Hello South India!
Early this morning we left Hyderabad for Madurai. We were fortunate to enjoy cool rainy monsoon conditions throughout our 5-day stay in Hyderabad.
I was a bit worried (okay, I was terrified) when I saw our smallish plane.
I don't like propellers.
Thankfully the flight to Madurai was smooth and uneventful, despite the propellers.
As soon as we arrived in Madurai (aka Madras), we noticed something different. Here, the sun was shining and the wind was almost hot. The streets here are smaller and just a bit congested mostly with motorcycles and very few cars. The population is just over a million (as of 2011 census), much less dense than what we've seen in other cities. It has a small-town feel. The city of Madurai is the hub of the state of Tamil Nadu, and is important because people consider it the religious center for South India's Hindus.
Unlike what I've seen in northern India, the men here wear either slacks or the traditional Veshti, which is one and a half yards of unstitched fabric, simply wrapped around the waist. The women wear typical Indian styles including Salwar Kameez, or Kurthas. Speaking of clothing, I've noticed many people wearing the world famous "madras" pattern. I think it's all beautiful.
Tomorrow we will visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple, with its ancient brightly-colored tall towers. Tonight I'm going to make sure I fully charge my camera battery! I can't wait to share with you the pictures.