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Madurai ( and ), is the oldest inhabited city in the Indian peninsula. It is an ancient and prestigious city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadumarker,situated on the banks of the River Vaigaimarker in Madurai districtmarker.

The city is widely known as the Temple city , and is often also referred to as Koodal Maanagar, Cultural Capital of Tamil Nadu (Kalaachaara thalainagar), Malligai Maanagar (City of Jasmine), Thoonga Nagaram (Sleepless City), and Athens of the East. With a population of 1,203,095 according to the 2001 Census, it is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu.

Madurai was the capital city of ancient Southern civilization. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C.E..


Madurai has history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. It was the seat of power of the ancient Pandyan empire of Tamilakam. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.As early as the 3rd century BC, Megasthanes visited Madurai. Later many people from Rome and Greece visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings.

In legend, the original town of Madurai, traditionally called ThenMadurai or Madurai of South was destroyed by a tsunami in ancient Kumari Kandam. The new city was home to the last Tamil Sangam in the early part of last Century. The great national poet Subramanya Bharathi worked as a Tamil language pandit / teacher in Sethupathy High School during the early 20th century. There is a village town in the neighbouring district of Dindigulmarker called Vada Madurai, and another in the neighbouring district of Sivagangai called Manamaduraimarker.

Madurai flourished till 10th century AD when it was captured by Cholas, the arch rivals of the Pandyas. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium as it later came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom and Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar.

Geography and Climate

Satellite image of Madurai urban area
Madurai city has an area of 52 km², within an urban area now extending over as much as 130 km², and it is located at . It has an average elevation of 101 meters above mean sea level. The climate is dry and hot, with North East Monsoon rains during October-December. Temperatures during summer reach a maximum of 40 and a minimum of 26.3 degrees celsius,though temperatures over 43 degrees celsius are not uncommon. Winter temperatures range between 29.6 and 18 degrees Celsius. The average annual rainfall is about 85 cm.


Tamil is spoken predominantly in and around Madurai. The Madurai Tamil differs slightly from other Tamil dialects such as Kongu Tamil and Nellai Tamil. Along with Tamil, other languages spoken are English, Telugu, Saurashtra,Urdu,. However the words of some of these languages have Tamil words mixed in with them.


As of the 2001 India census, the city of Madurai had a population of 928,869 within the municipal corporation limit and the urban area 1,194,665. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%.Madurai has an average literacy rate of 79%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 84%, and female literacy is 74%. In Madurai, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age. There are 968 females per 1,000 males.


Madurai is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. Concentric rectangular streets surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos. The entire city is laid out in the shape of the lotus. Some of these rectangular streets are named after Tamil months. The six major rectangular streets around Meenakshi temple are Aadi, Chithirai, Aavani Moola, Maasi, Maarat and Veli streets.

Civic administration

The entire Madurai district comes under the dirct control of the Madurai District collector and the corporation limits within it is administered by the Madurai Municipal Corporation. This was the second corporation formed in 1971 next to chennai . The corporation has received several National awards in the year 2008 for implementing development works . The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day running of the municipal school board, the city bus service, the municipal hospital, and the city library. The city serves as the headquarters of Madurai districtmarker and as the seat of the Madurai bench of Madras High Courtmarker.

The High Court Bench started functioning with effect from 24-07-2004 with the jurisdiction of the Districts of Kanniyakumarimarker, Tirunelvelimarker, Thoothukudimarker, Madurai, Dindigulmarker, Ramanathapurammarker, Virudhunagarmarker, Sivagangamarker, Pudukkottaimarker, Thanjavurmarker, Tiruchirappallimarker and Karurmarker.

The city has pass port office and districts Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari & Dindugul come under its jurisdiction .

Also the city has employment office where educated people from Madurai districtmarker register their educational qualifications for employment opportunities from Tamil Nadu government. This office also serves as a place for registration of post graduates and professional degree holders from all southern and some of the western districts in Tamil nadumarker.

Religious Heads in Madurai

Being the oldest inhabited city, madurai is famous for its diverse culture and religious harmony. The three religious heads famously called as Mummadha Thalaivargal (Leaders of The Three religion) strive to keep madurai in peace.

The Aadheenam

This is one of the oldest mutt in India constituted during the period of Thirugnana Sambanthar.There are lot of immovable properties donated for this mutt, right from the day of its origin. The tradition of madurai Aadinam goes back to 1300 years and Thirugnana Sambanthar being the 1st Maga Sannidhaanam The Madurai Aadheenam. The mutt is headed by the Guru Maga Sannidaanam, The Aadinam of Madurai. Though being a saiva, the Aadheenam is considered as the religious head of all Saiva and Vaishanava Hindus of Madurai. The Guru maga sannidanam, Arunachalam Swamy is the present Aadinam and he is 292nd Aadinam in their genealogy. The present Aadeenam is very well versed in the Knowledge of Vedas, Quraan and Bible. The aadinam takes parts in all major festivals of madurai connected with Hindu religion and also in religious harmony meetings. Kumbhabishekams, Meenkshi-Shokkar marriage, Azhagar's entry into Vaigaimarker and other Hindu festivals in the city are headed by the Aadinam. The sitting Aadinam, during his life time appoints his junior, who succeeds him after his death.

