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Temples, Trains and Tandoori

Madurai Travel Blog

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madurai street

Although we were all charmed by the easy life in Mammallapurum, we had to get up early to get an 8 hour train to Madurai.  This would be our first train experience, and it was interesting.  We had a lot of young locals coming up to chat, starting with a group of 18 year old university student girls, who asked all about england.  I gave them my photos to look at of family and friends and they were really interested to see the western stlye of living on them.  One girl asked to keep my gradutation photo so I said yes.  The train was good because we could meet people and look at the beautiful tropical scenery.  I saw a lot of rural areas miles away fm anything - with farming the main form of sustenance by the looks of it.

  A lot of weomen and children working on the fields.  It was also interesting when the train stopped at 5 so the muslim men could get out and start praying. 

We tried a few specialities on the train - they brought around fried jalapenos and friend potato circles with a tomto style sauce.  It all got a bit dull towards the end, and we were keen to get off at Madurai.  It was only a short waslk to the hotel - but already we could see that this was a bigger city than the fishing village, but clearly a lot smaller than Chennai.  The rooms were not ready yet so we got ready in one room and went out into the tropical storm to the amazing Temple of Meenakshi.  We took our shoes off and waded through the growing puddles around the outer ring of the temple complex - which is huge.

Madurai at night
  This is one of the main Hindu temples - one of three all Hindus try to visit in their lifetime.  And it was amazing.  I felt entirely humbled to be in such a place - where everyone was so passionate about their prayer.  Women would throw themselves in front of the gods which they recognised in their lives (Hindus have one
Godly energy whose power is subdivided into niches of life which are represented by a certain God).  Each God would have candles and a colured powder to touch on the forehead to be blessed by that God. 

It was already night when we were walking around the temple and the thunder storm and lightening was a fantastic back drop for the huge stone pillars of the temple to be lit up with.  I havent timeto put the pictures up yet - but they are coming soon.

My blessing in the temple the morning of the 5th. The powder is turmeric and some kind of acid i think! Different colours represent different energies. There is also yellow and white.
 

I was so impressed by the temple that me and three others from the group got up at 5am to see the ceremony which takes Shiva - once of the three main Gods of Hinduism - from the chamber of his wife - Meenakshi - who the temple is dedicated to - where they have been together all night.  This is a dedicated ceremony carried out every day, and the intensity of the instruments making the sounds and the fervor the people were experiencing was like nothing I have ever seen before.  There weren't too many people, but they were all so in touch with their Gods.  We sat watching the sun rise at the temple - and were treated to the resident 10 year old elephant being brought to the inside of the temple, as well as the most regal cow I ever saw, all decorated in holy wear and blessed with yellow powder.  Pictures coming.  We even saw a monkey hanging on the temple scratching his arse as we left. 

 

I have to go to the hotel now - overnight train leaves soon - but will finish this and hopefully get the photos on after two failed attempts - asap!

 

xxx

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madurai street
madurai street
Madurai at night
Madurai at night
My blessing in the temple the morn…
My blessing in the temple the mor…
One of the towers around the templ…
One of the towers around the temp…
This elephant was just being walke…
This elephant was just being walk…
The most regal cow I have ever see…
The most regal cow I have ever se…
A Madurai street
A Madurai street
Me outside the temple ion the thun…
Me outside the temple ion the thu…
A shrine in the temple
A shrine in the temple
Swimming through the small ponds f…
Swimming through the small ponds …
So this is why there are so many c…
So this is why there are so many …
at the Meenakshi Temple - morning …
at the Meenakshi Temple - morning…
Madurai
photo by: Stevie_Wes