This is part 3 of our series of posts on the Madurai Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu state in South India. Today’s images show Hindus worshiping in the temple. From statues carved into pillars to small shrines tucked away along the long corridors to the sanctum sanctorum, there is no shortage of devotion to be seen anywhere in this temple.

A Hindu couple applies oil on a carving of a deity on a pillar who is depicted to be pregnant.

One of the many statues carved into the pillars at the temple

A Hindu lady worships at one of the smaller shrines tucked away between two gigantic pillars

A Hindu girl places kumkum (red powder) on her friend's forehead.

A massive Ganesha graces a shrine at the Meenakshi temple. Here Ganesha is known as Mukkuruni Vinayagar and is one of the largest Ganesha statues in the south.

A young girl prays devoutly to Ganesha.

 

Morning at the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Tamil Nadu, South India. (Part 2)

Within the walls of Madurai’s famed Meenakshi temple we explore the area in front of the Siva Sanctum. The pillars in this area are amazing in beauty and in size, and probably the best in the entire temple. Most of these I did not photograph but amongst all the gigantic pillars there was one that was quite simple but very popular among many of the pilgrims. The statue of the Mahadeva (great angel) Hanuman was carved on it. Hanuman is the popular monkey faced being who is worshiped by most Hindus.

Here he is covered in an orange-red paste. Countless pilgrims stop by him, touching his feet in search of blessing and lighting small clay oil lamps in offering. Hanuman is getting much attention amongst the devout pilgrims of this temple.

The morning light was just right to capture all of this and I quietly positioned myself next to a nearby pillar and took the following photos. I hope you enjoy them.

A statue of Hanuman portrudes out of a tall granite pillar at the Madurai Meenakshi temple.

An elder pilgrim touches Hanuman's feet in search of blessings.

A lamp is kept filled with oil throughout the day and burns brightly next to Hanuman.

 

Earlier this year in January, we conducted a spiritual adventure to South India and Malaysia titled “festivals and temples”. The 13-day journey was very much focused on visiting temples, exploring deeply the mysticism of Hinduism, meeting the priests and monks, participating in mystical ceremonies in the sanctums of 1000 year old temples and getting to know the local culture, traditions and people.

This video is a beautiful montage of that spiritual adventure to South India and Malaysia, a humble attempt to capture an ineffable journey of myriad experiences.

Filmed and edited by Jo Tyrrell, friend and independent film maker based in the UK.

Vedic Odyssey Meditation retreat in India

 

The following question came in on email to me and below is my response.

How do I concentrate better – I manage a good quality 5 mins at most with minor drifting but then my mind wonders massively after this…?

The best way to learn how to concentrate better is to practice it more. We become good at what we practice. Know that the mind has no ability to discriminate between what practice is good for you and what is not good for you. If it did we’d all be excellent at concentration. The mind becomes good at whatever we practice. If we practice being distracted 10 hours a day then we become good at that. The same way, if a dancer wants to be part of the best ballet company then she would have to practice many hours a day. 

So, to be good at concentration you need to practice it more each day.

Hope this helps. In the next post I’ll give a few examples of practices that you can do.

If you have questions on meditation please feel free to reach out to me. You can do so by sending your questions to me on email at info(at)vedicodyssey.com.

Previous post on Concentration
Feb 25th: I can’t Concentrate

 

After two nights in Kanadukathan in the heart of the Chettinad district in Tamil Nadu, we headed west to Madurai, ancient Tamil capital of the south for the last night of our culinary and spiritual adventure. The beautiful Heritage Madurai resort was home for the last night and finale dinner.

As is tradition on our trips, everyone gets dressed up for the last night. A sumptuous traditional Tamil thali dinner was on the menu, a perfect end to a wonderful culinary journey of South India.

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A private dining room lit with traditional oil lamps was set aside for our group

Probably one of the best meals on the trip...

 

We continue our coverage of our recent spiritual adventure though it concluded a few days ago. Here are photos from the last night in the village of Kanadukathan in the Chettinad district in South India. In the evening we took a walk in the village and we came across many amazing mansions, plus villagers enjoying the quiet life while kids played cricket or splashed around in ponds.

A colorful door leading to the back of one of the mansions

Any place is good for a nap after a hard day's worth of work

Sunset rooster

A young mother and her kids pose for a photo.

Entrance to one of the old Chettinad mansions

Some members of our group relax in comfy chairs at the mansion we are staying at

 

This morning on the way to the heart of the Chetinad region we stopped in Thanjavur to visit the temple built by the great south Indian king Raja Raja Chola.
The temple’s name is Brihadeeswarar and is an architectural marvel. The 216 feet (66m) tower with its monolithic 80 ton dome is spectacular. The temple is dedicated to god Siva in the form of a lingam which represents god in the aspect of timeless, formless and spaceless known as Parasiva in Sanskrit. The Chola kings were great temple builders and this temple is the crowning example of Chola architecture.

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Rishis Patanjali and Vyaghrapada worship God Siva in the form of Nataraja, the Divine Dancer.

 

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