June 26, 2010

Kodangallur Bhagavathi Temple, Kerala, India

In Kerala, the mother Goddess is generally referred as Bhagavathy. The Bhagavathy temple at Kodungallur is actually a temple dedicated to Kali or Kannagi. Kannagi, the heroine of the Tamil epic Silappathikaram. The Chera king Senguttuvan built a temple for Kannagi in Kodangallur. This is perhaps the only temple for Kannagi. As Kannagi is believed to be a manifestation of Kaali or Durga, this temple can also be considered as the temple of Kaali.

As per the belief, the temple was orginally a Shiva temple and after Kannagi or Bhagavathi's images was installed, it became Bhagavathi temple. The image of Bhagavathy, which is around six feet high, is believed to have been carved out of a jack fruit tree. Bharani festival is celebrated in this temple in a grand manner.

Kodungallur Bhagavathi temple also houses the Shiva shrine. Shiva is called as Sundareshwarar in this temple (remember the name of the Lord of Madurai is Sundaraeshwarar, and Kannagi was living in Madurai). The backside wall of Sundareshwarar shrine has a small figure of Meenakshi (the Goddess of Madurai).

There are two more idols in the courtyard of the temple - Kshetrapala idol and a Goddess idol.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Kodungallur Bhagavathi Temple
City Name: Kodungallur
Highlights:
1) An ancient Bhagavathi temple in Kerala
2) Perhaps the only temple for Kannagi

Location: 40 kms from Thrissur, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 50 kms)
How to reach: Reachable by road from Thrissur
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in the nearby city Thrissur
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the nearby city Thrissur


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Triprayar Rama Temple, Kerala, India

Triprayar is a small town located at around 25 km from Thrissur, which has a magnificient Rama temple. The town is loacted on the banks of the river Triprayar. As per the legend, the images of four brothers Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat, and Satrugna were washed ashore and were discovered by a local chieftan Vakkey Kaimal. He installed those images in four different places, and hence you can find Rama temple in Triprayar, Lakshmana temple in Tirumoozhikkalam, Bharat temple at Koodalmaanikkam, and Satrugna temple at Payammel.

The image of Rama in the main shrine resembles Vishnu with four arms, bearing a conch, disc, bow and garland, unlike other temples where he has only two hands with bow and arrow. Apart from Rama, there is a small shine for Dakshinamurti, Shasta and Ganapati in this temple. Another interesting point is that you can find the idols of Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on both sides of Rama instead of Sita. Rama has been portrayed in the form of a victorious Lord over the evil demon Khara. The temple is rich in wood carvings and built in a typical Kerala temple architectural style. There are also a lot of ancient murals in this temple.

When you happen to visit Thrissur, ensure that you go and visit Triprayar too.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:

Site Name: Triprayar Rama Temple
City Name: Triprayar
Highlights:
1) An ancient Rama temple in Kerala
2) Rama idol along with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi instead of Lakshmana and Sita
3) Rama idol with four arms similar to Vishnu

Location: 25 kms from Thrissur, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 70 kms)
How to reach: Reachable by road from Thrissur
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in the nearby city Thrissur
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the nearby city Thrissur



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Zoo and Museum,Thrissur, Kerala, India

Zoo and museum are located in the same compound in Thrissur city, Kerala. Apart from the divine attractions of Thrissur city such as Thiruvambadi Krishna temple, Vadakkunnathan temple, and Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple, Zoo and museum complex is one of the important attractions in Thrissur city.

The museum has collections of wood carvings, metal sculptures and ancient jeweller. The compound covering museum and zoo is green with full of plants and trees. There is a separate building for art museum which houses a lot of beautiful and rare sculptures, and traditional lamps.

The zoological park, even though small, houses various species such as sloth bear, deer, lion tailed macaque, and different kinds of birds. There is also a small snake park within the zoo.

