Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Chennai to Maduari. What else do you get after an overnight bus? Chai. The temple in Madurai is smack bang in the middle of the city. The view from the top of the hotel. Masala dosa for breakfast. Planning the last six weeks of the trip. Onion barjis from a street stall, the best in India. Shopping for pants. Looking up at the temple. Postcard haul. And waiting at the bus station, again.

We arrived in Madurai, the heart of Tamil Nadu, at the crack of dawn on an overnight bus, and as soon as we found the backpacker hub we stopped at a street stall for a chai. Once we'd refueled we set off in search of a room for the night. It's true what the guide books say about Madurai - it's worth paying a little bit extra for a much nicer room. The cheapest, smallest, no windows, dirty room that we could find was R600 - alot for India - but for R1000 we could have a big, light, clean room, with windows and a nice modern bathroom. We checked in, settled in, and went up to the rooftop for breakfast. The view was awesome - the Meenakashi Amman Temple (the reason we were in Madurai) stands above the rest of the buildings that surround it, and you can faintly hear the sounds of the train station as you admire it. 

After breakfast, some more trip planning, a quick stop at a street stall for samosa and onion barjis, we headed to the Meenakashi Amman Temple. If you are gonna visit Madurai and check out the temple, do not take anything, apart from a little bit of cash, with you. You can't take bags, cameras, mobile phones, water bottles, or shoes into the temple, and you also need to be wearing long pants and have your shoulders covered. To be absolutely honest, the best views of the gopurams are from the outside, and the inside is the same as every temple in India - deities, a lotus pool, and a temple elephant, in chains, bonking people on the head for money.

It was starting to get warm and we'd heard that the plains get up to around 48 degrees during summer, so we quickly hopped on a bus and headed for the hills.


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