Friday, December 23, 2011

Sri Viswarupa Anjali Varatha Anjaneyar temple Chinnalapatti- Tamil Nadu

Tomorrow  is  Hanuman Jayanthi and I thought it is appropriate that my next post should be on Hanuman and hence this post of the Chinnalapatti Hanuman temple.

Sri Viswarupa Anjali Varatha Anjaneyar temple is situated in the quaint little village of Chinnalapatti which is 15 Kms from the the town of Dindigul. The temple here is small, a pretty neat structure but the idol of Anjaneyar here is huge, about 16 feet in height  made of Saligrama stone. One can view the idol right from the entrance of the temple. The Lord here stands with His hands folded and  with his mace -'Gadha'  resting on his legs. His eyes are like dark marbles which sparkle and gives a feeling as if he is looking at his devotees wherever they stand.

  He is always adorned with beautiful costumes and  priests here who do the alankara(decorations) need a special mention as it is not easy to decorate a huge idol. He appears magnifcient in his various alankaras made of butter, fruits, sweet jalebis, and vadas. Offering Vada mala, a garland made of vadas  (a south Indian snack made of black gram ) numbering 108-1008 is  very  famous here . He is also bedecked with silk robes and jewellery like a king, known as Rajalankara. When He becomes Maruti he is adorned with green costume. These various alankaras are really a visual treat. The temple becomes a beehive of activity on Saturdays.  

The most attractive thing here is photography is allowed even inside the sanctum.

This is considered to be one of the  six abodes of Anajaneyar where chunks of the Sanjeevani hill fell during the great Ramayana war when the Anjayear returned  with the Sanjeevani hill to revive the unconscious Lakshmana. There are about 5 more places considered equally holy , the others are at Suchindram, Namakkal, Nanganallur in Chennai , Deivaseyalpuram and Nugarveliya in Rampoda, Sri Lanka .

Chinnalapatti town is famous for handloom weaving and Chinnalapatii silk is a speciality of this place . Unfortunately this variety of silk is losing charm and is almost extinct now a days. 

How to reach- Nearest rail station is at Dindigul Chinalapatti town is 15 Kms. from Dindigul. There are many buses plying from the town of Dindigul.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Marutha malai Subramanya swami Kovil, Coimbatore,Tamilnadu

Kartikai masam  as per the Tamil calender is from mid November  - mid December and this month is considered to be very auspicious for devotees of Siva, Ayappa and Lord Muruga.

I have been waiting for an opportunity to write on Lord Muruga, also known by many other names as Shanmugha, Vadivela, Dhandayudhapani, Karthikeya, Skanda,Subramanya  and many more . There are six important abodes of Lord Muruga known as Arupadai veedu which I would be posting here one by one. But this present temple set among the majestic hills of Marudhamalai is also considered at par with the other six abodes of Lord Muruga.  Interestingly most of the temples of Muruga is found on small mounts or hillocks.

This magnificent temple  is at a distance of 12 Kms. from the town of Coimbatore,  The renovation was under progress when I visited  the temple and a flight of steps leads one to this temple. The hills around are  believed to have medicinal herbs and one does get refreshed by breathing the fresh air here. There is a cave temple here at  level lower than the main shrine and there is also a shrine here for Vinayagar .

The idol is radiant and a glimpse of this resplendent image of Lord soothes the mind. There are sacred  springs considered to have medicinal properties. Please just see the images which I could capture . I think those pictures itself would calm your mind too.

Other Murugan temple on 'My pilgrimage'- Mittai Murugan.

Find here  the link to Arunachaleshwar temple - Tiruvannamalai which is also celebrating Karthikai festival. The Kartikai deepam lit  atop the Tiruvannamali hill is famous and lakhs of devotees flock here on that day which happens to fall on December 8 th this year.

Howto reach
Maruthamali is situated in the industrial town of Coimbatore . This town is like a mini metro and is well connected with various cities by rail, road and air.
Accomrmodation facilities are excellent in the town . The famous hill station Ooty is only a 100 odd kilometres ride from this town.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chidambaram Natarajar Koil- Tamilnadu

Chidambaram Natarajar Koil is one of the  Pancha bhootasthalas  of Siva where the Lord is worshipped in the form of Akash (space). Other Pancha bootha sthalas being Jambukeswara temple -Trichy, where Siva is worshipped as Jal ( water) Tiruvannamalai -fire,  Kalahasti - air  and  Kanchipuram - earth

The Lord Natarajar idol is enshrined in the chitsabha , the hall of Consciousness in the Ananada Tandavam pose (dance of bliss) . The idol of Nataraja is of exquisite beauty and grace  and it surely enchants those who stand in front of Him.   Next to the sanctum is a room which gets opened only during the worship which is known as Chidamabara rahasyam, the form of nothingness. Here the Lord is worshipped as formless and there are Golden Vilva leaves  inside.

The Nrithya sabha ( Dance Hall) is very famous , has exquisitely carved pillars and this is the place where Lord had a dance competition with Goddess Bhadra Kali. At the end of the competition the Lord lifted His  leg towards the sky as  Urdhva thandavar, a  pose, Kali could not take and she lost the competiton.

Near  this mandapam is a niche for Somaskandar and Kala Samhara moorthy  where the Lord protects Markendaya and kills Yama, the Lord of death.

Tiruchitra Kootam (an important Vishnu desam) is also inside this temple very near to Lord Natarajar's shrine. Vishnu here is  Tillai Govinda Rajar and his consort is known as Pundarikavalli thayar . There is also a shrine for Mahalakshmi here. 

 Amman shrine is in the outer prakram and on the left of her shrine we see the Adi Moola Siva .

This temple has lofty towers on all four sides and the the Western Gopuram has 108 dance poses from Bharatanatayam carved to perfection on the gate way.Have included a few pictures of the dance poses .
Other temples en route Chidambaram from Kumbhakonam in " My pilgrimage" are Seerkazhi and Vaidheeshwaran Koil.

How to reach- Chidambaram can be reached from Chennai or from Kumbhakonam. From Kumbhakonam it is nearly 70 Kms . From Chennai it is about a 4-5 by road. Regular buses ply from both places with very good frequency.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Brahamapureeshwarar - Tonaiappar temple, Seerkazhi, Tamilnadu

Brahamapureeshwarar -  Tonaiappar temple,Seerkazhi is a highly revered holy shrine and is very close to Vaidheeshawaran koil which is enroute to Chidambaram from Kumbakonam.It is 14th thevara sthalam and is situated near the river Kaveri. Here,  Lord Siva gives darshan in three forms -one as Lingam , Second, in  the form of a colossal statue  Tonaiappar with His consort Uma and last one as Sattainadhar Bhairavar.  All these forms are found in 3 different levels of the temple. One has to climb a few steep steps to have a darshan of Uma Maheshwar, Thoniappar and Sattainadhar.  One can see and enjoy the entire lay out of this huge temple from the top of the Vimanam.

