Monday, March 26, 2012

Tamil Nadu with Quilley - 10 March 2012 - Madurai

We left Palani the morning of the 10th, heading toward Madurai. 
 'Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. Madurai is an animated city packed with pilgrims, beggars, businesspeople, bullock carts and legions of underemployed rickshaw- wallahs. Dating about 2500 years back in time, it is one of southern India's oldest cities, and has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Reading through inscriptions, travelogues and the writings of missionaries, one can gather that Madurai was the cynosure of all eyes because of its prosperity. Ibn Batuta describes the beauty of Madurai in the midst of the destruction, as having a layout and scheme that was centred round the Vaigai. '  (not sure where this description came from)
We headed right to the Meenakshi temple.
Meenakshi Temple

Occupying the top spot in the list of tourist places to visit in Madurai is the Meenakshi Temple. The temple, as we know it today, covers a vast area and is an eclectic mix of architectural styles, improved upon by different dynasties such as the Vijayanagara and Nayaka rulers. The temple is dedicated to Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to Tirumalai Nayak who brought back glory to this magnificent structure.
Located at the heart of the city, the Meenakshi-Sundareshwar temple has long been the focus of both Indian and international tourist and is one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage. People of the city wake up to the chant of hymns at the temple, which is the very centre of their cultural and religious life.

Quilley in front of the Meenakshi temple.

This temple was breathtaking to look at, ..

but the people who run it do not allow non-Indian Hindus to enter the inner sanctum. (It reminded me of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu., where the people - not the gods - have lost sight of their spirituality.  In Nepal they told me that I had to be born a Hindu.)  I was very disgusted with the people who run this temple and would never encourage anyone to go there.  Needless to say, it is actually pretty racial since John and Davina were also not allowed in.  What am I not understanding here?

There were many windmills between Madurai and Kanyakumari.

We found out later that they are all paid for by businesses, so produce energy for businesses only.

1 comment:

Quilley said...

I'm so appreciating your blog of our trip. I'm learning so much. Thanks for your research, and your wonderful photos (I'm trying to figure out how to copy them). It was such a wonderful time. LOVE