Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ganesha temple-Fermagude , Goa

This temple of Ganesha is situated in Fermagude, Ponda and attracts lot of pilgrims. This temple has a smaller deepa sthambha , and a beautiful dance motif of Radha - Krishna in marble as one enters the temple building. The idol here is very huge and is adorned with silver kavacham.This temple is also maintained very well like all other temples in Goa.
How to reach : The nearest railway stattion is Madgaon. Distance from railway station to Fermagude is about 20 Kms.
This temple is near to Mangesh, Gomantak Balaji and Devaki Krishna temples.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chaitramasa Festival- Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple

Continuing my post on Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple I would like to take you through few glimpses of the Chaitra masa Festival held this March  which I was fortunate enough to attend..

 The Aaratt ( festival) is  for  8 days and it starts with the flag hoisting ceremony. Every temple has a dwajasthambha but in this temple a flag pole,( stem of an arecanut tree) is erected on the  first day and a flag with Garuda as the emblem is hoisted reciting Vedas.On all days there is  Seeveli (Procession carrying the deity on elephant accompanied by percussion instruments)  in the morning and evening and the temple gets crowded  with devotees.. Mahaprasad(Feast) is served to the devotees and it is known as samaradhana. Samaradhana  means all are considered equal here and every body sits together and partakes the Mahaprasad provided by the temple. The food is served on banana leaves and devotees sit on the floor for this. Enthusiastic youngsters vie with each other to serve food as they feel it is equal to serving the  God Himself. The process starts with a kadina (fire cracker) and ends with the same. The whole process is completed with in half an hour and it is really a sight to see this samaradhana as more than ten thousand people are fed in this short period.

There are Yagnas for the welfare of the humanity and for peace These are conducted in the afternoons and evenings. The Lord Venkatachalapathy is taken around the temple in his golden palanquin.There are also vahana poojas i.e the deity is  worshipped on different mounts like Hanuman, Aswa (Horse), Aadisesha,( serpent God) Surya( Sun ) and Chandra ,( Moon) Airavata the elephant)  Garuda (The Eagle).etc.

From fourth day onwards the Lord starts visiting the house holds of His devotees and blesses them..He is taken   around the temple streets and devotees welcome Him with fruits, flowers and various offerings they can afford. The grand procession carrying the deity comprises of priests, people carrying torches and lights, symbolic arms for protection, flag bearers , group of people playing on the drums-  Pancha Vadyam and the majestic elephant in the lead.   The seventh day is called as Nayattu  ( Mrigaya,- royal hunt)and God ,Goddess and the Chakra are brought in Aswa, Surya and Chandra Vahanas. The Lord visits the nearby Udyaneshwara temple where  Nayattu takes place.The Visits go on till the  eighth day .

The last day thousands converge in this temple and seek the Lord's blessings. Avabrata snanam (abhishekam) is performed for  the main deity of Venkatachlapathy .  After that the Utsava Moorthy and the Sudarshana Chakra of the deity leave for the temple pond in  a grand procession .Then deity  is taken around in a decorated float and then the Chakra is  given a Holy bath by the priest.  The deity is kept in the mandapam there till the evening and  after that the  Samaradhana takes place. In the evening the deity comes out in a palanquin goes around the pond with the accompaniment of Seeveli and reaches the  temple . Fire works  are a part of this evening ritual.  After that the Garuda vahana pooja takes place. The deity sitting atop the Garuda, blesses all his devotees and special aarti know as Khamba aarti is offered to the God. This Pooja goes on  till 2-3 a.m the next day. By around  6 clock in the  morning the flag is brought down which marks the culmination of the aaratt.

There are two aaratts in a year in this temple , one in March- April and the other one in November- December. The Gowda Saraswath Community scattered around the world try to come back to their roots to participate in this grand occasion which is a socio -religious affair .In fact many marriages get finalised during these eight days and it is really a treat to see boys and girls of marriageable age come decked up with new attractive attires of various hues and colours.
I would like to acknowledge  S. Krishna Kumar Pai, Kochi for his photographs on float festival and the Holy bath. As seeing is believing I have a few photographs for your viewing

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brihadeeshwara temple- Tanjore

