MADURAI, THE ATHENS OF THE EAST.
Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with a recorded history from 3rd century BC.Megasthenes visited Madurai during 3rd century BC, with the city referred as "Methora" in his accounts. The view is contested by some scholars as they believe "Methora" refers to the north Indian city of Mathura as it was a large and established city in the Mauryan Empire. The city is also mentioned in Kautilya's (370–283 BC) Arthashastra. Madurai finds mention in the works of Roman historians Pliny the Younger (61 – ca. 112 CE), Ptolemy (ca. 90 – ca. CE 168), those of the Greek geographerStrabo(64/63 BCE – ca. 24 CE). and also in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea After the Sangam age, most of present day Tamil Nadu, including Madurai, came under the rule of the Kalabhras dynasty, who were ousted by the Pandyas around 590 CE. The Pandyas were outsted from Madurai by the Chola dynasty during the early 9th century. The city remained under control of the Cholas until the early 13th century, when the second Pandyan empire was established with Madurai as its capital. After the death of Kulasekara Pandian (1268–1308 CE), Madurai came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate., The Madurai Sultanate, then seceded from Delhi functioned as an independent kingdom till its gradual annexation by the Vijayanagar Empire in 1378 CE. Madurai became independent from Vijayanagar in 1559 CE under the Nayaks. Nayak rule ended in 1736 CE and Madurai was repeatedly captured several times byChanda Sahib (1740 – 1754 CE), ArcotNawab and Muhammed Yusuf Khan (1725 – 1764 CE) in the middle of 18th century. In 1801, Madurai came under the direct control of the British East India Company and was annexed to the Madras Presidency. The British government made donations to the Meenakshi temple and participated in the Hindu festivals during the early part of their rule. The city was...
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