My wife wanted to visit all the 12 Maha jyotilingam and in order to fulfill her wish, like a good husband I am constantly chasing Shiva temples across the country. (Ab yeh aur baat hai ki mai apne aap ko nastik bolta hu 😝😝).
Incidentally Rameshwaram would be our 8th Jyotilingam.
|All set with bag and baggage at Mumbai Airport.
Day 1. 5th Oct, 2018
We had booked 8:40 am flight from Mumbai and reached Madurai by 1:30 pm. We could have taken train too from Mumbai to Rameshwaram but that would have resulted spending two days in a train which I would have loved all the more but time constraint and office commitment didn’t allow me to do so. Warna rail ka Safar Sab se suhana Safar.
Getting down at Airports or Railway stations and finding a vehicle who will not flee you is a big task. At Mudurai airport the taxi guys started with Rs.500 for taking us to the Meenakshi Temple and came down 400. But eventually we took an auto for Rs.250 who dropped us at the Meenakshi temple.
|Our First look of Meenakshi Temple
However we were informed that the temple will open at 4 pm for a second I was “Arre yaar! ab kya kare but thankfully Dimag ki Bhatti jaldi jal gayi”
|Arre yaar ! The disappointed looks on my face,
when I was told that the temple will open at 4 pm
We immediately decided that we will explore the temple and latter do the darshan, Luckily for us the temple was not crowded at that time of the day. Hence we were done with the Darshan in no time.
#Traveller Tip :
We had to deposit all our luggage, our cameras and even our mobile phones before entering. This means I wasn’t able to click single picture inside the temple. However it means that even if you have luggage with you, you need not worry, simply deposit the same in the locker room and visit the Temple.
Meenakshi temple is an ancient temple situated on the southern bank of vaghai river. This temple is dedicated to Meenakshi a form of Parvati and Sundareshwar ,a form of Lord Shiva.
Few of the highlights of this temple.
1. Meenakshi temple had a violent past, during the 14th century it was plundered by the moguls time and time again.
2. Though the temple is ancient, but what we see today was more of the rebuilding works carried out after the 14 century and later the temple was expanded by Nayak ruler , Vishwanatha Nayyakar.
|Towering Gopurams of Meenakshi Temple (Pic sourced from internet)
3. Another highlight of this temple is that it has 14 gopurams. Few of them are very tall especially the main four entry gates.
4. South gate or Gopuram is the tallest, ad-measuring 51.9 metres or 170 feet.
5. The pillars adorning the temple are very beautiful. In-fact I haven’t seen such tall pillars with intricate carvings on them.
6.Inside the temple there is a shining golden Pole which shines ever so brightly.
|Water Pond within the Meenakshi Temple Complex (Pic source Internet)
7. Then there is a water pond within the temple complex, where I was told that the devotees could cleanse themselves,however I didn’t see anyone going to the pond. Probably it must have been closed.
8. One more interesting thing that I came to know was that the outer boundary wall of the temple runs 800 feet and were built later so as to protect the temple from plundering.
|1000 Pillar hall (Pic Source Internet)
9. Then there is famous 1000 pillar hall. I was told actually it’s not 1000 but 985 in mumbers , I did try counting but lost the count. This 1000 pillars hall also has a museum attached to it and you need to pay 5 RS entrance fees.
|Colourful Sculptures on the Gopurams
10. The Gopuram have many sculpture depicting various scenes from the holy text. The colour sculpture on the Gopuram are really very beautiful.
|Colourful Sculptures on the Gopurams
|Colourful Sculptures on the Gopurams
I can go on and on but the real beauty of the temple can be felt by actually visiting it. How I wish I can bring to you the beauty of this temple, but its my bad luck that till 2nd March 2018 carrying mobile phones were allowed, but then a fire broke out destroying certain portion of the temple which resulted on the ban order for mobiles. Click on the link to read about the ban order.phone-ban-in-force
The mesmersing beauty of the temple wanted me to stay for some more time but the paucity of time was advising me otherwise, as I was in a hurry today, so I had promised myself that I shall be back again and will devote one full day only for this temple.
Friends Hope you are satisfied with my brief description of the temple. If you want detailed info you can click here and read.
|In South to get good North Indian food …Dil Khush ho gaya
We had a quick lunch at Madurai and then took an auto from minakshi temple to MGR bus stand . The auto guy charged us 150 for just 4.5 kms journey! Just as as we were going I suddenly remembered Oh Teri, Jigarthanda toh try karna rahe Gaya , so I requested the auto guy to take us to the Madurai famous drink Jigar thanda shop. He agreed on a condition that we must pay RS 50 more . I didn’t have a choice so I said Ok.
|Jigar Thanda literally means Heart Cool , Not to be missed
We had this jigarthanda, which I felt tasted more like basundi with Malai and ice cream, but nevertheless it was worth taking the detour to savor the taste of jigar thanda.
It was evening now when we reached MGR bus stand. As soon as we got down at the bus stand, just how the vultures starts crowding their prey, the local touts all closed on us . I was looking out for the state transport but this tout said he will get me the ticket for state transport bus and then he took us to his shop. He showed me the seat chart and made me select the seats and then told me to pay 170 per ticket which I paid. He then told us to wait as the bus is due in next 20 mins. So we sat there and waited. He then asked me why don’t we take a Pvt cab and go, he said they charge to and fro, madurai to Rameshwaram Rs.3000 but he will charge me 1500. I said no, He said 1200, I still said NO and made it clear to him that I intend to go by public transportation ONLY. He kept on ranting for next 10 mins and ultimately he realised that I cannot be convinced so he took me to the bus. As soon as I boarded the bus, obviously I moved towards the seats allotted to me and to my utter shock I noticed there were no seat nos, I knew immediately that I was cheated. My next worry was whether the tout has ripped me off my 510 RS , however the bus conducter waved at me so I was assured that I can sit now. I wasn’t relieved until I got my tickets in my hand from the bus conducter, which incidentally I got after nearly travelling for 20 mins . .tab tak dimag me tik -tok full-on tension chalu tha.
|All set for the bus journey to Rameshwaram
# Traveller tip :
a) There are regular buses plying from Madurai MGR bus stand to Rameshwaram, so don’t speak to anyone and straight away reach the bus stand and look out for the bus going to Rameshwaram(.Year 2018- bus ticket cost 135 per person.)
b) There are two bus stand in Madurai, one is Periyar bus stand from where City bus ply, and other is MGR bus stand from where the outstation buses ply.
|The setting sun on the horizon
The bus journey was like sitting in a formula 1 car, Driver was driving as if there was no tomorrow and over that high octane Tamil songs were blaring away on the speakers of the bus. But still I was enjoying every moment of this bus journey especially the sun setting on the horizon which was only adding the beauty to this journey. The 4 and half hour bus journey and we were at Rameshwaram.
Thank you for reading my blog and if you like it do comment and join my site, Tomorrow we shall be visiting the Rameshwaram temple so till then wait for the next part on Rameshwaram….
Click here to read Day Two- in Rameshwaram at Ramanathaswamy Temple