is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history
dating all the way back to the Sangam period of
the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned
in a diminished form in the earlier part of this
millennium; it later on came under the rule of
the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the
ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During
the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled
by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was
Tirumalai Nayakar. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar
is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal
episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as
a part of temple festival traditions even today.
monuments and ancient cultural wonders abound
in Madurai. It is even called ‘The Athens
of the East’. Madurai’s Meenakshi
Sundareswarar Temple is one of the greatest architectural
marvels of India. Built by Pandya King 'Kulasekara'
and reconstructed later by Ruler Thirumalai Nayak,
the temple has patronized literature, art, music
and dance ever since its inception. The entire
city is built around the Meenakshi Amman temple.
Madurai Meenakshi temple attracts six thousand
visitors a day and gets an annual revenue of rupees
sixty million. It attained 26th place in the list
of top nominees for the new Seven Wonders of the
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