Happy Independence Day India!

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
TM Lodge

Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's India's day today!  I was wearing the flag proud as was everyone.

After fighting for hundreds of years, in 1947 they finally became independent, from Britain of course and became two separate nations, India and Pakistan.  This freedom was thanks to Gandhi mostly as he launched a 'Quit India' campaign five years earlier and demanded Independence and lead much of the fight...only to be assassinated a year later in 1948.  Gandhi is a hero in most natives' eyes and internationally for that matter for his generousity and spirit. 

I arrived here via bus and train..im getting the hang of this as everything ran smoothly again...not to get cocky though, rule #1 never get cocky or overconfident with anything in life.  Not to say the journey was particularly enjoyable but i was amongst hundreds of other peeps who were enduring the same heat, crowdedness and lack of comfort as me...and im not different than anyone else (except im white and stand oot like a sore thumb), we were in it together, whether we like it or not so might as well make the most of it.  After an eight hour train journey, i arrived, found a hotel with relative ease, walking not far from the station so i was happy and surpisingly chipper for being hot , hungry, dirty, and tired.

I went to the Gandhi Ji museum today in a failed attempt as it was closed (of course because of the holiday) but the rickshaw didn't tell me that when i asked to be driven there, of course as he would be the one to drive me back in that case...my own fault really though, should have clued in.  It was still a great experiene though as there were a group of young boys who lived near the Museum escorting me around the grounds.  They spoke quite good english and told me aboot Ganhi and their independence proudly.  They asked me sing my nation's song (i did in a very poor attempt, canada wouldn't be proud) and then they sung theirs in tune and proudly.  They of course wanted pictures.  Who needs a museum when you have excited school boys practicing their english and history?!  

I went to the temple that Madurai is known for, the Sri Meenakshi Temple.  Its very colourful and has 12 intricately carved temple towers ranging in height, its Dravidian architecture apparently from 1560.  Many pilgrims from all over India come to worship as i found oot, it was very busy.  While walking to the temple (on 15mins from my hotel) a man was nice enough to walk with me, show me the way and chat, saying he's a professor, of course showing me to a gallery/shop for the rooftop view of the temple...i was like here we go.  I took in the view  which was great but certainly didn't buy anything.  I proceeded to wander my own way to the temple therafter.

So Madurai is colourful in its own right with its pilgrims, beggars, salespeople, hawkers, and many carts, bikes and rickshaws.  It's the most populous city i have been to thusfar in India with 1.2 million (small really in India terms) and i think i am right in staying away from big and busy in India,  if i can help it...?

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