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.