During my 4 month trip round Southern India in 2015, I stayed in many Temple towns. Here is the Sarangapani temple, in Kumbakonam
At a distance of 2 km from Kumbakonam Railway Station and 500 m from Adi Kumbeswarar Temple, Sarangapani Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Kumbakonam.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Sarangam means bow and pani means hand. The deity is having a bow in the hand. Also known as Tiru Kudanthai is the third of the 108 Divya Desams. The Sarangapani Temple is also one of the Pancha Ranga Khestras with the other four being Srirangapatnam, Srirangam, Appalarangam, Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple at Mayiladuthurai and Vatarangam at Sirkazhi.
Sarangapani Temple is the biggest Vishnu temple in Kumbakonam. It is of great religious significance and considered to be second only to the Srirangam Temple in Trichy. The temple boasts of 5 prakaras and a holy tank which is known as Porthamarai Kulam. The rajagopuram has 11 tiers and has a height of 150 feet. This is the third tallest temple gopuram among the Divya Desams other two are Srirangam (236 feet) and Srivilliputhur (192 feet).
Chariot festival is the most prominent festival of the temple, celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March-April). The twin temple chariots are the third largest in Tamil Nadu, each weighing 300 tons. Brahmotsavam, spring festival and Navaratri are the other important festivals of this temple
I have included a pic of the chariots that are pulled by the devotees….
The giant image of Nandi (Bull) is located at the top of Chamundi hills in Mysore. More than 350 years old, this is one of the oldest icons in Mysore. The Nandi is portrayed in sitting position with its left foreleg folded in an about to get up posture. While the image is in great proportions, the finer details are executed equally brilliant.
You can see many sequences of bells and garlands dexterously carved over the Nandi. With his ears pointed in rapt attention, the expression on the face is something not to be missed.
The whole image sits on a 4 feet or so high platform. According to Hindu mythology Nandi is considered as the vehicle (mount) of Lord Shiva, the lord of destruction. In front of every Shiva temple, on the court facing the shrine, you can see the image of a Nandi. About 16 feet in height and 24 feet long, this Nandi atop the Chamundi Hills is the third largest in India.
The creation of this colossal image is attributed to Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659–1673) on of the illustrious Maharajahs of Mysore. It is the same maharajah who also commissioned the 1000 stepped stairway to the hilltop.
Originally this was a colossal boulder. The image of the Nandi was carved out of this boulder in situ. When you visit this Nandi just look around to see similar boulders around this site. In fact right behind the Nandi image is small cave temple under an overhanging boulder dedicated to Shiva. These boulders are painted with white and ochre stripes.
And yes I climbed the steps to the Temple at the Top!
In 2015 I had the pleasure of stopping (well convalescing) in Kodai Kanal, I had got quite ill and need to get somewhere cool and calm, the nearest hill station was Kodai.
After a couple of days I could see why this was such a popular place with the British, beautifully cool and wonderfully Landscaped I took advantage of my four day stop in Kodai and this slide show is a taster of what you can see there.
Often referred to as the ‘Princess of Hill stations’, Kodai is one of the popular places to visit in summer . It is situated at an altitude of about 7000 feet (2133 m) on the southern tip of upper Palani hills. It has several scenic natural attractions which are enjoyed by its visitors and make it a popular romantic destination. Coaker’s Walk, Silver Cascade and Kodai Lake are among the must include places in your visit.
The earliest residents of Kodaikanal were the Palaiyar tribal people. Modern Kodaikanal was established by American Christian missionaries and British bureaucrats in 1845, as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains. In the 20th century a few elite Indians started relocating to this enchanting hill station and it started becoming popular among nature lovers.
Kodaikanal is not extensively commercialized like Ooty and it offers a pleasant experience to tourists with relatively less crowd.