If you have enough time in Thrissur after visiting all the temples, there is no harm in going to this place. It is basically a destination for local people.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Museum and Zoo
City Name: Thrissur
Location: 70 kms from Ernakulam, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 50 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

Thiruvambadi Krishna Temple, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Thiruvambadi Krishna temple is one of the popular temples of Thrissur city, apart from the two other main temples - Vadakkunnathan temple and Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple. Thiruvambadi Krishna temple is located at a distance of around 1 km from the popular Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur.

Thiruvambadi Krishna temple, similar to Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple, actively participates in the world famous Pooram festival every year. This temple, believed to be built around 1000 years back, is in a typical Kerala temple architectural style.

Apart from the main shrine dedicated to a beautiful idol of Lord Krishna, this temple also houses three small shrines - two for Lord Ganesha, and one for Bhagavathi.

When you happen to visit Thrissur, ensure that you visit this beautiful temple of Lord Krishna along with Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple and Vadakkunnathan temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Thiruvambadi Krishna Temple
City Name: Thrissur
Highlights:
1000 year old Krishna temple

Location: 70 kms from Ernakulam, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 50 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

Paramekkavu Bhagavathi Temple, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Paramekkavu Bhagavathi temple, located opposite to the famous Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur, is one of the most important Bhagavathi temples of Kerala state. The mother Goddess is worshipped in the name of Bhagavathi in Kerala, and this temple is perhaps the biggest Bhagavathi temple in Kerala state.

Bhagavathi temple is believed to be 1000 years old, similar to that of Vadakkunnathan temple. Apart from the main deity Bhagavathi, there is no other idol or shrine present in this temple. Bhagavathi temple stands as an example for Kerala type temple architecture.


One of the major highlights of the temple is that it is one of the temples that partipates in the world famous Thrissur Pooram festival.

When you happen to go to Thrissur, ensure that you visit Vadakkunnathan temple as well as Bhagavathi temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Paramekkavu Temple
City Name: Thrissur
Highlights:
1) One of the famous Bhagavathi temples of Kerala
2) 1000 year old temple

Location: 70 kms from Ernakulam, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 50 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

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June 25, 2010

Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Vadakkunnathan temple aka Vadakkumnathan temple is one of the largest and ancient Shiva temples in Kerala state of India, located at Thrissur. Thrissur is referred as the cultural capital of Kerala - the God's own country. Vadakkunnathan temple, situated on a small hillock, is believed to be 1000 years old. There is a legendary belief that this temple was built by Parasuram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There is also a belief that the Hindu reformed Adi Shankaracharya was born after his parents prayed to Vadakkunnathan in this temple.

Vadakkunnathan temple aka Vrishabhachalam or Thenkailasam (meaning South Kailash) is a huge temple built in typical Kerala style of architecture. The temple has a lot of mural paintings depicting the incidents from Hindu epics and puranas.The venue of the famous Pooram festival is located well next to the temple.

The highlight of the temple is that the idol of Vadakkunnathan which is in the form of Shiv Linga is not visible outside. It is covered under the mount of ghee.This is formed by daily abhishek over the years. The idols of Shiva and Parvathi are seen behind the Shiv Linga. Near the main shrine of Vadakkunnathan, there are two main shrines - one for Rama and another for Hari Hara or Shankara Narayana (a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva). There is a separate shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a hunter (vettaikkaran).All these four shrines are located in the center mandapa.

Outside the mandapa, there are shrines for Krishna, Parasurama, Vrishabha, Simhodara, Adi Shankaracharya, and Dharma Shasta. There is also a huge Nandi statue in the verandah of the temple. You can also find the samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya in this temple. I am not sure why the samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya is located in this temple, as one is located in Badrinath too. Apart from that, there are some people who believe that Shankarachary attained samadhi in Kanchipuram town of Tamil Nadu state.

The temple, surrounded within a massive stone wall, has a huge area of around 9 acres. There are four temple towers in four directions. There is also a museum withing the temple for ancient wall paintings, wood carvings, and other forms of art pieces.

