Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raja Gopalaswamy temple - Kodungallur.

Kodungallur, is  in Trichur district of Kerala and it is  a small town . An  ancient ,  prosperous and famous port  known by the name of Muziri Pattinam which was recently excavated is close by. The excavations have yielded enough evidence to confirm the existence of flourishing trade between Romans and Indians in  beads, ornaments and silks.

Kodungallur is famous for Bhagavathy Amman temple (look for a separate post) but this post is on a GSB  (Gowda Saraswath Brahmins) temple of  Raja Gopalaswamy (Lord  Krishna) which I found was  very  serene and had  a clean  environment. Cleanliness is next to Godliness,  is very much reflected in this temple. The temple walls have beautiful paintings from Ramayana, Krishnaavatara and Dasavathara.

How to reach:
Irinjalakuda is the nearest railway station. Nearest airport is Nedumbassery International airport. Plenty of buses ply from different parts of the state.
 For accommodation one can stay either at Trichur (30Kms) or Ernakulam (35 Kms) where many hotels suiting to every one's budget and tastes are available.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Venkatramana and Mahamaya temple - Mangalore

Mangalore is a busy town and it has a cosmopolitan crowd. It derives its name from the local Hindu deity Mangala Devi, and it has developed into a major port .It is the administrative head quarters of Dakshina Kannada (Southern Karnataka) .The city has a beautiful landscape surrounded from all sides by lush greenery , back waters, and fresh water streams.

Many Gowda Saraswath Brahmins (GSB) have made Mangalore their home and they lovingly refer to this city as Kodial and have established their temples here. The main GSB temple here is that of Lord Venakataramana. Like the Kochi Tirumala Devasom temple, this temple here is quite famous and is also a socio -religious centre for the GSB community.

The temple is maintained well and the idol of Venkataramana.( Lord Vishnu) is very attractive and the effulgence cannot be expressed in words. This temple like the Kochi temple has sub shrines for Hanuman, Ganesha, Mahalakshmi, and for the Lord's mount Garuda. The doors and dwajasthambha of this temple have rich carvings and are plated with silver. The outermost door is carved out of wood and is beautified with images from the Dasavathatra ( Vishnu's ten incarnations)

50 metres from this temple one can visit the Mahamaya, (The female form of Goddess) temple and is also as attractive as the Venakataramana temple.

When visiting Mangalore one cannot forget but visit another attraction, Ideal ice cream parlour offering Gadbad,and other varieties of Sundaes and ice creams at unbelievably attractive prices.

How to reach- Mangalore is well connected by Road, rail and air and offers attractive accommodation luxury, deluxe and economy class . People are friendly and anybody can be comfortable here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ninra Narayana Perumal- Tiruthangal

Ninra Narayana Perumal temple is in Thiruthangal which is just 3 Kms from the town of Sivakasi which is famous for  firecrackers.This temple is a 3 tier temple  situated on a small hillock .First , we come across the Lord Ranganatha's sannidhi which is inside a cave and is at the bottom most tier .  It is believed that the Lord of Srirangam stayed here en route to Srivilliputtur, Andal temple He is also known  as Palli konda Perumal. ( God in reclining pose) 

On the second tier is the shrine of  Lord's consort, Mahalakshmi known here as Chengamala Thayar. Lakshmi's idol is about 6 feet tall  and it is believed that the Goddess performed penance here. She is Goddess of wealth and  Her presence here helped to  achieve prosperity to a remote place like Sivakasi. She grants her devotees all their  wishes and the temple gets thronged to seek Her divine blessings. Tiruthangal means abode of the divine.

 Ninra Narayana Perumal's sannidhi is in the top most tier and here He stands with his four wives, Sree devi , Boodevi, Nila devi and  Jambhavathi . This sannidhi also houses the idols of Aniruddha ,Lord's grandson and His wife Usha . It is believed that they got married in the presence of the Goddess here. There are about 11 idols in the sanctum which is a special feature of this temple.This is the 45th divya desam of Vishnu.

The imposing image of Lord Narayana and all other idols are painted and there is no abhishekam performed here for the deities except for Chengamala Thayar.   Facing the Lord's sanctum is Garuda, His mount ,waiting always with folded hands in service of the Lord. Worshipping Garuda is believed to ward off the ill effects of Rahu- Ketu DoshaThe temple sanctum has a beautiful vimanam and there are also shrines for Ramanujar and Aanjaneyar. 

Adjacent to this temple there are two more temples, one dedicated to Siva, known here as Karunalli Nathar  and another one to Lord Muruga, one of the son's of Siva which is at the summit of this hill.
Temple timings are 6am- 12 noon and 4p.m - 8 p.m.

Temples in  Sivakasi
There is an ancient temple of Siva ,in Sivakasi - Kasi Viswanathar koil from which the name of the town  Sivaksi was derived. Amman here is known as Visalakshi . There are shrines for Dakshina Moorthy,Vinayagar,Murugan, ( the two sons of Siva) Durga,and  a separate mandapam for Navagrahas.There is a very old tree in this temple which  is believed to have been planted by the Pancha Pandavas.

Other temples in Sivakasi are the Badrakaliamman and Mariamman temples.

How to reach- Virudhu Nagar is the nearest railway station. 
Nearest airport is at Madurai which is at  65 Kms from Sivakasi. 
Sivakasi and Tiruthangal also have railway stations but very few trains ply on this line. 
Accomodation :  One can choose to stay in Madurai itself as hotels are very few in Sivaksi and Virudhu nagar.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mahabaleshwar temple- Gokarana

Nestled in a tiny and remote village of Gokarna, is the famous Mahabaleshwara temple which enshrines the Atmalingam which Ravana acquired from Kailash. Gokarana is in Northern Karnataka and one would find a number of idyllic beaches around the temple . The beach very near to the temple resembles Cow's (Go) ears (karna) hence the name for this place is Gokarna.Cows are worshipped here and they move freely inside and outside the temple. The temple is 1500 years old. It is also one of the mukti sthalas in Karnataka dedicated to Lord Siva.
There is a huge Ganesha idol here, outside the main temple of Mahabaleshwara. The idol has a deep cut on the forhead. The legend of the temple is similar to the one I have narrated earlier like the Vinayagar at Rock fort temple,Trichy. Here also it is believed that Ravana , instead of Vibeeshana in the other story ,wanted to take the idol of Siva to his kingdom . As the Gods wanted to prevent it ,Ganesha came in the form of a small boy and when Ravana wanted to perform his evening prayers, he handed it over to Ganesha instructing him not to keep it on the ground but hold it in his hands. Ganesha, who was there on a mission duly kept it on the ground and the Sivalinga got rooted to that place.When Ravana returned he was furious and hit Ganesha, a cut appeared on His forehead. It is still visible even today
The Sivalinga here remains concealed in the ground and devotees are allowed to worship the Sivalinga and one can feel the tip of the Lingam by one's hand and offer worship. Once in 40 years only the Sivalingam gets exposed when the Kumbabhishekam is performed.The Amman has a separate sannidhi inside the main temple.
Here one could see the tribal women selling flowers for worship and I really got fascinated by their costume known as ghetti and I could also see some magnificent craft work made of palm fibre. The last two pictures depict this.

Gokarna can be reached by bus from Karwar (60 km). The nearest rail head is at Kumta, 32 km away. Gokarna is 290 Kms.from Mangalore and from Goa it is 160 Kms. There are good hotels in Karvar and some resorts in Gokarna itself.