Not so Mad Madurai

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Feb 06, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, September 30, 2005

We had been warned about this place... The guidebook told us we would be ripped to shreds by touts wanting our blood... We were expecting to have to fight off postcard/sandalwood/stone carving sellers at every corner.

Funnily enough we were hardly hassled at all and had a wonderful time wondering around the extremely colourful temple complex, watching all the pilgrims and talking to an elderly couple visiting from Kerala. I couldn't believe my eyes trying to take in the 30 million stone carvings within the mere 300mx300m complex! Approximately 10,000 visitors come to Madurai everyday, but it really didn't feel that crowded. I'm afraid the photos have to wait again, you've never seen temples like this one though!

I spent a long time watching the temple elephant take rupee coins from Indians and bless them on the head with his trunk! He looked very bored but I was suitably impressed that he didn't go on the rampage, I would have. Ganesh is an extremely popular god in India for obvious reasons; he represents prosperity and wealth as well as intelligence and good fortune.

I have to apologise for not talking more about Hinduism. It's an extremely fascinating religion but deeply intricate. If I start I may never stop and I'm not sure I understand it well enough to explain the nuances. I've learnt a great deal but haven't quite meshed and married all the different components in my mind. This is mainly to do with the fact that there are many contradicting aspects and no one modern leader to guide the follower. I'm happy to answer any questions within the best of my ability though if anyone has any!
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