The Kaziyar

Kazi, the jury and religious head of Muslims, in Madurai is appointed by Govt. of Tamil Nadumarker. The tradition of Kazis in madurai goes back to 750 years. Syed Tajuddin was the 1st Kazi to the then Govt of Sultans. Till today, His descendants are appointed as Kazis to the Govt. of Tamil Nadumarker in Madurai. Hazrat Moulana Moulvi, Meer Ahamad Ibrahim Rahmatullahi Alaihi (the first of Madurai Maqbara Hazrats), Moulana Syed Abdul Qadir Ibrahim, Moulvi, Syed Amjad Ahmad Ibrahim and Moulvi, Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Saahib Hazrat are remarkable Kazis to the Govt. during their tenure. Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim, the 19th Kaziyar of Madurai, who was fondly called by the people as Town Kaziyar, Kazisaab, Town Kazisaab etc., is remembered for his simplicity and hardwork towards literal and economical empowerment of Muslims in the city. The present Kajiyar of Madurai Moulvi.A.Syed Kaja Mueenuddeen is 20th in the genealogy of Kaziyars in Madurai, who is well known for his hard work towards religious harmony in Madurai together with, The Aadinam, Kundrakkudi Adigalaar and the Arch Bishop. Apart from working for religious harmony, the present Kaziyar also strives for political empowerment of Muslims of the locality. Kaziyar heads the prayers in Arasaradi, Edgah grounds on Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Also,the Kaziyar heads the 23 days congregation of Aashura with sunni faith, during the Islamic month of Muharram. Almost all Muslim marriages in madurai are solemnized by the Kaziyar and disputes arising if any thereafter are solved by him. Most of the zikr majlis and urus festivals in reliable darghas are headed by Kaziyar or any other Moulvi from the Kaziyars family.

The Arch Bishop

The tradition of the Archdiocese of Madura goes back 70 years and the Archbishop of Madurai is considered the head of Roman Catholic Christians in Madurai. The archdiocese of Madura was erected in the year 1938, and was renamed as the Archdiocese of Madurai in the year 1950. The Suffragan Dioceses of Dindigulmarker, Kottarmarker, Palayamkottaimarker, Sivagangaimarker, Tiruchirapallimarker and Tuticorinmarker come under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Madurai . Bishop John Peter Leonard was the 1st archbishop of Madurai with whom the genealogy of the Archdiocese of Madurai starts. Bishop Marianus Arokiasamy, the 4th Archbishop of Madurai, is well remembered for his works towards the religious harmony along with The Aadheenam and The Kaziyar to keep Madurai in peace when south Tamil Nadu was burning due to communal riots in late 1990s. Bishop Peter Fernanado is the 5th Archbishop of Madurai. Bishop Christopher Asir, who is the Archbishop of Madurai-Ramnad Diocese of CSI, is the head of C.S.I. Christians in Madurai.



Madurai Junction
The railway station is one of the busiest in the country and has computerized reservation counters. Madurai division repeatedly has received the award for being the best-maintained station in the Southern Railwaymarker. The railway station code for Madurai junction is MDU. It is connected to Indian cities and towns including Chennaimarker, Nagercoilmarker, Kanyakumarimarker, Tiruchendurmarker, Villupurammarker, Coimbatoremarker, Tenkasimarker, Rameswarammarker, Thoothukudimarker, Bangaloremarker (by Mysore exp & Mumbai CST exp), Mysoremarker, Trivandrummarker, Mumbaimarker (by Mumbai CST exp), Punemarker (by Lokmanya tilak exp), Ahmedabadmarker, Tirupathi, Hyderabadmarker (by RMM OKHA EXPRES), Delhimarker (by Thirukkural and Tamil Nadu Sampark Kranti Express), and Kolkatamarker (by Cape Howrah exp).


Ellis Nagar bridge
Madurai has several major bus stands: Madurai Integrated Bus Terminus (MIBT) at Maattuthavani (North), Palanganatham (South), Arappalayam (West), Periyar (Central) and Anna Bus stand (East). From MIBT, many buses to locations all over the south India operate round the clock. From Arapalayam bus stand, buses to places of western Tamil Nadumarker like Theni, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Salemmarker operate and Periyar bus stand is where only city buses and private buses to major cities operate. Anna bus stand and Palanganatham are not in operation currently.

Apart fom city buses, three-wheeled, black and yellow auto-rickshaws, referred to as autos, are available for travel with in the city. MIBT has pre-paid auto counter where commuters can pay fixed auto-fare depends on destination and hire.

