Oh jingle bells jingle bells, jingle all the way! – Christmas Carols, Jingle Bells
It happened that I spent Christmas in Kanyakumari and Madurai, two cities in the Indian state of Tami Nadu, that honestly were not the very best choice to spend a nice Christmas eve, but as anyways I was travelling alone with most of my beloved ones far away in Germany, Christmas didn’t seem such a big deal to me this year. I was hoping to spend Christmas Eve with some other travelers, but soon figured out that Kanyakumari was not a big tourist destination for foreigners, so the disappointment about the fact that my so-called hostel “upgraded” me into a single room was not too big. However, a feeling of joy came over me every time I found a church, a Christmas tree, nativity scenes or any kind of decoration that reminded me of Christmas, despite the 35°C outside and the missing infinite loop of typical German Christmas songs.
Luckily, I still had some interesting conversations and discussions with some locals as well as domestic tourists, and spend half a day with an Indian professor that moved to the US many years ago. He taught me a lot about life, Indian culture, customs and doctrines. It was probably one of the most educating days I had, and apart from increasing my newly gained knowledge by visiting the “Wandering Monk” exhibition I also ended up buying the book “Karma Yoga” by Swami Vivekananda.
My favourite place in Kanyakumari however was a neighbourhood close to the sea, where all the buildings and boats appeared damn colourful. I loved wandering around through the tiny streets, but have to admit that I felt a bit weird at times, as it seemed like I was the only tourist there. But at the same time it was due to this fact that the place just felt so much more real and authentic which made it that beautiful…
Kanyakumari is actually famous for the fact that it is the most Southern point of India and thus enables to witness sunrise and sunset both over the sea. This meant for me another short night…
In Madurai I have to admit that I only focused on the tremendously beautiful, huge Meenakshi Amman Temple there. I spent the whole day in and around the monument, had a nice chitchat with a carpet seller (learned about different carpet qualities, haha :D) during the lunch break and returned to the temple again, before I headed to my sleeper bus going to Pondicherry. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed inside the temple, so I can only present some shots from the outside here. However – worth a visit!!