Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let's Go, Rock! - Nagercoil - Part 3

It was my long time wish to visit to the tip of India, Kaniyakumari, Tamil Nadu.  I got the chance when I visited my in-laws at Nagercoil.  Kaniyakumari is about 20 kms from Nagercoil.  We got a bus in Nagercoil to Kaniyakumari which took about 2 hours to reach Kaniyakumari.  It is where Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal converge.  (Read Part-1 & Part-2)

After we got down from the bus the first place we wanted to visit is Swami Vivekanda Rock which is situated in the sea, about a half kilometer from the shore.  We had to follow a queue to buy the tickets for the trip to the rock.  Even after buying the tickets we had to follow another queue for the ferries. There are two ferries which make many trips to take tourists from the shore to the rock and back.  The capacity of each ferry as I expect is about 100 passengers per trip. 

That was the first time I travelled by a ferry and I never sailed on the sea before.  It was like a Titanic experience for me.  The other attraction was Tiruvalluvar Statue which was built in the year 2000.  It was made to remember the famous poet in tamil, Tiruvalluvar who wrote couplets called ‘Thirukural’ containing 1330 such kurals (couplets) in 133 different categories which contented in three sections, namely, Aram (Morality), Porul (Wealthiness), Inbam (Pleasure).  This has been translated in many languages in the world including English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Hindi, etc.   

The statue is 133 feet height reflecting the 133 categories weighing about 7000 tons.  We had no chance to visit the statue as it was undergoing renovation and cleaning.  So, we missed the opportunity to have a near look at the statue.  But we could enjoy having a glimpse of the statue from certain distance. 

When the ferry arrived for the next trip we got a chance to get into that.  It took a few minutes to reach the Swami Vivekananda Rock.  Just after we got down at the rock, the first thing we did was photographed ourselves with the ferry in the background.

We had to remove our foot wears at the place that is meant for.  By the time we reached the rock it was already afternoon and the rock started heating up the foot.  There was a white line path all around the rock which helped us to get away from the heat.

Swami Vivekananda Memorial hall was built in the year 1970 on the bigger rock is situated about 200 feet away from the Tiruvalluvar Statue which stands on the other rock in the sea.  There is also a meditation hall for visitors to meditate.  No photographs were allowed inside the halls.  It is believed that he swam in the sea to the rock to meditate.  The place is a must visit one. 

Virtual Tour of the Rock: Click here

Ferry fee: Rs.34/- for Adults, Rs.17/- for students
Entrance Fee: Rs.20/-
Visiting Hours: 8.00 am to 4.00 pm

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sothavilai Beach – Nagercoil – Part 2

The next evening at Nagercoil we spent at Chothavilai or Sothavilai Beach which is about 12-13 kms from Vadasery.  We took a bus from Vadasery to Anna Bus Stand and from there we took another bus to the beach.  There are two bus stands here at Nagercoil.  One is Anna Bus stand for travels in and around Nagercoil-Kanyakumari and other is Vadasery Bus Stand for travelling to other parts of Tamilnadu. Most of the local buses are private owned called Mini-buses and the bus fares are all uniform as it is regularized by the local authority. (Read Part-1)

We placed ourselves on the seats at the end of the bus for which we later regretted.  We had the Roller Coaster experience as the bus was running on the uneven roads. It passed through many narrowed left and right turns finally left us at shore of Indian Ocean.

The beach stretches over 4 kms.  It is one of the beaches in the Kanyakumari district.  The sand on the shore is very clean and soft.  It is one of the Tsunami affected areas in the year 2004 when it hit Southern parts of Tamilnadu, India.

When we visited, we could see only a few families, some couples and a few groups of friends.  The beach looked very calm.  Since we went in the evening we could see the Sun setting, is the other place after Kanyakumari where you can see the Sunset.   That evening was so pleasant with cool breeze in the hot summer.  Since the beach is so interior you can’t stay for long in the late evening.   You have to move before it is dark.  You can enjoy the beautiful atmosphere here. (Read Part-3)

Image Credit: Wikepedia

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Serpent King – Nagercoil – Part 1

It was my first trip to Nagercoil.  I have been invited by my in-laws since after marriage.  I had so many excuses to avoid the visit.  Finally, we decided to give our present at Nagercoil and meet my in-laws. 

The bus was passing through the darkness; there were signs of Wind Turbine even in that gloomy roadside; that indicated we were so near to Nagercoil.  We got down at 3.30 am in those so silent, empty roads.  There were some dogs barking at us if we looked like either the thieves or ghosts.

It was so tiring after getting up in the morning.  I seemed to have no more rest as we had already listed down the places to visit.  We put up in my wife’s Aunt’s house.  The people in the street started visiting us one by one and I was introduced to everyone by my wife.  It was really a great surprise to me as I never experienced that warm welcome.  At Metros, we don’t visit people unless they call us.  But here people are so kind that they didn’t expect us to visit them instead they voluntarily visited us and welcomed.  That is the true love that still exists in Semi-urban and villages.