 Brahma is believed to have worshipped the Lord Siva here hence he is known as Brahmapureeshwar,(the main Lingam in the sanctum) During the deluge Siva is said to have secured the 64 art forms in a boat (Thoni) hence he is known as Thonaiappar. Sattainadhar is said to have quelled the arrogance of Trivikramar  after he showed his dominance over all the three worlds. Sattainadhar is worshipped here on every Friday night.

This is also the place where Tirugnana Sambandar received the Milk of Wisdom from Mother Goddess, known here as  Tirunilai Nayaki.

The temple with its vast area  and a calm, serene, salubrious atmosphere shuts oneself from the outside world and helps to have peace with oneself. A temple worth visiting to feel the vibrations of spirituality.

How to reach - The temple is about 25 Kms from the town of Kumbhkonam. Many buses ply from the city of Kumbhakonam.Good hotels are there in the town of Kumbhakonam.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vaidheeswaran Koil- Kumbhakonam, Tamil Nadu

Vaidheeswaran Koil is an important Sivasthalam. It is also one of the Navagraha sthalams which enshrines the planet Chevvai, (Mars)  This temple is  en route to Seerkazhi and Chidambaram (Posts in the offing) from Kumbakonam.

The presiding deity is known as Vaidheeswaran  as he is the Divine Healer. He had cured Chevvai when he was afflicted with leprosy. Lord Vaidheeswaran's  Consort is Thayal Nayaki, she  holds a medicinal oil pot in her hands. The Tiruchandu Urundai , the prasadam offered in the temple is considered to have tremendous healing capability and is a panacea for curing many ailments. Nettripadi chandanam ( the holy sandal paste) from Murugan temple is another prasadam with healing properties. There are separate  shrines for Vinayagar and Dandayudhapani and Lord Singaravelar ( Murugan ) here. Singaravelar sannidhi is like a separate temple inside the same complex as it has a separate dwajasthambha.  Devotees offer salt , pepper, jaggery to the presiding deity here.

Vaidheeshwaran koil is 15 Kms. from the town of Kumbhakonam and is easily accessible by  road.

How to reach
Nearest town is Kumbhakonam and is well connected by rail and road. Nearest airport is at Trichy which is nearly 100 Kms from the town. This town has good boarding and lodging facilities.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gunaseelam Sri PrasannaVenkatachalapathy temple, Tamilnadu

Prasanna Venkatachalapathy temple is a famous Vishnu temple in Gunaseelam  about 20 Kms. from Trichy.This temple attracts lot of pilgrims and people also believe that worshipping the deity here helps one to cure mental and physical ailments. Pilgrims stay here for about 48 days ,worship God and partake the prasadam from the temple and get relief from their problems.The temple looks neat and clean.

Legend is that sage Gunaseela used to visit Tirumala to have the darshan of Lord Balaji , once he requested God to come to the place where he was and God obliged, pleased with the sage's devotion. The temple is small when compared to the huge temples I have visited. There is a mandapam and a water tank outside the temple.
How to reach- Trichy is well connected with rail, road and air. 
accommodation facilities are excellent as this is quite big town which attracts lot of tourists.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dhenupureeshwar and Durga temple, Pateeshwaram,Tamil Nadu

Navarathri Greetings to all my friends. 

 This time, I am taking you to Patteswaram temple which is  close to Swami Malai , One of the Aarupadai Veedugal of Lord Muruga,  The presiding deity is Dhenu Pureeshwarar ( Siva) and His consort is Gnanambigai. The Nandi here, is found on the left side of the main entrance unlike other temples where we find it  facing the Lord. It was as per Lord's wish that Nandi moved to one side as  Siva  wanted to have a look at  Tirugnanasambandar, the child poet saint  as he was approaching the temple.  The legend has it that, this Sivalingam was consecrated by Lord Rama.  There is a small shrine for Anjaneyar  and there are separate shrines for  Vinayagar and Subramaya.  The Madapam in front of the Amman sannidhi has pillars embellished with intricate designs. The  idols of of Kala Bhairavar and Vinayagar inside the temple are  huge in size. The gates of the main temple are  guarded by gigantic statues, Dwarapalakas of the Lord.

The Goddess Durga's idol situated on the Northern side is considered to be  very powerful who showers her divine blessings like a mother, on all her devotees.  Durga here is Santha swaroopi, has 8 hands and is sitting on Her mount Lion.  The temple gets crowded on Tuesdays and Fridays and many perform Rahu puja here to ward off the ill effects of the planet. The Cholas were worshippers of Durga and the deity was installed here after the fall of Chola dynasty.
How to reach- This temple is very near to the Kumbhakonam town ( 5 km ) and is well connected by road. Many buses ply from the town and this temple is very close to Swamimalai temple.Nearest airport is Trichy and rail station is at Kumbhakonam. One would find good hotels in the town itself.

Navarathri celebration in Madurai Meenakshi temple is quite famous and just made a trip to catch a glimpse of that. I could gather only a few pics from outside.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sree Tirumala Tatha Lakshmi Narasimha temple- Ullal, Karnataka

Sree Lakshmi Narasimha ( 4th avatar of Lord Vishnu ) temple is in Ullal , a quaint little town situated on the coast of Arabian sea and which is  at a distance of 8 Kms. from Mangalore.  Lord Narasimha with his consort Lakshmi is enshrined here.  This is a GSB temple . There are shrines for Kalabhairava  and Subramanya. This temple is  situated in a  calm and serene atmoshphere.
Some more information is available about this temple  at  gsbkerala .com 
How to reach- Ullal has a  railway station , Mangalore is the biggest town nearby which is easily accessible. Good number of hotels are available in Mangalore town . Check here for other temples in and around Mangalore.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aranmulla Parthasarathy temple- Kerala

Happy Janmashtami greetings to all . 
Befitting the occasion, I am taking you to the famous Aramulla Parthasarathy temple in Kerala near Chengannur which is on the banks of river Pampa. Aramulla is declared as a heritage village.It is famous for its snake boat race and the Tiruvabharanam procession for Sabarimala temple halts at this temple. Aramulla mirrors are also famous as it is cast with a special metal.
The temple of Parathasarathy, the divine charioteer  is situated in a calm and salubrious atmosphere totally away from the dust and din of the city. The temple is on a higher elevation and a flight of steps leads one to the temple. There are towers  on  four sides of the temple and on Northern side we see river Pampa where the famous Vallom kali  ( snake boat race) starts during Onam, the famous harvest festival of Kerala. This year, Onam falls in September  and those who are interested to see this colourful snake boat race can head towards Aranmulla.There is an intersting legend connected with the Aranmulla boat race . read it here.
Have a 360 degree virtual tour of the temple click here.

