History of district:
Madurai is a major city and cultural headquarters in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and the 31st largest urban agglomeration in India. Madurai is the second largest city by area and third largest city by population in Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Vaigai, Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Madurai is closely associated with the Tamil language, and the third Tamil Sangam, a major congregation of Tamil scholars, is said to have been held in the city. The recorded history of the city goes back to the 3rd century BCE, being mentioned by Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to India, and Kautilya, a minister of the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Signs of human settlements and Roman trade links dating back to 300BC are evident from excavations by Archeological Survey of India in Manalur. The city is believed to be of significant antiquity and has been ruled, at different times, by the Pandyas, Cholas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Carnatic kingdom, and the British.
The city has a number of historical monuments, with the Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent. Madurai is an important industrial and educational hub in South Tamil Nadu. The city is home to various automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing industries. It has developed as a second-tier city for information technology (IT), and some software companies have opened offices in Madurai. The Tamil Nadu government has planned a satellite town for Madurai near Thoppur.
Madurai has important government educational institutes like the Madurai Medical College, Homeopathic Medical College, Madurai Law College, Agricultural College and Research Institute. Madurai city is administered by a municipal corporation established in 1971 as per the Municipal Corporation Act. Madurai is the second corporation in Tamil Nadu next to Chennai corporation. The city covers an area of 242.97 km2 and had a population of 1,017,865 in 2011. The city is also the seat of a bench of the Madras High Court, one of only a few courts outside the state capitals of India.
Main occupation of the district:
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 industrialization 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.
Road: The National Highways NH 7, NH 45B, NH 208 and NH 49 pass through Madurai. The state highways passing through the city are SH-33, SH-72, SH-72A, SH-73 and SH-73A which connect various parts of Madurai district. Madurai is one of the seven circles of the Tamil Nadu State Highway network. Madurai is the headquarters of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Madurai) and provides local and inter-city bus transport across the districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Sivagangai, Theni, Virudhunagar. Madurai has three bus terminals, namely, Mattuthavani Bus Terminus (MIBT) and Arappalayam (for inter city buses) and Periyar Bus stand (for intra city buses). There are 12,754 registered three-wheeled vehicles called auto rickshaws, which are commercially available for renting within the city. In addition to the government operated city buses, there are 236 registered private mini-buses that support local transportation.
Rail: Madurai Junction is the major railway station serving the city. It is an important railway junction in southern Tamil Nadu and is one of the top 100 booking stations in Indian Railways. It is the headquarters of the Madurai division of the Southern Railway. There are direct trains from connecting Madurai with major cities and towns across India. The state government announced a Mono rail project for Madurai in 2011, which is in planning stages. There are ten other sub urban railway stations serving the city.
Air: Madurai airfield was first used by the Royal Air Force in World War II in 1942. The first passenger flight was a Fokker Friendship aircraft from Madras in 1956. Madurai Airport was established in 1957 and is located 12 kilometers from the city. The airport was declared a customs airport in 2012 allowing limited number of international flights. It offers domestic flight services to some cities in India and international services to Colombo and Dubai. It is the fourth busiest airport in the state of Tamil Nadu after Chennai, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli. The carriers operating from the airport are Air India, Jet Airways, Mihin Lanka, and SpiceJet. The airport handled 687,221 passengers between April 2014 and March 2015. The airport was identified as one of 35 non-metro airports for modernization and a new integrated terminal building was inaugurated on 12 September 2010.
- Madurai Meenakshiamman temple
- Thiruvathavur Thirumarainathar Temple and Birth place of Manicka Vasakar
- Thirumohoor Kalamegaperumal Temple
- Alagar Koyil
- Theppakulam, Vandiyur
- Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple
- Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
- 1000 kal Mandapam
- Kazimar Periya Pallivasal
- Gandhi Museum
- Eco park
- Kuruvithurai Vallaba Perumal Temple
- Vaigai Dam
- Anaipatti Anjaneyar Temple
- Suruli falls
- Kutladampatti falls