Peralassery Subrahmanya Swami Temple,
In 2015 I spent four months vsiitng the Southern states of India. Whilst stopping in Kerela I visited Kannur, firstly to witness the Theyyam rituals and an added bonus to see the annual festival of Kodiyettam, which is celebrated in December
This is live action video and is unedited or post production applied.
The Temple is located at Mundalur, a 14 km short ride from kannur, on kuttuparamba road. and we were taken there by the same driver that took us to all the Theyyyam rituals we witnessed in the Kannur district.
Main offerings at this temple are Mutta Oppikal (offering hens eggs to snake deity ) and Sarpabhali.Its believed that lord Sri rama has visited this place while he was going through in search of Sita.The main deity of the temple is lord Subrahmanya, but this temple also has deity of lord Sriram, lord Ayyappan and lord Ganapathy.
The Temple Elephant is principle in this ceremony and is a growing sign of only auspicious Temples that now keep them.
In 2015 I spent four months touring the Southern states of India, stopping in Kerela, not just for the famous town of Cochin, but some of the lesser well known destinations.
Known as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha has always basked a major place in the maritime history of Kerala. Alappuzha (Alleppey) is a landmark between a network of rivers flowing into it and the Arabian Sea. Tourists visit here to hangout and relax as it has tremendous and tempting natural beauty all around.
This place has huge network of freshwater rivers, meandering lakes, and lagoons.
Alappuzha beach is a famous picnic spot and so it’s a favorite gateway for locals. It also still has its derelict 140 year old Pier!
In 2015 I was on a four month trip round Southern India. In the state of Tamil Nadu is the town of mamallapuram, famous for many things but this slide show focuses on its wonderful lighthouse and it’s recent new museum.
Originally closed in 2001 during tensions between the country and insurgents, Mamallapuram Lighthouse has now opened to the public for exploration. The modern circular lighthouse (dating back to 1905) stands atop a rocky outcrop next to the country’s oldest temple/beacon, built in 640 CE. Enter the lighthouse and climb its many stairs for spectacular views of the sea and the ancient temple carved into the rock face. Come prepared to climb and bring plenty of water.
Mamallapuram Lighthouse has been open for public view since 2011. The circular masonry tower of the Lighthouse is made of natural stones . Climbing on the stones and atop the Lighthouse (yes, you are allowed to climb) can be a real treat. From the top, the view is capable of captivating its audience.
One of the most pristine and panoramic beaches in kannur- India. We stayed here to attend the Theyyam rituals particular to North Kerela. The bonus was the stunning Beach reached by the backwater pool left by the tide which was out.
This was one of our most unexpected highlights of the trip which I did on 2015, but also one of the most welcome, it is fast becoming a popular place to go as more and more people discover it, I would highly recommend it before it gets overrun with holiday makers, oblivious to it’s deeper beauty!
One of the hardest things when photographing this was because of the unstinting sunlight, getting the colour of the sand right and trying to get it the correct colour. A near impossible task!
In 2015 I spent four months travelling round the Southern half on India after having already visited much of the North in previous Years. One of my favourite places was Thiruvananthapuram or more commonly called Trivandrum.
In this slideshow you will see a number of well trodden locations visited by many. You will see some of the amazing street art along with the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which is built in an intricate fusion of the indigenous Kerala style and the Tamil style of architecture associated with the temples located in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century Gopuram
Then you will see the Napier Museum-named after Lord Napier, then Governor of Madras, in 1880 it contains 550 exhibits, including many Bronze Images,Wood Carvings,Ivory Carvings,Stone Sculptures, and Coins. Oh and lets not forget the stunning architectural building it’s all housed in!
Then we move onto the Kuthira Malika (also known as the Mansion of Horses)- a palace built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma on the south-eastern side of Padmanabhaswamy temple. In fact you literally go out the entrance and turn left and the Temple is right on your doorstep! Constructed in 1840, it is made from teakwood, rosewood, marble, and granite. The place got its name from 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof.
