Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwar Temple
Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwar Temple
seen from roof of Royal Court Hotel

Madurai is another temple city, perhaps the temple city of Tamil Nadu. The Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwar Temple, as its name says is dedicated to both Mr and Mrs Shiva, Parvati in her guise of Meenakshi, "the fish-eyed goddess", and Shiva as Sundareshwar. Every night, the priests carefully put Shiva to bed with Parvati, but more about that later. As the picture shows, the temple's huge gopurams stand out above the skyline of the city.

The temple itself is huge and lively and fascinating. We visited it, I think, three times (and John paid one more visit alone).

Our hotel was near the railroad station, about a 15-minute walk from the temple if you didn't idle to look at things, meaning people, which I did. The scene toward the railroad station was pure India -- lively, colorful, intense and fascinating.

Snack seller Book seller
This all looks very good,
but does one dare?
Selling used books, mostly technical,
on the street

I was suprised at the books being sold on the sidewalk, on subjects like electrical engineering, human anatomy and vector mechanics, among others, and all in English. Indians do want to get ahead and they should make it.

Brick carrier Friendly fellows
This woman carried 12 bricks on her head! Friendly fellows outside the temple
Street leading to temple Gopuram and wires
Street leading to western gopuram Wires and the western gopuram

As always in India, the electric wiring is hallucinating. And if the wiring is wild, the exuberance of the figures decorating the gopuram is indescribable.

West gopuram
The west gopuram

The north side of the first court was filled with children playing, running around and coming up to have their pictures taken.

Kids Kids
Kids playing and being photographed
Kids Kids

Elsewhere, above, scaffolding was being put up. Every twelve years, they clean and repaint the creatures on the gopurams. We were out of luck for that.  

Scaffolding More scaffolding
Scaffolding, everywhere we've seen in India, is made from
tree trunks and branches tied together

Finally, though, we entered the temple.

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