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Tamil Nadu. The Coloured World of the Tamil Temples

Madurai Temple in India

Elephants in temples and cows on the streets, colourful and faithful barefoot Gods, spicy , but vegetarian food, impeccable roads and something I had never thought I would ever see in India – cleanliness in the streets … Welcome to Tamil Nadu!

Tamil Nadu is the southernmost state, holding the top of this huge inverted triangle that is India. If you think that 1 billion people look alike, speak the same language and have the same habits, you are terribly wrong …India is extremely diverse, it is a real continent, and if you have been to the North, you cannot not make your way around Southern India, too… it is a different world.

The majority of the population in the Tamil Nadu state is made ​​up of Tamils ​​(that sounds familiar, right? They are those who used to fight the government troops in the neighbouring Sri Lanka until 2009). They speak their own language – Tamil, with its own alphabet and original civilization. They do not look like the Northern Indians – the Southern ones are black and very skinny – they are also called Dravidians and they say they are India’s initial civilization that the Indo-Europeans invaded. Most of the invading troops settled in North, pushing the Dravidians towards the south. I guess they are not sorry – during winter, when the north freezes and it is lost in the fog, the South gets a temperature of 20 to 30 degrees, ideal for anyone. If the Muslims poured over the Northerners who have left a strong seal on then, in the south, the Hindus have not suffered… the Hindu temples of the South are huge and, in addition, they are a real spectacle of colours … the local taste dictated that temples should have huge towers called gopura, adorned with thousands of brightly-colored statues depicting gods, animals, but also humans… These gopura represent the symbol of the Tamil Nadu state.

Obviously, there are many places to visit in Tamil Nadu. But if your time is limited, you can limit yourself to only three cities – a true “golden triangle” of Tamil Nadu – Madurai, Trichy and Tanjore.

Madurai is one of the oldest cities in Southern Asia. When the Athenian ambassador Megasthenes arrived here in 302 BC, he found a splendid city and described a queen as “the daughter of Heracles”. Later on, the Roman geographer Strabo lamented that the silk, the pearls and the spices exported by Madurai severely hit the state budget of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, not a lot of things remained from the time of the Athenians and the Romans, but, instead, Madurai boasts with one of the largest temples in India- Sri Meeknashi. 15,000 people pass through here daily, and on Friday, the holy day of goddess Meeknashi, the temple has more than 25,000 visitors… By the way … you have read right… in a country where men are masters, the largest temple in the country is dedicated to a goddess, not a god…! It is true that is not just any goddess, it is the wife of the dancing Shiva… In the north, Meeknashi is known as the goddess Parvati and it is a warrior goddess. Fortunately, the all pious pilgrims of Meeknashi are not as warriors, most of them watching the foreign tourists with curiosity, and the bravest of them asking them to take pictures of them.

At this size, the temple is a real “town into town”. After you have taken off your shoes, including your socks, you can enter the temple. Actually, in Tamil Nadu, many people walk barefoot. They are not poor, many are dressed in  quite expensive shirts with trousers, I even saw, once, a gentleman with a jacket, but barefoot. So are the many students who are taken by teachers to visit the various objectives – barefoot … So, take off your shoes in the temple, too! As I said, Sri Meeknashi is a world in itself – you will be able to haunt everywhere except in the sanctuaries of Shiva and his Meeknashi, you will be able to walk in the market where you can buy garlands. You will seek the Brahmin, a priest in this temple and, after giving him a hundred rupees, he will enter a holy shrine and will sanctify your garland. Then he will hang it to your neck and he will draw a very auspicious stripe on your forehead. You can walk around a sacred pool, but also wake up with an elephant trunk on your head… for good luck!

However, the bazaar, the sanctuaries, the pool or the elephant are not the main attractions, but twelve gopura, towers reaching the pinnacle of the Tamil architecture here. In the temple, there are no less than 33 million sculptures, most of them on these twelve towers. Unfortunately, during my visit, these wonders were hidden behind bamboo curtains because they were being repainted… do not worry, the twelve towers are already “naked” and if you go these days, you will be able to admire them in all their splendor.

I cannot say I have not regretted not having seen these gopuras… I had to go about 120 km away from Madurai to Trichy (or Tiruchirapalli, as it is officially called). Here, we can find the Ranganathaswamy temple, dedicated to god Vishnu. And there are many gopuras here, coloured especially in yellow, pink or vivid blue, a true feast of colours. A true cavalcades of gods, animals, and people, carefully carved and painted on the tower… And, if, in everyday life, the Indians are a bashful people, they give themselves away on the temples – quite a few temples have sculptures erotic with naked women on them, and Rangathaswamy no exception … but perhaps those sculptures depict the sinful, especially as a naked girl is holding a knife in her hand, ready to stick it in another naked girl … As in Madurai , the temple in Trichy is a mini-city, as well – shops, the flower market,  a canteen for the poor and  even a computerized reservation centre for train tickets! The elephant blesses you with his trunk is there, too! If you are in Trichy, do not miss Rock Fort, a temple dedicated to god Ganesh built atop an 80-metre hill that rises abruptly in the middle of the city. Once on top, a view on miles lies in front of your obviously bare feet!