And last but not least one of my favourite places is the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, wher eI was able to walk around the grounds and view the finished sculptures and wall paintings of the students. Info from: https://www.keralatourism.org/kerala-… The present College of Fine Arts has a history of more than 100 years even though it changed its name and belonging many times. Founded in1881 by the then king of Travancore His Highness Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma as His Highness Maharajas School of Arts.
This is from my journey to India in 2015, and I spent a wonderful time in MAHABALIPURAM . A World UNESCO site that is well worth a visit right as it says on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
The last in what is said to be seven temples built on the shore line.The other six are under the ocean!
The shore temple, built by Rajasimha, is dedicated to Shiva in the form of ‘Somaskanda’.
Although the beach is visible from the temple you cannot go to the water from the temple because of the wall in between. You have to come out of the temple campus and go by the side of the temple to get to the water.
This temple was built during 8th Century by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman. That time Mahabalipuram was a port for trading purposes. Now the northern side beach is used for fishing and is known as fishing beach.
During my trip to Maharastra, in India, I had the highlight of visiting the Lonar Crater. Taking me an hour to climb down and back up, I spent a total of three hours in or on the crater.
My young guide, Taj, was patient and strong when needed for the climb down. His knowledge of the crater and its inhabitants was very good.
He told me about the twin eco system that thrives there both saline and alkaline in nature. I must admit the ground near the lake edge felt very “spongy” underfoot and smelled of rotten eggs, Yuk!
More info here: Incredibly old at 50,000 years, the Lonar crater is the youngest and best preserved impact crater formed in basalt rock and is the only of its kind on earth. The crater was formed fifty-two thousand years ago, when a blazing ball of fire (a meteor that weighed over one million ton in dead weight) crashed into the earth at an estimated speed of 90,000 km per hour. It gouged a deep depression (1.8 km wide and 150 m deep) before erupting and spewing molten rock to create a magnificent crest on the rim. Over time, the jungle took over, and a perennial stream transformed the crater into a tranquil, emerald green lake.
Located in the Buldhana District of Maharashtra, the Lonar Lake is an exceptional ‘bowl of biodiversity’ and a wildlife sanctuary with a unique ecology that is vastly different from the surrounding flat landscape. A land-locked water body which is alkaline and saline at the same time, the Lonar Lake supports micro-organisms rarely found elsewhere on earth. Fringed by a lush jungle, the lake’s surroundings are peppered with fragments of minerals like maskelynite, and centuries-old abandoned temples that are now inhabited only by insects and bats.
Bibi Ka Maqbara: The “Mini Taj Mahal”
Was one of those “must see places” when I was in Aurangabad in Maharashtra- India in 2010.
Although many people call it the “poor man’s Taj” I actually thought it was stunning in it’s own right. With just a beautifully laid out gardens and intricate carvings on the building itself.
Definitely not one to miss if you are there.
Following Info courtesy of https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/
A beautiful mausoleum made by a son for his mother. Prince Azam Shah (son of the sixth Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb) constructed this lookalike of Taj Mahal for his mother Rabia-ul-Daurani. Because of its resemblance with the Taj Mahal of Agra, it is often referred as the ‘Taj of the Deccan’.
This is from my journey to India in 2015, and I spent a wonderful time in Mamallapuram. These temples were never consecrated and were thought to be where the stone masons came to practice their Art!
The five Rathas is a set of magnificent monolithic rock temples. Panch is a Hindi world which means ‘Five’. These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. There are built in the shaper of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Rathas in English means carrots. There chariots are constructed with Towers, The cars of gods, multi pillared halls, and sculptured walls which are chiselled out minutely.
The Rathas have an association to the great epic Mahabharata which describes the heroes of Mahabharata with their wife Draupadi which is termed as pancha pandava rathas. The five rathas are (i) Draupadi’s Ratha, (ii) Arjuna’s Rath, (iii) Nakul – Sahadev’s Rath, (iv) Bhima Rath and (v) Dharamraja Yudhistar’s Rath.