Early in the morning I took a train from Vidhyachalam to Madurai, this was a bit of shift in plans so that we can be on align schedules and ofcourse finally fulfill my desire to see the Meenakshi temple! After the saga of the missed train and my in general mishandling of pulic transport the trip to Madurai was very pleasant. Infact i got some sleep in the AC2 compartment and the TC didnt haggle about me carrying a bike. I stowed the bike in the electric compartment at the end of the boggie.
I reached Madurai at break of the dawn and checked in Hotel West right across from Meenakshi temple. After a short nap, I got to the temple at about 11:00pm. The temple was super busy and i had to use the green power to upwards of Rs. 150 to get quick darshan of Meenakshi and Shiva. It was very interesting experience reminded me of standing in Sai Baba darshan line for hours (except this time I had a VIP Rs. pass).
The temple is really ornate and as they say it is the “Taj Mahal of the South”. I loved the open spaces (which are characteristic of south Indian temples). I sat in the courtyard of Meenakshi temple for a while and tought about a lot of things! Every once in a while I would see the gopurams gazing all over. The 12 ornate gopurams are really the life of this place!
I was also contemplating about story of Meenakshi. She was very beautiful but has three breasts and the prophecy was that the third breast would go away as soon as she meets her husband. Well the third breast went away when she bowed to Shiva, and guess what Shiva was the lucky husband. Every year there is elaborate ceremony where Meenakshi is made ready to mate Shiva infact they even remove her jewels! There was also a thought in background which i learnt at Aurobindo Ashram that Hinduism or Vedanta’s preach creativity not austerity, which sort of rightfully fits the God behavior here.
Anyways – at about 1pm at started my ride for the day. I had to meet Tulika and Rahul in Tondi but with such a late start there was no way i can go 130kms. So instead i took a different highway which reach Rameshwaram (NH-49) faster than NH-33. I decided the cut short at Parampudi after covering about 80km in 4 and half hours. I passed a lot of villages on the ride and was pumped by cheering and curious kids and teenagers!
Tomorrow i meet Tulika and Rahul for lunch in Ramnathpuram (40kms) and then we head to Rameshwaram (55kms)!!
Looking forward to Sri Lanka!
PS: Do feel free to suggest what you would like to read in my trip reports and tweets. I was considering doing a quotes series and also sticking to thoughts, philosophy or flaura fauna in my ride reports.