Madurai Malli !

clicked outside Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Ok. All those wonderful ladies who asked me to post pictures from Madurai, this post is especially for you !! It would be a error of judgment if i put in four -five posts on Madurai and didn’t get the flowers in ! Madurai Malli ( Malli = Jasmine )

Yes. The legendary Jasmine flowers from Madurai are world famous. I would give two hoots and a half to ‘world famous’. I would give the world to the wonderful and distinct aroma that the Madurai Jasmine permeates.

clicked outside Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

My dad published a book on flower marketing. That was downright confusing. Flowers meant those white nice smelling thing in baskets, and endless bargaining over a few paise!

Of course, there was a wonderful aroma in the air when the flowers were around…but a book was way too much ! Years later, i realised that Jasmine exported world over from Madurai is quite something indeed.

The flowers that you see in Madurai are so neatly knit and so tightly knit too. There just is no space in between two flowers ! Such a contrast from many other parts of the country where there is so much space between two flowers, that if it were a border between India and Pakistan, we would be at war with each other every day !

clicked outside Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

Wearing flowers on a daily basis is a very daily thing for women in Tamil heartland ! In certain parts of India, i am told that this is not the practice. But hey, numerous tamil films have indoctrinated in us that to demonstrate love, you give your lady love :Jasmine flowers. Roses were very western !

clicked at a wedding in Madurai
And ah, the very many patterns & designs that such flowers take on the head, that indeed is something! That’s supposed to leave an impact on the eye, after the nose was taken in by the aroma !

For some reason, this post reads like a documentary ! I have scratched my head enough. But today, thinking of the Jasmine aroma… my mind doesn’t work. The fingers seem to have glue coursing in them. So, i leave it that !

Phew ! What a disgrace. To documentaries ! And of course to flowers !

20 thoughts on “Madurai Malli !

  1. I didn’t know that jasmine from Madurai was exported worldwide. Thank you for enlightening me, on this respect:) And comeon, it doesn’t read like a documentary…Let me see, it looks like a flowery report from a casual visitor…ummm, looks like my mind stopped working too…these flowers do have some kinda glue:)

  2. Priya says:

    I think long time back you mentioned in your post and did say about Madurai flowers. They weave such a way it looks so beautiful.

    When the mind is blank its not easy to write it off.

  3. ♥ Braja says:

    Oh I LOVE Madurai jasmine…they’re also grown here and I adore buying the garlands and having the scent permeate the house, the senses…love it…

    Oh and Kavi, you must have missed this link, in answer to your question:

  4. Sujatha says:

    For me, jasmine flowers will always be associated with the South Indian tradition of giving your female guest a strand on their way out.

    One day we were returning from Palani and the bus stopped at a roadside restaurant. After a wonderful meal of plate idlis and watery chutney and filter coffee, the lady who ran the place gave my mom a strand of jasmine flowers and told her to come back soon. It was such a simple act but so profound in meaning at the same time. Made our hearts full.

  5. Kavi,

    Your post brought back a whiff of something, that can be only explained as a combination of jasmine flowers, polished copper puja veseels, water, and burning lamps in silver and brass….

    My daily flower lady is a Tamilian, and everytime she has come by, the landing, the lift and the foyer , has this fine jasmine scent that lingers for some time. And in keeping with the tradition, everytime she comes to collect the monthly charges, along with the change, she also gives me, gratis, two extra strands of the wonderful flowers. I am sure the Gods are pleased…..

  6. SGD says:

    Love jasmine flowers….

    Love having them in terracotta pots in nooks and corners of the house….bottled room freshners can go take a walk!!!! ;)))))

  7. Jeevan says:

    And also the flowers knit with banana strings have lose it nature and run to ‘poo karan’ asking some more banana strings… and times women loved to have them from there dear is lost somehow now?

    Nice capturing kavi 🙂

  8. manju says:

    Lovely pictures of the Jasmine garlands, Kavi Are they the same as those we can get here in Mumbai?

  9. Vijay says:

    Hi Kavi,

    Your photos are damn good. Do you publish all these in any publich photo blog/website?

  10. Mahilchi says:

    Flowers, Kumkum and turmeric were the parting gifts given to a married lady who visited your home, at least on the first visit. Though the gift in itself is simple the meaning within is profound, with the wisdom of generations past

  11. gauri says:

    Reminds me of the bustle of the mavshis (“aunts”) back home. It’s what we’d call all the women who’d sell the things that give small pleasures.



  12. Anonymous says:

    Madurai malli long deserved a post in my blog too…good to see ur post today!


  13. Nice article. I always love the scent of Madurai Malli. It is so smooth and fresh. You are right about the way they tie the flower in Madurai and Other parts of the country.

  14. Nice photos and post…makes me lament the fact that there is no wear-flowers-in-hair tradition in Kolkata and Bengal.

  15. Having grown up in Chennai, you brought back the Madurai malli Fragrance right through your pictures.


  16. Kavi says:

    Naperville Mom : When it is certified by you, well, i shall sleep in some peace !! 🙂

    Priya : Did i ?!? I must have. I am getting old !! My memory is faint ! 🙂

    Ugich Konitari : I am sure the Gods are !! 🙂 I am sure !!!!

    BTW, that is a tradition in the deep south !

    SGD : Glad that you like them

    Jeevan : Thanks !!

    Manju : I havent seen this variety in Mumbai. Even though i have looked for them. I am told that its available in the Matunga area. But there again, i havent seen the kind that i see in Mdurai. Perhaps its got something to do with the air !

    Vijay : Thank you ! Now, i will roam around with the camera more ! Thanks for that comment. No, i havent thought through publishing them separately….maybe i should..!

    Thanks once again

    Mahilchi : Ofcourse. Thanks for reminding me of that..yes. it was ! And it still is !

    Gauri : Am glad it does ! I am sure they were peddlers in perfume !! 🙂

    Ashok : Thanks..look forward toreading yours !

    maduraiveeran : Thanks !

    Sucharita : I know Bengal has a different take on flowers !!

    Random Thoughts : Thanks a ton !!


  17. Kavi says:

    Braja : That was a wonderful account of summer !! Wonderful is just the word !

  18. nsiyer says:

    Beautiful post. Such daily seen objects but dealt with in a indepth manner. Kudos to you, man. Just a matter of coincidence – I have been drinking Jasmine green tea for some time. Cheers! and one will be offered to you at work tomorrow.

  19. G says:

    to manju’s question: If these are same as the ‘Mallige’ from Udipi, Karnataka, then they are available at Andheri and Santacruz early in the mornings. That is when they are at the airport on their way to be exported out of India, & someone manages to get few for the fragrance-happy Mumbai-ites too.

    If they aren’t Mallige then I am not sure. 🙁

  20. Neelakantan says:

    Ah, not too many things transport to you a “festive” atmosphere than jasmine aroma (and dont tell me about artificial perfumes please). I am a big fan of them…yes, roses have edged them out, but jasmines are jasmines 🙂

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