The massive white columns of Nayakar Mahal Palace tower above the central courtyard, where black folding chairs are set up for a performance.

24 hours in Madurai

Madurai is a bustling beehive of a 2500-year-old city. The River Vaigai flows through the centre of the city and pulses, millet, oil seeds, cotton and sugarcane grow on the fertile plains surrounding the area. Automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing are the key industries. Lying within 10 degrees of the equator, it’s also famed for …