Madurai, a popular pilgrimage center of India is situated in Tamil Nadu, down south in the Indian map. It is 447 Kilometers from Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu State. So if you plan to visit Madurai, be rest assured that reaching Madurai is easy, since it is well connected with other major towns of India by air, rail and road transports.
If you are from a foreign country, the preferred option is to fly to Mumbai, the Gateway of India and then take a direct domestic flight. Indian Airlines – the Government sponsored service, operates daily flights to Madurai – (Fare Rs.3005). There are also other private airlines, like Kingfisher with sophisticated luxuries charging Rs.4969 from Mumbai to Madurai one-way (twice weekly).
Or you can board budget airlines like Jet Airways, flying alternate days to Madurai, at a charge of Rs.2,829. These flights depart from Mumbai Chatrapathy Sivaji domestic terminal (travel time 3 hours and 20 minutes) and land into Madurai Airport (12 kms from downtown) which is a domestic airport only, and has one entrance for all passengers.
Alternatively, you can select Chennai, wherefrom many direct flights are being operated to International capitals daily. From Chennai to Madurai there are as many as 49 flights per week, 3920 seats totally, operated by Indian Airlines(Govt.), Paramount, Jet Airways, King Fisher and Air Deccan (Private), daily at regular intervals from morning to evening. The fare varies according to Airlines from Rs.2721 to Rs.3028 for a travel time, which also varies from 55 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. The largest aircraft is Indian Airlines with 325 seats and the smallest is Air Deccan with 46 seats.
Once at Madurai Airport there are taxis to fetch you to downtown (Rs.200). Regular shuttle busses are run from Airport to Madurai Periyar Bus Stand (Rs.20) right at the center of Madurai City and walkable distance to an array of hotels and Madurai Railway Station.
Trains are the best mode to reach Madurai comfortably from Chennai. Southern Railway headquarters at Chennai runs as many as 20 Express Trains from Chennai Egmore/Chennai Central stations, at regular intervals from 7.50 am to 11.45 pm daily. Of which, the convenient trains from Chennai Egmore are Pothigai Express at 8.50 pm; Nellai Express at 9.15 pm; and Pandiyan Express at 9.40 pm. (Sleeper Class Fare Rs.232). Have your night supper and relax in the comfortable berth and you will wake up at Madurai. (Running time 8 hours and 15 minutes).
Reaching Madurai Junction, you will be swarmed by Auto drivers, but unless you want to go any specific place in Madurai, you don’t need an Auto. Come out of the Station and have a brisk morning walk – just opposite to the station there are a line of good hotels to suit every budget.
The next best option to reach Madurai from Chennai is catching a Government Bus, at Chennai Koyambedu Central Bus Stand. Regular route busses to Madurai and beyond via Maduari are running throughout the 24 hours. (9 hours journey in upright sitting position and the charge is Rs.176). Luxury Private Busses are also available, behind Koyambedu Bus Stand, on charge of Rs.300 with somewhat puffy cushion seats, but still the same sitting position with seats adjustable push-back. The route is ok in the National Highway No.7 and you will get one stop during the journey for snacks.
NH 208 is the ideal route from south parts of Kerala to reach Madurai
See Also : How to Reach Madurai