The northern end of the
Varkala ridge is in close proximity of the palm fringed, sandy beach.
trees themselves, silly as it may seem,
had involuntarily turned into a bit of a headache to us as Carina
experienced a close encounter with a coconut a few weeks earlier in
Goa, when one of those super seeds came crashing down from high above
the ground just a few feet in front of her. And now with
rumors about someone just having returned from hospital with a
dislocated shoulder after a similar incident, we were quite admittedly
on the alert.
We got really spoiled (most
prob- ably also taking on a few extra kilos) during
our stay in Varkala, sometimes enjoying delicacies
such as momo at Tibetan restaurants or dining at Nepalese two story
gazing out over the black, humid void of the Indian ocean
strings of fishing boats shone with their lanterns far away in the
Next to the main temple
in Varkala there
were these colorful baby dolls hanging from a tamarind tree
as symbols of fertility to worship and behold.
Vishnu in good company.
Finally we are once again on
way and ready to
depart from the
major railway station at Trivandrum in southern Kerala, now heading for
hindu city of Madurai in Tamil nadu, a journey of 6 to 7 hours.
In Madurai everything was
the exact opposite to Varkala, this being a strictly religious and at
the same time astonishingly filthy city in the heart lands of southern
Tamil nadu. Most tourists go there for the massive Sri Meenakshi temple
which can hold up to anything like 15000 visiting pilgrim hindus a day
plus loads of westerners arriving either alone or signed up with well
On the night of our
the city they were burning rubbish right below our hotel balcony.
city street department had enforced a deadline on the vendors and
owners to get things cleaned up around the area. After the fire had
burned out, the rubbish
collectors appeared on the scene rambling the streets while searching
the remaining litter.
Here is a cobra god with five heads all in all.
the bull, one of
hundreds of details orna- menting the walls of one of the four
(main gates) of the
Sri Meenakshi temple. Each gate is littered with hundreds of carved
animal and celestial figures, all very colorful and
the next set of PICS!
At night the scenery goes
through a sudden change in Varkala when numerous restaurants open their
all the sun tanned tourists come out for a culinary splurge. Multitudes
iridescent light bulbs and fluorescent tubes glow among palm trees
and decorate the restaurants where all sorts of fish and seafood is
This is what became of
(parts of) the swordfish in the picture above when it had been
marinated in a cocoa milk and Chile based gravy and cooked inside a
wrap of banana leaves.
Two sculpted guardians
watching over the golden portal leading into the holy shrine of the
Our friendly, talkative
at the hotel where we stayed for one week.
As is to be expected on
second class carriers all over India, there was a never ending
hard working, over- indulgent hawkers selling any- thing from samosas
pastries) to masala chai (spice tea) and even plastic toys, garments,
news papers. They have inherited a way of reaching a next to nerve
amplitude by shaping their oral cavities to sound like a
megaphone while their eyes are quick to catch the slightest
attention, even at five in the morning!
In Madurai cycle rickshaws are
still being largely employed as a means of getting around and serving
as minor freight vehicles.
One of many exotic
details inside the Sri Meenakshi temple area, each item serving as an
object of pray
and attrac- ting scores of
The golden central spire
of the temple.
A bloke you wouldn't want
to pick a fight with know-
ing he's got six limbs and you've only got two!
The mighty southern gopuram.