The Lord here,  Parathasarathy is Krishna, gives Vishwaroopa darshanam to His devotees as He appeared to Arjuna after the famous Gitopadesham. The temple sanctum is circular in shape with typical Kerala architecture . The idol here is believed to be consecrated  by Arjuna . There are 4 more temples of Vishnu which comes under the 108 divadesams consecrated by the other 4 Pandava brothers, in Kerala. I will be posting about all those one by one. These temples are in the nearby villages and devotees make it a point to visit all of them on the same day.

Just outside the sanctum on the Northen side we find the idol Nirmalyadhari Vikshasenar, 
There is a subshrine for Balabadra, in outer circumambulatory path. 
How to reach:
Nearest rail station is Chengannur. Aramulla temple is 9 Kms from this town.  Nearest airport is at Trivandrum .  
A diversion at Kulanada on NH would take one to this temple.

  My friend Asha has written  an interesting  post on  Uriyadi Varagur temple about the Janmashtami celebrations. Shall be visiting the temple soon and would bring you pictures in the near future.

 To read about Parthasarathy temple of Chennai ,on 'My Pilgrimage' click here.

My Clicks Of Parthasarathy temple, Aranmulla.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tirunageshwaram- ( Rahu sthalam) ,Tamil Nadu

Tirunageshwaram  is an important Navagraha temple in Kumbhakonam ,  Rahu is worshipped here along with his consorts. The presiding deity is Naganatha swamy ( Siva) . His consort is known here as Girigujambika. Rahu is found in the subshrine of the main temple.This is the only place where  Rahu appears in a human form, unlike other temples where he is worshipped as a serpent.

The temple gets crowded here during Rahu Kalam . The idol of Rahu is worshipped and bathed in milk during this period to ward off the ill effects of the planet.

This temple is 7 Kms from the Kumbakonam town. Very near to Uppiliyappan temple.( 1 km)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tiruchherai Saranathan temple, Tamil Nadu

Tiruchherai also known as Udaiyar Koil is a divya desam of Vishnu and here the main deity is known by the name  Saranathan and His consort Saranayaki.  This is the place where  river Kaveri prayed to God to obtain the stature of river Ganga.  Lord Vishnu blesses Kaveri here, along with His consorts, Sreedevi, Boodevi, Neela devi, and Saranayaki.  The idols are well sculpted are quite charming and  beautiful.

  The legend also mentions that during the great deluge, Brahma wanted to protect the Vedas by keeping them in a pot of clay but failed to make a lasting one. He could make one only at Tirucherai, at Sara kshetram  as per the directions of Lord Vishnu.  The temple has a separate sannidhi for Saranayaki.

There are also shrines for Lakshmi Narasimha and Rajagopalaswamy here.
Temple is situated 15 Kms from the town of Kumbhakonam.

How to reach-   Nearest airport is at Trichy. Kumbhakonam is well connected with rail and road.
As Kumbhakonam is a pilgrim town there are many hotels available in the town.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TiruKoshtiyur- Sowmya Narayana Perumal Temple, Tamilnadu

Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple in Tirukoshtiyur is in Sivagangai district and is 10 Kms from Tirupathur town, on Madurai Karaikudi road.  This is one of the 108 divyadeshams of Vishnu and I would say this was the most adventurous trip to a temple I ever undertook as I climbed the Vimanam ( tower) of the temple.

The temple is situated in a serene village and  a huge tower welcomes us inside the temple. The uniqueness of this temple is, there are 3 tiers  in the main Vimanam above the sanctum and and each tier houses a deity, the main one being on the first floor.

This   is a rock cut temple and here we can see the blend of Vaishanavism and Saivism .At the entrance there is a separate shrine for Siva with Nandi mandapam in front.  As we enter the Perumal temple,  there is a small shrine for Vinayagar , On the ground floor there is a beautifully carved statue of dancing Krishna  with Rukmani and Satyabhama.  There are many idols of Azhwars (Vaishnavite saints)  in this prakaram.  Turning left, climbing a few steps one would reach the Sowmya Narayana Perumal's sanctum. The Moolavar ( the main deity) is Vishnu in Anantha Sayanam known as Ugramellanaiyan and along with him are Boodevi and Sreedevi. The Utsavar is Sowmaya Narayana Perumal with his consorts and there are also idols of dancing Krishna, Chakrathazhwar, Ramanujar and Nambigal. On the ground floor is the shrine of  the Thayar , known here as Thirumamagal .  From the Thayar sannidhi there are a fleet of steps which  takes one  to the top of the Vimanam .

A trip up the vimanam is adventurous , scary and cannot be accessed without the help of a guide as the maze like formation may make one feel  dis -oriented. The width of the narrow rock- cut staircase is just about 21/2 feet. Lack of air, the dark interiors , frequent twist and turns in the steep staircase without railings does create panic. At times one has to bend double as the ceiling is too low. At one point it was just a hole through which we had crawl to get on to the terrace.

 On  the 2 nd  floor is the sannidhi of the Upendra Narayana with his consorts and here the Lord is in a standing position . There are beautiful murals on the walls of this temple and it is believed to be one thousand years old . Above this sanctum is another sannidhi of Paravasudevan with his consorts (All different names of Vishnu)  . From the terrace of the Vimanam  we  could see the house of  Sri Tirukoshtiyur Nambigal who was the Guru of  Ramanujana, God's devotee and a great Vaishnava saint. It is believed that Ramanujam gave the Mantropadesham of Om Namo Narayana to all his disciples from this place. It is also said that from the top of the vimanam one could also watch the Meenakshi Kovil's tower at Madurai which is 70 Kms. away.

Outside, when we circumambulate there are shrines for  Emperumanar ,Chakrathazhwar, Nambigal, all Vaishnava saints.

Facing the west we could see two huge idols of Narasimha Moorthy fighting Hiranya Kashipu and tearing him by putting him on his lap ( photos included). The Vimanam is ashtanga vimanam. Similar Vimanams are in Madurai ,  Koodal azhagar temple and other one in Chengalpet near Chennai  .

The legend is that this was the place of Kadamba Maharshi's ashram and he was being tormented by Hiranya Kashipu.To find a solution to this, all the rishis and devas assembled in Goshti ( group ) and hence this place came to be known as Tiru Koshtiyur. Here only the Prahlada charithram and slaying of  Hirnyakashipu was planned. It is also believed that Vishnu gave the Anantha sayana darshanam to Lord Indra here and the Sowmaya Narayana Perumal who is also known as Madhavan was given to Kadamba Maharishi by Lord Indra.

