[fusion_text]IMG_09681All thanks to the Chella Meenakshi Centre for Educational Research and Services,  our crew of scholars got to experience some wonderful cultural traditions of India. For example, our second night in Madurai, the CM Center brought in some experienced professionals who taught us how to make garland and Kolam (floor art) – see photos below – as well as pottery and some traditional Southern Indian cooking. We saw some beautiful dancers in gorgeous dress (see photo). The CM Centre also brought in professionals who drew henna (vegetable stain) on our arms and hands (even the gents got it!). I learned that for weddings, henna is traditionally done all over the arms and hands, on both sides. After my henna was complete, a few people asked me if I was in India to attend a wedding, which of course I wasn’t but the question did make me smile at the prospect of actually doing so one day!  We also had the opportunity to attend a concert in Madurai, which was quite reminiscent of an Opera experience here in the United States as there was an orchestra of music and song, along with someone (a dancer in this case) who acted out the music (see photo).  Finally, no mention of culture in India would be complete without discussion of the saree (or sari) dress commonly worn by women.  My new and dear friend Rama Raghu of Madurai dressed me in one of her lovely selections from her wardrobe for our last night in Madurai (see photo). I felt like a queen!

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