Madurai History  
 

Madurai's history can be divided into roughly four periods, beginning over 2000 years ago when it was the capital of the Pandyan kings. Then, in the 4th century BC, the city was known to the Greeks via Magasthenes, their ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. In the 10th century AD, Madurai was taken by the Chola emperors. It remained in their hands until the Pandyas briefly regained their independence in the 12th century, only to lose it again in the 14th century to Muslim invaders under Malik Kafur, a general in the service of the Delhi Sultanate. Here, Malik Kafure established his own dynasty, which, in turn, was overthrown by the Hindu Vijayanagar kings of Hampi. After the fall of Vijayanagar in 1565, the Nayaks ruled Madurai until 1781 AD. During the reign of Tirumalai Nayak (1623-55), the bulk of the Meenakshi Temple was built, and Madurai became the cultural center of the Tamil people, playing an important role in the development of the Tamil language. Madurai then passed into the hands of the British East India Company, which took over the revenues of the area after the wars of the Carnatic in 1781. In 1840, the company razed the fort, which had previously surrounded the city, and filled in the moat. Four broad streets- the Veli streets were constructed on top of this fill and define the limits of the old city to this day.

 
  THINGS TO BUY  
 

Madurai has long been a textile centre and the streets around the temple still teem with cloth stalls and tailors shops. A great place to buy locally manufactured cottons and other all kind of dress materials loved by many travelers is around the temple. In detail ( selectively taken among best shops )

 
  For Best Quality Silks at reasonable price  
  Madurai Silks
41, Vengalakadai Street,
Madurai. 
Tel: +91 452 2628880, 2628886,
http://www.maduraisilks.com
   
  For all kinds of textiles at wholesale price: ( Very Very big shop in south Tamilnadu )  
  Maharani Textiles 
27B & C, South Chithrai Street, 
Madurai - 625 001. 
Tel: +91 452 2342773.
   
  For Latest Fashion dresses from kids to all: ( A modern outlet in Madurai )  
  Kishkintha Garments
136, Nethaji Road, 
Madurai - 625 001 
Tel: +91 - 452 - 2347409 
http://epages.webindia.com/india/kishkintha
   
  PLACES OF INTEREST  
 


Of course Athisayam is an very important place of interest there are other places also. They are

The Meenakshi Temple is near Chithirai street. There are two sanctuaries in the temple, one is to Meenakshi (the fish eyed Goddess, consort of Shiva) and the other is to Shiva in the form of Sundareswar. The gopurams have been repainted in bright colours. The high point of the temple is the 'Hall of a Thousand Pillars', built around 1560. This hall is adorned with 985 elaborately carved pillars. These pillars have beautiful images. The Temple art museum is in the hall of Thousand Pillars. Among the mandapams, the Kambattadi Mandapam is outstanding for its excellent sculptured representations of the manifestations of Shiva on the pillars. Visit: Daily from 0430 to 1230 and 1600 to 2130.

Gandhi Museum

This museum, which is housed in the 300-year-old Mangammal Palace, is dedicated to Gandhiji, the father of the nation. It has a collection of Gandhi's books and letters. It contains Khadi and Village Industries section and a South Indian handicrafts section. Regular classes related to Gandhi's thoughts and Yoga are conducted here.

Tirumala Nayak Mahal

Tirumala Nayak Mahal is 1.5km north of Meenakshi temple. This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. Visit to Palace: Daily from 0900 to 1300 and 1400 to 1700. The Pillars here can be hold around by at least 4 members joints their hands. The Sound and Light show, shown here is excellent. Show starts at 1845. This show dramatizes Madurai's past. U might have seen this in Film Bombay in song " Kannalanae "

Tirupparankundram 

A cave temple, which is, situated 10 kilometers south of Madurai. It is one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan, the second son of Shiva. Its innermost shrine is cut out of solid rock. Legend says that Murugan got married Deivanai, Indira's daughter in this hill.

Alagar Koil

Alagar temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu is situated 19 kilometers west of the city, at the bottom of Alagar Hills. Lord Vishnu appears here in three poses sitting, standing and reclining each being depicted one above the other. This temple is older than Meenakshi temple. Legend says that Vishnu came down to this place from heaven to give away Meenakshi in marriage to Sundareswara.

Pazhamudhir Cholai

Pazhamudhir Cholai is a temple situated 2 kilometers away from Alagar Koil on a small hillock. This is another one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan.

 
     
  Places Around Madurai  
 


Vaigai Dam


It is 70km from Madurai on the way to Thekkadi. The Dam is beautifully illuminated on every Sunday evening. On one side of the Dam there is a garden with all kinds of exotic flowers and plants. Natural beauty of the hills borders the river on the other side.

Suruli Waterfalls

It is 120 km from Madurai on the way to Thekkadi (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary).

Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal is 120kms from Madurai. It is a hill station. The Kurinji flower, which blossoms once in 12 years, is the pride of Kodaikanal. The lake in Kodaikanal is star shaped and surrounded by mountains. 
There is an observatory, which is called Solar Physical Observatory situated on the top of the hill. It was built in 1898.

The temple called Kurinju Andavar Temple is situated about 3kms from the lake. This temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga.

Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari is the southern most tip of Indian Sub Continent. Three oceans surround this place Bay of Bengal in east, Arabian Sea in west, Indian Ocean in south. Beautiful views of sunrise and sunset are the main attraction of this place.
There is a Memorial dedicated to Swami Vivekanda who sat in long and deep meditation. This was built was 1970.A Statue of Vivekanda has also been installed in this memorial. This memorial is located in one rock away from mainland.

Courtallam

Courtallam is about 150kms from Madurai. It is a summer resort. Waterfalls are the main attraction of Courtallam. The water in this falls has medicinal value. There is a temple called Kutralanathar Temple Which is dedicated to Lord Siva.

Rameswaram

The holy city Rameswaram is situated about 164 kilometers south-east of Madurai. It is an island paradise of golden sand.
There are two temples called Ramanathaswamy Temple and KothandaRamaswamy temple. Ramanathaswamy temle is on the eastern side of island, close to sea. It is known for corridors with pillars having beautiful sculptures, which are longest in India. The temple has big tower, which is 38.4 meters in height. The temple is 264 meters in length and 200 meters in breadth. Konthandaswamy temple is another famous temple about 3 kilometers from extreme tip of the island.

Palani

Palani is about 123 Kilometers from Madurai and it is dedicated to Shri Dhandayuthapani (Lord Muruga). It is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga, which is located at the top of the hill.

 
  How to reach Madurai  
 


Air: Madurai is connected by air with Mumbai and Madras. There are daily flights to Madurai from Chennai, Bangalore, and Tiruchi & Coimbatore. Madurai Airport is 10 Kms away from Madurai City. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan operate their service to Madurai.

Rail: Madurai is an important railway junction of the Southern Railway and there are direct rail connections to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Madras, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin. There are more than 8 trains to Chennai. 

Road: It has a very big new bustand named Mattuthavani . It is a single point to catch buses to go anywhere .Two national highways - NH 7 and NH 45 connecting Madurai to all parts of South India. It has government and private bus services, to all the towns in the regions near by, and to all towns and cities in TamilNadu. Madurai City has 5 Major Bus Stand. 

 
  PLACES TO STAY  


TAJ GARDEN RETREAT Star Hotel
Hotel International
Hotel Supreme 
Best Western Germanus
Madura Park Inn

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