Trip Start Apr 07, 2007
Trip End Sep 20, 2007

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Madurai, TN 30th May - 1st June

After night of living dead cottage we were up at the crack of dawn and got taxi to temple town Madurai, 3hours and 115km away. The scenery on the drive down the mountain was spectacular. Staying in Hotel Rathna Residency which was basic and clean and fine bar the floor polishing in the middle of the night in the room above us. Its located in old town which contrary to what LP says old town is perfectly fine.

Madurai is a small city, same population as Dublin. The big temple is called Sri Meenakshi and is baroque dravidian architecture style with 12 gopurams (images of gods, mythical creatures & animals) everywhere, designed in 1560 and covers 15acres, there are 4 main gopurams which you can get a great view of from many rooftop restaurants and kashmiri shops. Opposite is the market which was great and the smell jasmine flowers pervades. Also there's a really good Gandhi memorial museum the other side of town with a detailed account of India's struggle for Independence from 1757 to 1947 including his blood stained loin cloth he was wearing when assassinated. And then there's the Tirumalai nayak mahal, a palace built in 1636 a quarter of which remains, but what a quarter, absolutely stunning. It was 39 degrees again so spent a good bit of timing wandering around and stopping drinks, and then flew with Indian Airlines out of there to Mumbai at 13:40 on 1st June but was delayed til 14:30 and then had to refuel in Chennai for 35 min which turned into 90mins and then we had to get new boarding passes at the last minute before it did take off due to some jobs-worths, so that got the adrenalin pumping!

Woudn't use Indian airlines (apart from delays) as the air staff as so not bothered (ground staff were nice though), they didn't make people put up their seats at take off/langing, or check seatbelts, or tell a kid turn off his gameboy during take off and they let tonnes of people open overhead bins while plane still taxiing in, very bloody dangerous. Plus cheap internal flights is a relatively new thing here (but these guys are one of the older airlines and are a bit jaded) so the passengers are not too used to flying and don't know that opening overhead bins is dangerous etc. I think they think they are on a train, also they are ignorant with the queues pushing and jostling (a bit Danish actually).

Anyway would recommend Madurai for a two day stop over.
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