Temple time in Madurai

The Minakshi-Sundareswarar temple in Madurai. This is where I did the majority of my research and field study. The temple is somewhat unique in that it is often referred to as the Minakshi Temple, and Minakshi is the goddess and consort of the god Sundareswarar, it is not often that a temple is named after the goddess rather than the god.
A decorative arch inside the temple with small oil lamps.
A small shrine on the outer wall of the temple, it is smeared with kunkum and ash, the trident shape is a symbol of the god Shiva which Sundareswarar is a manifestation of.
All sari'd up and ready to go to temple. The Minakshi temple actually does not admit non-Hindus (the shrines at least do not, the more open parts of the temple allow visitors) and although I was let in once or twice, the third time we tried to visit Minakshi, I was told I could not go in because I was not Hindu. My professor (who is Hindu and Indian) argued with the guard telling him I was however he cited the lack of flowers in my hair, and the fact that I was not wearing earrings as proof I was not Hindu (he decided that mentioning that I was white might not be the best tactic with Archana arguing with him).
It is customary to throw ash onto this statue of Ganesha. These boys were too cute and got into a big ash-fight (Indian equivalent to a snowball fight?) before their grandfather broke it up, I got a picture of them later grinning as they're covered head to toe in ash.

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