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. 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.The city has a number of historical monuments, with the Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent. Madurai has important government educational institutes like the Madurai Medical College, Homeopathic Medical College, Madurai Law College, Agricultural College and Research Institute.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.The city is referred by various names like "Madurai", "Koodal", "Malligai Maanagar", "Naanmadakoodal" and "Thirualavai". The word Madurai is derived from Madhura (sweetness) arising out of the divine nectar showered on the city by the Hindu god Shiva from his matted hair.
Madurai is popularly called Thoonga Nagaram meaning the city that never sleeps, on account of the active night life.The city attracts a large number of tourists from within the country and abroad.Madurai is now attracting medical tourism also. The palace complex of Thirumalai Nayak Palace was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636 CE. It is a national monument maintained by the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.The daily sound and light show organised by the department explains the virtues of King Thirumalai and the features of the palace. The palace of Rani Mangamma has been renovated to house one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai) in the country. It includes apart of the blood-stained garment worn by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.The people of Madurai celebrate numerous festivals, including Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam, the Chittirai Festival and the Car Festivals.The main attraction of the Madurai is Meenakshi Amman Temple . It is dedicated to Parvathi, known as Meenakshi.