A streetcorner cafe in Madurai. The patron at left looks expectantly while the cook at right is pouring batter onto a hot griddle. Not sure I'd eat here ;-) but it looked popular and cheap.
From India Madurai streets
This boy was so curious about seeing white people that his father held him up for a better look.
A rainbow of wool shawls.
A vendor sells traditional offerings for people to bring to the goddess inside the temple.
Mara was a photographic novelty for this local girl visiting the temple. Madurai, India.
This stall sells oil lamps used for prayer.
From a tiny stall Pam selects a shirt design - then a fabric - and the vendor will arrange for it to be cut and sewn (on site) within 2 hours.
Pam and Mara examine bangles at one stall. Madurai, India.
One of the many men with foot-powered sewing machines making clothing to order, in the market near the temple.
A crippled man pushes himself, ever so slowly through the traffic, toward the temple.
This man is selling betel leaves, to be used as wrappers for herbs or tobacco, then chewed as "paan".
A woman carries her wares down the street toward the temple.
A woman stops to buy bananas.
Men stringing flowers onto garlands in the form used for votive offering.
A devotee heads to the Meenakshi temple to worship – we saw dozens of men dressed alike – here passing a street vendor.
The ubiquitous autorickshaw on the streets of Madurai.
Two women of different religions chat at a bus stop.
A roadside fruit vendor.
A flower in the garden at Aravind LiveWell.
Streetside in a village outside Madurai.
One of the many small roadside temples outside Madurai. The red & white stripes signify Shiva and Parvati.
The villages outside Madurai are dirt poor, but there are some prosperous families too. Note the mask to the right of the gate - the same figure appears at the top of one of the temple towers.
A man passes a mutton shop in a tired village outside Madurai.
Paneer Masala Dosa at Sri Sabareesh.
Across the street from the Aravind guest house is an unfortunate empty lot filled with trash and grazed by neighborhood animals.
A passerby gives money to a beggar.
Gandhi Museum, Madurai
A rooftop view over the temple shows its incredible size and (at least) eight of the towers.
From India Madurai Temple
The west tower.
It's a cloudy day but the towers are still brilliant in color. Here, the west tower.
We have no pens but the children are happy to let me snap their photo.
Mara gains a lot of attention from local schoolchildren, who hope she has pens to give them. Madurai, India.
Family portrait with one of the main towers. Madurai, India.
This tower (north?) is curiously dominated by pillars and few carvings of gods.
Detail on the West tower: at left, Vishnu, Parvati, and Shiva; at right, dancing Shiva.
This metal-embossed bull is used nightly in moving the goddess idol (Parvati) from her temple into the god's temple (Shiva) - she is moved back to her own temple early the next morning.
Shiva and Parvati.
A statue of Parvati giving birth, on one of the pillars, is a traditional place to pray for one's own hopes at having children. Madurai, India.
Women light diya candles to Nandi the bull.
The ceiling paintings (repainted in 2009) cover an extensive range of Hindu mythology.
This new ceiling painting depicts 15 or more stories about Ganesha.
This ceiling panel is one of the few remaining original paintings, dating to 1600s.
The three-headed god represents Shiva, Vishnu, and Parvati.
A closer look at two towers and the golden dome over Shiva's temple.
Each tower is intricately carved with hundreds of figures. From here you can just barely see the golden domes that cover the interior temple of Parvati (left) and Shiva (right).
Shiva, with a view of the north tower.