Monday, December 23, 2013

Attukal Bhagavathi Temple- Trivandrum

Kannagi's wrath made the ancient  city of Madurai go up in flames and after causing destruction  she marched towards Kerala. She is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and she is the heroine of Silappadikkaram,  an epic  penned by Jain poet Ilango Adigal ; Her destination was Kodungallur ( Yet another seat of Goddess , shall post soon) and  en route she halted for a brief moment in Attukal , thus bringing her divine presence to an obscure place which has become a great pilgrimage centre, especially for women as this is known as Sabarimala of women.

This temple is a just 2-3 Kms  from Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple . The Goddess here is very powerful , affectionate and the steady stream of pilgrims itself is a proof to show that she fulfills  the wishes of her devotees.

She is also known as Attukal Amma ( Mother ) and the the Pongala festival( February-March)is famous here which draws a mammoth crowd from all over India and abroad

Pongala festival is offering the Goddess a soft sweet made of rice, split green gram and  jaggery. This is cooked in earthenware pots outside the temple in traditional way. Make shift stoves made of brick and wood as fuel line the length and breadth of the area around the temple. Millions of women devotees participate in this festival and cook Pongal .  Pongala which was just confined within the four walls of the temple  has grown  over the years and spread to nearby areas and now a days it even stretches to a radius of  4-5 kms. One can view this  sea of pots through a veil of smoke if one wishes to visit the temple on that day. Women fast the whole day till they offer Pongala and worship the Goddess.

There are shrines for Shiva, Ganesha, Nagas and Navagraha around the main temple.

A temple worth visiting if anybody is planning  visit  to Trivandrum.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple - Trivandrum - kerala

Trivandrum, the State capital of Kerala is known as Thiru Anantha puri, it takes its name from Lord Anantha Padmanabha- Lord Vishnu ,the presiding deity of the famous temple there. Vishnu is known as Anantha Padmananbha as he is reclining here on serpent Anantha and there is a lotus emerging from his naabhi( Navel) with Brahma sitting inside. This idol is around 23 feet long and one has to have a darshan of this huge idol through  three dwaras( doors) the head portion , the abdomen and the Legs. The idol is made of a special combination of herbs and is centuries old.

This temple is also one of the 108 divya desams of Vishnu known as Tirupathis

This temple  buzzes with a steady stream of pilgrims. This temple was constructed by the erstwhile rulers of Travancore .  This temple was very much in news recently when treasure worth millions stacked away in the cellars were discovered .   A few cellars remains unopened. Presently  the temple is heavily guarded with a posse of  police personnel round the clock and the security check up has been beefed up. Pilgrims are not allowed to carry mobile phones and cameras. 

The temple has a huge image of Hanuman statue at the entrance.Everything in this temple is divine, be it a blade of grass or a grain of sand.

  A temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha is seen near the sanctum of the main shrine. People first pay obeisance to the Lord Narasimha before worshiping the main deity.

There are also shrines for Kodhanda Rama and Vishwaksenar just outside sanctum of Lord Padmanabha.
The sprawling temple grounds also houses two more shrines one of Lord Krishna and other for Sasthavu.
The temple tower is modelled like we see in Tamil nadu.

There is a  museum outside the temple and an old clock with goats hitting a  demon/butcher every time the clock chimes  is worth watching.

This temple attracts lot of tourists from all over the world.

Dress code- Only Dhoti and Angavastram for men. Pants and Chudidhars are not allowed.
There is a stall outside the temple for lending dhotis.
A temple worth visiting.
How to reach- Being the State capital of Kerala the city is well coneected by road, rail and air.
There are some  more temple in the vicinity which I will be posting shortly.
A few pictures I could gather.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thiru Kokaranam Bhrihadambal temple- Pudukkottai, Tamiilnadu

Thiru Kokarnam lies just 5 Kms from the town of Pudukottai in Tamilnadu, This temple is very popular  in the name of Mother Goddess Brihadambal  also known as  Arakasu Amman. She is the family deity of Thondaiman dynasty which ruled Pudukottai centuries ago. She is known  as Arakasu( kasu- coin) Amman as the Thondaman rulers had minted a coin with Goddess Brihadambal's image. Devotees firmly believe that the Goddess is powerful enough to recover and restore their lost articles and  devotees worship Her with jaggery ; a very simple and easy way to please the Goddess.

 Siva here is known as  of Kokarnanathar and is situated in a small cave inside a rock. Just at the entrance of Siva's shrine one would find Saptamatrukkal and  Veera Bhadrar  and Ganesha .
The temple has many sub shrines too. A temple worth visiting . The walls of the temple are adorned with lot of paintings and is done with natural dyes.

Check photos in this link

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Athmanathar Temple,Tiruperunthurai,Pudukkottai district,Tamil Nadu

Athmanathar temple  in Tiruperunthurai is also known as Avudayar temple. This  is an important Sivalayam in Tamil Nadu. Tiruperundurai is also known as Perungalathur, it  is about 15 Kms from the town of Aranthangi in Sivagangai district. Aranathangi can be reached either from Karaikudi or Pudukottai. From Karaikudi  it is about 50 Kms.

This great  temple is  steeped in history and one would be spell bound by the mere craftsmanship and the technology that was used ages ago when modern machinery was non-existent.The temple is situated in a serene atmosphere in a small village. The tower of this temple stands tall and can be viewed from far .

The unique feature of this temple is there no deity or Sivalingam in this temple., There is a platform in the sanctum and the God here is considered to be formless and only a kavacham is used for worship.The temple also doesn't have a flag-mast and a Nandi.  Amman here , is also formless and here Her Tiruvadi ( holy feet) is only worshipped.

This temple is related to the great Saivaite saint Manikkavasagar and it is believed that Siva Himself gave him the mantropadesham  here under a sacred tree  and there is a statue carved on stone depicting the scene. 

The Utsavar in this temple is Manikkavasagar , and the idol is  resplendent panchaloha image ,carved to perfection and He is only taken out in procession during temple festivals.

The intricate work and ornamentation of pillars are magnificent. There are life size images which stand shoulder to shoulder with us as if breathing life. There are statues of  kings who contributed for building the temple and images of various Gods on each and every pillar. As we enter the temple itself there are two ,10-12 feet tall statue of Veerabhadra ( a form of Siva) on  either side where he is depicted killing  Daksha. The emotions on the face , i.e anger is depicted well.

There is a multi pillared mandapam where we see statues of  a Greek soldier  riding a horse. which is related  to the temple legend. 

There is a small shrine for Manikkavasagar here in this mandapam it gets bathed in sunlight. As we stand in front of this shrine and move from left to right our shadow falls on the deity which stupefied me. The murals on the walls cannot be deciphered properly unless a guide explains them to you. Guides are available in the temple but they speak only the regional language. The murals on  the ceiling have excellent design which resemble a saree and has been copied by many sari weavers.

There are interesting statues inside the temples One is that of Arjuna having a long hair, plaited well and exhibiting his chest muscles and another a  lady holding a basket adorned with jewels which is all carved in stone.. Photography is allowed except for the idols that are worshipped.

There is a temple tank within the temple Gopuram itself. The mandapam in the external prakaram is known as  Thaygaraja mandapam. The ceilings have minute carvings , wonder how it was chiselled in the days of yore . The sunshade here, is interesting which is again made with granite stone with rods carved like twisted steel used in construction of buildings.  There are also chains made of granite which hang from the ceiling. There are many monolithic images too. A temple which is awe- inspiring and transports one to a different world altogether as we remain engrossed in taking in  the beauty of each and every stone which depicts a story. A temple worth visiting.

