Madurai is a large city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and the administrative headquarters of Madurai district. According to the 2011 census, it was the third largest urban agglomeration in Tamil Nadu, after Chennai and Coimbatore, and the 33rd most populous city in India. Situated on the banks of the Vaigai River, Madurai has been an important settlement for two millennia and has a documented history of over 2,500 years. It is often called "Thoonga Nagaram", which means "the city that never sleeps".
Madurai is closely associated with the Tamil language. The third Tamil Sangam, an important gathering of Tamil scholars, is said to have been held in the city. The recorded history of the city dates back to the 3rd century BC. C. and is mentioned by Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to the Mauryan Empire, and Kautilya, minister of the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Signs of human settlement and Roman trade links dating back to 300 BC. C. are evident in excavations carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India in Manalur. The city is believed to be of considerable antiquity and was ruled at various times by the Pandyas, Cholas, the Madurai Sultanate, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Madurai Nayaks, the Carnatic Kingdom and the British East India Company, the British Raj.
The city has several historical monuments, the most notable being Koodal Azhagar Temple, Meenakshi Temple and Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. Madurai is a major industrial and educational center in southern Tamil Nadu. The city is home to several automobile, rubber, chemical and granite production industries.

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