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About Madurai
State : Tamilnadu Madurai, probably over 2500 years old, is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. Its origin and name emerge from a misty and lovely legend. In a forest near a lotus pond, Indra, King of Gods, Worshipped Lord Siva as a Swayambu Lingam. At this hallowed spot, the Pandyan monarch Kulasekhara built a great temple and clearing the forest, he created a lotus- shaped city around the temple. On the day the city was to be named, Lord Siva appeared at the ceremony. As he blessed the land and its people, divine nectar (Mathuram) was showered on the city from his matted locks.

The city was henceforth known as Madhurapuri. Madhurapuri grew and prospered to become the capital of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is referred to in the Ramayana and Kautily's Arthashastra. Megasthenes (302 BC), pliny (77AD) and Ptolemy (140 AD) wrote of "Madura, the kingdom of the Pandian". Macro polo visited Madurai in 1293 AD and lbn Batuta in 1333 AD. Madurai lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. The temple and the old city are on the southern bank, while modern Madurai with its textile mills, engineering industries and large university sprawls around.

Meenakshi Temple MaduraiGandhi Museum MaduraiThirumalai Nayak Palace MaduraiMariamaman Teppakkulam Tank Madurai
History of Madurai
It was a fall from eternal glory to deep abyss for Madurai when the Tamil Kingdoms disintegrated, and its wealth was plundered by the ravaging armies of Delhi's Muslim rulers. In 1311, it was raided by Malik Kafur, the general of Alauddin Khilji of Delhi. In 1371, the Muslim rule of Madurai was put to an end by the Vijayanagar rulers who annexed the city to their Kingdom. . The Governors appointed to rule Madurai were called Nayaks or Naiks, and it was during their rule that the city regained some of its past glory. When the Vijayanagar empire collapsed in 1565, the Nayaks proclaimed themselves rulers of the territories they governed. According to a different theory, the name Madurai is actually a transformation of the Tamil word "Marudhai", which means a fertile agricultural land with alluvial soil. Many natives continue to refer to the city as Marudhai. According to some legends, Madurai is the actual site where the wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi took place


Place to See
Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple
Just one Kilometer distance from Bus stand. The Temple is dedicated to Meenakshi, the lovely consort of Lord Shiva. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandiya, but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace
The palace is located just one kilometre away from the Meenakshi temple. This palace was built by Thirumalai Nayak in 1523 A.D. The Indo-Saracenic styled palace has granite pillars cased with mortar and supporting arches that present a fascinating view. Major attraction of this palace is the Swarga Vilasam or the audience hall, which has 70 ft high dome.

Gandhi Museum
The old palace of Rani Mangammal, now contains memorabilia of Mahatama Gandhi. The museum houses a picture gallery, a library and an exhibit of South Indian handicrafts and village industries. Gandhi museum is open on all weekdays except Wednesdays.

Mariamaman Teppakkulam Tank
Built in 1646 by Thirumalai Nayak, the tank is also known as Theppakula Tank. This tank is connected to the river Vagai by underground channels. A mandapam enshrining Lord Vigneshwara stands at the centre of the tank. The popular float festival of the Meenakshi Amman Temple is held here during January/ February on a full moon night.

Koodal Azhagar Temple
This is the temple of Lord Vishnu who is called as Koodal Azhagar in Madurai. Tall gopurams of this temple are absent, but the base has excellent carvings. There are three sanctums in the temple where the deities can be seen in sitting, standing and recumbent postures one above the other.


How to Reach
Air : Madurai is well connected by air to Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Tiruchirapalli and Calicut.

Train : Madurai is also well connected by rail to all the major towns in South India. Madurai has direct rail connections to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin.

Road : There are excellent roads which connect Madurai to all parts of South India.


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