Madurai Travel Guide, India
Madurai, the second largest town of Tamil Nadu is situated on the banks of the River Vaigai. It is one of South India’s finest temple towns. It is the administrative capital of the Madurai district and is known for its Meenakshi temple. The city is also known as Madura. Many historians have called the city the “Athens of the east.”
Madurai was an important city of ancient India. Its importance as a commercial capital goes back to twenty five hundred tears when it was the capital of the Pandu Kings of the South. Madurai was a part of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 14th century and was ruled by the Nayaka dynasty from 1565until it was taken by the British in 1801.
Madurai enjoys a warm temperate warm climate with a heavy monsoon from October to November. The population is about a lakh, most of which speak Tamil. Since it is well connected by rail, road and air to most of the urban towns, it is an important tourist destination.
The Meenakshi Temple is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city. Built by Pandya King Kulasekara, it is a perfect example of outstanding Vijayanagar temple architecture, with elaborate carvings covering the colonnades and nine gopuras (gate towers).
The Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, another important tourist spot was built by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636. It an exquisite palace complete with domes, royal chambers and eve the clothes and utensils used by earlier kings. Among other important sites are the Azhagar Kovil(temple), the Gandhi Museum and the Kazimar Mosque.
Madurai is synonymous with Tamil literature and tradition. It houses an abundance of literary wealth of both classical and modern Tamil. It was the seat of the Tamil Academy in the past. The three Tamil Sangams evolved and flourished here. It is the centre for ballads, folk dance and a theatre unique to this region.
The main industries of the city are the brassware and the textile industry. Madurai is known for jasmine flowers which are exported to various parts of the world. The Sungudi saris are also famous. Pongal and Jallikattu are the most important festivals of this region. People from all over the country come to Madurai to celebrate them.
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