Nagamalai Hills, Madurai
Nagamalai Hills is located at the outskirts of Madurai City in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu. Nagamalai means Snake Hills (Naga – Snake & Malai - Hill). Madurai is surrounded by eight hillocks that once served to guard the city from invading forces. Of these hills, three small but prominent hills (Yanaimalai, Pasumalai and Nagamalai – Elephant, Cow, and Snake Hill respectively) have several interesting legends associated with them.
Samanar Hills, is opposite to Nagamalai, is of historical importance. Samanars (Tamil Jain) were said to have stayed on the hill, fearing persecution from the then rulers of Madurai. Many stone statues and other artifacts are present in Nagamalai. Nagamalai is also known for its snake biodiversity, and a government proposal is in the works for creating an ecotourism snake park in the area.
The top of the hill consists of naturally formed rocks which resemble the form of a crocodile. Even though there is no water source at the top of the hill, it has a permanent flow of water on one side at Puluthu, which is an herbal water which can be directly drunk. There is Nageswarar Temple and Naga Theertham in Nagamalai Hills. This Temple is considered as Parihara Sthalam for Naga Doshams.
Nagamalai is situated on Madurai – Theni highway. Nagamalai is located at about 3 Kms from Melakkal, 5 Kms from Thiruvedagam, 19 Kms from Madurai, 18 Kms from Madurai Periyar Bus Stand, 23 Kms from Mattuthavani Integrated Bus Terminus, 17 Kms from Madurai Railway Junction and 32 Kms from Madurai International Airport.