Specials of Madurai – you can not get anywhere:
Madurai in Tamilnadu, South India is a Heritage Temple City, where thousands of tourists flock everyday – not only to pay a visit to the popular Meenakshi Amman Temple and other temples, but also to enjoy the hospitality of South Indian people. You should know what are the specials of Madurai, which you can not get anywhere else.
Madurai Jasmine Flower: This belongs to Arabian “Jasminium Sombac” variety, with big flowers of incredibly sweet and lovely fragrance, nothing comes closer to it. Popularly known as “Madurai Malli” or “Malligai” in Tamil, this is the foremost special of Madurai. The unique fragrance to this flower is due to the combination of soil (it is grown in large area of the foothill of Kodaikanal), the weather conditions, the cultivation methods for generations etc.
There is great demand for Madurai Jasmine, in the markets of major towns of India – Delhi; Mumbai; Cochin; Thirvanathapuram; Hyderabad; Kolkata; and is also exported to the Middle East and Singapore. Everyday there is an Indian Airlines flight to Mumbai, which leaves at 1.20 PM, carrying tons of Madurai Malli and people call it “Malli Flight.”
Fresh Malli flower will appear on the baskets of street vendors throughout Madurai, beautifully knit in a row (Rs.5 per meter length), attracting your attention with its fragrance. You won’t miss foreign tourists roaming in and around Meenakshi Temple, wearing Jasmine garlands (females in their cut-brown-hair with clips).
Jigar Thanda: A unique cool-drink to off-set the heat of the day in Madurai. Jigger = heart and Thanda = cold in Hindi and means roughly heart-cooler. A possible derivative of Muslim rule in Madurai, this is made up of cold milk mixed with algae (Kadal Pasi in Tamil); jelly; Nannari herb (Sarasparilla) and sweeteners. You will not forget the taste and ask for more.
Paruthi Pal: Another special hot-drink of Madurai available in night, from the street vendors. Made up of Cotton-seed soaked for hours to get its milk and mixed with rice-flour; dry ginger; cardamom; jaggery (usually from palm); chittarathai (an herb) and pepper. You will find it smoothening your digestive system.
Tirunelveli Halwa: A special sweet made of wheat-flour milk (competition among shops is stiff – each claiming it is the “original”).
Filter Coffee: You can not find coffee shops in every place like Madurai. Freshly brewed decoction through filters (sugar added up in decoction for extra coffee taste), blended with strong hot-buffalo-milk to make its aroma pull you- will be available any time of the day. (Western coffee shops, where you can while away your time over a cup of coffee, are not to be compared – this is fast and flying people’s favorite, on the road-side shops).
Kushboo Iddly : Iddly is favorite breakfast of Tamilians (a boiled cake from rice plus urad dhal batter) and is commonly available in all towns. But in Madurai, you get a special Iddly variety – soft and puffy (named after a puffy Tamil actress to make it popular!). (That reminds - Madurai has 50 cinema-theatres, which is not the case for any town of this size).
There are more Madurai Specials – scented Kumkum with Thalampoo fragrance; handi-crafts; terracotta items; wood carvings; artistic decorative items for home and Madurai Sungudi cotton sarees etc., which you can shop and buy at bargain rates, so that when you return, you can present them as Mementos of Madurai.
Madurai is a prominent pilgrimage center, situated 498 Kms (308 miles) south-west of Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of Tamilnadu State.