Samanar hills are a beautiful blend of nature with history. Declared as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India, these hills are associated with Jainism and Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions depict various facets of the religion.
The hill has ancient caves with carvings dating back to 1st century A.D. Samanar hill has many prominent sculptures and ancient inscriptions which are said to be more than 200 years old. These caves were the homes of many Jain monks during ancient times.
According to archaeologists, these caves have Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions around the entrance that are 2000-years-old. According to these inscriptions, many of Jain monks practiced sallekhana or fasting unto death here. One can also see stone beds here, which were used by the monks to rest.
Different from most of the sightseeing experiences in and around Madurai, these hills have a quiet beauty that inspires many people to spend some time meditating. When visiting Samanar hills, one can also visit the Karuppanasamy temple which is located at the foothills. This temple constitutes a few idols that were made by the Jain monks. There is also a lotus pond at the bottom of the hills.
Note: There is a trek involved to get to the top of the hill that can take up to 2 hours to complete.
Good to Know:
Location: 17km from Sterling V Grand Madurai
Timings: 6AM to 6PM
Madurai Meenakshi Temple1 hr
Dedicated to the Goddess Meenakshi – a form of Parvati – the Madurai Meenakshi Temple is the outstanding feature of the ancient temple city of Madurai.
The traditional and radically different Indian alternative to the famous Spanish sport of bull fighting, Jallikattu is a sport played as a part of the celebrations during the harvest festival of Pongal.
Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal2 hrs
Built in 1635, by the King Thirumalai Nayak who had the vision of creating a masterpiece of a royal residence, it was designed for the king by an Italian architect.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral2 hrs
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Madurai, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, is one of the most popular churches not only in Madurai but also in Tamil Nadu.
Kazimar Big Mosque2 hrs
Said to be the first Islamic place of worship in Madurai city, Kazimar Big Mosque was built in 13th century by a descendant of Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin who had visited the city from Yemen.
Wholesale Banana Market1 hr
Are you bananas for bananas? Then you must visit the Wholesale Banana Market in Madurai.
Thiruparankundram Subramaniya Swamy Temple2 hr
One of the 6 temples of the ‘Arupadaiveedu’, dedicated to Lord Murugan, the Thiruparankundram Subramaniya Swamy Temple is one of the most prominent religious shrines in south India.
Vilachery Pottery Village3 hrs
A 30-minute drive from Madurai will take you to the fantastic and quaint village of Vilachery, best known as a pottery village where almost every single one of the 200 homes belongs to pottery artisans.
Looking for a gorgeous day-trip from Madurai? Look no further than Meghamalai!
Gandhi Memorial Museum2 hrs
Not many people know this, but the city of Madurai has played quite a role in the life of the Nation’s Father Mahatma Gandhi.
Pazhamudhircholai Murugan Temple2 hrs
One of the six important abodes of Lord Murugan – otherwise known as the ‘Arupadaiveedu’ - the Arulmigu Solaimalai Murugan Temple is located on the Pazhamudhircholai hill, north of Madurai.
Vaigai Dam2 hrs
Built across the river Vaigai, the Vaigai dam is one of the premier picnic spots in the area. The Vaigai dam itself is a lifeline for the people of Madurai, Theni and Dindgul.
Chettinad Maharaja’s Palace2hrs
Also known as the Kanadukathan Palace, this architectural wonder is a perfect example of traditional Chettinad Architecture.
Athisayam Theme Park4hrs
If you’re looking for a fun day out with family or friends, head to the Athisayam Theme Park in Madurai.
The Madurai Food Experience2hrs
Food and Madurai are so synonymous that it draws foodies from around the globe. The food in Madurai has evolved over centuries.