This temple was developed with the concept that as the devotion matures in a devotee, he has to believe in absolute truth which has no form hence the Lord here is known as Athmanathar.
enjoy the photo captures!!
 Check my photos here in this link.


Check full photos here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Karthyayani temple- Cherthala, Kerala, Alleppey district

Karthyani temple, in Cherthala is a famous temple right in the center of the town near the KSRTC bus stand.

A powerful Goddess Vishnu Maya is worshipped here.

The sprawling grounds with salubrious environment  has a soothing and refreshing effect on the mind.  We do not see any idol as such in the temple but a small eruption on the floor like a swaymabhu decked with flowers. It is believed that, worshiping Goddess here will remove all obstacles one faces in life. She provides solace and comfort to all those who seek refuge in her.

Offering Kozhi ( fowl) in the temple in return for the favours received is very famous here,the temple is also known as kozhi ambalam.

Now as the number of fowls in the temple have gone up they have been caged in a separate enclosure so that they do not pose any threat to the devotees.

This temple has sub  shrines for Sasthavu, Nagas,Vishnu ,Shiva and Ganesha.
Pictures speaks more than the words..Please go through my album and enjoy.
check more pictures at this link.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jain Monastery, Sittanavasal, Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu

 Not far away from the town of Pudukottai is Sittanavasal , abode of Jain  saints . 
Uneven rock cut steps, up a small hill leads one to  the monastery. The monastery is quite small, it has a small  sanctum with idols of 3 Jain Tirthankars. Just outside the sanctum too, there are two statues of Tirthankars.  The ceiling outside the sanctum has 7 th century frescoes.  Though we cannot identify the painting on our own, a good effort was made by the guide who is posted there.

Frescoes as mentioned by the guide are  - Fish floating in a pond, a lady adorned with jewellery ;   jewellery was very much in use in 7th century too :)  ,beautiful maidens plucking lotuses , a saint clad in saffron robes  and elephants playing in the pond. Some have started peeling off.

The monastery is in a rock cut cave . The unique thing about this place is- if one enters the sanctum and concentrates on one’s breath, inhales and exhales slowly then we can hear a humming sound something like vibrations reflecting from the wall.  The sanctum is a very small room with no windows. What baffles me a lot is, when we talk, it does not resonate. That small room might have been used by the sages living there. This looked as if abandoned and neglected for a few years and it has come under the  Archaeological department of India now. Have a look at pictures I could capture. Photography inside the monastery is prohibited.
Visiting time is 10 Am -6 Pm.  A small fee of Rs. 5  charged  per head, if one wants to enter the sanctum. We visited this in May and found it was not the right time to visit as the scorching Sun made the climb difficult.
Sittanavasal is about 15Kms frm Pudukottai town.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arthungal St. Andrew's Basilica- Cherthala, Alleppey District,kerala

Arthungal village, lies very close to Cherthala town and this place is very famous for the holy Basilica which has Saint Andrew as its patron. But it is famous for the Feast of St. Sebastian which is conducted every year in January for about a week. 

St. Sebastian is considered to be guardian Saint of the village and thousands visit this church every year seeking the Saints blessings. People who are maimed, sick or going through difficulties visit the Basilica and find relief and solace at the feet of the saint.

During the Feast,  an idol of St. Sebastian is taken out in procession and thousands participate in the worship. Many devotees crawl on their knees or roll on the ground to express their gratitude to the Saint during the Feast for the favours they received.

There is an old church behind the main Basilica with excellent carvings and Altar.

Pilgrims from Sabarimala on their return trip visit this church to seek the blessings of the saint. 

In 1647 an of  idol St.Sebastian struck with arrows was brought from Italy in a ship and was placed in the church  and since then devotees believe He is the guardian angel of the village.

Officially it is known as the Arthungal St. Andrew's Forane Church and was elevated to the level of Basilica in 2010.

How to reach:The nearest railway station is Cherthala. .Arthungal is 8 Kms. from Cherthala town.Plenty of buses ply from Cherthala town.