Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Madurai, India: Gandhi Museum And Its Resident Dinosaur (I kid you not)

"Four kilometers, is it? Let's walk.", I was being stubborn. And well, the hubby was being cheap as usual. It was February last year. We just hopped off a bus we took from Vandiyur Mariamman Thepakkulam, one of the largest temple tanks in south India (Yes folks, they build temples on artificial islands in the middle of water tanks in India!). Had I not recognized the street, I would've doubted what the bus driver's head bobble meant (Which should generally mean "I hear yah" or "right on" but sometimes used to say "I don't understand but I'm saying yes".)

Gandhi Memorial Museum, housed in Tamukkam Palace.

I was wilting in the heat, yet I led the way. I thought, four kilometers can't be gruesome cause yah know, three kilometers is the usual lap used for fun runs. Look, I ain't a runner so I just assumed that four kilometers is a wee bit less "fun". Such assumption made us ignore the rickshaw driver who offered 60 INR for a ride to our next destination, Gandhi Memorial Museum. He followed us for a good half hour (A round of applause for his patience.) and for every hundred meters, his price dropped: 55, 50, 45...

Bridge over bustling river.

40 INR was his last price. He got off our backs when we crossed a bridge. A long, long bridge. No idea how long, but let me tell you, we finally hailed a tuktuk when we reached the other side. We were clueless as to where we should head next anyways, plus we were worried that the museum might close soon. The cost of tuktuk ride, 40 INR. I know, we should have just hired the rickshaw instead. Less carbon emission.

Pardon me if I had too much fun. This is sooo 1954 Godzilla. Uhm, out to get them religious relics.

As the tuktuk pulled in the museum's driveway, a dinosaur came into view. I chortled, choked, and coughed at the same time (I found out it's humanly possible.). Beside Gandhi Memorial Museum? Really? Then it made sense when I read a sign, Government Museum Madurai. Alongside other smaller signs Archaeology, Anthropology, Numismatics, Zoology and Folk Art. The dinosaur may belong to the neighboring museum, but it looked like it's guarding Gandhi's.

These locals were more keen on taking photos of/with us than taking photos of artifacts. Remember Thirumalai Nayak Palace?

Though Godzilla immensely sparked our curiosity, we chose to carry on with our Gandhi Memorial Museum visit. The museum is housed in Tamukkam Palace, former summer palace of queen regent Rani Mangammal from the ol' Madurai Nayak kingdom. The palace itself is well maintained, and it's free admission. The artifacts however, could use a more fabulous presentation (But hey, that's just me.). Visitors should come prepared for some heavy reading. All those text boxes could easily burn a couple of hours. Throw in a few more minutes for that emo moment when you view Gandhi's blood-stained clothes and famous round specs.

Garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated.

It could be a bit of an anti-climax if you've been to the more engaging temple tours earlier in the morn, but I reckon it's still worth the visit. Especially if you feel like doing something less tiresome after getting lost heaps of times in the maze-like passages of Meenakshi Amman Temple. Besides, the narration of the British occupancy and the Indian independence movement from the Indians themselves is an interesting read.

Didn't expect I'll be up for a retro pictorial. Will someone pass me a pair of bell-bottoms?

We left the museum just before closing time. And because we weren't in a rush to get back to our Couchsurfer's house, we decided to walk all the way to the bus stop where we alighted earlier. We retraced the tuktuk's trail and our own footsteps. Back at the bridge, I faced an onslaught of Indian kids asking for a pen. Even though I didn't have one on me, they happily posed for a photo.

Little did we know that we were to stumble upon a magnificent pink cathedral later that evening... And lose an iPhone.

Thank You, India Series:

Madurai, India: Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Madurai, India: Meenakshi Amman Temple
Aboard India's Modes of Transport
Arrival Turned Fans Day
Thank You, India
How To Apply For An India Tourist Visa In The Philippines

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Ken Agsaway said...
July 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

i like your tattoo.

Tin | The Average Jane said...
July 4, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Asking for a pen? That's a highly unusual request.

Riz said...
July 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Would like to visit the museum someday. Indian history and the life of Ghandi can be very interesting. Sorry Gaye you lost your iphone! :((

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Thanks Ken! :) Cordillera love!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Tin, IKR? Would have loved to give 'em pens if only I had some on me.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 4, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Actually Riz, we lost it that night. But found it the day after. Can't wait to blog about it. We found some really nice locals there!

Andy said...
July 5, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Oh jeez! I envy you a lot! hahaha!

When they ask me where do I want to go, I say India and they always answer me the same - Mabaho dun! But I dunno, India is one of my top 5 places that I want to visit.

shengmarie said...
July 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

That picture with you and the kids, very humbling.

joan | the backpack chronicles said...
July 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM

I could imagine how you chortled and choke upon seeing Godzilla in front of Gandhi's Museum. I was like "what the hell is a dinosaur doing in front of a National Heroes' musuem"? LOL!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 6, 2012 at 2:35 AM

Andy, a lot of people told me the same thing! And it's funny cause they've never even been there. Haha.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 6, 2012 at 2:36 AM

Joan, the ultimate guard :)

ardee sean said...
July 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I want to visit India too.. it would be fun to add Gandhi Museum in itinerary.. game ako sa lakaran.. pero siguro hanggang 2 hours lang.. heheh :P

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 6, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Haha! Mahaba na rin ang 2 hours na lakaran!

SunnyToast said...
July 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM

I love you tatoo and the picture wre u need a pair of bell bottoms:)perfect!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Aww, thanks :)

Micamyx|Senyorita said...
July 10, 2012 at 5:40 AM

Sorry about the iPhone, but I know that the visit to the museum made up for it... I hope. Toinks.

kim buenafe said...
July 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM

that place in the last photo looks a bit like Manila, only with less crowded streets. and btw, nice tattoo! would love to visit india soon!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Thanks Kim :) Hope you get to visit India very soon!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Mica, we lost it BUT found the next day. Story coming up soon :)

evankristine said...
July 12, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Where else did you travel in India? My Finnish friend visited Mumbai (puti yun ah) and sabi niya sobrang ganda daw and no bad experience! Mas mura kesa sa philippines?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
July 12, 2012 at 9:27 PM

I just traveled in the Tamil Nadu state. But will definitely be back to see the rest of the country! said...
June 10, 2013 at 3:05 AM

I hope to visit this place soon. I want to know more about the famous father of India -Gandhi.

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