Archive for the ‘States of South India’ Category
Thiruvannamalai is a famous holy town perched on a hill (malai) in the district of Thiruvannamalai of Tamil Nadu state of India and is the most scared pilgrim center of Hindus in the region. The region was known as ‘Thondai Mandalam’ in the ancient period. This holy town is the home of highly revered ashram of the mystic saint Sri Ramana Maharshi and the famous Arunachala temple. The city has about 100 temples.
The city and the Arunachaleswara temple had long history dating from 750 AD. It is one of the five Panchabhoota (five elements wind, water, fire, earth and space) Stalams. This is the abode of the fire, one of the five elements constituting the whole life as per Hindu mythology.
This temple has imposing Gopurams and inviting architectural beauty.
Thiruvannamalai is a city with historical backgrounds. This region had witnessed many battles during the 15th century. Apart from Arunachaleswarar Thirukoil and Sri Ramana Ashram, Yogi Ram Surathkumar Ashram and Sri Seshadri Swamigal Ashram are also very attractive religious spots in Thiruvannamalai. Sathanur Dam and Sad-at-Ullah Khan Mosque, Tandarai and Tirukkoyilur are other nearby attractions witnessing huge inflow of tourists.
Thiruvannamalai is believed to be the Samadhy (salvation) place of Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, the revered mystic saint. The legends have that Saint Ramana Maharishi had received his vision of the Supreme Truth at Arakandanallur, a place nearby to Thiruvannamalai. This place has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses caves carved by Pallavas. Thiruvannamalai goes into vibrant mood during the Arunachaleswarar temple festival days. The most of the travelers to this town are the pilgrims intended to visit Arunachaleswara temple.
Kanyakumari is the one of the favorite tourist destinations in India. This famous tourist destination has many fascinating attractions for its tourists that depict the glorious past and the cultural beauty of Kanyakumari. There are many mesmerizing tourist attractions in Kanyakumari that are worth visiting and exploring by all the visitors who visits Kanyakumari. While Kanyakumari town has tourist places of its own, the district has many more, from centuries-old historic and religious sites to scenic places. The district is also rich in flora and fauna.
A unique feature of Kanyakumari district is that it has all kinds of natural eco-systems. Thus, one can see beaches, mountain valleys, evergreen forests in the deep interior, rubber and clove plantations on the highlands, etc. – all in a 50 km radius of Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari District. There are many tourist places in Kanyakumari to marvel at, and your tour to Kanyakumari will definitely turn out to be a gratifying one. The following are some of the many popular kanyakumari tourist places-
Kumari Amman Temple
Kanyakumari Temple also known as Kumari Amman Temple is located on the shore and is devoted to a manifestation of Parvati, the virgin goddess who did penance to obtain Lord Shiva’s hand in marriage. Kumari Amman Temple was built by the Pandya kings in 8th century and extensively renovated by the Chola, Vijayanagar and Nayaka rulers.
The temple is located picturesquely and commands breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. You will be amazed to find that the diamond nose ring of the deity can even be witnessed from the sea. Inside the temple there is an 18th century shrine with the foot prints of the goddess Kumari who performed her penance at this spot. There are also shrines to Vijayasundari and Balasundari, friends and playmates of the Goddess in her youthful form.
There are a total of 11 theerthams associated with the temple in the ocean surrounding the area. The confluence of the seas, at the southern tip of the subcontinent has been held sacred for centuries. Non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple premise.
Gandhi Memorial is the place where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation were kept before immersion. The building is designed in such a way that on 2 October, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday the first rays of the sun fall on the exact place where his ashes were kept. This beautiful monument was completed in 1956. This temple resembles a temple in Orissa. Its central shape is 79 feet high representing the age of the Mahatma. The memorial was transferred to the administrative control of the Public (Information and Public Relations) Department from Public Works Department of Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 1978.
Adorned with splendorous natural vista, Khandala dazes the tourists with its impressive scenery of grassy hills, lustrous valleys, pretty lakes and magnificient cascades. Located at an altitude of 625 meters, in the foothills of the majestic Sahyadris, this hilly terrain with abundant splendor is a trendy destination from the frenzied life of Mumbai.
A mere 3 hours by road from Mumbai, beautifully landscaped Lonavala and Khandala are famous for their seemingly innumerable varieties of chikki. But they also offer many sites worth visiting. Trekking is a good way to get around, but having a vehicle (even a bicycle) is still better, as some points of interest are quite some distance from the main towns.
Although is comparatively small, it is equally blessed with natural beauty and bounty. Deep valley on one side and high hills on the other side divide Khandala and Lonavala. Luckily, modern industrialisation has not adversely affected Khandala. Whenever a tourist visits Lonavala he also wishes to visit Khandala. While travelling on Mumbai Bangalore National Highway, one has to cross the arduous Khopoli – Khandala Ghat. This is the famous Borghat.
The coinage of the term “Hill station” has an interesting account to reveal. The term in fact owes its origin to India where a hill station stands for a town which is located in the serene atmosphere of a hill & which is apparently situated at a much greater altitudes than the sea levels.
Top Hill Station In India are :
1. Shimla : The seven hills of Shimla are – Prospect Hill in Western Shimla, which has the temple of Kamna Devi; Summer Hill in Western Shimla, which has the campus of the Himachal Pradesh University; Observatory Hill in Western Shimla, which holds the estate of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study; Invererarm in Western Shimla, whose top has the State Museum; Bantony in central Shimla, which has the Grand Hotel; Jakhoo in central Shimla, which is crowned by the temple indicated to Lord Hanuman, and Elysium in north-western Shimla, which holds Auckland House and Longwood and reaches out towards the Bhararispur.
2. Ooty : Located in the Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats also known as the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, Ooty almost seems like a collection of beautiful picnicspots. It is surrounded by lofty mountains, great lakes, dense forests, sprawling grasslands and seemingly endless tea gardens and eucalyptus trees. The panoramic view from Doddabetta Peak, at the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats, Ketti Valley, Pykara Lake Boat House and Pykara Falls, Kamraj Sagar Lake etc are truly awe inspiring.
3. Darjeeling : While staying in Darjeeling you are going to be charmed by the lush tea gardens without doubt. The tea gardens located at the rolling slopes of the hills are indeed a treat to your eyes. Similarly when you are going to take a look at the famous Tiger Hills, it is going to be a breath taking experience of your life. In your trip to Darjeeling & Gangtok you must not forget to take a ride on the famous Toy Train. It is indeed a marvel of this hill station. The toy trains normally rise to an altitude of 7,500 ft.
4. Mt. Abu : The highest peak of the Aravalli Hills range in Rajasthan, Mt. Abu is a favourite amongst residents of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Abu has been historically and culturally relevant in India, reflected in the existence of Rana Kumbha’s fort, the Dilwara temple complex famous amongst Jains and the many other Hindu Temples. Today, Nakki Lake and the nearby Toad Rock are visual delights, along with the rest of the contrasting green that engulfs this destination in the middle of an arid dessert. Resorts in Mt. Abu too are beautiful.
5. Munnar : Situated at the confluence of three mountain chains, Munnar is known for its climate and tea estates. The green hill station also boats of the highest mountain in south India – Anaimudi. Because of the likeness with the climate of London the erst while British officers made it their summer resort and affectionately labeled it “little London”.
Built By : Rudra Devi
Dedicated To : Lord Shiva, Vishnu And Surya
Location : 4-km From Hanumakonda Crossroad In Warangal District
Architecture : Kakatiya Style of Architecture
The famous Thousand Pillar Temple in Hyderabad is a specimen of the Kakatiyan style of architecture of the 12th century. The Thousand Pillar Temple of Hyderabad with its ruins lies in the near the Hanamkonda-Warangal highway, about 150 kilometers from Hyderabad city. 4-km from Hanumakonda crossroad in Warangal district is the Thousand Pillar Temple, a fine specimen of ‘Kakatiya’ architecture and sculpture. It is the main attraction of Hanamkonda. The temple was built by ‘Rudra Devi’ in 1163 AD.
The Thousand Pillar Temple in Hyderabad is beautiful star shaped with several shrines and lingams. There are three shrines inside the temple called the Trikutalayam. The three shrines of the Thousand Pillar Temple are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. The Thousand Pillar Temple of Hyderabad is surrounded by a big garden in which many small lingam shrines can be seen. Further you can see 1000 richly carved pillars with an impressive Nandi bull in the thousand pillared temple. Nandi bull was carved out of a black basalt monolith polished carefully to give it a brilliant look.
The Thousand Pillared temple is built on a 1m high platform on the slopes of the Hanumakonda hill, and has a majestic monolithic Nandi. The black basalt Nandi, a monolith, has a lovely polished finish.
There are many small lingam shrines surrounding the gardens. The temple is famous for its richly carved pillars, screens and detailed sculpture. The atmosphere is calm and serene with the echoing ringing of the puja bells, gentle chirping of the birds and the soothing cool breeze.
Places To Visit Beside The Temple
This temple is one of the finest examples of Kakatiya architecture and a testimony to the Vishwakarma Brahmin’s excellence in sculpture. Built by Rudra Deva built in 1163 in the style of Chalukyan temple art, it is star shaped and triple shrined. Recently, when the archeological department was conducting excavations, they found a water well below the kalyanamandapam, which leads to the conclusion that the foundation of this wonderful structure was built on water!
Bhadra Kali Temple is situated on a hilltop between Hanamkonda and Warangal, it is noted for its stone image of the Goddess Kali.
Jain Temple which is 2,000-year-old Jain temple of Mahaveer is a famous place of worship for Jains in the country. The temple is embellished with beautiful images of Thirthankaras. The 5ft high image of Mahavira is entirely carved of Jade.
The city of smiles, of lights, of a thousand faces, endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad offers a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, Lakes and Parks, Gardens and Resorts, Museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience.
The monument was built in 1591 AD by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. The history of the monument establishes Charminar as an important symbol of brotherhood and communal harmony. The markets surrounding Charminar are very popular and are frequently visited by tourists from different parts of the country.
Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendour inside the Charminar. The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a pedestrianisation project around the monument is under implementation.
Major Tourist Attraction
The Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as the Taj Mahal is of Agra or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It was said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7m. above the ground. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. Visitors can view the architectural splendour inside the Charminar. The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a pedestrianisation project around the monument is under implementation.
Golconda Fort :
Another tourist attraction in the city of Hyderabad Golconda Fort, a 16th century fortress situated on the western outskirts of Hyderabad city. Known for its collection of diamonds, it is said that the famous Kohinoor originally belonged to Golconda. The fort is one of the rare pieces of beautiful architecture in India.
This is famous, colourful shopping centre of the old city, tucked away in one of the streets leading off from Charminar. Bridal wear, Pearls and the traditional Hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles are sold here.
This white marble temple of Lord Venkateshwara floats on the city skyline, on Kala Pahad. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirupati.
The delightful south, almost untouched by invasions throughout its history, the Indian heritage is more intact here than in other regions of the country. This is a land of temples, a land of the devout where new wonders await – the profusion of orange flowers, the shade of the banyan tree, and the soft beat of distant drums as yet another festival starts, A Myriad of Temples
Sprawled over an area of 200 square kilometers with the Bay of Bengal on the east, the city is the gateway to the rest of South India. There are abundant green patches found amidst the high-tech, high-rise buildings.
Chennai, the fourth largest city in India has a population of around six million. From pre – Independence days to present, the people of Chennai have played an important role in constructing India’s political destiny.
Chennai also has the National Art Gallery that offers a good collection of old paintings and sculptures. The Theosophical Society is another must visit here. The lush green gardens with different shrines of various faiths attract tourists and pilgrims alike to Chennai. Being a metropolitan city, Chennai celebrates most of the festivals though during the festival of Pongal the place becomes a perfect destination to visit. The ideal time to visit Chennai is between the months of November to February.
An added attraction in the list of Chennai attractions is the Tidel Park, the home for the Information Technology Industry. It is spread over 1.28 million sq.ft. of built up area. The Tidel Park is an architectural marvel and houses several large national and international software companies in its premises.
Chennai has some unique places to offer for shopping. Art and crafts, contemporary and traditional artwork, antiques, jewellery etc. are available in the city. Traditional items like leaf and palmyra-fiber handicrafts from Tirunelveli, bronze and brass castings and traditional jewelry from Kumbakonam, metal works from Thanjavur, stone carvings from Mahabalipuram, silks from Kanchipuram are for sale in shops and boutiques. George Town and Parrys Corner are wholesale markets of Chennai where one can purchase almost anything. Many streets are entirely devoted to selling one particular type of merchandise. The nearby Burma Bazaar is famous for its counterfeit electronic goods and media, Moore Market for its large number of bookstores. Pondy Bazaar located in T. Nagar, is home to huge multi-storey stores, unique to Chennai, which deal mainly in textiles and silks or gold, silver and diamond jewellery. Shopping Malls in Chennai: – Spencers Plaza – Chennai City Centre – Ampa Sky Walk Mall – Express Avenue
Temples are places of worship for followers of Hinduism. Though other religions like Jainism, Buddhism that refer to their sanctums of worships as Temples. Even the world famous Golden Temple is Sikh’s most revered monument. I shall stick to Hindu Temple only in my compilation of top 10 temples.
1. Amarnath Temple : Amarnath cave temple is a famous Hindu temple located in Jammu and Kashmir and it is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. The soft and icy snow which covers the cave makes the temple more beautiful and a striking heritage site. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Shiva Linga here has many unique features-during May to August the Shiva Linga gets smaller and finally diminishes and with the phases of moon, it increases and during summer festival it reaches the maximum height.
2. Khajuraho Temple : The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India’s unique gift of love to the world, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area. Khajuraho is a well visited tourist center. This village houses several temples built in the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture. Temples of Khajuraho have captivate the attention of a visitor with their marvelous art.
3. Somnath Temple : Somnath temple is probably the oldest temple with a known history in India. I has been the symbol of Hinduism. it richness and power which Muslim invaders and terrorists have tried in vain to destroy. Every time it has rebounded with its old glory. The current temple is the seventh reconstruction initiated by Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel and executed by K.M Munshi.
4. Thrikkur Mehadeva Temple : Thrikkur Mahadeva temple is one of the few cave temples in Kerala, which is located near Manali river in Thrissur. A 6 ft natural stone lingam is preserved in this large and magnificent Shiva Temple. A waterhole on the topmost part of the rock, which never dries even during the scorching summer heat, is something astonishing. Lord Ganesh, Ayyappa, Skanda or Lord Muruga, Parvati and a Shivlinga are the other deities of this temple. Along with the divine passion and holiness you can feel here, the amazing architecture and beauty of the place are worth mentioning.
5. Golden Temple : Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Golden temple also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib. Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore in December 1588. The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Sahib himself and he was assisted by the prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji and many other devoted Sikhs.