A wonderful town with a wonderful temple, a town within the town
Sri-Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple seen from our hotel terrace. Meenakshi is another name for Parvati; Sundareshwarar, for Shiva. Closer up Street vendor Technical books, mostly in English, for sale
I guess the glass was half full; the gopurams were not all entirely covered by scaffolding for the every-12-yearly renovation ... ... but the Golden Lotus Tank was empty too Skinny cat near the empty tank -- no fish, kitty The empty tank with gopurams in various stages of scaffolding
Marriage party Another marriage party That instrument is a variety of clarinet, which he happily showed off A yalli, or chimera
Colors on uneven beams Hall in the temple Gold-plated horse ... ... and silver-plated elephant
The nine planets (including the sun and the moon) Shiva stomping an enemy Nataraja -- dancing Shiva The marriage of Shiva and Parvati
Nandi with incense It sounds like a sackbut -- it's loud Muruga, second son of Shiva, riding on his vehicle, which is a peacock; Muruga is particularly popular in Tamil Nadu The beautiful Hall of a Thousand Pillars
Yalli (chimera) Elephant lover The Hall of a Thousand Pillars The Hall of a Thousand Pillars houses a museum of bronzes and other things
Porters in the street A friendly hi-fi salesman A little girl sleeps near her mother This woman piled 12 bricks on her head to carry into the construction site
Gopuram and wires Top of the west gopuram of the Meenakshi Temple Friendly young men in the street Children playing in the outer court of the Meenakshi Temple
Of course they wanted their pictures taken Happy kids This little girl hefted up her little brother (we suppose) to have their picture taken Top of one of the inner gopurams with monster's head at the top
In a corner of the Meenakshi Temple, worshippers before a statue of Hanuman Ladies worshipping with butter lamps Butter lamps before a statue of ... who is buried under those garlands? Part of a door which has 1008 butter candles on it. Like 108, 1008 is a holy number (adds up to 9)
The sign says "Wearing of socks inside the temple are not allowed". Ok... The evening ceremony of taking Shiva in to bed with Parvati is particularly flamboyant. Here, the gates to the Shiva shrine have not yet been opened. Priests literally run through the temple, carrying the image of Shiva in a silver chariot to the shrine (and bedroom) of Parvati Here they come, with lots of incense, candles and smoke.
The chariot arrives before Parvati's bedroom door. The chariot An image of dancing Shiva appears on the silver-covered chariot. The priests, standing in symbolically for Parvati, make Shiva comfortable by washing his feet, which appear on the gold stool.
Drying Shiva's feet Lotuses and other flowers And warming with a butter lamp The Thirumalali Nayak Palace of Madurai
Royal Palace Royal Palace Royal Palace -- Durbar (Council) Chamber Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam Tank
The Pudumandapa, just to the east of the Meenakshi Temple, is full of tailors and sari wallahs Shopping for scarves (and pashminas) A seller of huge Indian padlocks A tailor working on Siv's salwar kameez
Another tailor at work; all the sewing machines are treadle models. Irons for sale, the kind you put hot coals in Cookware salesman Cookware row in the Pudumandapa
Another cookware wallah Reflection of the east gopuram Knife sharpener A street procession
This is how Indians construct a building Closeup of north gopuram of the Meenakshi Temple Assembling the scaffolding for the temple renovation Another log for the scaffolding
Working on the scaffolding. No hard hats; hell, no shoes! Nice-looking boys Temple musicians Evening light on steps and columns next to the Golden Lotus Tank
A monkey on the scaffolding The temple elephant... ... rests his trunk on a silly tourist's head (For tourists, that cost 10 Rps) Wiring
Our Madurai driver at a small temple dedicated to the Tamil god Aiyanar (or Ayyanar) Hanuman, the monkey god The statues here resemble those of the guardians outside the town limits The Tamil god Ayyanar on his horse
The tourist doesn't have a moustache (or, for that matter, hair) like the statue We don't know what the offerings are here, but they stank; it seemed primitive. Warrior The goddess with fangs
Dancing Ganesh The mosque Interior of the mosque