Sri Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is said to be the place where Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva) and Meenakshi (Parvati), his consort, were married. A 12-day festival is held each year in Madurai to celebrate this wedding. Shiva is known here as Sundareswarar, “Beautiful Lord”
This is a huge complex with many colorful towers (Gopuras) and grand pavilions (Mandapas). The Hall of a Thousand Pillars actually has 985, but each one is beautifully carved in Dravidian style. It is mentioned some 2500 years ago. This particular Temple was built in about 1600. Another restoration was completed in 2009.
Weddings and marriage blessings are very popular here. Meenakshi and all women are honored here, more so than in society at large. Near the entry we bought garlands of fresh flowers. Alan and Lisa each carried an extra one for their special wedding ritual.
Enjoy the random selection of slides! Some show an elephant giving blessings (putting a garland around our necks and placing his trunk on our heads); one of Alan and Lisa just before their blessing by a priest; some are from the Temple Art Museum.
And another website
(written Feb. 23, 2011)
Travel is a bit exhausting, especially when we have stayed in a different place four nights in a row. There have been wonderful hotels—Parisutham (means “very clean”) in Tanjore; Annamalai in Pondicherry, currently the Anand Regency in Rahahmundry. In fact, they are nice enough that we would love to stay longer! Tuesday night accommodations were on the overnight train from Chennai to Rajahmundry, after several day trips by bus.
Our bus driver and his assistant who drove us around in Chennai drove the bus to Madurai in time to meet us when we flew in. They have been excellent. The driver can make a 180-degree turn in Indian traffic–no small feat!
From now until we leave India, it looks like we’ll stay at least 2 nights in each place. Today we will meet at 9 to debrief, then go visit Abhi’s mother in her home briefly, then get to the airport for a 12:50pm flight to Hyderabad. Glad we’ll stay there longer!
Another frustration is Internet access. Each place is different; some have passwords, some have wireless, some have very slow or poor connections. I paid for 2 days in Chennai. Mainly, there’s just not enough time both to get connected and to scan email, FaceBook, and/or blog. This morning I have an extra hour because the bedside clock is incorrect—but the Internet is down……..
Then there’s the struggle with photos. I tried compressing one so it could be uploaded but that didn’t work. Next I’ll try to save them to our family website, but of course I have to be connected in order to do that.
Still . . . [Now there's a good word—still. It has the “however” connotation and even more importantly, the “be here now” connotation. Be in the moment and in this place, this chair, this body, this spirit. I am in India for just 3 weeks and there will be time later to take care of all this busy-ness.Though I would love for everyone to know what's happening currently, the stories and images are still good even after I get back. It's a little like mailing postcards even though you will probably get home before they arrive.]
Still . . . I’m having a wonderful time. Travel is what it is and the benefits are enormous.
Still . . .
Breathe . . .
Smile . . .