How to reach-   Karaikudi is the nearest town which is 20-25 Kms. The nearest airport is at Madurai.Karaikudi is well connected with road and rail .

Accommodation: Good hotels are available in town of Karaikudi .
For other temples near Karaikudi click here

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tirukkozhi, Azhagiya Manavalan temple - Urayur, Trichy, Tamil Nadu

 Azhagiya Manvalan temple is second Divya desam after sri Ranganatha Swamy temple.   There is no Utsavar here. Namperumal, the Utsavar of Sri Rangam temple is brought here for the yearly Panguni Uthram  festival. This place is also the birth place of Tirupaana Alwar, a great devotee of Vishnu. Temple architecture is very simple. This temple is not crowded like the Srirangam temple. One can worship the God, in peace.
This is the place where Lord married Mahalakshmi  known here as Kamalavalli Nachiyar when she was born as an ordinary human being because of a curse incurred. Here the deities are in kalyana Tirukolam.

Trichy is well connected by road, air and rail.Excellent accommodation facilities are available in the town.
To see other temples in and around trichy click here

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tiruvinnagaram- Uppiliappan temple, Kumbhakonam , Tamilnadu

This an important divya desam of Vishnu and the Lord here resembles the Tirupati Balaji. This the place where He married Boodevi , the daughter of Markendaya Muni. Here She is enshrined in the sanctum itself.  The legend is that as Boodevi cooked food for the Lord with out salt when he appeared as an old man to marry  her so as to avoid marriage to an old person. But the  Lord accepted the food and revealed himself as Vishnu and married Boodevi. In this temple salt is not used when offerings are made to God, hence the name uppila..appan (Uppu means salt in Tamil)

There is also a shrine for Aanjaneya just outside the sanctum.

This temple is 7 Kms from the town of Kumbhakonam.A must see for those who visit Kumbhakonam as the beauty of the idol adorned with silks and jewels cannot be described in words.
The temple is just one Km from Tiru Nageshwaram - the temple famous for Rahu , one of the nine planets . Shall post soon about that too.
How to reach- Kumbhakonam well connected with rail, road . Nearest airport is at Trichy.
 Accommodation- Good hotels are available in Kumbhakonam town itself.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mahalakshmi temple - Karur, Tamil Nadu

Mahalakshmi temple is situated in Mahadanapuram,23 Kms. from Karur town. This temple is in a remote  village and  very few vehicles ply on the road. The motorable road is well canopied on either side by coconut trees. when we  reached the  temple , it was closed  as the priest had taken French leave. But the kind lady sitting outside,  allowed us inside the temple and that helped me to get over the disappointment.

This temple is about 800 years old and this temple becomes a beehive of activity during the  Aadi  (Tamil calender month) festival. Devotees participate in a bizarre festival of breaking coconuts on their  heads in return for fulfillment of their wishes. The priest of the temple  breaks the coconut on the heads of devotees. This ritual has drawn a lot of  flak from many agencies but devotees in the name of faith   do not deter from this.

Check the video of the ritual .Click here. for the video

My clicks of the temple

How to reach- Karur town is well connected by rail  and road, the nearest airport is at Trichy 
Accommodation- There are good hotels in Karur town.
But one may have to hire a cab to reach this temple as it is in a very remote place.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Appakudathan temple- Tiru Koviladi, Tamil Nadu

8 th divya desam Of Vishnu
The temple is situated in a tiny village of Koviladi on the banks of river Kaveri. The Moolavar , in a reclining pose is known as Appa Kudathan and  here we find Markendaya muni near the Lord.  This temple is considered to be older than Srirangam temple.  There is a huge silver pot , the appa kudam  (A  sweet made of rice) near the Lord's right hand and it is believed to be full of appam as this Lord is fond of the same.

The Utsavar here is known as Azhagiya Manvalan , Namperumal and Appala Rangan.. He is flanked by Boodevi and Sree devi thayar.There is also a Santhana Gopala here and  the belief is that a childless couple would be blessed with progeny if they offer their worship to the Lord here.

Legend is  that a king was cursed by sage Dhurvasa when he accidently killed a Brahmin during a hunting expedition. To get liberation he was asked to feed 1000 hungry Brahmins. During the feast the Lord Srinivasa, disguised as a Brahmin consumed all the food meant for the 1000 people. Not satisfied with that, Lord asked the king to feed Him a pot of Appam ( sweet) The moment he ate the appam the king was liberated.  Since then he came to be called as Appa Kudathan and here for daily Pooja appam is offered to the Lord.

The temple was in a dilapidated stage when I visited and the renovation work was in progress. Very few people visit this temple  but the sanctum dazzles with all its brightness as it houses the Lord and his family.The priest Srinivasa Bhattar enthusiastically explained about the history and legend connected with the temple. As it is erroneously reported in many sites that the Lord is holding the appa kudam in his right hand. he specifically asked me to write clearly that the kudam is 2 feet away from the moolavar.
Kamalavalli thayar has a separate sannidhi here.
This is one of the  Pancha Ranga Kshetrams Others are  at Srirangam,  Kumbakonam,  Tiru Indalur in Tamilnadu and  Sri Ranga Patinam near Mysore in Karnataka

The temple timings are 7.30 am to 1 pm., 4.30pm -8.15p.m

To reach Koviladi, one can take Tiruchi- Kallanai- Tirukattuppalli route. It's located 25 Kms east of Trichy.
Buses ply from Tiruchi central and Chathiram bus stand with a frequency of 1/2 hr,.
Cabs charge around Rs. 400 for the up and down trip from Trichi to Koviladi.
Accommodation - Good hotels are available in Trichy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parimala Ranganatha Thirukoil- Tiruindalur, Tamil Nadu

Parimala Ranganadhar Koil in  TiruIndalur is  one of the Pancha Ranga Kshetrams( temple) and is an important divyadesam of Vishnu. 
The Utsavar here is known as Sugandha Nathar or  Parimala Nathar and his consort is Parimala Valli
There are seperate shrines for Suganda valli , Andal and Chakrathazhwar.
The pillars here are beautified with images from the epics Ramayana , Krishnavatara and Dashavatara.
This is the place where the Moon was liberated from curse by Lord Srinivsa, and here He is seen near the Lord. The temple sanctum is decked up well and the idol of Ranganathar is of bewitching beauty.

