari Temple, Vivekananda Rock Memorial, which is 100 meters from the shore, and the 17th-century-built Padmanabhapuram Palace, the beautiful residence of the Kings of Travancore. Also, while there, do not miss watching the sunrise and sunset from the pristine beaches of Kanyakumari.

Visit Madurai and experience the festive enthusiasm of the people during the month-long Chithirai Festival and continue your spiritual journey with trips to the holy city of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari. Save big on online bus tickets through the redBus portal. 

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