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About Madurai

Madurai

City
Montage image indicating Periyar Bus stand, Teppakulam, Madurai corporation, River Vaigai Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Meenakshi Amman Temple and city of Madurai, clockwise from top.
Periyar Bus stand, Teppakulam Mariyamman tank, Madurai Corporation, River Vaigai, Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai city,
Madurai is located in Tamil Nadu

 

 

 

 

Economy

Engine inside an industry
2500 HP engine at Harvey Mills in the then Madura city, circa 1914
Six floored glossy building
Office building of Honeywell Technology Solution Lab at Thirupparankundram

Madurai was traditionally an agrarian society, with rice paddies as the main crop. Cotton crop cultivation in the regions with black soil in Madurai district was introduced during the Nayaka rule during the 16th century to increase the revenue from agriculture. The paddy fields cultivated in the Vaigai delta across Madurai North, Melur, Nilakottai and Uthamapalayam are known as "double-crop paddy belts". Farmers in the district supplement their income with subsidiary occupations like dairy farming, poultry-farming, pottery, brick making, mat-weaving and carpentry. Madurai is famed for its jasmine plantations, called "Madurai Malli", primarily carried out at the foothills of Kodaikanal hills and traded at the Madurai morning flower market. An average of 2,000 farmers sell flowers daily at the flower market. With the advent of Small Scale Industries (SSI) after 1991, the industrialisation of Madurai increased employment in the sector across the district from 63,271 in 1992–93 to 166,121 persons in 2001–02.

Madurai is one of the few rubber growing areas in South India, and there are rubber-based industries in Madurai. Gloves, sporting goods, mats, other utility products and automobile rubber components are the most produced items by these industries. TVS Srichakra (tyre manufacturing), Sundaram Industries (Rubber Division, Coach division), Fenner India, Hi-Tech Arai Ltd and Lanxess India are some of the rubber-based industries in the city. Automobile producers like General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda are the major consumers of components produced in the city. The city is home to one of the top motorcycle manufacturers in India, the TVS Group. There are numerous textile, granite and chemical industries operating in Madurai.

Madurai is promoted as a second-tier city for IT and some software companies like Honeywell Technology Solutions have opened their offices in Madurai. Software Technology Parks of India, an agency of the Government of India, has authorised several such companies to receive benefits under its national information technology development program. The state government proposed two IT-based Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Madurai, and these have been fully occupied by various IT companies.

 

 

 

Religious sites

Meenakshi Amman Temple North Tower - Street

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the south side of river Vaigai in Madurai, and is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city. The complex houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high. There are also two golden sculptured vimana (shrines) over the sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure was built during 1623 to 1655 CE. The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, which grows to around 25,000 on Fridays. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple, and it was in the list of top 30 nominees for the "New Seven Wonders of the World".

Koodal Azhagar Temple is a Vishnu temple located in the city. It has idols of Navagraham (nine planet deities), which are otherwise found only in Shiva temples. Alagar Koyil is a celebrated Vishnu temple 21 km northeast of Madurai situated on the foothills of Solaimalai. The deity, Azhagar, is believed to be the brother of Meenakshi, the presiding deity at the Meenakshi temple. The festival calendars of these two temples overlap during the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival. Pazhamudircholai, one of the other six abodes of the Hindu god Murugan, is located atop the Solaimalai hill.

 

 

Mosque building with two minarets
 
Kazimar Big Mosque, the first Muslim place of worship in the city

Kazimar Big Mosque is the oldest Muslim place of worship in the city. It was constructed under the supervision of Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who is said to be a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He came from Oman and received the piece of land as a gift from the Pandya ruler, Kulasekara Pandiyan, during the 13th century. This is claimed to be the oldest Islamic monument in Madurai. The Kazis to the town are appointed by the government of Tamil Nadu from among the descendants of Syed Tajuddin. The dargah of Madurai Hazrats, called Madurai Maqbara, is located inside the mosque.

Thiruparankundram is a hill 8 km away from Madurai, where the Hindu god Murugan is said to have married Deivanai. The temple is the first among the six holy abodes of Murugan, the Aarupadai Veedu, literally "Six Battle Houses", and one of the most visited tourist spots in Madurai, next only to the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The temple has a wide range of Hindu gods carved on the walls. A dargah is located at the top of the Tiruparankundam hill, where the cemetery of a Muslim, Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah Shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu, is located. He came fromJeddah along with Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinah during the early 13th century.

Goripalayam Mosque is located in Gorippalayam, the name of which is derived from the Persian word gor, meanings grave. The graves of Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badhusha, Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddeen Badhusha and Hazrat Sulthan Habibuddin (Ghaibuddin) Badhusha are found here.

St. Mary’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Madurai.

 

 

 

Culture, tourism and entertainment

Pillared halls of a historic building.
Pillared halls of Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, built during 1636 CE and a national monument\

Madurai is popularly called Thoonga Nagaram meaning the city that never sleeps, on account of the active night life.The city attracts a large number of tourists from within the country and abroad. About 9,100,000 tourists visited Madurai in 2010, including 524,000 foreigners. Madurai is now attracting medical tourism also. The palace complex of Thirumalai Nayak Palace was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636 CE. It is a national monument maintained by the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department. The daily sound and light show organised by the department explains the virtues of King Thirumalai and the features of the palace. The palace of Rani Mangamma has been renovated to house one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai) in the country. It includes apart of the blood-stained garment worn by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. A visit by Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. to the museum inspired him to lead peaceful protests against discrimination. The Eco park, situated in Tallakulam, features fountains and lighting in trees using optical fibres. Rajaji children's park, maintained by the Madurai Municipal Corporation, is situated between the Gandhi museum and the Tamukkam grounds. It has a visitor average of 5000 per day during holidays and 2000–3000 on working days. Madurai also has Theme Park, Athisayam which is situated in Paravai, Madurai – Dindugal main road.  MGR Race Course Stadium is an athletic stadium which has a synthetic track and a swimming pool. Several national meets are held here. It also hosts several international and national level kabbadi championships.

 

 

Three storied building
 
Gandhi Memorial Museum, one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas in India

The people of Madurai celebrate numerous festivals, including Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam, the Chittirai Festival and the Car Festival. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, also called Chittirai festival, is celebrated during April–May every year and attracts one million visitors. Legend has it that the Hindu god Vishnu, as Alagar, rode on a golden horse to Madurai to attend the celestial wedding of Meenakshi (Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Shiva). During the Cradle festival, the festive idols of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken in procession to a mirror chamber and set on a rocking swing for nine days. Avanimoolam festival is celebrated during September when the 64 sacred games of Shiva, thiruvilayadal, are recited. The Thepporchavam festival, or float festival, is celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month Thai, which falls around January – February, to celebrate the birth anniversary of King Thirumalai Nayak. The decorated icons of Meenakshi and her consort are taken out in a procession from the Meenakshi Temple to the Mariamman Teppakulam. The icons are floated in the tank on a raft decked with flowers and flickering lamps.Jallikattu is one of the most popular historical sport in Tamil Nadu, and is a part of the Pongal festival (harvest festival) celebrated during January. The bull taming event is held in the villages surrounding Madurai, and people from the neighbouring villages throng to the open grounds to watch man and bull pitting their strength against each other. Santhanakoodu festivals in Madurai are celebrated on various days during the Islamic calendar year to commemorate Islamic saints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madurai


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