One of the most developing commercial cities of the country, Madurai is also known as Thoonga Nagaram which literally means 'The city which never sleeps'. There are a number of legends behind the naming of this city. Some say that once Lord Indra worshipped Lord Shiva here under a Kadamba tree and the abundance of this species of trees is due to the blessings of the Lord Shiva. The city was thus known as Ambabhavana. Another legend says that once Lord Shive appeared in the dreams of King Kulasekara and from the knots of the Shiva's long hair dripped sweet drops of honey on this part of the land and thus the name was given as Madhurapuri, later converted to Madurai. This city is also the land of great poets, critics, artists and musicians apart from having a rich history of kings, their conquests and culture. This city was also known as the 'Athens of the East' as Megasthenes had once visited this place and loved it. The main attraction here is no doubt the Meenakshi Amman Temple which recieves devotees in the rates of thousands every week. The other specialties of Madurai are the Chungudi cotton sarees, dying motifs, handicrafts and wooden toys.
Cholamandal Artists' Village
As soon as I entered the place, I was mesmerised by the bohemian vibes of the place. Cholamandal Artists' Village is the "largest artists' commune in India." The artists of this village are credited to bring the Madras Movement of Art almost entirely on their own. It was nice to know that the place I was marvelling the paintings at was so significant and yet there was hardly any soul in sight.