Madurai is connected by the following major National Highways:

NH 7 : (North-south Corridor Expressway) BangaloremarkerSalemmarkerDindigulmarker – Madurai – TirunelvelimarkerKanyakumarimarker

NH 45B : Trichymarker – Madurai – Thoothukudimarker

NH 49 : Madurai – Rameswarammarker

NH 49 Extn : Madurai – ThenimarkerBodiCochinmarker

Bridges have been constructed across the Vaigai river to connect Madurai at various points. Flyovers have been constructed within the city to overcome traffic congestion. Four lane express highways to Chennaimarker and Bangaloremarker make Madurai well-connected by road.


Madurai Airportmarker is approximately 9 kilometers from the Madurai railway station, and it offers 11 daily flights to major Indian cities like Chennaimarker, Mumbaimarker and Bangaloremarker. It also offers flights to Hyderabadmarker, Punemarker, Goamarker and Ahmedabadmarker through Chennai. Airlines that serve the Madurai Airport are Jet Airways, Air Deccan, Paramount Airways, Star Aviation (upcoming) and Indian Airlines. International flights from Madurai to Colombomarker, Singaporemarker and Gulf countries are proposed in the future. The nearest international airport is in Tiruchirapalli International Airportmarker, which is 130 km from Madurai. The airport code for Madurai is IXM.

Airline-From Madurai Service to
Indian airlines Chennai, Mumbai
Paramount Airways Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Goa, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi
Jet Airways / Jet Konnect Chennai
Air Deccan (Kingfisher) Chennai, Bangalore
Star Aviation (upcoming) Chennai


Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

Madurai has a literacy rate and human development index above the state average. Madurai Kamaraj University is situated in Madurai. It pioneered the concept of Distance education throughout Indiamarker. The University was accorded the status of "University with Potential for Excellence" . The city has a Medical College, Madurai Medical College (established in the year 1954), an Agricultural College and Research Institute, a Law College, and many Engineering and Arts & Science Colleges. The Aravind Eye Research Institute which has started Ph.D programme in the areas of Genetics,immunology,ophthalmology, biomedical sciences, Humanities and social sciences as well as bio-technology in affiliation with universities like Madurai Kamaraj university,Dr. MGR Medical University and Indian Institute of Technology Madrasmarker. It has research collaborators from Londonmarker and USAmarker.

Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai (established in the year 1957) is one of the premier institutions in Tamil Nadumarker. Madurai has many reputed Schools, Polytechnics and Industrial training institutes (ITIs) as well. Madura College is 120 years old and was started as a Zilla school in 1856. The American College in Madurai is one of the oldest colleges in India. It was founded in 1881 by American Christian missionaries. Thiagarajar college of Arts and Science (founded in 1949) is also an another older institution. Thiagarajar School of Management (well-known as TSM in South India, founded in 1962) is a premier institute for Management Studies. Other notable colleges include K.L.N. Engineering College, Raja Engineering college, Sethu Engineering College, Vickram College of Engineering, SACS M.A.V.M.M Engineering College, Velammal College of Engineering and Technology and P.T.R College of Engineering and Technology. M.S.S.Wakf Board college, K.K.Nagar and S.V.N College Nagamalai are among the reputed institutions in Madurai since 1965. There are significant number of Hotel Management & Catering institutes in the city.The Madura College (Autonomous) is one of the ancient colleges in Madurai.

Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Vickram College of Engineering and KLN College of Engineering are in the forefront in developing research facilities and have forged coordination with multinational corporations like National Instruments, Intel, OracleIBM and leading industry organisations within the country like HCL. In recent years, the city is a witness to campus interviews by leading industry organisations and successful placement programmes organised by the University. Industry estimates put that about 15 to 20 per cent of manpower working in IT industries in metros are from Madurai and surrounding districts . Other reputed educational institutions are Ma Foi and VETA.

A new but upcoming centre of innovative education is in Pulloothu. It is Tata-Dhan Academy having a two year unique program in Development Management. It is widely accalimed as a pioneer institute in this field and is supported by Dhan foundation and Sir Ratan Tata Trust.


In addition to Government Rajaji Hospital, many private hospitals such as Aravind Eye Hospital, Apollo Specialty Hospital, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Center, Vadamalayan Hospital and Quality Care Hospital, make the city a destination for health care combined with heritage tourism at an affordable cost .
Aravind Eye Hospital at Anna nagar
Madurai is a home to Aravind Eye Care System founded in 1976 by Dr.Govindappa Venkataswamy. Today it is one of the finest eye hospitals in the world . Today, in addition to the hospital in Madurai, there are four other Aravind Eye Hospitals in Thenimarker, Tirunelvelimarker, Coimbatoremarker, and Puducherrymarker with a total of 3,590 beds. Aravind Eye Hospitals has gained national and international reputation for its service orientation, modern ophthalmic techniques and its community-based outreach activities which deliver quality eye care to the rural masses . 2,313,398 outpatient visits were handled and 270,444 surgeries were performed at the Aravind Eye Hospitals in 2006. Two-third of the outpatient visits and three-fourth of the surgeries were serviced to the poor, free of cost.

Apollo Specialty Hospitals, Madurai was founded in 1997. The hospital has an overall success rate of 98% and sees an average of 15,000 patients a year. A 24-hour panel of super-specialists are present at the hospital. The hospital has first Intensive Care Unit for Nephrology and first Renal Artery Angioplasty in South India. It is the No. 1 Centre in India and 5th in the world to perform Laparoscopic Renal Transplantation (Donor Nephrectomy). The Apollo group Hospitals spread across various Indian cities and today Apollo Hospitals is not just one of the country's premier health care providers and had also played a pioneering role in helping India become as center-of-excellence in global health care.


Madurai district houses reputed organizations in the private sector which are engaged in the production of variety of goods such as tyres, industrial rubber products, machinery, textiles, conveyor belts, chemicals etc. Madurai is a home to TVS group .


In manufacturing and automobile sector, Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE) (one among the top five tractor manufacturers in the world), Fenner (India) Ltd (Industrial and Automotive V-Belts, Oilseals and Power Transmission Accessories), Hi-Tech Arai Ltd (oil seals and automobile components), George oakes ltd, ZF Electronics TVS (India) Private Limited (Switch manufacturing, joint venture between TVS Group, India and Zf Electronics Corporation, USA), Sundaram Fasteners Ltd (manufacturer of high tensile fasteners), Firestone TVS Private Ltd(manufacturer of air spring), MADRAS SUSPENSIONS LIMITED, TVS Sewing Needles Limted, TV Sundram Iyengar & Sons Limited (distributor of Heavy Duty Commercial Vehicles, Jeeps and Cars) and Susee group (sales, service, parts, finance of automobiles across Tamil Nadu) are notable companies. All automobile majors, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda, are regular buyers of automobile components produced in the city. The state government is planning to develop industrial estate in Madurai which is to come up on 2,000 acres and would focus on the manufacturing industry, especially on automobile component manufacturers.


TVS Srichakra(tyre manufacturing), Sundaram Industries Limited (Rubber Division, Coach division) and LANXESS India Private Limited are some of the rubber based industries. Bharath Rubber India Limited (BRIL) is one of the leading producers of v-belts and fan belts and sells all over India in the brand name VEEHOLD.Because of city's proximity to rubber producing centers, it has had rubber as a traditional industry. Besides gloves, sports goods, mats and other utility products, Madurai contributes to the production of automobile components made of rubber in a big way.Rubber goods worth about Rs.1,000 crore are produced here annually. The rubber industry, industrialists feel, has a rich potential to transform Madurai economy. The anticipated growth in this industry, triggered by a boom in automobile sector, will have a cascading effect on other wings of the local economy. Despite being an industry with potential to cause pollution, the manufacturers are taking “special care” to adopt environment-friendly processes. The city is planned to have a rubber cluster soon. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries’ Association (MADITSSIA) and Rubber Park (Madurai) Limited . Some of the on-going industrial projects are BHEL ancillary units and Caparo Engineering India Pvt Ltd .


Honeywell office at Thirupparankundram

Over the recent years the IT industry has made a mark in the economy of Madurai. Software Technology Parks of India, an agency of the Government of India, has authorized several companies in Madurai to receive benefits under its national information technology development program. City houses MNCs like Honeywell Technologies India.

Due to work culture, low attrition rates and the presence of educational institutions, the city attracts IT majors like HCL, Satyam, Oracle and Sutherland Global Services. Tamil Nadu government has proposed two IT- Special Economic Zone (SEZ)s in Madurai and they have been fully occupied by various IT companies .The work on provision of infrastructure is in progress in Information Technology parks . Considering the high growth rate of Quality Human resource in and around madurai India's No.2 IT major Infosys is eyeing Madurai for its expansion and to open its development centre..The list of various software companies operating from and contributing to the revenue of Madurai can be viewed here Software companies in Madurai.


Some of the existing textile/chemical industries are Thiagarajar Mills (P) Limited (one of the largest manufacturer and exporter of 100% Indian Cotton Yarn), Kasim Textile Mills,Sundaram Textiles Limited, Madura Coats Pvt. Ltd, Paramount Mills (P) Ltd,Weaves India (P) Ltd, First Garment Manufacturing Company (India) Pvt Ltd, Vaigai Group (chemicals, edible oils, textiles, construction), Alaya Dhoties, Sarathi Dhoties and SLM International.


There are also few Granite industries like PRP Exports (one of India's largest granite processors and exporters) Madurai Arkay Rock, P.R.Granites, Duniterocks private limited (Granite gangsaw slabs) and Arkay Glenrock. There is a proposal to set up a granite industry near Melur, and a polishing factory in Madurai.


TVS Interconnect Systems Ltd is a manufacturer of low end components like electronic connectors, RF (Radio frequency) connectors, cable assemblies, Fiber optic products & other accessories for telecommunication, consumer electronics and automobile industries.


