Madurai is the second largest city, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of the river Vaigai, Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia.
It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city was the capital of the Pandyan kingdom was initially at Korkai, around 600 BCE. Madurai is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and Madurai Nayak kings in the Dravidian style of architecture. It is also one of India’s most outstanding Hindu pilgrimage centers. Madurai is also called as City of Junction, City of Jasmine flower, Temple city, City that never sleeps. The city has been in existence since about 4th century B.C and is mentioned in ancient texts of Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The Meenakshi Amman temple situated in the heart of the city is famous, and there are a number of temples in and around the city. The “Maha Kumbabhishekam” of the temple was performed in April 2009 after the renovation (re-painting) work on the gopurams (towers) of the temple. It is usually performed once every 14 years or more. There are numerous remarkable sculptures on the gopurams as well as inside the premises of the temple. Look out for the “yaali”, a mythical creature similar to a dragon on the pillars in the ‘pragaram’ of the temple. Also, keep looking at the ceiling to catch a glimpse of the beautiful ancient paintings that adorn them. Madurai is also an important transit point for travelers bound south and also a local commercial hub.
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