South India

Photos (taken in bad light) many from the temple described below. Makes the Turner Prize look pretty dull stuff! It blew my mind seeing these amazingly inventive icons,  gods, sculptures.
A few photos were taken in passing …some by the road-side. India is the most amazingly decorative country.

Shri Meenakshi Sundareshwara Temple in Madurai, dedicated to Shiva. The following is what I noted down at the time.
‘Very large rectangular complex surrounded by  a six-metre high wall. There are 12 gopuras (those jolly top-excised pyramid towers of almost cartoon characters and animals) set into the outer walls.

Extraordinary mixture of extensive bazaars inside under the columns at the entrance and many, many of shrines of all sorts. All dark and difficult to take any general photos.
Some interesting sculptures (the book says 33 thousand!) and quite a lot of uninteresting ones. It was hard to stop the guide telling us intricate stories about every single one.
Book says approx 50 priests work at the temple, living nearby. Quite a lot of them young and quite beautiful with narrow hips and broad shoulders…and stripped to the waist. All they wear is white dhoti’s and often jewellery. Eye catching! A lot of dots on the forehead, followed by the usual outstretched hand for your offering, which is never enough! An amazing place with a spectacular number of butter spattered icons…which seems to be a common practice in the south.

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