Southern India – 4

I’m now one day behind as we were very late back last night so I didn’t have the time nor inclination to blog then. So what have we been up to?

In the morning we enjoyed an unhurried breakfast for a change and Bala collected us from the hotel; as this is his home town he was going to help us out this morning with the things we wanted to do. Getting into town on a Saturday was fun as, it is in any city in India and because where we wanted to be is now a car free zone we first had to park the car and then complete the jouorney by Tuk-Tuk but that’s fine by us.

Madurai is known for the amazing Meenakshi Temple and its buildings. In the Hindu faith this is unusually a temple dedicated to a female deity, in this case Meenakshi who is another incarnation of Parvati the wife of Shiva. Shiva and Parvati are the absolute top of the tree in the ‘Who’s Who’ of Hindu gods and goddesses. The temple in Madurai was commenced in the eleventh century and eventually finished in the nineteenth century, they just kept on adding bits to it! It is perhaps most famous for the towers (gopera) above the entrances; there are five entrances and each has its own goperum. Here are a few photos taken from around the exterior of the temple.

It is said that the figures carved on the various parts of this temple exceed thirty three thousand and they are restored and repainted every twelve years.

Unfortunately whilst you can go inside the temple you cannot, under any circumstances, take photos inside. We went inside later in the day and I will do my best to describe anon.

After the temple we moved on tho the market as Mrs Sixwheeler had shopping to do in the form of getting a tailor to make things and deliver to us on the same day, while she was getting on with this Bala and I amused ourselves as best we could.

This is me being treatened by Kali who is a VERY angry god who destroys everything,

and here’s Bala suggesting to Mrs S that she gets a move on.

Eventually the business was done, a price negotiated and a deposit paid so we took the opportunity to finish walking round the temple perimiter before heading off to see the Madurai flower market.

I like a flower market, the colours and smells are amazing and this one was no exception. We were surprised that there seemed to be no stem flowers only heads, buds and petals but this market supplies the religious ceremony market and these are what’s needed to make the garlands that are used in the temples.

And it was all one heck of a scrum to get round.

By now we were hot and hungry so went back to the hotel for lunch, a rest and an early dinner ready for our trip out in the evening. But more of that next time.

3 February 2019

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