Trip Start Jan 07, 2011
10Trip End Mar 18, 2011
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Where I stayed
We took the 17.20 train from Kanyakumari arriving in Madurai ay 21.50. It's a great way to travel and we always meet nice and interesting people. This trip we shared our compartment with a budding young composer making his way home to Chennai together with his wife who seemed terrified of the little roaches scurrying around the carriage.
Back in Madurai two years later and this time we can see the Meenakshi temple towers in their full colourful glory. They're re-painted every 12 years which happened to coincide with our last visit.
We're both stuck down with the lurgy which lays us low for a couple of days. I'm sure we picked it up in Kanyakumari, filthy place riddled with germs, flys and mosquitoes but don't let me put you off!
We arrived late and had made a booking at Hotel Supreme but we found the service there so poor that we moved along the road the next day to Hotel Park Plaza and got a much better deal including food, which was plentiful and delicious. The rooms are bright & spotless. Thank God for HBO and Star Movies, just the thing when you're feeling rubbish.
Once we're feeling better we head out to the temple and it doesn't disappoint. Such a sense of history as our bare feet brush over the stones worn smooth by the millions of devotees who must have walked the same path. It's breathtaking, beautiful and constantly busy with people praying or prostrating themselves in front of their chosen deity. Groups of day trippers sit around picnicking in the echoing halls before lining up one by one to be blessed by the ever patient elephant dobbing each one on the head with it's trunk, in return for bananas. The mahoot lets the elephant know when it's time to pose with it's trunk draped casually over a tourist's head long enough for the photo to be taken. It's brilliant here, the temple is the main attraction in Maduari and it's worth it.
The surrounding streets are busy with shops, shoppers, rickshaws & bikes. The cows wander snuffling for scraps of food amongst the rubbish. We're constantly asked if we want rickshaws, postcards or marijuana. It's full on India and you have to be alert and have full energy to enjoy it.