RAJASTHAN TOURISM Places
Madurai, probably over 2500 years old, is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu.
Its origin and name emerge from a misty and lovely
legend. In a forest
near a lotus pond, Indra, King of Gods, Worshipped Lord Siva as a Swayambu
At this hallowed spot, the Pandyan monarch Kulasekhara built a great
temple and clearing the forest, he created a lotus- shaped city around
the temple. On the day the city was to be named, Lord Siva appeared
at the ceremony. As he blessed the land and its people, divine nectar
(Mathuram) was showered on the city from his matted locks.
The city was henceforth known as Madhurapuri. Madhurapuri grew and prospered
to become the capital of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is referred to in the
Ramayana and Kautily's Arthashastra. Megasthenes (302 BC), pliny (77AD)
and Ptolemy (140 AD) wrote of "Madura, the kingdom of the Pandian".
Macro polo visited Madurai in 1293 AD and lbn Batuta in 1333 AD. Madurai
lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. The temple and the old city are
on the southern bank, while modern Madurai with its textile mills, engineering
industries and large university sprawls around.