Madurai and Periyar Game Preserve

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Sangam Madurai

Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Sunday, November 28, 2010








1. Home built 1935, tusk  2.  Sri Meenakshi Temple   3.  Batik at village
4.  Lunch on banana leaf  5.  Tile factory    6.  Golden chariot
7.  Fort Thirumayan   8.  Silk weaving    9.  Sri Meenakshi Temple elephant


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MADURAI was the capital city of ancient civilization which dates back 2,500 years, and an important commercial center with trades with Rome and Greece as early as 550 BC.

Nov 29:
MADURAI.  Our first visit for today was to the high court of Madurai, then to the village of Tiruppattur Taluk. The women use rice powder to create a design in front of their door
to welcome visitors and to feed ants which they consider important to share food with the smallest of life forms.  
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A Muslim gentleman, Abdul, started this program for women to teach them to keep their girl babies.   He learned as a social worker that if he can get the mother to keep the baby for three days, they become attached to their baby and will not commit infanticide.   In addition to saving 100% of the babies from the 5% before his program, he established a batik factory where the women produce batik fabric and garments to earn money.   If the mother doesn't want the baby after the three days, the government will take the baby for adoption.


The batik design is made from a brush made from human hair dipped in wax,  then the whole cloth dipped in different colored dyes.    Some of the ladies in our group purchased some of their products.

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We stopped at Ft Thirumayan to take pictures, then in the late afternoon visited a tile factory.  Their tiles are made from 3/4 sand and 1/4 cement, hand designed, then use glass as the process to glaze the tile.  They dry the tiles in the sun for three days.  



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From Wiki:

"Thirumayam fort
Miles before reaching the town, one can see a fort atop a large hill. In past centuries, the fort was much larger than what now obtains; this is affirmed by the fact that the main entrance to the old fort lies about one kilometer south of the present-day fort. This extrance to the
old fort still stands, it has a courtyard with pillared corridors and shrines of various deities. The sculptures on the pillars are truly beautiful.


As one enters the town through the road which connects it with the

highway, one finds a small temple dedicated to Bhairava (the
Bhairavar-koil - பைரவர் கோயில்). This temple, which faces the main road, is a favourite with vehicle-owners who
traditionally halt and pray there for a safe journey. This temple was  actually built on the outermost wall of the old fort.


The Thirumayam fort, set in 40 acres (160,000 m2), is of great historical importance. It was built by Sethupathi Vijaya Ragunatha Thevar, ruler of Ramanathapuram in AD 1687.
Sethupathi is the name of the ruling dynasty of Ramanathapuram (Ramnad). Another fact of historic interest is that the founder of the princely state of Pudukkottai had served as governor of Thirumayam fort before founding his own kingdom."


We visited a home built in 1935.

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Sri Meenakshi Temple



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Nov 30: We departed for Periyar at 9AM.   Our first visit was to the Sri Meenakshi Shiva Temple that we visited the night before to see the nighttime ceremony.   We had to walk in barefoot (without sox) on sometimes rough rock and sometimes pebbles.   My tenderfoot took a beating.   As we entered the temple, we heard a chant "ohm Shiva ya..." repeated over and
over.   There was an elephant who for a fee would bless you by placing his trunk on your shoulder or head.  

On our transit to Periyar, we also saw a large hurd of ducks eating the remaining rice grains in the field that's already been harvested.   Two men with sticks controlled their movements.  It was a very unusual site to see.   On the road, they were sacking the rice grains for transport on big trucks.  
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1.  vendor in village     2.   herd of ducks eating leftover rice   3.  countryside is beautiful
4.  carpet factory store   5.  herd of oxens    6.   bagging rice for shipping
7.  Sri Meenakshi Temple    8.  laundry by riverside    9.   loading truck with rice

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It was a very long day, and we arrived at the Cardamon County Plantation hotel at 6:45PM.
After getting a room assignment, we were treated to a cultural dance by one woman at 7:30PM.

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1.  cocoa     2.  boats at Periyar Game Preserve    3.  typical truck design
4. pepper tree     5.  turtle hut      6.   we visited this school with 91 children
7.  backwater cruise from Cochin    8.  spice garden sign     9.  teachers at school


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Dec 1: PERIYAR is also called the Tiger Sanctuary. There are many varieties of flora and
fauna found here that are extraordinary with 62 animal species.  I doubted we would see any tigers, and that was true.  
 
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Our first visit was to the Abraham Spice Garden (recommended by Lonely Planet) where the docent showed us the different types of spice plants (in the rain) that included pepper (black, white, and green comes from the same plant), clove, nutmeg, coffee, cardamom, vanilla, cocoa, chili, all spice, curry, cinnamon, saffron, bitter nut, and some flowers.   We also went to a spice shop in town where some in our group purchased some spice. 

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At 1:30PM, we were coached to the Tiger Sanctuary for a lake cruise (in the rain).  We waited over two hours to get on the cruise boat.  We saw cormorants, fish eagles, white neck stork, deers, and a bison during the two hour cruise.




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