Madurai is an energetic, ancient city on the Vaigai River in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Vaigai, Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia. Madurai has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under the Prime Minister's Smart Cities program.
The city has a number of historical monuments, with the Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent. Its skyline is dominated by the 14 colorful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple. Covered in bright carvings of Hindu gods, the Dravidian-style temple is a major pilgrimage site. Millions attend the processions and ceremonies of April's Chithirai Festival celebrating Meenakshi and Lord Vishnu.
Madurai is an important industrial and educational hub in South Tamil Nadu. The city is home to various automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing industries. It has developed as a second-tier city for information technology (IT), and some software companies have opened offices in Madurai.
Madurai has important government educational institutes like the Madurai Medical College, Homeopathic Medical College, Madurai Law College, Agricultural College and Research Institute. Madurai city is administered by a municipal corporation established in 1971 as per the Municipal Corporation Act
Madurai Junction is the major railway station serving the city. It is an important railway junction in southern Tamil Nadu and is one of the top 100 booking stations in Indian Railways. It is the headquarters of the Madurai division of the Southern Railway. There are direct trains from connecting Madurai with major cities and towns across India.
The state government announced a Mono rail project for Madurai in 2011, which is in planning stages. There are ten other sub urban railway stations serving the city.
Madurai Airport was established in 1957 and is located at Avaniyapuram, about 12 kilometres from the city. The airport was declared a customs airport in 2012 allowing limited number of international flights. It offers domestic flights to some cities in India and international services to Colombo, Dubai and Singapore.