I am in my last hotel of the trip, in my penultimate destination city. [I'll say more about my last stop, Hyderabad on Thursday]. I am only in Madurai two days, and I came here for one thing and one thing only: to see the Sri Meenakshi Temple, one of the grandest temples in all of India. That is my destination tomorrow, so I'll report back on that tomorrow night.
Today, I just wanted to say I'm here, and I think this is going to be a nice place. The hotel itself is pretty good--again, VERY thankful for the wireless, the "gym" [using the term a little loosely, but the bonus is that it is open 24 hours, which means I can get in at the crack of dawn on Thursday--I need to leave the hotel at 6:15 am to make the flight, so I'll be up early!], the nice rooftop restaurant [which actually has view of the temple gopurams in the distance--see photo below] and especially the location. The hotel is close enough to walk to the temple, and it is in an area with lots of shops and foot traffic, but not so much that I couldn't get around. I walked around for about an hour after I got to the hotel--just to check my way to the temple, and to be out and about a bit. My big project was finding a tailor: I was gifted with some material on Sunday at that big church service, and I wanted to make a kurti out of it [We would call a kurti a tunic--I have bought several of them here: they are cheap and beautiful and will look great with leggings back home. I also bought another shalwar kameez, but since that isn't so practical to wear at home, I am mostly sticking to kurtis]. I had to search for awhile, and ask a few people, but I finally found the little place [when I asked to take a picture, people materialized out of the woodwork!] for 250 rupees [about 5 bucks], I can pick it up tomorrow! How cool is that?!
So, here are just a few views of the street areas around the hotel--including one Lutheran Church just down the street, which was started by the Swedish Church in Uppsala!: somehow it lifted my spirits a little bit to see it. Speaking of that, I wanted to say that my Lenten devotion this year has been to do Morning Prayer every morning--something else I take for granted being in a seminary community. I have to say, it has been a great anchor for me while traveling: it is this really concrete tangible reminder of home and of my Gettysburg family, and it has really helped me feel connected and less lonely. [So, it has actually turned out to be a pretty self-serving Lenten discipline, which isn't really the point, I know! Oh well.]