The last day of our Sojourn of Tamil Nadu took us back to square one, Madurai where everyone, except me, visited the famous Meenakshi Amman temple that is located at the centre of the city. Christmas night was nothing special with a regular buffet dinner and a classic Bollywood flick on TV that my mother and I stayed up for. The next morning we decided to go visit the Thirumalai Nayaka Palace, the same palace where we had seen the Sound and Light show on Day 1.
The Palace looks completely different when it is engulfed in artificial lights and when it is bathed in natural sunlight. The architecture, most of which is part of the original design and construction in 1636 by an Italian architect, resembles (if I may be permitted to say so) some of the monuments in Rome and Venice. Very intricate designs along the balconies of the upper floors and huge, strong pillars are characteristic to this palace. There is also a sign that forbids visitors from writing on said pillars and warns of punishment if anyone is found to be committing such a crime. But sadly, the Archeological Department in the Indian government cannot allocate enough resources to suitably monitor such activities. In this process, when trying to take pictures of my mother hugging the pillars to see how wide and broad they are, most of the writing (rather silly proclamations of love) comes in the way. But while the writing disappointed me, the splendor of the palace did not.
Of course, there wasn’t much to see at the palace and so with not much delay, we were on our way back on NH7 and towards Bangalore. The short trip was partly inspired by the Bollywood movie starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, “Chennai Express” where the town of Rameshwaram is beautifully shown. It was also partly inspired by my desire to go to the more unknown and unexplored parts of India (in my case specifically). Since I have seen around half of the world, and am yet to visit the continents of Africa, South America and Australasia, I realized that besides a few cities here and there, India was still very much unknown territory to me.
In a way, these holidays were a perfect reminder of how much there is still to see in this country while at the same time reminding myself the treasure trove of tourism that India has to offer. If only it could model itself on better lines.