Kambattadi mandapam – the hall of light
Hi friends! This would be the final installment of the madurai meenakshi amman temple series.
Earlier parts are here: PART 1 | PART 2
For many years i have been believing in god religiously though i do not know how spiritual i was. As a photography enthusiast i slowly started studying light and started realizing the importance of it and believing light is god which was proved during my visit to this temple. Once i entered the kambattadi mandapam in front of the Sundareshwarar shrine, i saw the play of light. The hall is famous for the sculptures and beautifully carved pillars. Though my mind raced to click pictures, i sank admiring the place and it became a lasting impression.
Here are some post able pictures:
A wonderful sculpture of the Goddess, is dressed with a bright green cloth near the mandapam. The light and the color was amazing and inspiring.
Light coming through different slits to bless every soul at the hall of the kambattadi mandapam. The sculptures and the pillars at the hall are so remarkable and through out the hall there are places dedicated to different deities (Shivan, Ganesha, Murugan, etc).
A lady prostrates before the flagpole at the Kambattadi mandapam. This is another common way of worship in India.
A devotee walks around the hall as light bless him. He appears to have removed his shirt while inside the temple. This is a common sight in some of the temples of South India, especially in kerala where men remove shirts while inside the temple to show the humbleness before the deity.
Another devotee prays where lighted diyas (‘the vilakku’ or the oil lampls) are kept as offering.
A devotee touching the feet of the sculpture of Hanuman.
People appear hazy as they move around the hall. For many years people appeared to be moving and changing, but the temple remain to be the same and static.
People take a walk along the hall. Many people and many activites could be seen by a silent spectator when standing at one end of the hall.
Ladies having a peaceful time at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sundareshwarar shrine. At sanctum santorum the play of light is many times more than the halls of the temple. Unfortunately photo/video is not allowed at this place and i had to click this blindly without anyone’s knowledge. The slit opening on the ceiling is an ancient technique to let natural light fall inside that creates magic and a feeling of godliness.
A devotee feels the light and prays to it at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sundareshwarar shrine. On seeing this i automatically took the camera to capture it. The security came running to me but politely asked me to keep the camera inside…I was expecting worse
A lady resting at the hall in front of the small place dedicated to a form of Lord Shiva. On the granite floor one could see a movable stone slab with handle made of stone. This must have been used as a lid to manage sewage water.
In Indian temples, it is a custom to sit for a few minutes after finishing the darshan. Temples provide great oppurtunities to have a meet/small get together. Here these ladies seems to be spending some time by having a chat after finishing the morning darshan.
A man walks past the fire lit near the Murugan shrine.
Light blessing another soul as he is about to place the sacred ash (the viboodhi) on his forehead.
This man became very angry when i tried to shoot him and shooed me away. I slowly moved on, hid myself near a pillar and slowly showed the camera reaching out to him and clicked :D. Here he is cleaning all the oil lamps to be used again.
Another man getting blessed by the light as he pass through a deity.
A man praying and is so devoted that he does not even bother to look around.
A man spend some silent and peaceful time at the corridors of the temple. I saw many people sitting like this at different corners of the temple. To some it is a place to get together and chat while for some it is a solitary place of peace.
People walk through the granite floored hall as light fall from opposite direction.
The final installment of Meenakshi Amman temple series is over. Let me know what you feel.
© 2011 MRKrishnamoorthy. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to use the above photographs, please contact me.