Retail industry is booming in the city. This is evident from existing super markets like Reliance Super, Spencer's Daily, A.K. Ahmad Co., and on-going malls construction like Milan-em mall, Big Bazaar and Madurai City Center. In line with the ancient architecture of the city, the business set up in the city is grouped and number of shops selling the same products can alone be seen in Madurai.East Gate is crowded with Household utensils stores like Manimaran stores, P.S.Gunasekaran Metals and Anantha. East Masi Street is fully stuffed with thousands of groceries shops, West Masi Street with Electrical and Plumbing goods, Garments and Textiles in South Masi Street, Goods Transports and Friut Godowns in North Masi Street, Electronic goods in Town Hall Road, Automobile spare parts in North Veli street and Mobile show rooms in Krishna Rayar tank street, Pharmas in Nayakkar new steet, Jewelleries in Gold bazaar street, Printing and Hotels in West Perumal Maistry Street, Books and Note Books in New Mandapam. There are separate wide streets having the retail shops for decorative articles, Bangles, Gift Articles, Gold and Ornaments, Chemicals and Pharmas etc. Madurai is the only city in India, with this kind of set up where hundreds of same shops being clustered in one road.

There are cinema halls or multiplexes for all classes of people. Apart from Tamil movies, some of Hindi and English movies also run in the city. Aparna Towers in Bye Pass Road and Kaziyar Complex in S.S.Colony form the major landmarks for the retail business outlets in madurai city. There are other shopping places like Naidu Hall (Naihaa),Pothys, Mega Mart, British bakery, Cafe Coffee day, etc.There are jewellery markets for gold, diamonds, and platinum merchants in the Jewellery Bazar and large scale sellers like Thanga mayil, Alukkas, Joy Alukkas,Bhima and Lalitha Jewellery.


City hosts several radio stations like Radio Mirchi ,Hello FM, Suryan FM and it has two major English dailies The Hindu and The New Indian Express. Tamil language morning dailies include Dina Malar, Dina Thanthi, Dina Mani and Dinakaran. The evening dailies published in Madurai are Tamil Murasu Malai Murasu and Malai Malar.Also one of the famous network in tamilnadumarker, the Sun TV Network, with SUN TV, K TV, Sun News etc., has its regional office at uththangudi, madurai. Many other channels like, Vijay TV, Raj TV, Jaya TV, SS Music etc., have their offices in Madurai for their speedy coverage of news and other programmes.


The city houses the following weekend spots:
Athisayam water theme park
The water park situated on the outskirts of Madurai (20 km from the city) attracts people of all age groups and from different places in and around Madurai. Several high-tech entertainment games offer interesting experiences to visitors. The park is scientifically designed and perfect during the summer heat.

  • Eco park:
The park situated near city corporation building where the lighting and fountain arrangements are impressive and the illuminated optic fiber trees add luster to the beauty. The most attractive thing in the park is the water show with music.

  • Hava valley:
It is located on the Natham road in the outskirts of Madurai. This place is filled with natural beauty with the hills in the backdrop. It houses a restaurant and also a go-kart track.

  • Rajaji children park:
Mariamman theppakkulam (temple tank)
It is situated in between the Gandhi museum, and the Tamukkam grounds. It has lots of children play with some hotels like Poonga Arya bhavan and some other eateries shops. Also there are some collection of birds and some Light and music play. This park is run by madurai corporation within its limits.

  • MGR Race Course Stadium:
It is an athletic stadium which has a synthetic track. Several National Meets are held here and also International Kabadi Championship was held here.

  • Arasaradi Ground:
It is the only cricket stadium in the city.

  • Theppakulam:
There is a sacred temple pool called Theppakulam belonging to Vandiyur Mariyamman temple. It has become quite a picnic spot now. There is an artificial island at the centre, made of stone. It is was built sometime around 1500 A.D.


Gateway Hotel(Taj Garden Retreat)
In the recent years, the city has seen growth in the hospitality industry. A luxury five star hotel "Heritance Madurai" is one of the top luxury hotels in India. Some of the other top rated hotels are Royal Court, Hotel GRT Regency, the Gateway Hotel (Taj Garden Retreat), Hotel Germanus, North Gate, Madurai Residency, Hotel Sangam and Hotel Fortune Pandiyan. South Indian, Punjabi, Mughalai consitituting bulk of Indian variety and also Chinese, Continental food are available in hotels/restaurants of the city. Madurai is known for its idlies which is available with variety of chutneys in almost all the restaurants. Murugan idly shop at west masi street and railway station is famous for its Idly all over Tamil Nadumarker.


Lot of festivals are celebrated by Madurai People. Some of the important festival are, Goddess MeenakshiTirukkalyanam, The Chittirai Festival, Diwali, Pongal, Thepporchavam, Car Festivel etc.

Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam & The Chittirai festival

The annual Bhramhotsavam celebrated in the month of Chittirai (Aries) is the most important one and it ties in the legends related to the Madurai temple such as the coronation of Meenakshi, the Divine marriage etc. The Chittirai festival also coincides with the annual festival at Tirumaaliruncholai. The Divine marriage involves a procession of deities from Tirupparamkunram as well, and hence during this time the entire area in and around Madurai is transformed into one of a great celebratory space.

