Temples of Tamilnad
MADURAI: MEENAKSHI
Madurai: Meenakshi

As I neared the far edge of the tank I could hear the excited chatter of birds and the crescendo of extemporaneous music. Groups of Indian families were visiting smaller sanctuaries ranged along a wall that forms a boundary to the three-chambered shrine in which Meenakshi is set.



This is the Killikatu Mantap, a boldly carved rectangular hall between tank and inner temple where I found I could prowl at will. The sunlight still persisted, falling in diagonals beween a row of rearing lions and providing a chiaroscuro effect accentuating the plastic wealth of my surroundings.



Meanwhile spiritual fervour was sustained by harmonic music played on various wind, stringed and percussion instruments. There was always a double-ended, hand-beaten drum slung from the shoulder, several reed flutes or a reed dulcimer, a sitar, and the alternate wail of processional conchs. The vocalists developed old, almost indecipherable sections of the Teveram with beguiling ingenuity.

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