This temple is in Mayiladuthurai and is 35 Kms from Kumbakonam.
Other Pancha Ranga Kshetrams are in 1.SriRangam,2. ThiruKoviladi, 3.TiruKudanthai and 4.Srirangapattinam.

How to reach:  Nearest airport is Trichy and there is a rail station at Mayiladuthurai. 
Many buses ply to this town from various parts of Tamil Nadu.
Accommodation- Good hotels are available in Mayiladuthurai.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thiru Anbil Soundar Raja Perumal Or Vadivazhagiya Nambi temple- Tamil nadu

 Thiru Anbil, is the fourth Divyadesam of Vishnu.( one of the 108 Vishnu desams) The temple was built by the Cholas.

 This temple is situated on the banks of river Kaveri at Kollidam ( Coleroon) and has Ranganathar as the presiding deity known here as Thiru Vadivazhagiya Nambi in a reclining posture   and Soundaraja Perumal as the Utsavar. The idol, as the name mentions is of  exquisite beauty and  His consort is Azhagiya valli Nachiyar. Aandal is in the outside prakaram and Garudalwar is facing the sannidhi of the Lord. This temple  is believed to be  6000 years old and is considered to be the birth place of the poet saint Valmiki.

There are many inscriptions in this temple describing the history of those times.

 How to reach: Well connected. Airport is at Trichy . This temple is at a distance of 20 Kms from the town on the Tiruchi- Kumbakonam route.
The temple is just 5 kms.from the Lalgudi railway station.
Accommodation- Good hotels are available in Trichy .

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sarangapani temple - Kumbhakonam , Tamil Nadu

 This is  an important divya desam of Vishnu and is also known as Tiru Kudanthai. This is one of the  Pancha Ranga Khestras ;  Other four are  temple of  Sri Ranganatha; Sri Rangam,  ( near Trichy)  Appakudathan temple, Tirukoviladi- Trichy ,  Parimala Ranganathar at Tiru Indalur ( near Kumbakonam) and Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple at Srirangapatanam in Karnataka. I shall be writing on the remaining temples too.

Sarangapani temple is the biggest Vishnu temple in Kumbakonam and  it belongs to 13th century. The Moolavar is Sarangan ,and the thayar is Ranganayaki. The temple sanctum is designed like a chariot with wheels and is drawn by horses and elephants.

Lord's consort also known  as Kamala Valli Thayar has a separate sannidhi and there are Lord's paduka's(foot prints) in the outside prakaram where devotees offer worship. Opposite to that, there is a shrine for Patala  Srinivasa Perumal. Here one has to  climb down a few steps to reach the shrine .

The  main temple has a beautiful mandapam in front of the temple. The sanctum has  two entrances. One is known as the Uttarayana dwara and other one the Dakshinayana dwara as is in Tiruvellarai. The dakshinaya dwaram remains open from the Tamil month of Aadi to Marghazi ( mid August to mid January ) and the other door remains open from ( Mid January- mid July) Thai -Aani. This is in accordance with the movement of the Sun's path.

Temple timings are 6 am - 12 noon , 4 pm.8 pm.

How to reach: Kumbakonam is well connected by express trains from Chennai.Tamilnadu has excellent road transport systems and one  can easily get buses to all parts of Tamilnadu from Kumbakonam.The nearest airport is Trichy.
Accommodation: Good hotels suiting to all sections of society are available in Kumbakonam

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adi Kumbeshwar temple - Kumbakonam,TamilNadu

Kumbakonam, is a pretty little town in Tanjavur district and is situated at a distance of 40 kms from Tanjore which is famous for its  'Big temple' .  Kumbakonam is known as the "temple town" as there are about  60 odd  temples  in and around .There is a constant flow of pilgrims to this town as many famous and ancient temples are  here with in a radius of few kilometers . It is a one stop destination to visit many of  the ancient monuments and heritage sites as this region was under the Chola dynasty.Many villagers here are agriculturists as the land is made fertile by the Ganges of South , river Kaveri and the town is famous for brass vessels and the famous degree coffee.

This time, I am taking you to the famous and oldest temple of Adi Kumbeshwara .  Kumbha means a pot and it is believed that  an Amrit Kumbha ( Pot of nectar) with seeds of creation was set afloat by Lord Shiva during the Maha Pralaya ( floods) and it  landed  at this place . The divine nectar flowed out and it became the Mahamaham tank and every12 years, pilgrims from all over the globe converge here to participate in the great Mahamaham festival; the Kumbhmela of South and  to have a holy dip in the famous tank  to get rid of all their sins.

 The town also derives its name from this' Kumbha' legend.The temple of Adi Kumbeshwara swamy is right at the centre of the town and the temple is connected to the main gate by a long corridor which is lined with shops selling souvenirs and trinkets.

The presiding deity is  Adi Kumbeshwara  ( Shiva) and the Amman here is Mangalambigai. As we enter inner prakaram of the the temple, on to the left there is a shrine for the  Lord Vinayagar. There are also shrines for Durga, Shanmugha (Muruga) and Lord Nataraja and Kiratha moorthy ( another form Of Shiva) The Idol of Durga and Mangalambigai are of exquisite beauty.
 How to reach- 
Nearest airport is Trichy . Kumbakonam has a railway station with express trains connecting Bangalore, Chennai etc. Bus services are  excellent inTamil Nadu and one can reach any part of Tamil Nadu using this service.
Good hotels are available in Kumbakonam to suit the tastes of all sections of the society.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Damodar temple Zambaulim -Goa

Damodar temple, belonging to GSB community (Gowda Saraswath Brahmins), is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated in Zambaulim, 22kms from Madgaon. It is situated on the banks of  river Kushavati . The holy water of the river is believed to cure skin diseases.

There is also an idol of Lakshmi Narayana inside the sanctum. There are shrines for  Goddess Chamundeshwari  and  Siva  on either side of the main temple.  

The enchanting idol of Lord Siva was consecrated at the present site after the Portuguese demolished  the original temple  in 1567. Both Christians and Hindus here rever Lord Damodar.

Accommodation facilities are available in the temple complex for the community members.
For other temples in Goa- view here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rajagopalaswamy temple - Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu

Rajagopalaswamy temple at Mannargudi is in Tiruvarur district . This is a very small town and is around 30 Kms. from Tanjore. Cultivation is main occupation of the people here and the green paddy fields are a real visual treat to the eyes as one travels towards this town. The temple here is  very famous and ancient . Even though this is a very popular temple and  attracts pilgrims through out the year, this is not listed  among the divyadesams of Vishnu  mainly because none of the Alwars have sung mangalsanam here in praise of this Lord.

This temple has 7 prakarams and all the towers were under renovation when I visited. The Kumbabhishekam was also performed recently.

