Friday, 6 March 2015

The sweetness of the Southern India circuit (Day 5 afternoon cont.) - Wandering around the side streets of the Meenakshi Amman Temple (cont.), Madurai - The 15th of February 2015


Despite being dedicated to Parvati (Meenakshi standing for one aspect of the Godess) and her consort Shiva (known as Sundareswarar) my head was filled with "mental" images of Ganesha getting his elephant head following a rather unexpected encounter with his father Shiva who didn't recognise him and thus furiously beheaded him, as well as those incredibly amazing legends Sagar had been telling us about.

Parvati herself was born from the fire with three breasts, one of which would fall the day she would meet her future husband, which happened accordingly when she met Shiva. Once their marriage was accounted as having been the biggest event at the time, since then every evening before the closing of the Temple, a ritual procession led by drummers and a brass ensemble carries his image to Meenakshi's bedroom, so they may consummate the union

I knew beforehand that I wouldn't be able to photograph or film that ceremony for the same reasons the temple itself hadn't been photographed and I was deeply disappointed, and more so when I realised we managed to place ourselves right fairly close to where the sequence of ritual events took place. It was indescribable (at least for a Westerner like myself whose worshipping is slightly more intimate) because of easily arising people's emotions whether we were worshippers or not.

As I watched the Gopurans in the afternoon I wondered what Indians would feel if they were to watch our worshipping ceremonies and Christian festivities in F├ítima .... and whether their position as "outsiders" would be one similar to mine - Maybe I was focusing on rather unimportant issues and overlooking those which defined what Meenakshi was about, though I tried to absorb everything going on around me.


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