Nagercoil is situated at southern part of Tamilnadu in India just close to Kaniyakumari, the other end of India.  Earlier the city was attached to Kerala and it was merged with Tamilnadu in the year 1956.  The name Nagercoil means Serpent Temple (Nager – Serpent, Coil – Temple) situated here, called Nagaraja (Serpent King) Temple.  The temple’s the architecture portraits Kerala style temples.  And you can see many Keralites are still living here and the place is visited by them then and there.  I missed the opportunity to go inside of this temple as we were so late when the temple was closed that day and we couldn’t make another visit as we had other places in our list.   The temple is dedicated to Snakes and the architecture and the shrines in the temple are in the form of Snakes.  This is one of the important places visited by many tourists. (Read Part-2 & Part-3)

For Images: Google Images
Image Credit: wikipedia
Our list of places includes Kaniyakumari, Suchindram, Sothavalai Beach which I write later. Just keep visiting.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Guru

On the stretch of Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road, nearby Padi flyover, just opposite to the ‘Padavattamman Temple’, there was a narrow land which led us to the ‘Thiruvaleeswarar Temple’ on that sunny Sunday.   Within a few steps, we found a small piece of vacant land to our right side, in front of the temple. 

It is one of the Shiva Temples in India.  The temple though not so famous, has rich history and has been sung by famous Tamil Poet ‘Thirunana Sambanthar’.   The temple is believed to be about thousand years old one.  Before the entrance there were devotees all around the temple, wearing yellow colour dhotis.  Some of them were digging the land in front of the temple to prepare it for ‘Theemidhi Thiruvizha’ which is one of the famous functions, usually as a custom of dedication to the Hindu Gods.  This function is mostly famous in the southern part of India, especially in Tamilnadu.  The main concept of this function is that the devotees to walk on the fire and complete the ritual.  This literally means to control the mind and forget the pain.  The pain only for the body and mind which is not permanent and the soul is immortal.

Padi Thiruvalleeswarar temple

There is a courtyard in front of the temple with corridor.  Once you pass the courtyard you can have dharsan of main shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva who is called ‘Thiruvaleeswarar’ here.  You can see the idols of ‘Suryan’, ‘Vinayagar’ and ‘Murugan’ on the corridor around the main shrine.

There is one separate shrine for ‘Guru’, one of the nine planets (Navakragam) which rules one’s life.  The planet ‘Guru’ is known as Jupiter in English is believed to have a greater impact in one’s life especially wealth according to the Indian Astrology.  The temple is visited by many people mainly because of ‘Guru’.  The temple is one of the ‘parigara isthalam’ where one can remove the bad things in their life caused by ‘Guru’.

Location: Padi, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India – About 12 kilometers from Chennai Central Railway Station

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The God Doctor

The journey wasn’t expected to last such a long one.  On that murky Sunday, we decided to have darshan at Marundheeswarar Temple located at the East Coast of Bay of Bengal, Thiruvanmiyur.  We planned to start as early as possible to avoid traffic and more importantly I love to start early as it was so calm and cool with less traffic on the road and have chance to look around on the way.  

Even though the distance is more than 20 kilometers to the temple, we were diverted several times to end up to cover almost all the roads in the Chennai city.  The Metro Rail construction work was going on almost all over the city.  There wasn’t much traffic though we had a long journey.

At 10 o’clock we finally reached the famous Marundheeswarar Temple.  The temple is located just on beginning of the East Coast Road (ECR).  There were two entrances one just at the front of ECR and the other is at the back side where it is easier to park your vehicles.  There was big a Mandabam (hall) at the back entrance (West Tank Street) before you enter at the main shrine.  The temple is more than thousand years old, further expanded by Chola in their period.  The temple is spread over one acre.  It is dedicated to the Lord Shiva.  The temple is said to be visited and worshipped by the famous poet Valmiki who wrote the historical epic The Ramayana.  The name of the temple itself indicates that the temple is famous for curing diseases of people.  The history says that the Lord Marundheeswarar has taught Sage Agasthiyar the Medical Treatements who was one of the famous sage and who is said to teach many methods of medicine to treat various diseases.   He is also famous to have made ‘Naadi Jyothidam’.  The ‘Naadi Jyothidam’ is about the predictions of each and every human was born and to be born.  It contains all the details of previous birth, the past, the present and the future happenings in everyone’s life.  

Along with the main shrine of Lord Marudheeswarar, Goddess Parvathi, wife of Lord Shiva also can be seen in the temple.  There are 108 lingams and the dance form of Lord Shiva, Nataraj are also can be worshipped here.  It is one of the oldest temple and must visit once at least.

Temple Timings : Morning 6.00 am to 12.30 pm & Evening 4.00 pm to 8.30 pm daily
Buses: All the buses to Thiruvanmiyur and ECR

Image Courtesy: Owner of the Photo, Google Image Search Engine

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eight in One - The Ashtalakshmi Temple

In the confusion of choosing one among the three buses standing at the bus stand, I ended up sitting in one of them.  I was longing to visit Ashtalakshmi Temple for some time. The bus took me to places of the Chennai City that I had never visited.  There were right turns, left turns and some ‘U’ turns; Now I really don’t remember the ways I’d gone through those lanes.