The main deity in the sanctum is a 7 foot tall idol that resembles Balaji of Tirupati and here He is flanked by his consorts Boodevi and Sreedevi.The Utsavar Rajagopalaswamy's idol is of exquisite beauty and is adorned with precious and colurful jewellery and flowers. Along with Him are  His consorts Rukmani and Satyabhama. There  are small statues of cows and calves  around him as he is  Gopala .( one who tends herd of cows) .  There is also a small idol of Bala Krishna ( baby Krishna) known here as Santhana Gopala, in a small cradle .There is a belief that offering prayers by holding this idol in hand blesses barren couples with progeny.

Thayar sannidhi and Anjaneyar snaidhi are in the outer prakaram. Thayar is known as Sengamala Thayar and Her idol is never taken out of the temple hence she is known as Padi Thaandaa Patni (One, who never crosses the threshold of the house) Thayar sannidhi has beautifully carved pillars and a Tulsi maadam. The flag post is in front of the Rajagopalaswamy sannidhi and near to it is the Patala Anjaneyar, The Anjaneyar idol half concealed in the earth.

As it was festival time Utsavar was out of the temple and could get some pictures of the deity. There is  also a 50 feet high monolithic tower in front of the temple.  I have included that also in the photos.

How to reach:
Mannargudi can be reached from Tanjore (30 Kms), Kumbakonam (30 Kms) or Tiruvarur(27 kms.)
Nearest airport is Trichy. Nearest railway station is Nidamangalam and the road bisects the railway platform which is very unique.
Accommodation -  One can find good accommodation in Trichy, Tanjore or Kumbakonam. 
Note that the most of the temples in Tamil Nadu are closed between 12noon -4pm, this temple also follows the same style.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Udupi Sri Krishna Temple

Udupi Sri Krishna temple is  an important pilgrimage centre  in Dakshin Kannada region and is  very famous  like the Guruvayoor temple of Kerala.  Here one would see beautifully decked up Krishna's idol here, with a churner in one hand and a rope in the other.  Devotees worship God here , through a window . As per the legend, it is believed that the Lord here turned to the opposite direction to give darshan to an ardent  devotee, named Kanakadasa  who was denied entry into the temple. The  main door of the sanctum   remains closed here, as the worship is only through the window.The window is  known as Kanakadasa window.

Photography is banned inside the temple.

The temple is situated right inside the town and it  provides free meals to the devotees here everyday.

Just outside the Krishna temple, there are two ancient temples of   Siva known as  Anantheswara and Chandramoueeshwara. I have included the photos of these two temples also.

How to reach- The town of Udupi is 60 Kms from Mangalore and it is well connected by air, rail and road. There is a railway station at Udupi itself and all major trains halt here.
Accommodation -  There are good hotels at Mangalore as well as at Udupi.
Temples nearby:
Annegudde Siddhi Vinayaka temple- Kumbakshi 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Annegudde Siddhi Vinayaka temple -Kumbakshi,Karnataka

Annegudde temple enshrines the majestic image of Lord Ganesha known here as Siddhi Vinayaka , one who grants all wishes of devotees.

The word Annegudde means elephant hill and the name rightly suits the elephant God's shrine.
One can see the idol of Lord Ganesha right from the entrance as the  idol is kept on a raised platform in a spacious hall.The temple is well lit and is kept neat and clean . The temple is small but the sprawling grounds surrounding the temple with tall shade providing trees gives a nice ambiance to the pilgrims.
 Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple hence I could get  only a few photos of this temple.

The temple is in the village Kumbakshi on the Mangalore - Udupi highway . Facing the temple is the sea and pilgrims never miss this temple, those who head for Udupi Sri Krishna temple or Murudeshawar Temple. Shall be posting soon on these two temples.

How to reach- Udupi/ Mangalore - the nearest railway stations.
Airport is at Mangalore.
Accommodation- Good  hotels are at Mangalore .
Many buses ply from Mangalore town to Kumbakshi.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mugudeshwar or Trimurti temple - Kodumudi, Tamil Nadu

Arulmigu Mugudeshwar temple is situated in a serene village, on the banks of river Kaveri. This temple is famous as it houses the shrines of all the Trinities which  are very rare. The presiding deity here is Siva. Lord Mugudeshwar temple is a famous Sivasthalam or padal petra sthalam. The temple Lingam is believed to be a swaymbhu.  His consort  Parvati's shrine is on the left side of Shiva's temple. There are 3 medium sized towers here.

 As we circumambulate we see a big Vanni tree with Lord Brahma's idol enshrined beneath it. The Vanni tree is the sthalavricksham ( holy tree) here and  Brahama here has only three heads, the fourth is considered as the vanni tree itself. The top half of the tree is considered as  Goddess Saraswathi,  His consort. Behind this tree, there is a small shrine for Veera Anjaneyar .

 Mahalaksmi's temple  is on the right side of the  Vanni tree and Lord Vishnu's shrine is next to this. He is reclining here as Lord Ranganatha as in Sri Rangam. Only difference is that  He is lying on the serpent bed with 2 coils where as in Srirangam he is on a seven coil bed. Garuda, His mount is facing the  shrine. This shrine has a separate dwaja sthambha. On the North- east corner is the shrine for planet Saturn. The main mandapam in front of the Magudeshwar temple has dwaja and Nandi mandapam. There are beautiful carvings on the pillars of the temple.  The temple has a beautiful view with holy Kaveri flowing in front of the temple. Many bathe in this river as they feel it is invigorating.

Kodumudi is on Karur - Erode road.  A small diversion on the right side near the railway gate at  Kodumudi  will take one to this temple. From the main road this temple is about 1- 2 Kms.

How to reach- Well connected by road, rail and air. Trichy  is the nearest airport.
 Accommodation : As there are no hotels around this place it is better to stay at Trichy/Karur .
 Even for boarding  one may have to reach the nearest town Erode which 25 Kms away or Karur which is around 15 kms.
Many buses ply from Madurai  and Trichy to Kodumudi.
Temples nearby.
Sangameshawar temple at Bhavani which is about 40 Kms from Kodumudi  ( Dakshin Prayag)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sangameshwara temple- Bhavani, Tamil Nadu

Sangameshwara (Siva) temple is in Bhavani , 16 Kms from Erode railway station.  This temple is known as Dakshin Prayag as river Kaveri meets river Bhavani here. The confluence of these rivers along with river Amuda which is believed to be flowing underneath makes it a holy place and one can see constant stream of pilgrims in the bathing ghat here at the sangamam  ( hence the Lord here known as Sangameshawarar)  performing various rituals on its banks. It is believed that a bath at the sangamam purifies the mind as well as the body.

