13 Dec 2012

Madurai: The Athens of the East

If you've ever wondered about the oldest cities in the world, it may come as a shock to realise that one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world is Madurai. Its history dates back to the 3rd century when it was ruled by many dynasties; the Pandyas, the Cholas, the Madurai Sultanate, the Vijaynagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Chanda Sahib, the Carnatic kingdom and the British, until finally coming under the Indian government.
Closer View of Meenakshi Amman temple (Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
 Madurai is the third largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu and it is also the current administrative headquarters of the state. Currently, Madurai remains an integral city in South India as it has many automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing industries. Some of the well known government educational institutions such as Madurai Medical College and Madurai Law College are also housed here.
Koodal Azhagar Temple (Photo Courtesy: WikiMedia Commons)
However, if you’re a tourist in Madurai, you will likely be lured by the ancient monuments and religious structures here. Some of the places  of worship you should pay a visit to are the Meenakshi Amman temple, the Koodal Azhagar Temple, Kazimar Big Mosque and the Goripalayam Mosque. Other sights to see include the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and the palace of Rani Mangamma, which has been renovated to house one of the five Gandhi Memorial Museums in the country.
Kazimar Big Mosque, Madurai (Photo Courtesy:muslimblog.)
 These are some of the many reasons why you should get on a flight to Madurai and pay a visit.