When we arrived at Alagar Koyil, we left our shoes, and walked quietly around the large granite structure with columns engraved with different depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses rising into the air. I missed our host, with her enthusiastic descriptions and her detailed and extensive knowledge. With our host the temples came to life, people’s worship had meaning, I understood what I saw. Without her, I felt like a bit of an outsider: staring at buildings, knowing nothing about why the people visited, what was in their hearts and minds, and what was the particular purpose behind a place.
Wikipedia tells me Alagar Koyil (Azhakar Kovil) is a temple dedicated to Vishnu 21 km outside of Madurai.
Sorry to anyone who sees monkeys all the time and therefore finds the photos of them a bit boring- Maybe I should have named this post “Monkeys at the Temple.” We don’t have monkeys roaming free in the States, so I find them totally fascinating! And to those who visit Alagar Koyil- the monkeys may be cute but, as I have witnessed, they have no qualms about stealing your food (offerings) and I heard some comparison like a forty pound monkey is as strong as a two hundred pound man.
After we studied the granite structures, we took the trail, leading into soft green trees, and up a hill to the temple at the top. I’m saving those photos for Part Two (I had so many photos I decided to split them up) but here’s a sneak peak: