The long corridor

The Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram is reputed to have the longest corridors, 1220 meters long with 1200 pillars. The Meenakshi temple of Madurai is a close runner up with 985 pillars and fifteen more replaced by a couple of shrines. I suppose that means that the corridors are over a kilometer in length. Unfortunately it is not possible to take photos of these any longer, since electronics is forbidden inside the temple: one of my gripes.

So I was forced to stand outside the security barriers in front of the east gopuram and take photos down the corridor. At daytime the inside is very dark, so the photos you see here were taken at night. The security men obligingly moves out of the frame. The entrance is lined with shops which sell paraphernalia needed for religious ceremonies in the temple. I took these photos less than an hour from the time when the gates are shut. The crowds were thin, but many of the shops were still open. These photos show you the scale of the corridor, but do not convey the calmness of the light which filters in during the day.

During the day the colours of the paintings really show up. The blues and greens do not show well at night, but at daytime you realize that these are the main colours in the paintings. The yellows, reds and golds are highlights. There is a twelve year cycle of maintenance, during which the plaster and clay decorations are touched up, and replaced if necessary. I don’t know whether the paintings are restored in the same cycle, but since they are integrated with the idols in the niches here, I am quite certain that it would make sense to restore them together.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

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