This post on Tanjore 'Big temple' is over due and my trip to Goa delayed it. There are many more posts awaiting on my Goa pilgrimage but I decided to take a detour and get back to South India where I am going to take you to a wonderful temple which is celebrating its millennium of magnificence this year(2010). At present this temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site-" Great Living Chola temples"
Brihadeeshwara temple or the Big temple in Tanjore is the best temple I have seen so far, for its excellent workmanship, grandeur and it has stood the testimony of time with its magnificent central dome which is a great attraction for one and all.. This temple was built by Raja Raja Chola, one of the popular kings of Chola dynasty who was a great devotee of Siva and this temple is also referred to as Rajarajeswaram.
The Siva Lingam here is gigantic, more than 12 feet tall. The Nandi facing the sanctum is also 12 feet in height and the dwarapalaks (the guardians deities of temple) and deities around the main shrine look elegant.. The main attraction here is the huge tower above the sanctum which is about 216 feet. The tower stands tall and one can see this fabulous structure even as one enters Tanjore.
The temple is situated in a fort surrounded by a moat. It is an architectural marvel with its excellent technology of ancient times. The wonderful central tower i.e the Vimanam is built with bonding and notching technique with out using mortar.The stone atop this huge tower weighs about 80 tonnes and it has baffled architects how this stone could have been lifted up when no machinery was available. It is believed that a ramp was built from a village 4 miles away and this stone was pulled to the top by elephants. The whole Vimana weighs about 43000 tonnes, according to a historian. This tower is called as Dakshina Meru meaning Southern Mount Kailash.
Amman here is known as Brihanayagi and her shrine is on the right side of the Nandi Mandapam .Then there are shrines for Dakshina Moorthy , Vinayaga and Muruga and Chandikeshwara . There are hundreds of Siva Lingams all around the temple and it is real wonder that this temple was built with granite when not even a single granite quarry was in the vicinity.
This temple is a store house of great Chola paintings and sculptures . Raja Raja Chola was a great connoisseur of art and this is reflected in each and every stone here.There are also inscriptions on the walls of the temple mentioning the monarchs reign. One can easily spend a day in this temple which is part of our history and reflects the culture, art and architecture of our heritage.
No artificial colouring is used to brighten the structures and the natural colour of stone, be it pink , brown or sandal is maintained as such. Each and every stone here depicts a story and it would take years to learn and understand more about this temple. This was just my humble attempt. I bow my head to the Lord of the Universe and to the king Raja Raja Chola who could gift this colossal monument for posterity. It is also a real wonder that this temple has with stood the vagaries of nature as even now it looks very new. This temple would amaze anybody with its grandeur and is a befitting tribute to the Lord of the Universe.
How to reach: The temple is situated in the heart of Tanjore town.
Nearest airport is Trichy , distance is 65 Kms.
Tanjore town has a railway station too and is linked major cities.
Plenty of buses ply to Tanjore from various parts of Tamil Nadu.
Accommodation -Decent accommodation of various classes are available in Tanjore and Trichy town.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Devaki Krishna or Pisso Ravalnath - Marcel, Goa

Devaki Krishna temple in Marcel is very unique as this temple has both Mother Devaki and her son ,cute little Krishna as the main deities. Devaki idol is in a standing posture with baby Krishna sitting on her hip.There is also another idol of Krishna standing in front of Mother Devaki, an excellent portrayal of mother-child relationship..This is the Kuldevata for our Gotra. This idol is very graceful and I think this is the only temple in India where we see Devaki and Krishna together. This deity also known as Pisso Ravalnath. This temple structure is very simple and every temple here has a narrow path just outside the sanctum for circumambulation.. There is also a small shrine outside this temple on the left side of the main temple for Bhoomika devi.The other deities are Lakshmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyani.
Malni Poornima festival during January- February is the famous festival here and the temple gets thronged with pilgrims.
Read more about my Goa trip by clicking the Amchem Goa-2, in the side bar.
How to reach:
Marcel in Ponda is 17 Kms. from Panaji, the state capital of Goa.
Madgaon is the nearest railway station.Goa is well connected by air as well. The airport is at Dabolim.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gomantak Tirupati Balaji Padmavathi temple - Ponda, Goa

Tirupati Balaji Padmavati temple is situated in Kunkuliem village enveloped with greenery from all sides. This temple is maintaining a beautiful garden full of flowers and sacred Tulsi . The lush green and well maintained lawn offered a real visual treat. The Tulsi here is surrounded by sugarcane which looked very attractive . The idol of Balaji is very tall and and it gave us a feeling of visiting the Tirupati Balaji temple in Andrapradesh, sans the crowd. Next to the Balaji temple there are shrines for Padmavathi and Ganesha. Like the South Indian temples this temple in Goa has a dwajasthambha. This temple was blessed by Jagadguru Sanuacharya of Kanchikamakoti Peetam.
Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Charitable Trust, Goa is managing this temple and the idols of Sri Balaji and Sri Padmavati were donated by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam.
How to reach: This temple is situated in Kunkuliem village 15 Kms. from Ponda and is near to Shanta Durga and Mangesh temples
Nearest railway station is Madgaon. Accommodation- Good hotels are available in Panaji ,capital of Goa and Ponda too.