Madurai: The Athens of the East

Athens, Hadrian's Library

Madurai, the third largest city in Tamil Nadu, is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. Positioned on the banks of River Vaigai, this city has emerged as the 25th most populated city in the country. Madurai Sultanate, Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Carnatic kingdom, Madurai Nayaks, and the British East India Company ruled this city at different times. Madurai is an important centre for education, automobile industry, rubber industry, chemical industry, and granite industry. It has gradually emerged among the popular choices of tourist loving people. Paddy is the major crop here, which is followed by millet, pulses, oilseed, sugarcane, and cotton.

What are the nicknames of Madurai?

  1. Athens of the East
  2. City of Festivals
  3. City of four junctions
  4. Temple City
  5. Sleepless City

Madurai City

Why is Madurai considered as the Athens of the East?

Madurai symbolizes the structure of the cosmos. The ancient city which was planned on the basis of the temple and concentric rectangular streets surround the temple. It was developed in the shape of a lotus. A Greek ethnographer, Megasthenes, visited Madurai in the 3rd century BC. The tradition was followed by many others from Rome and Greece who visited this city and established business relations with the Pandya kings.

Athens City

Similar to Greek pantheon in Athens, Madurai had lofty towers of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The facility of pedestrian walkways and lanes also makes it similar to the Greek and Roman cities. The two-lane roads are mostly located on the outskirts on Madurai. In addition to the above-mentioned, all these cities are culturally rich. These are some of the key reasons behind the name – Athens of the East.

Ramalingam, from The Indian Institute of Architects, said, “We all refer to Madurai as the Athens of the East without understanding its significance. Now, about a majority of buildings have violated the heritage rule of nine metres in height.” He found Madurai a likeable, livable and lovable city.

What are the famous places to see in Madurai?

  1. Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple
  2. Aayiram Kaal Mandapam
  3. Pazhamudhir Solai
  4. Koodal Azhagar Temple
  5. Yoga Narasimhar Temple
  6. Aayiram Kaal Mandapam
  7. Gandhi Memorial Museum
  8. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

What is the best time to visit Madurai?

Blessed with an average elevation of 101 metres, the city reaches up to 40°C during the summer season and 18°C during the winter season. It gets an average annual rainfall of about 85.76 cm, from August to October. The rainy season is tempered by heavy rain and thundershowers. Madurai residents of this city experience a hot and dry climate for eight months of the year. However, March to July is considered as the hottest period of the year.

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