Hindia

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Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva, here named Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500 year old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, mentioned since antiquity inTamil literature though the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655 CE.

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For many years, Rita Woetamani I was sought after for her herbs and potions that could mend any ailment and problem. Her husband Klaas de Haven was a botanist and scholar from Europe eager on discovering the flora of the East Indies, and for the love of his life, he built her the Glass House to house her collection of plants.

It was nearly a century and a half ago that she planted the first tree at Taman Gagak. It was a majestic wonder of nature, and she said it was sacred. The day her granddaughter hung herself from the tree, the tree shed its leaves and never grew a single leaf since.

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Today I spent seven hours in this glorious building at my university, the Asian Library (yes it’s not a very creative name but that’s okay). The building is comprised of three floors and it’s amazing.

There are books in or about basically any Asian language you can imagine, from the more commonly-studied ones like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to others like Tibetan, Mongolian, and Sanskrit. In total, there are eleven or so languages for which there’s a pretty large collection of books.

Some of the coolest materials I found (a very very short list): 

  • Japanese-Sinhala dictionary 
  • Mongolian-English-Japanese dictionary
  • Mongolian-German-Russian dictionary
  • a Beijing slang dictionary
  • a grammar of Hindi
  • a Chinese film with German subtitles

Basically I’ve decided where I’m gonna live from now on.