Temples of Tamilnad

The beauty of the Rameswaram temple decidedly lies in the grandeur of its interior courtyard and pillared halls. I especially remember a preliminary walk through barriers of light and shade where the sensation, in passing each division, is of entering new sequences in time. Suddenly the colonnade came into focus, stretching a thousand feet so as to provide a view of regularly-spaced columns whose exuberance was barely restrained by the high horizontal members. The faded paintwork that was evident provided respite from aggressive tones of restoration in many other temples. We shuffled along a corridor whose inner surface was feathered with light, nodding at attendant Brahmins who did not seem to have much on their minds that mild morning. At the western end, closer to the central Vimana, I noticed that the platforms had been converted to office space so that the administrative work, as at Madurai, could be kept current. Blocking a view of the corridors, and reducing the telescopic effect which the galleries were built to provide, we found clumps of wooden carts, gathering dust until the next festival.

There was a sandy lane between the Brahmin quarters leading away from the temple and, at the end, a shrine to the Goddess Kali, which we visited and found overlooking a shallow bay fretted with acacia and umbrella trees. It is a lovely spot -- shadowy, secluded, permeated with a holy balm.

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