Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Incredible India Tour - 31 Mac 2009 (Tuesday)

Madurai is the oldest inhabited city in the Indian peninsula. It is referred to with names like Koodal Maanagar, Thoongaa Nagar (Sleepless City), Malligai Maanagar (City of Jasmine) and Athens of the East. It is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is a municipal corporation situated on the banks of the River Vaigai in Madurai district.The corporation has received several National awards in the year 2008 for implementing development works. The city is also referred to as the Temple city. With a city population of 1,108,755 according to the 2004 estimation, it is the administrative capital of Madurai district. Madurai was the capital city of ancient Southern civilization. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C.E. We stayed at Golden Park Hotel. That morning, we visited the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple

It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. This temple has a stunning architecture and a significant testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins for their master architecture in sculpting this temple. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is believed to have been built only recently in the early 17th century. This magnificient architectual wonder was a frontrunner in the election for the modern [seven wonders of the world] for its architectural importance. In 2009, the temple has been selected one of the Seven Wonders of India by NDTV.
Met 2 Frenchmen wearing dhoti(s) sweeeet ;) I finally got to take the auto in Madurai. What an experience !!! A majority of Indian auto rickshaws have no doors or seatbelts.

one helluva experience ;)