Tamil Nadu Temple Run: Madurai, Tirumalai Nayakar Palace

I’m ending this Temple Run set not with photos of a temple but of a palace. This Nayaka palace dates back to the mid-17th c, and if the current architectural elements are close to the original, the contrast between this palace and Nayaka temples is quite profound. In particular, the amount of Islamic and even European influence on the palace’s architecture is immense, but the temples don’t exhibit any such influence, and when they do, the influence is very subdued (for example the vaulted roofs of the Nataraj temple in Chidambaram). In any case, these are beautiful palace buildings with a completely hybridized architectural style. Continue reading

Tamil Nadu Temple Run: Madurai, Meenakshi Sundareshwara Temple

The devotional energy inside the Meenakshi Amman temple is so intense that it could convert an atheist into a devotee of Parvati. Or maybe it felt that way only because I visited the temple one day before deepavali when the crowds were greater than usual (if they were), or maybe I had been building up this visit to the “symbol of Tamil culture” in my head. In any case, my experience of this temple was quite intense. One of the contributing reasons is definitely the labyrinthine nature of the temple. Continue reading