At a Glance
Designed by famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the Heritage is a comfortable colonial-style hotel well located for exploring the remarkable temples of Madurai. Its hushed history-filled halls, verdant gardens filled with ancient banyan trees, and a spectacular swimming pool modelled on the temple tank at Thirumalai Temple make it the perfect retreat to come back to after a day’s exploration in the city’s heat and traffic.
The Heritage’s 72 spacious en-suite rooms and villas are all dotted round the enchanting grounds and come with wooden floors and furniture, white linens and Indian rugs. All have air-conditioning, and the villas have their own private courtyard and terrace with a frangipani-fringed plunge pool.
Wander down to the Banyan Restaurant where you can enjoy excellent contemporary Indian and international cuisine, and be sure to have a drink in the ‘Swig & Tee’ bar where you’ll instantly be transported back to the colonial days of British Madurai. An excellent spa offers both Ayurvedic treatments and Swedish massages, and table tennis and badminton are also available.
Madurai is one of India’s oldest cities, and strolling through its streets, almost every one of which seemingly has a temple, is wonderfully evocative. The city skyline is dominated by the 14 towering gopurams, or gateway towers, of the Sri Meenakshi Temple. Covered in intricate colourful carvings of Hindu deities, this Dravidian-style temple is a major pilgrimage site, and millions of devotees attend the processions and ceremonies celebrating Vishnu and Meenakshi during the Chithirai Festival each April. Along with visiting some of the other temples, it’s well worth visiting the excellent Gandhi Museum to learn more about the great man’s life.