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  • Day16

    Pondicherry to Madurai

    December 20, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    We left Pondicherry and drove several hours to the nearest train station where we caught a four hour train to the ancient city of Madurai. Madurai is India's second oldest city behind Varanasi and home to the 14 colorful gateway towers of the Meenakshi Amaan temple. The temple is a central pilgrimage site. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of the goddess Parvati, goddess of creative power, fertility, love, beauty, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power.

    We walked from our hotel to the temple and met our guide Charles. Throughout our tour of the temple. we noticed a lot of new babies. Charles explained that this is one of the places that one goes to seek blessings for a good life for newborns. Parents break a coconut and use the milk to make a cake to share with friends and family. Unfortunately they don't allow cameras inside, but suffice it to say that the inside is just as chaotically decorated as the tower facades.

    A strange, and perhaps miraculous happenstance ocuurred when I was inside of the temple complex. The complex was pretty full of people. Thousands of people. Lots of pilgrims, families, and mendicants. In the center of the complex is the sanctum santorum and location of the statue of Meenakshi. There was a long cue of pilgrims waiting to enter. Suddenly I heard someone from the cue yelling my name, I turned and there was Jevesh, the pilgrim Augie and I had met on the beach in Kochi some 10 days and many miles ago. There are some 60 million people living in the south of India and we had crossed paths once again. Go figure...
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