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City Guide - Madurai
Introduction: Madurai is famous all over world for its historically great temples. Located on the bank of river Vaigal in southern India, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Madurai boasts of its rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. It is a place where people often tend to visit. Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu with the population of about 1.5 million. It has an important commercial center since 550AD. Also known as temple city, Madurai has many places of national importance. If old Madurai is famous for sprawling temples, the modern Madurai is well known for its textile mills and engineering colleges.

History: Madurai is one of the India’s oldest cities, whose history dates back to more than 2000 years old. It was home to the ancient Tamil Sangam, the literary conclave that produced the first Tamil epic Silappathikaaram and other masterpieces of Tamil literature. Earlier, Madurai was ruled by the Pandya kings who made the city as their capital. Madurai has been a center of learning and pilgrimage, for centuries. It is said that Madurai derived its name from nectar dropping from Shiva’s locks. Madurai is mentioned in all holy scriptures of the Hindus and holds sacred importance in folklores.

Places of interest: Meenakshi Temple is the one of the primary places of interest in Madurai, for which thousands of people from all over the world descend here every year. This is a twin temple. The temple in the southern side is dedicated to Sri Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva locally known as Sundareswarar. This is one of the biggest temple complexes of India. The temple is about 258 meters in length and about 241.4 meters in breadth. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal is one of the important palaces, which was built by Thirumalai Nayaakar in 1636. The paintings, carvings and designing of the Mahal show the amazing talents of the Nayak kings. This Mahal is situated 2kms south east of Meenakshi Temple.
Travel information: Madurai is India’s well-known city of temples. It is considered cultural city of southern state Tamil Nadu. The climate of Madurai is tropical being generally hot and humid for most of the year. The best time to visit Madurai is during the months of August to March. Madurai is a lively place to visit and also very tourist-friendly. It is well connected to road, rail and air transport through major cities of Tamil Nadu and rest of India.

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