Wilder West

I long for a wilder West \Far from the city’s dust Where my horse can go\to die fast or slow For then I’ll get on an ass\ A donkey or a burro perhaps a mule I don’t know Whichever came my way \at…


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Meenakshi Temple

Little peeks of that tall ornate tower, that evoked a sense of curiosity, as we meandered through the narrow lanes of the beautiful city of Madurai, was what really woke us up before dawn that winter morning and got us ready. The low throbbing of eighty eager pairs of feet and the soft babble about the mysterious colourful tower, was the only sound in addition to the pleasing chirp of the birds on our way to the Meenakshi Temple. Rolled down shutters of shops with colourful advertisements in their native language greeted us as we walked through the lanes leading to the temple. The vibrant exteriors and lively posters on walls hid away the withered concrete of the 2–3 storied buildings and created a lively setting around the temple complex. The low murmuring of fellow students gave away that the tower we were following was actually the largest one of the 14 Gopurams of the Meenakshi temple, all equally grand with carved sculptures of gods and goddesses from the past.

After walking for quite a while, the silent lanes soon turned into a busy market with persuasive roadside sellers offering us garlands and Prasad and the lane gradually opened out into a huge plaza. Right there standing tall above the entrance to the temple was the Gopuram, which now seemed even bigger. Awed by the grandeur and intricacy of the marvel in front of our eyes, we spent some time in the plaza eyeing the 170ft tall structure and trying to understand the stories the figurines on the temple depicted.

We entered the complex, to a feeling of calmness amidst the hullabaloo of the devotees and the priests scurrying about in simple clean costumes. One such gentleman with books in his hand and an Id-card pinned to his white cotton dhoti approached us and offered to show us around. Walking through the complex, we saw intricately carved figures in elegant postures and warmth in their eyes. There were rows of ornamented columns, a golden lotus sacred pool for the pilgrims to bathe, and walls and pillars full of stucco sculptures. The temple complex even had 2 gold-gilded sanctum towers in addition to the other colourful Gopurams. The temple unravelled itself as we walked through the complex and we were shrunk by its enormity and splendour.

We then dispersed, the artists trying to replicate their experience on paper, the photographers capturing the shades of beauty through their lenses and others to soak in the tranquility of the space.

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