This is a great temple which you shouldn't miss to visit.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Vadakkunnathan Temple
City Name: Thrissur
Highlights:
1) One of the famous Shiva temples of Kerala
2) Shiva idol covered with mount of ghee
3) 1000 year old temple

4) Adi Shankaracharya's samadhi is located

Location: 70 kms from Ernakulam, Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur
Nearest Airport: Cochin (around 50 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city
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Kerala - the God's Own Country

Kerala, a state located at the southern end of India, has various tourist destinations. Kerala is so beautiful that it is being called as God's own country.

Kerala has pleasant climate throughout the year, and provides various destination options for travellers such as beaches, pilgrimages, resorts, hill stations, back waters and wild life sanctuaries. Due to its moderate climate throughout the year, and various festivals celebrated, travellers keep travelling to Kerala throughout the year.



Kumarakom, Kuttanad, Alapuzha, and Kochi are some of the most important backwater destinations of Kerala. The beaches like Kovalam are world famous. Mannar, Ponmudi, .... there are lot of hill stations in the state. And, when it comes to pilgrim centers, I am not sure if any other state in India except Tamil Nadu has so many pilgrim centers. Some of the religiously important sites located in Kerala are Sabari Malai, Guruvayur, Thrissur, Chottanikkarai, Varkala, Vaikom, and Kaladi.

Whatever be your travel objective, and whatever month you want to travel, Kerala would definitely be an ideal destination for you.

I admit that I haven't completely explored Kerala yet. I am going to write about the places that I have visited so far in Kerala. You cannot find photographs for some places, as photography is strictly prohibited in Kerala temples.

Happy travelling.




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June 19, 2010

Hotels in Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram has a lot of hotels and restaurants. I am providing the details of some of the good hotels and restaurants in Kanchipuram city.

Hotels in Kanchipuram:

1) TamilNadu Government's Hotel Tamil Nadu for budget accommodation

2) Sri Rama's Lodge at Nellukkara Street

3) Hotel Jaybala International at Gandhi Road

4) GRT Regency (3 star hotel)

5) MM Hotels at Nellukkara street

Restaurants in Kanchipuram:

1) Hotel Saravana Bhavan at Gandhi Road near bus stand

2) Hotel Sakthi Ganapathi near bus stand

3) Adya Ananda Bhavan at Nellukkara street

4) Sridhar Care

5) Hotel Chakra at Gandhi Road

6) India Coffee House

Places to visit in Kanchipuram, India

Kanchipuram, the city of 1000 temples, has around 250 temples in and around the city. Most of them are popular and ancient temples. Apart from temples, you can do shopping for silk sarees in Kanchipuram.

Some of the important tourist attractions in Kanchipuram city are given below.

1) Kamakshi Amman Temple - Kamakshi Amman Temple is one of the three most important Goddess temples of India. This is the most important temple of Kanchipuram and remains as the center of attraction. The current temple structure was constructed in 14th century AD. Kamakshi Amman temple is one of 51 Shakthi Peeths.

2) Kumara Kottam Temple - Kumara Kottam Subramanya temple is the most important Subramanya (Muruga) temple in Kanchipuram city. The Tamil version of Skanda Puran (the story of Subramanya) was composed in this temple.

3) Ekambareswarar Temple - Ekambareswarar Temple is the most important Shiva temple that is located in Kanchipuram city. There is a 3000 year old Mango tree inside the temple.

4) Varadarajar Temple - Varadaraja Perumal temple is the most important Vishnu temples in Kanchipuram. This is one of 108 Divya Desams temple and the temple is very huge and architecturally beautiful.

5) Sankara Mutt - This is the monastery started by Adi Shankaracharya around 2500 years back and remains as one of the center of attractions in Kanchipuram city, inspite of several controversies.