The Chittirai festival begins on the 5th day of the bright half of the month of Chittirai. The key events fall on the 8th, 9th and the 10th days of the festival. The eighth day of the Chittirai festival witnesses the coronation of Meenakshi and procession on silver thrones, while the 9th day is the digvijaya festival. The 10th day (Chitra Purnima) marks the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar.

Legend has it that Vishnu gave his sister away in marriage to Shiva. In commemoration of this legend, an image of Vishnu is brought in procession from Tirupparamkunram to Madurai. Since Subramanya is the presiding deity of the Tirupparamkunram temple, an image of Subramanya leads the procession. Following the wedding, images of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken out in a grand procession on a palanquin and a silver elephant respectively. (It is to be noted that the Tirukkalyaanam festival is celebrated on Chitra Pournami in all Shiva temples celebrating the annual Bhramhotsavam in the month of Chittirai).

During this time, Kallazhagar from Azhagar Koyil (Tirumaaliruncholai) makes a visit to Vandiyur, near the Vaigai river, on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is believed that Kallazhagar realizes that he is too late for his sisters wedding, so refuses to cross the river and returns disappointed to Azhagar koyil.

Historically, the chittirai festival used to be celebrated in Maasi, hence the festival processions use the Maasi streets. The festival apparently was moved to the month of Chittirai in the period of the Naik kings so that the timing would synchronize with that of Azhagar Koyil.

The Ther (chariot) festival is celebrated on the 11th day of the annual festival.

The Santhanakoodu festivals

Santhanakoodu festivals are celebrated in Darghas as a rememberance of the saints in the respective darghas.Darghas in and around madurai and their Santhanakoodu festival dates.
Dargah Name of the saint Location Date of Santhanakoodu festival (Hijri calendar)
Sikandhar malai Hazrat Sulthan Sikandhar Badhusha Shaheed Razi.. Thiruparankundrammarker Rajab-15
Kanavai Hazrat Syed Ibrahim waliyullah Razi.. Melakkal Rabi' al-thani-2
Thiruvedagam Hazrat Sha Husain Parhez Razi... Sholavandanmarker Muharram-26


This festival celebrated in the month of January, on the full moon day of Tamil Month Thai. The ornamented icons of the goddess Meenakshi and her consort are taken out in a colourful procession from the Meenakshi Temple to the Huge Mariamman Teppakulam. The icons are floated in the tank on a raft decked with flowers and flickering lamps. Refere Here

Mattu pongal & The famous Alanganallur Jallikattu

Tourism and Landmarks

Madurai is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites of India. The city attracts a large number of pilgrims and tourists from within the country and abroad. About 4,100,000 tourists visited Madurai in 2007, out of which foreigners numbered 224,000.

Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple

Madurai's Meenakshi-Sundareswararmarker temple, which stands today as one of the India's greatest cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. It is also one of the greatest Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu. The labyrinthine Meenakshi Temple, celebrating the love of the Meenakshi goddess and her groom Sundareswarar(the Handsome God) is of world renown. The ancient city of Madurai was supposedly laid out in a lotus-like formation, with the temple at the center and the streets and main thoroughfares layered one after the other concentrically, outward from the center. One legend says that on the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva blessed the land and its people while divine nectar showered on the city from his matted locks. The city hence came to be known as Madhurapuri meaning The City of Divine Nectar. The legend is likely a late tale attempting to Sanskritise the otherwise-Dravidian derivative of Madurai. This is the place where Lord Natarajar performed the dance raising his right leg . (Kal maariya Aadiya natarajar). Lord shiva was very happy with the temple construction and performed a different dance. This is the temple which survived after Kannagi burnt the complete city. All of the towers are currently draped in scaffolding and opaque coverings obscuring the sculptures at least until the end of 2009.

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

This palace complex was constructed in the Indo-Saracen style by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636. It is a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.

The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. It was divided into two parts, Swarga-vilasa and Ranga-vilasa. In each of these there are royal residences, theater, shrines, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings showing Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes.

The portico known as Swarga Vilasam is an arcaded octagon wholly constructed of bricks and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder. The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent architectural mastery. The courtyard and the dancing hall are central attractions for visitors. There are 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter.Furniture and utensils used by the kings is on exhibit inside the palace. The palace is equipped to perform "Light and Sound" shows depicting the story of "Silappathikaram", in both Tamil and English languages.The palace is in Indian films such as Bombay, Iruvar, Guru and Jodi.

