Ancient Madurai and Old Delhi! Beautiful Description!!( Post No. 2409)


Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 20 December 2015


Post No. 2409


Time uploaded in London:- 13-24

( Thanks for the Pictures  ) 



old mdu

Here is a beautiful description of Madurai as seen by Mankudi Marudan, a poet who was in the court of a Pandya king who ruled South Tamil Nadu 2000 years ago:–

“The poet enters the city by its great gate, the posts of which are carved with images of the Goddess Lakshmi, and which is grimy with ghee, poured in oblation upon it to bring safety and prosperity to city it guards. It is a day of festival, and the city is gay with flags, some, presented by the king to celebrate to commemorate brave deeds, flying over the homes of captains, and others waving over the shops which sell the gladdening toddy.


The streets are broad rivers of people, folk of every race, buying and selling in the market place or singing to the music of wandering minstrels.


A drum beats and a royal procession passes down the street, with elephants leading to the sounds of conches. A refractory beast breaks his chain, and tosses like a ship in an angry sea until again he is brought to order. Chariots follow with prancing horses and fierce footmen.


Meanwhile stall keepers ply their trade, selling sweet-cakes, garlands of flowers, scented powder and betel quids. Old women go from house to house, selling nosegays and trinkets to the womenfolk.  Noblemen drive through the streets in their chariots, their gold-sheathed swords flashing, and wearing brightly-dyed garments and wreathes of flowers. From balconies and turrets the many jewels of the perfumed women who watch the festival flash in the sun light.


The people flock to the temples to worship to the sound of music, laying their flowers before the images and honouring the holy sages. Craftsmen work in their shops – men making bangles of conch shell, goldsmiths, cloth- dealers, coppersmiths, and flower sellers, vendors of sandal wood, painters and weavers. Food shops busily sell their wares – greens, jack fruits, mangoes, sugar candy, cooked rice and chunks of cooked meat.


In the evenings the city prostitutes entertain their patrons with dancing and singing to the sound of the lute (Yaz), so that the streets are filled with music. Drunken villagers, up for the festival, reel in the roadways, while respectable women make evening visits to the temples with their children and friends, carrying lighted lamps as offerings. They dance in the temple courts, which are clamorous with their singing and chatter.


At last the city seeps—all but the goblins and ghosts who haunt the dark, and the bold housebreakers, armed with rope ladders, swords and chisels, to break through the walls of mud houses. But the watchmen are also vigilant, and the city passes the night in peace.

madurai 028

Mornings come with the sound of the Brahmins intoning their sacred verses. The wandering bards renew their singing, and the shopkeepers busy themselves opening their booths. The toddy-sellers again ply their trade for thirsty morning travellers. The drunkards reel to their feet and once more shout on the streets. All over the city is heard the sound of opening doors. Women sweep the faded flowers of the festival from their court yards. Thus the busy everyday life of the city is resumed.

–Maduraikanchi, Pattuppaattu.




Ibn Batuta, Moroccan traveller who travelled from 1326 for 27 years, wrote about Asian countries and its peoples. Here is what he wrote about Delhi:–

“We then proceeded on from Masud Abad till we came to Delhi, the capital of the empire. It is a most magnificent city, combining atone beauty and strength. Its walls are such as to have no equal in the whole world. This is the greatest city of Hindustan; and indeed of all Islam in the East. It now consist of four cities, which becoming contiguous have formed one. The city was conqured in the year of the Hejra 584 (1188 CE). The thickness of its walls is 11 cubits. They keep grain in this city for a very long time without undergoing any change whatever. I myself saw rice brought out of the treasury, which was quite black, nevertheless, had lost noe of the goodness of its taste.  The same was the case with the kodru, which had been in the treasury for ninety years, flowers, too, are in continual blossom in this place. Its mosque is very large; and in the beauty and extent of its building, it has no equal. Before the taking of Delhi, it had been a Hindoo temple, which the Hindoos call El Bur Khana (But Khana); but, after that event, it was used as a mosque. In its court-yard is a cell, to which there is no equal in the cities of the Muhammadeans; its height is such that men appear from the top of it like little children. In its court, too, there is an immense pillar, which they say, is composed of stones from seven quarries. In length it is 30 cubits; its circumference eight; which is truly miraculous. Without the city is a reservoir for the rain water; and out of this inhabitants have their water for drinking.  It is two miles in length, and one in width. About it are pleasure gardens to which the people resort.

Ibn Batuta in Arabic




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