Madurai is known as 'Athens of the East', it is the second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai in Tamil Nadu state. The city is believed to be more than 2500 years old. The city is famous for the Meenakshi Temple with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures. Of its 12 gopurams, four of the tallest stand at the outer walls of the temple. The 48 metres high southern gopuram is the most spectacular and have over 1500 sculptures. In the Ashata Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple, the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of the Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva. Other important attractions include Thirumalai Naicker Palace, Mariamman tank, Koodal Azhagar Temple and the Gandhi Museum.
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