The last city of the Southern “golden triangle” is Tanjore. If Maduraiand Trichy are real cities with around 1 million inhabitants each, Tanjore is a slow town with a few tens of thousands of people. You are not to miss the Brihadishwara temple, also on the UNESCO World Heritage list, a slightly different temple which, although it has some gopuras, they are not coloured, but they are decorated with beautiful sculptures. During the tour, you cannot refrain from admiring the central gopura completed in 1010, which, at the height of 61 meters, was the tallest building in India of the eleventh century. And also in Tanjore, although far from the richness of the palaces in the North, it is worth visiting the Maharajah’s palace – a complex of palaces, courtyards and observation towers and a museum with valuable exhibits.

Coloured temples, ancient customs, but especially a warm and welcoming people … Why not hurry off to Tamil Nadu?

Getting there
Air Arabia flies from Istanbul to Coimbatore and Chennai via Sharjah. Or, better yet, fly to Kochi, Kerala visit the Christian Kerala, too and then take a bus to Madurai.

Visa
Any foreign citizen needs an Indian visas which should be picked up in advance from an Indian Embassy abroad, There were some talks about visas-on-arrival for certain nationalities, but nothing was arranged yet.

Where to sleep in Tamil Nadu
There are not too many nice guesthouses in Tamil Nadu, but Indian business hotels are super good.
In Madurai, we stayed at the Madurai Residency
In Trichy, we stayed at Hotel Femina

Both were pretty good, so I would recommend them.

What to eat
The homeland of vegetarianism is the south, where over 50% of the people are vegetarians. The risk of eating meat is higher than elsewhere – because of the reduced demand, it may be old, and the lack of refrigerators can alter it. You will not realize it because of the many spices used in the food. Although I am a fanatic carnivore, in Tamil Nadu I was a vegetarian and I had no complaints at all.

Pictures of Tamil Nadu:

 Tamil Nadu: girl on a rope

The young acrobat in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

A brahmin is improving our kharma

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

With a significantly improved kharma

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Elephant blessing in Hindu temple of Tamil Nadu

The blessing goes on – this time, with the elephant

Monkey in Madurai Temple of Tamil Nadu

The holy monkeys of Madurai

Colourful temple of Madurai, Tamil Nadu

The temple in Madurai

Tamil Nadu: Madurai Temple

The temple in Madurai

Princess Diana in India

Celebrities are used by the shops in Madurai, too

Old Palace of Madurai - Tamil Nadu

A palace in Madurai

Madurai statue of Gandhi in Tamil Nadu

Gandhi

Tamil Nadu: Rock Fort Temple of Trichy

Rock Fort Temple

Tamil Nadu: Rock Fort Temple of Trichy

Rock Fort Temple– Trichy

Gopura in Tamil Nadu South India

Rock Fort Temple– Trichy

Tamil Nadu: Rock Fort Temple of Trichy

Rock Fort Temple– Trichy

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Tanjore Temple

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Tanjore Temple

Protected by the Tamil Nadu gods - temple of Tanjore

Entrance to the Tanjore Temple

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Tanjore Temple

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Painting in the Temple of Tanjore

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Tanjore Temple

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Temple

Visit Tanjore Tamil Nadu, South India

Tanjore

Tamil Nadu: Tanjore Tower

Tanjore

Tamils kids playing in Tamil Nadu

Children in Tanjore

Tamil Nadu: wonderful Tanjore

Tanjore

Naked man and naked girl in Tamil Nadu

Tamila Advertising

Tamil Nadu: coloured Gods of Trichy

Trichy

Tamil Nadu: Vishnu's Temple in Trichy

Vishnu’s Temple– Trichy

Tamil Nadu: Vishnu's Temple in Trichy

Tamil Nadu: statues of Hindu Gods

Tamil Nadu: Vishnu's Temple in Trichy

Tamil Nadu: Vishnu's Temple in Trichy

On the top of the temple in Tamil Nadu

Women in construction - Tamil Nadu

Gods of Tamil Nadu

Statues of naked women in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India

Sexy statues of Trichy

Indian lesbians

India sado-maso

Sinful female killer

Streets of India

Streets of Trichy

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Being blessed by the elephant

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Până acum există "1 comentariu" la acest articol:

  1. Sen says:

    Kumbakonam – just 35 Kms from Tanjore / Thanjavur is a must to see Town.
    called as Temple Town.

    AIRASIA flies to Trichy from Kualalumpur ( Malaysia )

    ————————————————————————————————–

    Regarding the War in Srilanka.. The Tamils fought to ask their Rights against a racist genocide Sinhalese Government . So please correct your words
    ———————————————————————————————

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