Alagar Koil Temple: This Vishnu temple is located 21 km northwest of Madurai, on a picturesque wooded hill. Here Vishnu presides as Meenakshi's brother, Azhagar. During the Chithirai festival in April-May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar proceeds to Madurai. A gold processional icon called Azhagar is carried by devotees from Azhagar Koil to Madurai for the wedding ritual.
Pazhamuthir Cholai: One of the six abodes of Lord Muruga is on the Alagar Koil hill about 4 km from Alagar Koil. A natural spring called Noopura Gangai offers pilgrims bathing facilities near the temple.
Athisayam Theme Park: A water theme park situated on the Madurai-Dinidigul Road at Paravai, a matter of 15 km from Madurai. Entrance Fee: Rs 300 for adults and Rs 200 for children. Tel: 0452 2463848-51
Tirumogur Temple (20 km): The main deity of this temple is Kalamega Perumal and Sembagavalli. Sudarshana Chakram is also a powerful deity of the temple.
Thiruvathavur (25 km): The presiding deities of this temple are Shiva and Parvati. This is the birthplace of the Saivaite saint Manickavasagar.
Vaigai Dam (69 km): This is a popular picnic spot. Gardens on the side of the dam contrast with the rugged terrain of the mountains. On Sundays the dam is illuminated.
Kodaikanal (120 km): A hill station located 2,130 m above sea level with wooded hills, pleasant walks, picturesque waterfalls and a magnificent lake, is ideal for trekking. A beautiful 18-hole golf course is also located here. The tourist officer, Kodaikanal and the warden, Youth Hostel, Coakers Walk, Kodaikanal, may be contacted for details. Tel: 04542-241675
Megamalai (130 km): Located 1,500 m above sea level, Megamalai is home to many tea and cardamom plantations in the hills. Transport is available from Chinnamanur.
Suruli Falls (123 km): Located on the way to Thekedy via Uthamapalayam, the falls in a salubrious are a great picnic spot. Regular buses/vans are available from Kambam.
Courtrallam (160 km): Courtrallam, home to a well-known spa and nine waterfalls, is situated at an elevation of 167 m on the western ghats in Tirunelveli district. During the season (June to September) huge crowds visit the health resort. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has hotels/restaurants/boat houses here and also arranges day treks. For more information call, Hotel Tamil Nadu, Tel: 04633-283003.
Palani (120 km): This famous pilgrim centre has a temple of Lord Muruga perched 180 m atop a hill. One can climb up the steps or take the ropeway to the top. There are regular bus services from Madurai. Hotel Tamil Nadu, Palani 04545-241156
Kumbakkarai Waterfalls (105 km): Located 6 km from Periyakulam, this is an ideal picnic spot. It serves as base camp for trekkers to the Kodai hills.