Sights and Sounds of Madurai: The City of the Fish-Eyed Goddess

View of Madurai and the Temple from my Hotel room

Hello world… It’s been 5 days without internet here and it seems like a month! Here are some pictures from the “clean” city of Madurai and the temple of the Fish-Eyed Goddess. I hope you enjoy.

The temple was amazing and came to life with worshippers coming out in droves after 6pm. People light candles, incense, and share offerings to the thousands of Hindu Gods. Prayers, meditations, prostrations and bows fill the temple each moment. This is the land of the sacred which was evidenced by the many rooms only Hindu’s were allowed to enter.

Here is a meditator in the midst of the crowds who just happened to clear as I snapped this photo.

Meditator in inaction

Here I am being blessed by an elephant whose handler would only accept a rupee note from me, a bill instead of a coin, since I am a foreigner. Yes, life here for the foreigners is more expensive almost everywhere you go. I suppose my white skin is a dead give-a-way even as I dyed my hair darker. When in Rome… as they say…

This is the altar of the sacred cow where the men come to pray for virility and for sons.

Praying for Virility and for Sons

I have a video of  my first autotaxi ride which costs about $1 for a mile ride to the temple. Hopefully I’ll be able to share that with you soon.

If this is the clean city, I can’t wait to discover what “dirty” looks like. I worry about the pollution here as trash and plastics line the streets. The trash is then burned, along with the plastics, and the smells and chemicals fill the air. I had an immediate reaction in my sinuses and had a continuous headache for the three days I was there. Respiratory problems are rampant here and I don’t see anything being done about it. It just seems to be an accepted way of life. Diabetes is another huge problem, which has developed recently due to the increase in sugar in their diets. Indians never used to eat processed sugar and somehow their systems don’t adjust well to it so the incidence of diabetes is almost at epidemic proportions.

Inner Temple – ancient stonework and glorious mandalas

The Indians love brilliant colors juxtaposed next to the ancient stone work. Statues of the Gods line this enormous temple and each pillar seems to honor a different God. I’d love to learn more about the Hindu religion as it offers a fascinating view of our Universe.

I must say I was most happy to be back in my little corner of heaven here at the zendo. Next trip (next week) is to the Kerala Coast where I’ve been invited to a Hindu wedding. Bought myself a Sari and hopefully I can figure out how to get into it and dance without it falling off.

Stay tuned!

Note: Tonight, I’m heading back into a 3 day silent Sesshin with no internet, so until next week may you enjoy the good luck of Ganesh (the elephant headed God) and the blessings of the Fish-Eyed Goddess.

Janet Dwinells

2 thoughts on “Sights and Sounds of Madurai: The City of the Fish-Eyed Goddess

  1. kriellian

    Great entry… and I thought your hair looked darker than it was this summer!! Have you given a thought to compiling your posts into a book? – With your writing style and the wonderful photos it would be amazing!


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