Madurai, the “thoonganagaram” of Tamilnadu, is the third largest city located on the banks of the river Vaigai and is home to a number of historical monuments.Arising out of the divine nectar showered on the city by the Hindu god Shiva, Madurai gets its name from the word “Madhura”.
The city is referred by various names like “Koodal” meaning an assembly or congregation of scholarly people, referring to the three Tamil Sangams held at Madurai, “MalligaiMaanagar”, “Naanmadakoodal” meaning the junction of four towers, refers to the four major temples for which Madurai was known for and “Thirualavai”.
Meenakshiamman temple is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city. The complex houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers) is ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high. There are also two golden sculptured vimana (shrines) over the sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people.
Alagar temple is yet another landmark located on the hill called “AlagarMalai”. It seems to be happening in Thenur, a village in the interiors, 20 km off Madurai city.“Mandooga Maharishi’s redemption is an event that was unique to the village.During ThirumalaiNayak regime (1623 to 1659 AD), in 1653 the Mandooga Maharishi relieving ritual was shifted to Vandiyur village where the event is performed at ThennurMandapam, built by ThirumalaiNayak himself.
Directly under the control of the British East India Company, Madurai was annexed to the Madras Presidency in the year 1801. Prior to the British rule, the city has been ruled, at different times, by the Early Pandyas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Later Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Chanda Sahib and Carnatic kingdom, Madurai was so famous that it was mentioned in the works of Roman historians Pliny the Younger (61 – c. 112 CE), Ptolemy (c. 90 – c. CE 168), those of the Greek geographer Strabo(64/63 BCE – c. 24 CE), and also in Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
Urbanisation of the city is primarily being driven by various automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing industries. It has developed as a second-tier city for information technology (IT), and some software companies have opened offices in Madurai. Madurai has important government educational institutes like the Madurai Medical College, Homeopathic Medical College, Madurai Law College, Agricultural College and Research Institute.
Rangavilasam and Swargavilasam (Celestial Pavilion) are the major parts of, another crowd puller of the city
Palace.That was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style by ThirumalaiNayakar in 1636 CE.Thirumalainayakarmahal is famous for its giant pillars. The height is 82 feet and width is 19 feet. Audience chamber of Swargavilasam is a vast hall with pavements about 12m high.
An outstandingcostume of Mahatma Gandhi ji has started from Madurai. After he visited a farmer at madurai, he thought “why should I wear this?” A memorial museum for Gandhi ji is located in Madurai. It takes account of a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. An Original letter written personally by Gandhi jito Narayanan Sathsangi of Devakottai. A congratulatory message sent by Gandhi to freedom fighter and poet SubramaniaBharati is also preserved in this museum. Yet another interesting letter is the one, written by the Mahatma to Adolf Hitler addressing him as “Dear Friend”.
In the late 19th century, there was a great emerging Tamil poets U. V. SwaminathaIyer and S. V. DamodaramPillai. They brought to light many of the ancient Tamil works which had previously remained in obscurity. Madurai Tamil Sangam is still functioning in the Tamil sangam road, Madurai. Its also known as 4th Tamil Sangam. It’s a language academy started by PaandiThuraiThevar.