We visited a couple more temples on Sunday, January 17th, as we explored the area near Kumbakonam.
The first temple was our first Vishnu temple and it was a beauty. I’m growing to love these outrageously painted, figured temple towers. And Vishnu’s is particularly bright and lively. He is a God who is colorful, compassionate (and, to judge by some of the scenes on the towers, passionate) and a bit of a playboy. I like gods who act human and don’t think it is a bad thing.
The highlights of the temple were the Chola granite carvings, which are amazingly lovely and delicate.
Sunday was the last day of Pongal and it is the day when families go out into the gardens and temples and have picnics and, boy, were they ever out. Big family groups lounging on the lawns, young girls in brightly colored dresses running about like exotic butterflies, and little boys doing what little boys do the world over, be pests.
The second Temple we visited is not a living temple meaning it is not used for religious purposes, which means that the dress code was a bit more relaxed; you had to take off your shoes but you could leave your sox on. It had my favorite granite carving of all, Annapoorna, the goddess of food (woudn’t you know it). The figure is just exquisite. You can feel the cuticles of her fingernails. The granite feels as smooth and soft as butter. It’s just phenomenal.