MADURAI is the great capital of Pandya Dynasty and centre of Tamil culture and learning. Madurai one of the oldest inhabited cities in India. Madurai’s cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C. Madurai’s Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, which stands today as one of India’s greatest cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal – This palace complex was constructed by Thirumalai Nayakar – The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings. The portico was constructed with bricks and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder. The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent architectural mastery. The courtyard, the dancing hall and the 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter are divine attractions for visitors.PAZHAMUTHIR CHOLAI’S origin dates back to several hundred years. Nakkirar, Arunagirinathar and Avvaiyar are among the Tamil saints who have made references to this shrine. Legend has it that Lord Muruga appeared before Avvaiyar in a playful form as a young boy, to test her devotion. Pazhamudircholai is famous for fruits, vegetables and flowers. It is a dense forest where Valli was supposed to have lived. There is another small temple above Pazhamudhir Cholai atop a hill. Local tribes live here on a fertile hill with many natural springs and herbs. Among the Arupadaiveedu, Pazhamudircholai is the last Padaiveedu. This Pazhamudircholai Lord Muruga is referred in old Tamil literature like Silappathikaram, Ettuthokai and Pattupattu. THIRUPPARANKUNDRAM is noted for its inner sanctum, which is cut out of hard rock. Lord Muruga gazes benevolently at his devotees with his consort, Deivayanai. The main temple is an early cave shrine, but the rest of the structure dates back to the Naik period. Traditional legend says that Lord Muruga married Deivayanai at Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple, which is also the first among the six holy abodes of Lord Murugan. A Muslim Durgah-shrine is located at the top of the hill which has the grave of an Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badshah Shaheed Radiyallah Ta’al Anhu. He came from Jeddah, with Hazrat Sultan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinah, during the early 13th century. Protects the poor, ensures justice, safeguards from all evils KARUPPU SAMI, Azhagarkovil – 18th Padi Karuppu Sami is one of the regional Tamil male deities and one of the 21 associate folk-deities of Ayyanar and hence is one of the so-called Kaval Deivams of the Tamils. Padi means steps. Karuppusami is considered to be the most prominent among the Karuppu system. In the ancient Tamil society, people respected the warriors and had the formless stones known as Veera Kal or Nadukkal erected, in their memory. These fallen warriors or any person who sacrificed his life for a good cause his believed to be protecting the welfare of the society or the community. Karuppanar is believed to be protecting the poor and ensures justice and self-discipline among his believers. It is also believed that he is a violent warrior who never forgives those who sinned or those who commit crimes. It is believed that he drives away all evils from entering the village. He masters all land and is a warrior, who blocks all evils, crossing a boundary. The most famous temple of Karuppusami is worshipped as Pathinettampadi Karuppu or 18 steps Karuppu. He is considered as the guardian deity. He has an “Aruval” which is a long form resembling, a sword, sometimes a lance, a trident and a small knife. The Aruval is a very significant weapon in Tamil Nadu and is considered as a symbol of Karuppanar himself. The most important musical Instruments liked by God Karuppanan are Tappu, Tharai, Kombu Tharai, Otha Thamukku, Pambai, Udukkai and Urumee. Karuppanar worship is a very ancient ancestral clan-based worshipping system. Most officiating priests are non-Brahmins from a local family that had initiated the religious group, generations ago. During the festivals, oracles get into a trance like state. Saami Aadudhal delivers counseling messages to the group assembled there, without bias. The normal problems addressed are family problems, financial troubles and local social issues.

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