|An ancient city, more than
2,500 years old, Madurai is believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kind Kulasekara.
Legend has it that drops of Maduram (nectar) fell from Lord Shiva's locks when he cam to
bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Madurai's history can be divided into
roughly four periods, beginning over 2000 years ago when it was the capital of the Pandyan
Kings. Apart from a brief period when it fell to the cholas, Madurai
remain. ed with the
pandyas until the decline of the empire. The 2000 year old reign of the Nayaks marked the
golden era where art, architecture and learning scaled new heights.
The next major rulers of Madurai were
the Vijayanagara kings who won over the territory in 1371. They appointed the Nayaks as
governors who, in time, became powerful in their own right. The 200 - year old reign of
the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning, scaled
new heights. In fact, the most beautiful buildings in the city including its most famous
landmark, the Meenakshi temple, are Nayak contributions.
But unlike the other temple cities of
Tamil Nadu whose fame relies heavily on the fabulous contributions of great empires,
Madurai, though undoubtedly known first and foremost for the Meenakshi temple, is very
much modern and progressive city