South India 2008
Photos by Adam Jones
These photos were taken during two-and-a-half months in South India
(states of Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala) from June to August 2008.
Gallery 7: Madurai
Madurai is one of the most ancient cities in South Asia, with a history
extending back millennia. It is home to the huge Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple, visited on any
given day by thousands of pilgrims and locals.
Imagine waking up to this view: taken from the balcony of our hotel room,
overlooking the Kundalagar temple on the outskirts of the historic centre of Madurai.
This photo and following: Madurai street scenes. Here, a gentleman irons
with a contraption straight out of the Victorian era.
We had been dying to set eyes on the fabulous gopuras (towers) of the
Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple -- only to discover when we arrived that they were
undergoing their once-every-fourteen-years repainting, and were almost completely
obscured by rattan and bamboo scaffolding! Only a few glimpses of their glories
were visible (see following photo). Better luck next year.
Despite the gopura fiasco, the art, architecture, and inner life
of the Sri Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple was entirely captivating. The remaining photos in this
gallery depict some of the exquisite ivory carvings compiled in the temple museum. The playful
and lyrical eroticism of much Hindu sculpture has always entranced me -- such a contrast
with the austerity and self-abnegation of the Western Christian tradition.
All photos copyright 2008 by Adam Jones, unless otherwise indicated. These images may be freely used for educational and other non-commercial purposes, if the author is credited and notified. For commercial use, please contact the author.