We reached Madurai on Dec 17th and on Dec 18th, we met with Krishnan Jr at the hotel. Later in the evening we decided to try our luck and see if we could get Meenakshi Amman’s darshan. We took an auto and first went to the Murugan Idli Shop… the first one to be setup ever.
We then walked to the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Ohhh the number of shops selling anything and everything that surround the temple … it’s just mind boggling that we allowed such a proliferation of stores near such a spiritual and historical temple.
The roads are dirty with wires hanging everywhere and drains, cow dung and unidentifiable garbage strewn everywhere. Is it a concerted effort to make the access to our temples difficult ?? Slowly wean people away and replace with imported religions and traditions !
We somehow managed to walk into the Meenakshi temple premises. It was jam packed with Ayyappa devotees who were making the pilgrimage to Sabarimalai. Krishnan asked one of the policemen at the entrance of the West gate as to when was it a good time to come for darshan. The policeman told us to come at 5 or 5.30 am and buy the special darshan ticket so that we could get the darshan relatively quickly.
Since it was clear that we couldn’t get Meenakshi Amman’s darshan that day, we just walked around the temple recollecting different shops that we remembered from our 2015 visit. We remembered the Gopu Iyengar tiffin centre at the corner of North Chitrai Street.
Then we came to the Nagapattinam Halwa Shop, on the West Chitrai Street. For some reason we could never buy the Halwa from this 121 year old shop when we visited Madurai in 2015. This time it was open and the grandson of the founder was in the shop.
We had a nice chat with him and bought some Halwa and savoury items.
This 121 year old shop was setup by Vishwanatha Iyer in 1901. Then his son Venkatarama Iyer took over and now his grandson Ananthanarayanan runs the place. The wheat Halwa is delicious and a must have from this shop.
India has these unique stores in every city/village/town that one must visit. So glad that we could meet Mr. Ananthanarayanan and eat the delicious halwa as well.