Antal going on procession.
The view from one of the priests houses.
During our time in Madurai, we went to visit the nearby village of Srivilliputtur where my professor had done her research for her dissertation on the goddess Antal. Since she had spent a great deal of time there, she was friends with all the priests and we ended up being invited to lunch. However, the two head priests of the temple were brothers, and they were feuding (perfect soap story plot, huh?) After being invited to lunch by one brother, the other brother also invited us to lunch. We could not refuse either one, and we also could not let either brother know that we had accepted an invitation at their rival's house. So we ended up having two huge Indian meals (the best Indian food I have ever had, and it was served on banana leaves on the floor).
It should perhaps be said that one meal in India is about three times what I'm normally used to. Not only are there multiple courses, but you will be plied with seconds and thirds at each course. Refusing is not an option, especially since everywhere I went Indian women would pinch me and say "you are too skinny, eat, eat" (remind anyone of "eat Santa eat!"?). By this point in the trip however I had been trained well. I polished off first, seconds and thirds at each house, had sweets and coffee too (this was tricky since it is polluting to have your mouth touch the utensils so we had to pour boiling hot coffee into our mouth and hopefully not on our laps) and walked away still hungry. I think this was the proudest my professor has ever been of me since she had been attempting to force feed me large amounts of food for the last year and a half.