The present day city of Madurai is said to have been known as Kadambavanam, a forest. Lord Indra was worshipping Swayambhu, the Lingam in the forest which was noticed by Dhananjaya, a farmer. The Lingam was under the Kadamba tree. The reported about what he saw in Kadambavanam to King Kulasekara Pandiya.
Thus the kind ordered to clear the forest in the place and to build a temple around the Lingam. With the temple as the center, a city was soon planned and developed. When the city was created it is said that a drop of honey fell on the town from the hair of Lord Shiva who appeared.
Thus the city was named as Mathuram, meaning sweetness in Tamil, which is now changed to Madurai.
Lord Shiva has performed about sixty-four wonders called "Thiruvilaiyadals" in the city of Madurai and thus Madurai occupies a very important place in the history. Megasthanes visited Madurai in the 3rd century BC and the place is said to be visited by many people from Rome and Greece and they were involved in the trade with the Pandiya Kings who were ruling over the place in those days.