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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

India: Madurai

Sri Meenakshi Temple
The amazing colours of the gopurams at Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

After another long bus ride from Trichy, passing some wonderful landscapes and huge rock formations on which the locals had thoughtfully painted adverts for tea bags and soap powder, I arrived in the city of Madurai, home to yet more temples and a bustling bazaar scene. Seeing as I was back on my own again, I decided to pre-empt the loneliness blues by treating myself to a few nights at a mid-range hotel, namely the US$5-a-night Hotel Aarathy. My room had a television that, after a few deft manipulations of the tuning controls, revealed MTV and CNN; it had a hot water shower; it had a balcony; and best of all it had a view over a wonderfully colourful temple across the street.

Sri Meenakshi Temple
Sri Meenakshi Temple has some of the most impressive gopurams in India
A carving of Ravana
A man with ten arms and ten heads? It must be Ravana, the baddie from the Ramayana, the epic Hindu classic

Return Visit to Madurai

Sri Meenakshi Temple
Another incredible gopuram at Madurai's Sri Meenakshi Temple

It was pleasant to arrive back in Madurai after rattling down the mountain from Kodaikanal, and having to stay an extra night there owing to a lack of free berths on the overnight train to Kollam was far from a hardship. Where the farmhouse in Kodai had buckets and backyards, Madurai had hot water showers; where Kodai had boring old idly and dosa, Madurai had wonderful butter chicken and nan; where Kodai had weather so cold that my washing never dried, Madurai had enough roasting heat to drive the water from my freshly dipped clothes within two hours. And the same old guest house had the same old rooms above the same old restaurant that played the same old music, creating an atmosphere that would have been like coming home, if it hadn't been for the lack of Howard.