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About Madurai

Madurai is a city in south-central Tamil Nadu state, southern India, situated on the Vaigai River, about 48 kilometers southeast of Dindigul. It is the third most populous city in the state and likely the oldest.

The region's ancient history is linked to the Pandya kings, and Madurai served as the Pandya capital from the 4th to the 11th century CE. Over time, it was conquered by Chola, Vijayanagar, Muslim, Maratha, and British rulers. In the 1940s, it gained prominence as the center of the civil disobedience movement against British rule and continued to be an important seat of political leadership.

The compact old part of the city, enclosed by the Anai, Naga, and Pasu hills, centers around the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The temple, Tirumala Nayak palace, Teppakulam tank, and a 1,000-pillared hall were rebuilt in the Vijayanagar period (16th–17th century) after the city's destruction in 1310. The British removed the city walls in 1837 to facilitate expansion, establishing administrative and residential quarters north of the river.

Madurai serves as a major transportation hub for southern India, with road and rail lines radiating from the city. An airport, just south of the city, provides domestic and international passenger and freight services. Suburban areas have seen the development of large-scale industries, including cotton spinning and weaving, transport equipment manufacturing, tobacco, and sugar production. The city remains known for small-scale hand-loom weaving of silks and cotton.

In the early years CE, Madurai was renowned for its Tamil Sangam (literary society), with a new Sangam established in 1901. The city is home to Madurai Kamaraj University (founded in 1966) and medical and law colleges. Additionally, Madurai has a bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai.

The region surrounding Madurai lies southeast of the Eastern Ghats, featuring mountain spurs such as the Palni and Sirumalai hills (north), the Cardamom Hills (west), and the Varushanad and Andipatti hills (south). The high Kambam Valley lies between the hills in the west. To the east, the plains drop to 90 meters above sea level, containing isolated hills. The Vaigai River flows northeast through the Kambam Valley and then east across the center of the state.

Madurai International Airport serves Madurai and its surrounding districts in Tamil Nadu, India. Situated approximately 12 km south of the city center near State Highway 37, the airport was established in 1957.

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