Kazimar Big Mosque(Periya pallivasal) and Maqbara

Kazimar Big Mosque, Madurai
This famous mosque (masjid) is located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar (Central) bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai Railway Junction. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad who came from Omanmarker during 13th century, received this land from the then Panidiya king, Koo(n) Pandiyan, and constructed the mosque which is the first Muslims' place of worship in Madurai. Madurai Maqbaramarker the dargah of famous Madurai Hazrats (Hazrat Meer Ahamad Ibrahim, Hazrat Meer Amjad Ibrahim and Hazrat Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Rahmatullahi Alaihim - Descendants of Prophet Muhammad) is also located inside the mosque premises. All of Kazi Syed Thajuddheen's descendants (Huqdars - shareholders of this mosque called as Syeds) have lived in the same locality (Kazimar street) for more than 700 years, and have managed the mosque since then. Syed Tajuddin was appointed as Kazi of the sultans, and still his descendants who live at Kazimar street, Madurai, are appointed as Kazis to the Government of Tamil Nadu. All Syeds belong to the Sunni sect of Islam, its Hanafi school. Most of the descendants of Kazi Syed Tajuddin are shadhilis (shazuli) and follow the Sufi order Fassiyatush Shadhiliya.

Gandhi Museum

The museum displays information about Mahatma Gandhi, and most importantly it showcases the original blood-stained garment of Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. The other piece of the garment is kept at the Gandhi Museum in Delhi. This museum, is one of the 5 museums in India (others in Mumbai, Barrackpore, Sabarmati and Patna) known as Gandhi Sanghralayas.Also lot of pictures taken during the Life time of Gandhi with various leaders all around the world and also during various incidents of freedom struggle is kept. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the museum during his tour of India in 1959 and is said to have got his inspiration to launch a series of peaceful agitations against racial discrimination .No entry fee for museum visitors.


Thiruparankundram is 8 km or 5 miles from the Madurai city center.Thiruparakundram temple has become a symbol of the religious harmony as of the people of Madurai.An Islamic Durgah (shrine) is located at the top of the hill, where the grave of an Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah Shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu, who came from Jeddahmarker along with Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinahmarker (now in Erwadimarker, Ramanathapuram district) during the early 13th century, is found. Irrespective of religion, people from all parts of Tamil Nadumarker and from Keralamarker visit this durgah. People who visit the Ervadi Durgah in Ramanathapuram district are supposed to visit this durgah. Many poems were written in praise of Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha, by Syed Abdussalam Ibrahim Saalim Hazrat, the third in the list of Madurai Hazrats and his Maternal grandson Syed Abdus Salaam Ibrahim Saahib Hazrat. It is seen that people who come here with a wish see it answered in a very short time, and so He is also called Mustajab ad Du'aa Sikandhar Badhushah. Mustajab Ad Du'aa in Arabic means A saint whose Supplications are immediately answered by Allah. The Anniversary urus festival of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandar badusha Shaheed is commomerated on 17th Night of the islamic Month of Rajab every Hijri year.

The traditional legend is that Lord Murugan married Deivanai at Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple, which also is the first among the Six Holy Abodes of Murugan (Arupadai Veedu, literally "Six Battle Camps").

This evocative cave temple is much older and has a more sacred atmosphere than the Meenakshi temple, particularly on Fridays, when women place candles or sit around the temple floor and create kolams or rangoli patterns on the ground using coloured powders, ash and flowers as an offering to goddess Durga.

Goripalayam Dargah

Gorippalayam Durgah on Urus.
The name Gorippalayam comes from the Persian word Gor which means Grave. This area is called as Goripalayam because the Graves of the two famous saints of Islam and rulers of Madurai Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha (Radiyallah) and Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badhusha (Radiyallah) are located here. A beautiful green coloured tomb can be seen from the A.V.Bridge madurai, which is the Gorippalayam Dargah located in the northern banks of vaigai Rivermarker. It is amazing to see that, the domb which is 70 feet in diameter and 20 feet in height is made of a single block of stone which was brought from the Azhaga Hills. People from all over Tamil Nadumarker come here to seek blessings and go back fruitfully. The two rulers were brothers who ruled the northern part of madurai after coming from omanmarker during 13th century to spread Islam. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin Radiyallah of Kazimar street was Govt. Kazi (Islamic Legal advisor and jury) to them. An ancient Tamil inscription, can be found planted on the outer campus of the Maqbara of the dargah campus. The information found in that inscription is,

"The descendants of Sulthan Alauddin Badusha, and Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha (called as Sultans of Delhimarker) purchased from the then King Koo(n) Pandiyan the land of Gorippalayam Dargah for a Feet of Gold piece and other six villages (namely Bibi Kulam, Chokkikulam, Cholikudi, Chirudoor, Kannanendal, Thiruppalai) at the rate of 14,000 Gold pieces for the maintenance of Gorippalayam Dargah. During the reign of King Veerappa nayakkar a dispute arose between the Huqdars of the Durgah and the employees of the Nayakkar Government regarding the six villages. The case was taken to King Veerappa Nayakkar, who inquired and verified the documents written by King Koo(n) Pandiyan and gave his verdict in the year 1573 A.D. as the Six villages and the Dargah land belongs to the Descendants of Sultans and it should be in their enjoyment till the existence of Sun and Moon and who violates this will be liable for the sin of slaughtering a cow in the bank of river Gangamarker."

This inscription is considered as one of the evidences to prove the existence of the Dargah since 13th century.The anniversary urus festival of this dargah is held on 15th night of the Islamic month of Rabi al-awwal on every hijri year.

