We crossed over into the state of Tamil Nadu this day. As the name of the state would suggest, Tamil is the dominant language in this state and it is populated mostly by Tamils. As such, the distinctive style of temples that you see in this state can only be seen here and in Sri Lanka.:
Madurai isn’t exactly the prettiest of cities in India, but it is one of the oldest. The city of Madurai traded with ancient Rome and there are records of its existence dating as far back as the 3rd century B.C.E. Over the centuries it has been ruled by sultanates and Hindu kings alike.
The main sight in Madurai is the magnificent Meenaski Amman Temple that was built between 1623 and 1659 under Tirumalai Nayak. The ornate temple is considered to be as important to south Indian architecture as the Taj Mahal is to the north. Unfortunately cameras are not allowed inside the temple complex, so the few photographs that I was able to take inside had to be taken with my phone in the few areas where they allow photos. I apologize for the poor quality of the shots.
A street scene in Madurai, you can see one of the 12 gopurams of the temple at the end of the street:
A closer shot of the gopuram:
A ceiling inside the compound:
Another shot inside the compound:
The large bath inside:
Nearby shops allow tourists access to the rooftops as a way of getting foot-traffic through the stores. My final shots of the city: