Madurai (Route: Bangalore - Salem -Dindigul - Madurai) 436Km.
My parents were visiting me in Bangalore for the first time and expressed the desire to go to Madurai, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari. I researched a bit and decided on taking them on a road trip to cover all three destinations. It was challenging for me because I had to plan something which was comfortable for my parents and also being the only guy who would be driving, I had to ensure that the trip does not become too hectic for my body and mind. After all the aim is to enjoy, relax and unwind. I completed this trip in my car, a Tata Tiago which I will refer as Ms. Tia.
We started from Bangalore at 6 am although the plan was to leave by 5 but then when one is not constrained by public transport, he tends to take time for granted. We took the NH44 out of Bangalore through Hosur and had a quick breakfast stop at Murugan Idli Shop which had some of the tastiest idlis and dosas. My parents loved it.
Post that I drove ahead and reached Madurai by 3 pm. My dad being a conventional guy who relies on asking strangers the route, was so happy seeing the functionality provided by the google maps. He so liked being my navigator all through out the way. We checked into our hotel and were informed that we should try visiting the Meenakshi temple before 7 pm. We freshened up a bit and left for the temple. Now the thing which I donot like about temples is the long queues and I find it a waste of time to stand in them. But then I remembered that I was here for my parents and temples give them immense joy. So I joined the long line of devotees for the temple. There were people who offered us a fast track darshan for some extra money. But we had all the time in the world. This was the only item in our to do list for today.
I am a great fan of ancient Indian architecture. What the ancient architects achieved in-spite of the absence of technology is quite awesome. The Indian temples are an example of that. Meenakshi temple is spread over a huge area and the complex houses other temples also. There is a peaceful lake within the temple complex where you can sit in the evening. The complex also has a museum which gives information about the temple. You can even find a 3D replica of the temple over there and I stood in awe gazing at it. It surely would have been an expensive affair but then India was the Golden Bird of the Ancient Times. You can see the brilliance of the artists in the walls, pillars, floors and ceilings of the temple. Everything is an interesting piece of art. And the long queue to the Garbh Griha gives you ample time to gaze and admire all parts of the temple. It was because of the architecture, I didnot mind the long wait time for the final darshan.
Post the darshan, my parents were extremely happy. It was a long time wish of theres to visit these temples.
We looked for an eatery around the temple. Madurai is not a big town and most of it is set up around the temple. You will find numerous eateries there. I took my parents to a North Indian as there food habits were making them crave for roti-sabzi and daal-chawal. As for me, my time in Bangalore has made me adapt to all forms of cuisine. Post our dinner, we took a auto back to the hotel and retired for the night. I was exhausted post the temple visit and the long driving hours.