Textiles contribute significantly to the local economy of Maduarai. Madurai has been a textile center since ages. The streets and lanes are lines with shops and tailors offering readymade as well as fabric material manufactured in Madurai. The Puthu Mandapam, an old pillared hall along the entrance to Meenakshi temple is popular among the visitors and locals for the cotton fabric and the Batiks. You get good quality at less than half the price in the big shops, believe me ! The shops in the narrow Ezukadal Theru have to be seen to be believed. Madurai is famous for "Sungadi", a fine-count, zari-bordered, fabric painted cotton saree. It was originally hand made, but now the dots are printed. Sourashtra community was specialising in that. But now the next generations have not continued that business, since education has tempted them to move to greener pastures other than that. The lovely Sungundi Sarees are in great demand among Indian women. These are handloom sarees of excellent quality. Now printed Sungadi sarees, manufactured there, still continue to be a speciality of Madurai. They are available in small shops situated in the Devangar Choultry. The two famous shops are Alankar Textiles, South Avani Moola St. and Ranee Sarees . Sellur is situated on the left side of “Keezh Palam”, across Vaigai river. Here, towels of various textures, sizes and colours are manufactured. This locality is full of weavers. Very good varieties of dhothies, bed sheets, pillow covers besides sarees are woven here. You get beautiful gift packs of towels in Saraswathi Textiles which is a big shop there. Yet another one is S.R.Thiagavathy Textiles. Janata Stores specializes in turkey towels. A.P. Sarathi textiles is very good for silk and cotton textiles. The famous Kibs and Sangu mark lungis for men are also manufactured in Madurai. They are 100% cottonwear and made using the highest quality cotton yarn. The name of Chinnalapatti sarees is synonymous with Madurai. Chinnalapatti a famous historical village 12 km from Dindigul, is well-known for it's rich and traditional cotton sarees. Sarees Produced in Chinnalapatti are famous through out India. More than 1000 families are engaged in this Industry. This saree is world famous for its design and workmanship. They are exported to various countries. Chinnalapatti had only been weaving cotton sarees for the past 100 years. Now they produce sungudi sarees with zari borders in various designs and art-silk sarees. Sungudi industry provides livelihood for nearly 50,000 people in chinnalapatti. Recently "AUTOGRAPH", a movie by director CHERAN was taken here, which made chinnalapatti more popular. Madura Coats is a large textile company in Madurai, manufacturing industrial textile, cotton and blended yarn. Madura Garments spin out all leading menswear Loius Phillipe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Peter England and Byford. Krishnapuram Society, Thiagarajar mills dhothies, Manickam Chettiar dhothies are also very famous. Romance with the traditional and the conventional is very strong in Madurai. The supremely famous cotton chungadi saris of Madurai do lend an individualistic stamp and are available just all over the city, their authenticity not being in doubt. But there is no market for western wear, as much as in metro cities. The dearth of office going women seeking formal attires, the low-budget clothing for families, the absence of partying culture are the basic reasons for locals' love for the routine or ordinary apparels. The girls shifting from pavadai-davani to salwar/churidar sets is a big change in Madurai ! The society of Madurai is conservative and low on materialism. The ultimate garment which can make a strong fashion statement here in the abode of Goddess Meenakshi is the unique, unstitched, ubiquitious sari in lustrous silk or crisp cotton. For men, the bordered veshti (like lungi) worn with a shirt remain clothes of permanent and universal appeal and emotion. There is no denying it ! One can still see young girls in traditional attire of pavadai-davani. The people in Madurai lead a simple lifestyle and remain untouched by the lethal combination of labels and lavishness. That is my dear traditional Madurai ! Love, Chithra.