Madurai’s history dates back to the Tamil sangam era two millennia ago with commerce, sea faring, art and literature. It flourished under the Pandya kings and later under the Nayaks. It reached new heights in art and architecture. Sri Meenakshi Temple, Azhagar Koil and Thiruparankundram attract pilgrims in lakhs.
Once upon a time, the city was a strong centre for handlooms, silk weaving, pottery and leather. In due course it became a strong centre for textiles. In the 20th century, the city emerged as a strong industrial centre. A & F Harvey Mills, Madura Coats, Sundaram Textiles and Thiagarajar Mills laid a strong base for industry.
There are three major industrial estates in Madurai: at K. Pudur, Kappalur and Urranganpatti. A functional electrical and electronic industrial estate has been established at Kappalur.
Madurai = TVS
Madurai became synonymous with TVS after T V Sundaram Iyengar pioneered road transport in the region in 1911. TVS evolved into a mighty conglomerate built on the three base units namely, T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons, Southern Roadways and Sundaram Industries. TVS earned a reputation for the quality of its bus services. The evolution of the family in the transport sector is breath-taking: dealing in vehicles and spare parts, tyre retreading, bus body building, rubber products, seating systems, fuel injection equipment, auto electricals, production of a vast range of sophisticated auto components and exporting these in large volumes. Then came the production of three-wheeler and two-wheeler tyres. The family diversified into insurance, vehicle finance, logistics, information technology, financial services, healthcare, education and vocational training.
The evolution has been so rational and so massive!
The region houses TVS Tyres, that accounts for the largest share of two-wheeler and off-the-road tyres; TAFE famous for its high quality tractors and other farm implements; and Fenner India, leader in V belts. Of course Sundaram Fasteners is a flourishing large industrial enterprise here. The city has good infrastructure with a strong road network, rail connectivity and an international airport. The proximity to Tuticorin Port with four-lane road connectivity is another big advantage.
The game changer
The massive Madurai-Tuticorin Industrial Corridor project promises development of the entire stretch. SIPCOT proposes to setup an industrial park in the corridor.
The government believes that this Corridor would attract Rs 190,000 crore of industrial investments over the next 10 years. The state government recently launched a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for its quick implementation. The upcoming new railway line from Madurai to Tuticorin via Aruppukottai and Ettayapuram would serve as the backbone for the development of this corridor.
Like Chennai and Coimbatore, Madurai is a well-known educational hub. American College (1881), Madura College (1889), Thiagarajar College (1948) and Fatima College (1952) are some of the premiere institutions of the city. The Madurai Kamaraj University has earned a reputation especially for its work in bio-technology.
The city is the most preferred destination for tourists. Nine million domestic tourists and half a million foreign tourists throng Madurai annually. Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tirumalai Nayakar Mahal and Gandhi Museum are some of the most seen attractions of the city. Meenakshi Amman Temple receives 15,000 visitors per day and it is in the top-30 list of the New Seven Wonders of the world. Madurai serves as a transit place for religious tours to southern towns like Palani, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari and places in southern Kerala. Proximity to the hill station of Kodaikanal is another of its attractions.