Koodal Azhagar Koil

A beautiful Vishnu temple which has Navagraham also (usually Navagraham is found only in Shivan temple). There is a hayagrivar temple close to this temple where hayagrivar (Horse/"haya"griva avataram) is the main deity. Most of the students do their regular prayer here as hayagrivar is the one who brought the epic fallen into water back to the earth. This is one of the temple found in center of city. This is located 100 mtrs north to the Kazimar Big Mosque (Periya pallivasal) and to the south of Sunnambukara street. This temple is belived to be older than the Meenakshi templemarker.

Near by this temple another Siva temple is located and the temple is called the Nanmai Tharuvar temple. The legend has it that this temple was build by Shiva himself when he was the king of Madurai. Still you can find a full grandie statue of Shiva along with Meenakshi worship Linga in the Karuvari of the temple. Another notable Vishnu temple found near the Kodal Azhagar temple is the Madhana Gopalan Temple which is a temple dedicated to lord Krishna.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Church

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Madurai is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai. It is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in Indiamarker and is situated 2 km South East of Madurai Railway station and 200 meters from the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal.


State assembly

Madurai is divided into three state assembly constituencies. Madurai East, Madurai Central and Madurai West. After 2009 delimitation, Madurai North and Madurai South were created. There is a significant amount of support for left parties such as CPI and CPM, especially in Madurai East. Usually the left parties have recently allied with DMK or ADMK, that has led to CPM MLAs in Madurai. But since 1977, ADMK and DMK have dominated this area, with the exception of Tamil Maanila Congress, in 1996 and 2001, when they allied with DMK and ADMK respectively. Also Congress when they have allied with ADMK in 1984 and 1991. Madurai West is one of the constituents won by actor turned politician M.G. Ramachandran. He won it during his reelection in 1980 Tamil Nadu Assembly election.
Madurai West vote

by alliance in assembly elections
2006 43.7% 57,208 41.0% 53,741
2001 48.1% 48,465 47.4% 47,757
1996 17.7% 17,465 62.4% 61,723
1991 63.4% 59,586 34.7% 32,664
1989* 20.3% 20,871 44.3% 45,579
1984 47.9% 45,131 51.2% 48,247
1980 59.6% 57,019 37.6% 35,953
1977 43.1% 32,342 21.6% 16,211
Madurai Central

by alliance in assembly elections
2006 38.2% 35,992 45.8% 43,185
2001 46.5% 34,393 46.3% 34,246
1996 14.6% 11,841 46.7% 38,010
1991 62.3% 47,325 35.2% 26,717
1989* 13.3% 11,243 46.0% 33,484
1984 50.8% 41,272 48.0% 39,012
1980 58.1% 45,700 40.2% 31,566
1977 39.9% 29,399 19.9% 14,676

Lok Sabha

All five Madurai constituencies are part of Madurai

Tourist attractions around Madurai

Madurai acts as a tourism hub of south Tamil Nadumarker because of its strategic location. There are various tourist visiting places around Madurai.

Is located about 25 km from the city, is a Vishnu shrine. The location is surrounded by hills. The principal god of the shrine is that of Lord Kallazhagar. The Tamil new year festival called Chittirai Thiruvizha has been celebrated for centuries in this temple. In the entrance of the Azhagar Kovil one can view the Badhri Narayanan temple, built similar to Badrinath near Mount Kailash in northern India: the principal idol in this shrine represents Vishnu in a meditative posture, flanked by Nara-Narayan.

The Kallalagar is said to visit the temple on the eve of the Chittirai festival, one of the famous festivals in Tamil Nadu. He starts the journey from the Alagar Koil, crossing the Badri Narayanan Shrine. During this time, he visits Vandiyur, near the Vaigai River, on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is believed that he realizes he is too late for his sister's wedding, so refuses to cross the river, and returns disappointed to Alagar Koil. On the top of the hills, is a shrine of Lord Muruga, popularly known as Pazhamudircholai. This is the last of Murugan's Arupadai Veedu and he is seen along with his consorts, Deivanai and Valli.

Around 120 km away from Madurai is Kodaikanal, one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. It is also known as princess of Hills. Kodai is located 2,130 m above the sea level in the Western Ghats.

About 70 km from Madurai on the way to Thekkady is Vaigai Dam. The dam offers a breathtaking sight on weekends when it is illuminated.

The holy city of Rameswaram lies about 164 kilometres from the temple city of Madurai.

  • Suruli Falls
Situated amidst rich flora and fauna, Suruli Falls serve as a perfect picnic spot. They lie on the way to Thekkady, at a distance of 123 km from Madurai.

Thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki District of Kerala. Spread across 777 km², of which 360;km² is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. It lies 155 km from Madurai and is home to many animals and birds.

It lies 160 km from Madurai and is famous for its waterfalls. Popularly known as the 'Spa of the South', it is blessed with immense natural beauty.

See also


  1. Frommer's India By Pippa deBruyn, Keith Bain, Niloufer Venkatraman, Shonar Joshi

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