6) Ulagalanda Perumal Temple - 35 feet idol is the highlight of this temple, which is one of 108 Divya Desam temples. The temple compound has other three Divya Desam shrines too.

7) Pandava Doota Perumal Temple - 25 feet long gigantic idol is the highlight of the temple.

8) Kailasanathar Temple - This temple is the most beautiful temple in Kanchipuram due to its sculpture and architecture.

9) Vaikundanatha Perumal Temple - This temple is also architecturally beautiful and has a lot of extraordinary sculptures similar to that of Kailasanathar temple.

10) Kachabeswarar Temple - This is one of the important Shiva temples in Kanchipuram.

11) Pachaivanna Perumal and Pavalavanna Perumal Temples - These two temples together are considered as a single Divya Desam.

Apart from the above listed temples, there are a lot of temples such as Chokkeeswarar Temple, Jurahareswarar Temple, Yadhothakaari Temple, Chitraguptar Temple, Ashtabuja Temple, and Mrutyunjeswarar Temple.

Happy travelling.



City Name: Kanchipuram
Highlights:
1) City of 1000 temples
2) One of the seven sacred cities of India
3) Famous for silk sarees
4) Has around 250 temples in and around
5) Very ancient city
6) One of the Pancha Bhootha Sthalams - earth adobe of Lord Shiva
7) The city has Kamakshi Amman temple - one of the three most famous temples of mother Goddess
Location: 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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June 12, 2010

An unknown architectural marvel of ancient time - Mrutyunjeswarar Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Mrutyunjeswarar temple is a beautiful example for ancient Pallava architecture. This outstanding beautiful small temple is located next to Pachaivanna Perumal temple in the main road and very close to the bus stand in Kanchipuram, South India. It is unfortunate that this temple is neglected and no one visits this temple. Due to this reason, the main shrine where Lord Shiva (Mrutyunjeswarar) is located remains closed. The temple is under the archaeological survey of India.
There is no separate shrine for the goddess. However, there are separate shrines for Ganesha and Skanda. The idol of Nandi is very beautiful with its face slightly turned toward right side. This temple is believed to have been worshipped by the sage Markandeya, and hence there is an idol for him in this temple.

I wish those who go to Kanchipuram should visit this ancient architecutral marvel of South India.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Mrutyunjeswarar Temple
Highlights:
Ancient Pallava architecture

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

God got married here – Pachaivanna Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, South India.God got married here – Pachaivanna Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Pachaivanna Perumal temple is located opposite to Palvanna Perumal temple in Kalander street near bus stand in Kanchipuram city, South India. The highlight of these temples is that both these temples together are considered as a single Divya Desam (one of 108 holy adobes of Lord Vishnu).



The main deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu named as Pachaivanna Perumal. The sage Bruhu Maharishi prayed to God and got the goddess Lakshmi as his daughter. He got his daughter married to Lord Vishnu in this temple. The Lord appears in standing posture in this temple. There are shrines for the goddess Maragadambal, Andal, Garuda, Hanuman, and Prasanna Varadarajar. This temple is too small but very ancient.

Visit this temple alon with Palvanna Perumal temple.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Pachaivanna Perumal Temple
Highlights:
1) One of the 108 Divya Desam temples
2) God got married to Lakshmi in this site

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

Pavalavanna Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Palvanna Perumal temple is located opposite to Pachaivanna Perumal temple in Kalander street near bus stand in Kanchipuram city, South India. The highlight of these temples is that both these temples together are considered as a single Divya Desam (one of 108 holy adobes of Lord Vishnu).

In Pavalavanna temple, the main deity has red shades which is unique. As he fought demons disturbing Brahma's yagna, he has blood sheds in his body.The temple is very small but contains authentic architecturally beautiful temple towers. The main deity is Pavalavanna Perumal (Vishnu), who is in sitting posture. There is a separate shrine for the goddess Pavalavalli. There are also shrines for Andal, Rama with Lakshman and Sita, Garuda, and Hanuman. One can also find the idol of Bruhu Maharishi opposite Pavalavanna Perumal shrine.




