Madurai is known as the soul of Tamil Nadu. Literally meaning, the "city of nectar", Madurai is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu. This city has a rich heritage, culture and historical background. The former capital of the mighty Pandyan Kingdom, located on the bank of Vaigai River is one of the must-visit places in South India.
Madurai has reference in the great epics like Ramayana, Kautilyas and Arthasastra. Megasthanes visited Madurai in the early 320BC. The travel historians like Pliny (77 AD) and Ptolemy (140AD) have mentioned about Madurai in their travelogues. Marco Polo visited Madurai in 1293 AD followed by Ibn Batuta in 1333 AD. Many traders from Rome and Greece later visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings. According to Hindi Mythology, in this holy city Lord Shiva himself performed 64 wonders called "Thiruvilaiyadals" here many centuries ago. Till date, Maduari is the centre of culture, heritage and spirituality in Tamil Nadu.
The most important place to visit in Madurai is the famous Meenakshi Temple. The 17th century temple is known among best architectures in India. The elaborate the Dravidian architecture, the four tall gopurams (pillars), thousand carvings of multi-colored Gods, Goddesses, demons and deities. The 1000 pillared hall has stone figures engraved on it, some of which sounds like metal when it hits a thing. Other places of interests include the Tirumalai Nayaka Temple and the Temple Art Museum. Thirumalai Nayak Palace is an architectural marvel of Indo-Saracenic style, one of the grandest in South India.
The historic city of Madurai is also one of the producers of the finest textiles in India and also best harvests of jasmine flowers. The streets and lanes are full of shops and tailors offering marvellous creations of the fabric, the best being the elegant silk sarees. Collectors are also delighted to have the Brass lamps. Festivals in Madurai are colourful celebrations. The delight of the city is also its savory cuisine.