The temple of Sangameshwara is  very attractive as it is a store house of excellent craftsmanship.  One may wonder about the  kind of work that would have gone into making ordinary granite slabs  into magnificent ones.

Lord Sangameshwara is enshrined here facing the Kaveri. As we circumambulate there are subshrines for Vinayaga, Dakshina Moorthy, Muruga, Vishnu, Durga and Nataraja. All 63  Nayanmars also find a special place inside the temple. Amman  here is Veda Nayagi, a powerful deity and Her idol is also well decked in finery. The mandapam leading to her sannidhi has lot of ornamental work on pillars and ceiling.

Saneeshwarar shrine is on the left of Amman sannidhi and next to it is the shrine of Jeeraheshwarar, which I have seen  only in Tayumanavar temple at Rock fort temple, Trichy. There are also  shrines here for Venkatachalapathi ( Vishnu), Shenbagavalli thayar ( Mahalakshmi) and Venugopal  (Krishna).

There is a peepul tree on the banks of the rivers and there are many  Nagas and Vinayagar under it.  Pilgrims offer their worship here after a bath in the river before proceeding to the main temple of Sangameshwara.

 Nearest town is Bhavani near Erode. Plenty of buses ply to this town from Erode and neighbouring towns.

Nearest airport is Trichy/Coimbatore. Erode is the nearest rail station.
Accomodation:   Erode is a small town and one may find only budget hotels here.
Nearby temples
Temple of Magudeshwarar or Trimurti temple at Kodumudi

Monday, February 21, 2011

Darasuram-Airavateeswarar temple, Kumbakonam,Tamil Nadu

Darasuram, Airavateeshwarar temple is a replica of Tanjore Big temple but smaller in size. Darasuram temple was constructed by Rajaraja Chola  II  in the 12th century. This temple is a store house of  art work. One can see magnificent work of  art and the finely  chiseled work on each and every stone, carved  to perfection. Even the steps leading to the temple has a story to tell.  The ceiling of the temple has exquisite carvings. Minute work on the pillars  fills the mind with awe and fascination. The main mandapam of this temple is in the form of a chariot drawn by horses. This temple is a protected  under UNESCO World Heritage monuments.

The presiding deity here is  Airavateeswara (Siva) and His consort is Periyanayaki. The legend is that the deity here was worshipped by  Airavata (elephant), the mount of Indra. There are also shrines dedicated to Sarabeshwarar; a form Siva took when he wanted to quell the anger of Narasimha after killing Hirnyakashipu, then for Dakshina Murthy, a niche for Lingodhbavar and Vinayagar. The Vimana is akin to the big temple but approximately 1/3 of its size.

The Nandi found outside the temple is huge and there are a few steps near it which produces musical notes when tapped. It is protected with a mesh presently.

Great care is being taken to maintain the exterior as well as the interior . Lush green lawns stands apart with fine contrast to the pink sand stone temple.

Interesting features: The chariot shaped mandapam leading to the temple. Musical steps near the Nandi mandapam outside.

How to reach- Darasuram is about 4 kms. from the temple town of Kumbakonam on Kumbakonam - Tanjore route. Trichy is the nearest airport, the distance being 83 Kms. 
The nearest railway station is Kumbakonam and many buses ply from Kumbakonam to Darasuram.
Accommodation-Kumbakonam has many  budget, luxury and deluxe hotels.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sree Vallabha Kshetram- Tiruvalla

Sree Vallabha Kshetram in Tiruvalla, Kerala is a temple dedicated to Maha Vishnu  and is one among the 108 divyadesams , a temple which has captivated my interest very much, in recent times.  Sree meaning Mahalakshmi and Vallabha means Her husband, hence the deity here known as Sree Vallabha. The temple is constructed in typical Kerala architecture .  Set in picturesque surroundings, the temple has exquisite carvings and murals.  The flag mast here is 50 feet tall,  carved out of a single rock with Garuda's image atop and  is believed to have been created by the legendary craftsman Perumthachan.  This temple has something additional than the flag mast,a Garudathara , which is unique and appeared magnificent. This also has a Garuda's image atop.There are sub shrines around the temple for Ayyapa , Karuppaya swamy etc.

Interesting facts-
The flag mast is believed to touch the underground water level.
Also known among divyadesam as Tiruvalavazh- Vishnu, Kolapira Perumal,
Moolasthanam is outside the West gopuram.
Kathakali is performed here almost  everyday in the evenings.

 How to reach-This temple is situated in Pathanamthitta District. There is a rail station in Tiruvalla and this temple is 2 1/2 Kms. from the town. The nearest airports are Trivandrum/ Kochi . the former being a little closer to Tiruvalla.

Accommodation- recommend either stay in Trivandrum or Kochi as  one gets  plenty of choices.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Coonan Kurisu Palli (The bent Cross Church) - Mattancherry.

Coonan Kurisu (Bent Cross)Palli (Churchor Holy Cross church - is a place of historical importance and faith for the believers. A shrine sandwiched between row of shops  in the busiest street of  Mattancherry, Kochi( My home town) Kerala.

Historical importance- When St. Thomas, disciple of Jesus Christ landed in Kerala in A.D 52, he could convert a good number of local inhabitants to Christianity. He also established 7 churches in Kerala. The present Christian population claims its descent from this early origin.They are known as Syrian Christains in view of the Syrian liturgy used in church services since the early days of Christanity in India. They are popularly known as Nazranis(followers of Jesus of Nazerene). Christanity thrived in Kerala because of the benevolence and tolerance of the Travancore rulers. When Portuguese arrived they were successful and eager to bring the Christians under the church of Rome. But when their power declined, the hold of Roman Catholic church also weakened. After that about 25,000 Syrian Christians reaffirmed their allegiance to the Syrian orthodox tradition  in front of an improvised cross at Mattancherry known as Coonan Kurisu satyam (oath)

Interesting facts: This small church attracts hordes of believers irrespective of the caste, creed and religion. They  offer worship by lighting the candles and it is believed that every single wish gets fulfilled here. This shrine gets crowded on Fridays.

How to reach-  Kochi is well connected by air, road and rail. The nearest airport is Nedumbassery which is 50 Kms from Mattancherry. Ernakulam Junction is the nearest railway station which is at a distance of 10 Kms.
Cabs, autos and buses ply to Kochi . One can always board a Mattancherry bus from South bus stop in Ernakulam and get down at the last stop at Mattancherry. Jew town and Synagogue are at walkable distance.
Accommodation- For stay, excellent hotels are available in Ernakulam / Kochi.

