Monday, October 25, 2010

Jain Temple - Mattancherry,Kochi

This time, I am taking   you  all to a  Jain temple in Mattancherry, Kochi, my home town . I feel this could be a different experience for all my dear readers as it was for me. As I entered this temple peace enveloped me as I could feel the tranquility inside. This temple is an ideal place to meditate and I could see many were doing so.

The motto of Janisim is AHIMSA . Ahimsa Parmodharma is the greatest law. No violence even in thoughts and action, respecting all the individuals, flora and fauna too and they follow the path of Live and Let Live. GREAT VALUES. Hatred and violence cannot be eradicated by counter violence and counter hatred  but by love and spirit of forgetting and forgiving, i.e Kshama  I think if  every one understands  and starts emulating these values it would bring lot of peace on earth.   Jainisim believes in equality of man and does not recognize caste , creed and  untouchability. It also lays emphasis on Karma theory " What  you sow you reap". It is open to all. They also believe in unity and  celebrate all the major festivals like Paryushanparva. It is an eight day festival and the  community works together to make it a successful one.

The main idol in the temple is of Bhagawan Shri Dharamnath the 15th Jain Tirthankar. This temple was constructed in the year 1904AD. As it has completed a century this has become a JAIN TIRTH.When I visited the temple it was the time of the festival and during this period they  eat only cooked and steamed pulses  with out using  oil or spices  known as  Ambel . Fasting and meditation  is an excellent way to discipline the  self.

There is a common belief among many that Lord Mahavir was the founder of Jainism. He was the 24th Tirthankar and was renowned as the apostle of Ahimsa and harbinger of peace. Jainism existed  thousands of years earlier to  Lord Mahavir. This trip helped me to clarify that doubt I had in my mind too. The first Tirthankar was Lord Rushabdev. There are many shrines inside the temples dedicated to various  Tirthankars and Goddesses .Many Jain Tirth Sthans  are beautifully depicted on the walls of the shrine.. This was a new experience for me as I was accustomed to visiting  only South Indian temples. I have provided the information collected from the temple office which is under the care of Shree Cochin Swetambar Murtipujak Sangh. Those who are desirous of getting more information may log on to

Other  Places of Worship in Mattancherry & Fort Kochi, check List of temples .
 How to reach:
The nearest railway station is Ernakulam  Junction which is 10 Kms from Mattancherry.
Nearest airport is Nedumbassery.
Private buses  ply from Ernakulam to Mattancherry.
One can avail ferry service also from Ernakulam to Mattancherry.
Budget and luxury hotels are available in  Ernakulam and Wellington Island which is between Ernakulam and Mattancherry.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple and Mammiyur temple

Guruvayur is called as the Bhooloka Vaikuntam as here resides Vishnu as Guruvayurappan,  an idol believed to have been worshipped by Lord Krishna Himself.   Lord Guruvayurapan ,thus got His name as the idol here was installed by Guru (Jupiter) and Vayu (the God of wind) .Inside the temple right in front of the sanctum  is the dwajasthambham .  There is no electrical illumination inside the sanctum and the   divine idol of Lord can be viewed only with the bright glow of  oil lamps and the effulgence emanating from the sanctum cannot be expressed in words.

A certain dress code is followed in this temple and it is mandatory for men to wear dhoti and for women sari or salwar. Pilgrims queue up patiently for a darshan of their dear God, chanting Lord's name 'Om Namo Narayanaya' which itself is a great experience and the  atmosphere gets charged with devotion and totally transports one to a realm of  inner  peace and harmony .

There are  sub shrines for  Ganapathi, Ayyapa, Edatharigathu Bhagavathy. There is a  magnificent idol of Vishnu reclining on his serpent Aadisesha with consort  Lakshmi. There are wonderful paintings on the walls of the sanctum and all the pillars have beautifully sculpted scenes from Krishnavatara .

The temple owns quite a lot of elephants and many are offerings from the devotees to their dear God as Guruvayurappan is believed to be a lover of elephants . There are Seevelis (Procession carrying idol on top of elepahnt) both in the morning and late in the night just before the temple closes.  I  was fortunate enough to witness the kazhcha Seeveli in the evening and there were four caparisoned elephants for   the same.The procession was regal with colorful parasols, aalavatom ,venchamaram and panchavadayam ( percussion instruments), Every year the temple conducts  an elephants' race and the elephant which wins the race  gets the right  to carry the idol of Lord for Seeveli for the rest of the year. This interesting spectacle is a huge crowd puller attracting hordes of devotees albeit a bit scary for one who is not habituated to see elephants at  such close quarters.

 Photography is prohibited  inside the temple.

 Rudra theertham and Mammiyur temple:
The water  tank outside the temple  is  very divine and it is believed that Lord Siva performed  penance here and it is known as Rudra theertham. When  Guru and Vayu were searching for  an ideal place for the consecration of Vishnu's idol, Lord Siva allowed them to install it on the banks of Rudra teertham and He himself moved to a place where we see the present Mammiyur  Mahadeva temple which is just a  kilometre from the Guruvayur temple.  It is believed that a trip to Guruvayur is not complete , if one does not visit Mammiyur temple.This temple  has Lord Siva as the main deity and there are shrines for Parvati and Vishnu ,  Ganapati, Muruga and Ayyapa.

 Guruvayur Temple timings 3 am - 1 Pm. 4 Pm- 8.30 pm.

How to reach- This temple town is 34 Kms from the cultural capital of  Kerala , Trichur . There are excellent accommodation facilities in Guruvayur itself both set up by the temple  and  Government. There are many private hotels too. We stayed in  hotel Nandini Tourist Home on Eastern side of the temple as it was just walkable distance from the temple. 
Private as well as State transport buses ply to this small  town.
Nedumbassery is the nearest airport and Trichur is the nearest rail head. There is a railway station in Guruvayur itself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Durga Parameshwari temple - Kateel

 Navarathri festival is on and I thought a  post on   Mother Goddess  Durga whom we all worship during these nine divine nights is apt for the season. Navarathri is victory of  good over evil, and this temple I visited also has the Divine Mother Durga  as the presiding deity.

 Kateel Durga Parameshwari temple stands gloriously in the middle of  river Nandhini surrounded by thick and lush greenery. Kati, means middle and Ila means  area in  Tulu language, a local dialect spoken in Dakshina Kannada. This temple is at a distance of  29 Kms. from Mangalore city.  Nandhini, believed to be the daughter of Kamadenu  was cursed by a rishi and she flowed as a  river on earth. She requested Goddess Durga to redeem her and the Goddess  after  killing the demon Arunasura resided in the form of a Linga in the Kati of river Nandini. By the presence of  Mother Goddess, Nandhini was relieved from the curse and thence She blesses Her devotees.
How to Reach:
Mangalore is well connected with air, road and rail. Many private buses ply to this temple . Private cabs are also available and one can hire them at reasonable rates.
Accomodation- Budget , luxury and deluxe hotels are available in Mangalore.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ramnath temple, Bandode, Goa.

Ramnath, is Lord Shiva and He came to be known thus because the idol was installed  by  Lord Rama . This temple of Gowda Saraswath community was in Loutolim first and was shifted to the present location post  Portuguese colonisation . The temple also houses images of Lakshmi Narayan, Kamakshi, Santeri and Siddanath. This temple also has a multi layered deepasthambha and  is maintained very well as  other temples of Goa.

The temple celebrates the annual jatra festival, it is a procession carrying the idol in palanquin around the temple. Have a close look at the last picture. Is it not amazing? I saw this type of  stone work in some of the temples I visited in Tamil Nadu.