is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a City that never Sleeps.
It is 450 Kms from the State Capital and Tiruchirapalli is 135 kms from Madurai.
Sangam literature makes a mention of Madurai in Silapathigaram.
It is also called as KADAMBA VANAM. According to legends:
1] Lord Indra [head of the Devas] once worshipped
Lord Siva under the Kadamba tree and abundance of those trees took
the name Kadambavanam. 2] Lord Siva appeared in the dream of
King Kulasekara Pandyan and drops of immensely sweet madhu
[nectar] rolls down from the matted hair of Lord Siva on the
earth. Hence this was also called as Madhurapuri. In due
course of time people started calling it as Madurai. Sangam consists of respected
and highly esteemed Poets, Prodigies, Critics supported by the Kings.
The sangam, Confluence of Tamil Scholars and Critics were convened thrice in
Historically it is also called as
the Athens of the East. Megasthanes visited Madurai as
early as 3rd BC. Later Romans and Greeks started visiting this erstwhile Pandya
Kingdom and there were serious trade connections between them that flourished till
the 10th century. The kingdom passed hands between the Pandyas ,Cholas and finally
the Pandyas. It was Allauding Kilji in 1311 invaded this kingdom
and later Thuglaks took control
of it. Vijayanagar Kingdom captured it and left it in Nayaks control.
Thirumalai Nayak was the most popular king, who expanded the
Meenakshi Amman temple complex. Finally the kingdom went into the British
Rule before the Independence.
Amman temple is the city’s most important landmark. It is one of the
five sabhas [divine dance stages] called
as Velli Ambalam [silver Hall]. Apart from the face of
Pilgrim and Education center, Madurai is a modern Commercial and industrial city.
It is also famous for its trade mark Chungudi cotton sarees, color dyeing
,motifs ,Handicrafts, Brassware. Wooden Toys of Madurai is the
favourite of the Young and Old as well. Madurai district’s population is 30,38,252
[2011 census] and the city’s population is 10,16,885.