For other religious institutions in and around Kochi check List of temples

Check my new blog Chitra's Jewel Art , my new venture.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ambalapuzha - Sree Krishna temple

Ambalapzha  Sree Krishna temple is  in Alleppey district, Kerala. It is about 16  Kms. from Alleppey, the Venice of the East which is interconnected by lot of lagoons, lakes and sea.

This temple is known  as  Dwaraka of the South  which was built by Chemagasseri Devanarayanan Thampuran  between 15-17th AD.This an important Vaishanava temple in Kerala.

The temple here has Krishna's idol in the form of  Parthasarathy which Krishna assumed during the great Mahabharata war. He has a whip in His right hand and a conch in the left .This temple is very much popular like the Guruvayur temple. Here also, the deity is worshipped as child Krishna.The temple also has a shrine  for Guruvayurappan and there is a nagathara outside the main shrine.

Legend is that, saint Vilvamangalam, an ardent  devotee of Krishna while cruising along the backwaters with the Maharajah of Travancore, heard  sweet flute music.  Swamy Vilvamangalam could see a bright glow and  a form of Balamurali Krishna ( young Krishna with flute) on a Peepul tree . Feeling the God's presence, a temple was constructed in that place.

Fascinating facts- Ottam thullal, a performing art form  was started here by the great artist Kunjan Nambiar. One can still  see his mizhavu which is preserved here in an enclosure. The make up and the costume of this art form is unique.

Thunjathu Ezhuthachan, a great poet and scholar  is believed to have penned his famous work Adyathtmika Ramanayam kilipattu here which has no parallel till date.

Ambalapuzha palpayasam is very famous (a porridge made of milk ,hand pounded rice and sugar ) and has exceptional sweetness and one can find devotees queuing up for the same.

How to reach- Alleppey is connected well with rail and road. The nearest airport is at Ernakulam
Accommodation - Good hotels are available in Ernakulam or there are many holiday resorts near Alleppey. The famous boat houses are a huge attraction for the tourists both foreign and local. One would get 5 star to economy boat houses.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kasi Viswanathar Koil & Lakshmi Nararayana temple - Kalpathy, Kerala

Kalpathy is in Palakkad , the border town between Kerala and Tamilnadu. Kalpathy is synonymous with the famous car festival of Kasi Viswanathar temple.This is a 600 year old temple on the banks of Kalpathy river. A woman named Lakshmi Ammal brought a bana Linga from Kasi (Varanasi ). This event is inscribed on a pillar in front of the temple. The Rajah of Palakkad allocated the place for this temple. The Sivalingam here is very small. The Amman here is known as Vishalakshi. There are sub shrines for Kalabhairavar, Dakshinamoorthy, Murugan and Ganapathy.This temple has been renovated recently.

There is also a small temple of Lakshmi Narayana Perumal near by. The idol here is of Lord Narayana in a sitting posture  with Goddess Lakshmi  on His lap. This temple has sub shrines of Ayyapa and Anjaneya.

Interesting facts- The  Viswanathar temple is famous for the annual chariot festival which attracts lakhs of pilgrims from across the world.

The chariots are embellished with fine carvings and I have included some pictures of the same.

The temple is surrounded by agraharam(garland of houses) or row of houses which are about hundred  years old and is declared as a heritage village. click here to see the beautiful pictures of the Heritage village known as Paithraga gramam which is on my other blog. 

Many perform the last rites here on the banks of the river Kalpathy  for the departed souls of their loved ones.

How to reach-  Nearest airport is in Tamilnadu Coimbatore which is 60 Kms. away.
The nearest rail station is Palakkad where many express and mail trains stop.
Palakkad falls on NH 47 and this temple is about 5 Kms. from Palakkad town.
Accommodation- Decent hotels are available in Palakkad town itself.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sharavo Sarabeshwara Maha Ganapathi and Mangala Devi temple, Mangalore- Karnataka

Sharavo  Sharabeshawara Maha Ganapati temple is about 800 years old. The main deity here is Siva, worshipped as Sharabeshwara hence this  sacred place came to be known as Sharavo. On the southern wall of the temple one finds the divine image of Dashabhuja Ganapathy along with Siddi Lakshmi.This temple attracts lot of tourists throughout the year from India and abroad.

Mangala Devi temple is another  popular shrine in Mangalore and this port town  derives its name from this Goddess Mangala Devi.This temple has a special significance for the maidens. For getting their wishes fulfilled of getting a suitable match , maidens observe  Mangala Parvati Vrata here. There is  frequent bus service or auto rickshaws  available for commuting here.
How to reach- Mangalore is well connected by rail, road and air.   
Accommodation- The city has many budget,luxury and deluxe hotels.
For other temples in Mangalore on My Pilgrimage click here

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thiru Uthira Kosa Mangai- Ramanathapuram,Tamil Nadu

Uthira Kosa Mangai is a tiny hamlet, famous for the Siva temple considered to be 3000 years old. This is the place where Siva transferred the secrets of  Vedas to Parvati. Uthiram means ( updesham ) kosam( secrets) Parvati  (Mangai )  hence this place is known as Uthira Kosa Mangai.

The main deity here is Mangalanathar ( Siva) and his consort is  Mangleshwari.  There is a Nandi just outside the sanctum and a bigger Nandi in the outer prakaram  known here  as Pradosha Nandi.   Special poojas are conducted here on Pradosham days in the evenings as it is  believed that Siva dances between the horns of Nandi during that time. There  are also  shrines for Kalabhairavar and  Sanishwarar here. Each pillar in this temple has beautiful carvings and the ceiling is painted in myriad hues.

The main attraction of this temple is a statue of Natarajar made of emerlad which is about  51/2 feet tall. This idol is known as Margatha Natarajar and the deity is always covered with sandal paste.  Only in the Tamil month of Margazhi on Tiruvathira nakshtram (latest  was on Dec. 22nd 2010)  the sandal paste gets removed and there is abhishekam for the idol and this special darshan is known as  Arudhra darishanam. Lakhs of devotees visit the temple on this day and on the next day again the idol  gets smeared with sandal paste. To have a darshan of this deity, one must be there around 12.00 noon on regular days.

On the way to Natarajar temple we find other sub shrines dedicated to Sahasra Lingam ,which has thousands of tiny Lingams carved on a single Shiva Linga and a separate shrine for Manikka Vasagar(the saint poet who was a regular visitor to this temple) near the Agnitheertham (tank) . The sthala vricksham is also considered as old as the temple. The base of this  tree has a huge hollow in which I could find some images of serpents.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Madurai . Ramanathapuram is 100 Kms from the Madurai airport.
Many buses ply from Madurai  to Ramanathapuram.
Accommodation- It is better to stay in Madurai which has good hotels.