Madurai Guide
History Of Madurai
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INTRODUCTION

 Madurai, which is more than 2500 years old, was once the mighty capital of the ancient pandya kingdom. This city has been famous as the seat of Tamil literature in southern India and conferences of scholars-sangams-were held here from remote ages. In one of those gatherings of scholars, Lord Sundareswarar himself is said to have played the part of a poet.

Madurai is the oldest inhabited city in the Indian peninsula. It is the second largest city and a municipal corporation. Situated on the banks of the river vaigai in Madurai district in the Indian state of Tamilnadu.The city is also referred to as the Temple city.

Madurai was called as "Athens of the East". Madurai is a place of great historical importance.

A centre of leaving and pilgrimage for centuries,Madurai is one of the most lively cities in south India It was originally known "kadambavanam" or the "forest of kadamab"(nauclea kadamba).Madurai which is usually called nanmadakkoodal’ in Tamil literature is an ancient city more than 4000 years old.koodal Means assembly and as all the Tamil academies were established in madurai,it got the name koodl.literary evidences prove that the first Madurai was devoured by the sea and what we now see is the second Madurai founded by the pandya king kulasekara in 6th century. The culture of Tamilnadu is woven with the history of Madurai in all aspects history, religion, art, legent, polity, learning and so on. It as the city of elites and learned men, so it is aptly called the "Athens of the East".

Madurai is famous for pilgrimage centre. It’s main attraction is the famous shree MeenakshiTemple in the heart of the old town,a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams covered from top to bottom with a breathless profusion of multi colored images of god’s goddesses, animals and mythical figures. Nothing quite like it exists outside Disneyland, The temple seethes with activity from down till dusk and its many shrines attract pilgrims from all over India and tourists from all over the world. On any one day it’s been estimated that there will be 10,000 visitors here.

Madurai’s history falls into roughly four periods beginning over 2000 years ago when it was the capital of the pandya kings and known to the 4th century BC Greeks via Megasthenes,their ambassador at the court o0f chandragupta Maurya .In the 10th century AD it was taken by the chola emperors and remained with them until the pandyas briefly regained their independence in the 12th century, only to lose it again in the 14th to the Moslem invaders under malik kafur,a general in the service of the Delhi sultanate. Malik kafur set up his own dynasty here which ruled for a while before being overthrown by the Hindu vijiyanagar kings of Hampi.After the fall of vijiyanagar in 1565,Madurai was taken over by the nayaks who ruled from1559 until 1781 A.D.It was during the reigh of Tirumalai nayaks (1623-55) that the bulk of the Meenakshi temple was built .

Madurai passed into British hands in the shape of the East India Company who 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 most. Four broad streets the veil streets-were constructed on top of his fill and define the limits of the old city to this day.

This city is one huger, on-stop bazaar crammed full of shops, street markets, temples, pilgrims, choultries, hotels, restaurants and small industries .It’s one of the south’s liveliest cities, yet small enough not to be overwhelming and it’s very popular with travelers.