I had to walk about a kilometer to reach the temple from the place the bus left me.  I couldn’t feel that I was walking just near to the beach.  There were buildings that hide the beach completely.  I couldn’t feel that I was heading to a hindu temple.  It was totally unusual.  I had to walk through a small lane after crossing a big Church.  It was Sunday and the church was crowded.   The surrounding of the temple asks for sorry.  The Besant Nagar beach attracts less people here.  Along with small houses there were some big apartments facing the sea.

The Ashtalkshmi Temple was recently built with modern bricks and cements.  It was situated at the shore of Bay of Begal.   There are eight idols of the Goddess Mahalakshmi, wife of Lord Krishna, located in two floors.  One has to pass the steps in the narrow lanes to visit each of the idols of the Goddess. The eight idols include Sri Aadhi Lakshmi for health, Sri Dhanya Lakshmi for food, Sri Dhairya Lakshmi for braveness,  Sri Gaja lakshmi for luck, Sri Santhana Lakshmi for Children, Sri Dhana Lakshmi for wealth, Sri Vijaya Lakshmi for victory and Sri Vidya Lakshmi for Education.  Apart from these, Sri Guruvayurappa and Sri Hanuman are the other main attractions here.  The temple was under maintenance at the time I visited.  There are separate entrants according to your purse’s weight.  You can worship the Goddess Lakshmi so close unlike other temples.  You feel so good with the breeze of the sea.

The temple is situated at Besant Nagar about two kilometers far from the Bus Stand.  The temple is open from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and 4.00 pm to 8.30 pm. 

Courtesy: Owner of the photo.  If you don't want your photo published in this blog, please let me know.  I'll remove it. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Great Engineers – A Thousand Years of Glory

Since I couldn’t reserve train ticket to go to Thanjavur, I decided to visit my uncle.  Since there is only one train that goes to Thanjavur (up to Kumbakonam) all the seats are booked so early and with some politics in reservation, it is very hard to book a ticket in Indian Railways.  You have to go after the agents and pay extra.  But that didn’t disappoint me.  I had another plan.

My uncle is residing in Trichy.  You may ask why I’m going to Trichy instead of Thanjavur?  Thanjavur is no far away from Trichy.  All it will take an hour or so from Trichy to Thanjavur.  Apart from buses there are trains available frequently.  And it is easy to get tickets reserved for Trichy.

I got to get up so early in the morning to catch the train from Trichy Junction to Thanjavur.  I was accompanied by my cousin and we bought the tickets to Thanjavur at Srirangam Railway Station itself.  Trichy Junction is just about ten minutes journey from Srirangam by train.  At 6.10 am, the passenger train arrived at Srirangam and we reached Trichy Junction at 6.30 am.

The Thanjavur passenger train was waiting for us at the 4th platform and we could make sure our seats.  The train departed at 7.15 am instead of 7.10 am usually.  There was not much crowd though many of the passengers were office goers.  It took about 1 ½ hour to reach Thanjavur Railway Station at 8.45 am.

Brahadeeswar Temple

We took a town bus to reach the Big Temple which is just about 2 kilometers from Railway Station.  Some people even walk to the temple.  But we could afford bus tickets at least. Though it was Saturday there were only a few people visited the temple but it could have been different if we’d come on Friday, because it was Prodosham and I saw the crowd in the photo published in a newspaper only in the next day.  I knew it that’s why I planned to visit on Saturday.

As we got down the bus, we were welcomed by the Thanjavur Thalaiyati Bomai (A doll), waving its head.  It is so famous and one of the identity of Thanjavur.  Here it is. The Great Big Temple is glowing in gold colour, flawless, standing firm for more than 1000 years.  The Temple is listed in World Heritage Sites.  Thanjavur was the ancient capital of Chola Kings.  Rajaraja Chola is the king in whose period the temple was built. He wanted to build it as a great temple and not to be competitive by other temples.

The campus is very spacious and it is easily visited by anyone without any restrictions unlike other temples.  There are 250 lingams in different formats placed in the campus.  There are two attractions, one is the Main Gopuram and other is the statue of bull called Nandhi.

The Gopuram itself describes why it is called as the big temple.  The top part of Gopura Kalasam which weighs in tones is the main attraction.  It is still a mystery how come they carried up the Kalasam to the top with no help of any cranes in their periods.  The Lingam inside the temple is about 4 meter height and when you see it you’ll feel the real experience of devotion.

Bell tower

The Bell Tower is one of the different experience, situated about 2 kilometers from the big temple along with Thanjavur Palace.  Try your best to climb the narrow steps to reach the top of the bell tower and have a good view.  But be watchful, you may be lost sight of the steps in that dark place.

Thanjavur Palace has many ancient stones and sculptures which is regularly visited by many tourists including foreigners.  

Note: For more photos click the flickr your left side.
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