Visit this temple alon with Pachaivanna Perumal temple.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Pavalavanna Perumal Temple
Highlights:
One of the 108 Divya Desam temples

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

God with eight weapons in eight arms - Ashthabhujakaram temple, Kanchipuram, India

Ashthabhujakaram temple, one of the 108 Divya Desams (108 holy adobes of Lord Vishnu) is located towards south of Rangaswamy tank in Chinna Kanchipuram, South India. As per the legend, Lord Vishnu took eight weapons in his eight arms to fight the Asuras intruding the yagna conducted by Lord Brahma. Hence, he got the name Ashthabhujakaram (Ashtha="Eight"; karam="hand").

As per another legend, Indra sent Devakanyas to divert the sage Mahasudha from penance in this place. The sage, attracted by ladies who had taken the form of elephants, took the form of elephant and started living with them. When he realized his mistake, he sought help of the sage Markandeya. Markandeya suggested him to worship Ashthabhujakaram. The sage worshiped Vishnu with lotus flower in the form of elephant. One day, the elephant's leg was caught by a crocodile. The elephant cried for Lord's help. Lord Vishnu rescued the elephant by killing the crocodile, and this incident is termed as 'Gajendra Mokhsa'.

The main deity Ashtha bhuja Perumal (Vishnu) is seen with ashtha bhujam (eight arms) having weapons – discus, sword, flower, arrow, conch, bow, kedaya and gadha – in each arm. The God in this temple is also referred as Gajendra Varadan, and Adi Kesava Perumal. There is a separate shrine for the goddess Pushpavalli. Next to the goddess shrine, there is a shrine for BhooVaraha. There are also small shrines of Garuda, Hanuman and Andal in this temple. Outside the temple, the tank where the elephant Gajendra got Moksha is situated.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Ashthabhujakaram Temple
Highlights:
1) Vishnu with eight arms
2) The site where Gajendra Moksha took place

Location: Chinna Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

Tiruvekka Yadhothakaari Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Yadhothakaari temple is one of 108 Divya Desams (108 divine adobes of Lord Vishnu), which is located near Rangaswamy tank, and it is very close to the famous Varadarajar temple in Chinna Kanchipuram of South India.

As per the legend, when Lord Brahma was performing a yagna in this place, his consort Saraswati in the form of river Vegavati started flooding this area. She did this to help demons who wanted to stop the yagna. As per the request from the Devas, Lord Vishnu lied down on Adi Sesha on the way of the river in three places - Parkadal (the milky ocean), Srirangam and in this place. Hence, this place was called as Vegavati anai (anai means "dam" in Tamil language), and then became Vegka and the temple is referred as 'Tiruvekka'.

Poigai Alwar was born on a lotus flower in the tank adjacent to this temple. As per the legend, Kanikannan, a disciple of Tirumazhisai Azhwar was banished from the kingdom by the then ruler when he refused to sing on the King. When Tirumazhisai Azhwar left the place in search of him, Lord Vishnu at the request of Azhwar, rolled Adisesha in his arms and followed Azhwar. Once Lord Vishnu left the place, the whole town faced several problems. The king realized his mistake and begged Azhwar to forgive and return back to hiskingdom. Azhwar then returned to the place requesting Vishnu once again to follow him. Since Vishnu did as asked by his disciple, he got the name ‘Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal’ (meaning the Lord who did as per the request by his devotee).

The highlight of this temple is that, Ranganath is in a unique resting posture with his head to the right side of the devotees and legs to the left side unlike the other temples. Devotees such as Peyalwar, Poigai Alwar, Tirumazhisai Alwar and Tirumangai Alwar sang hymns in praise of the deity of this temple.

The temple is not very big and there are only few shrines. The main shrine has Lord Ranganath (Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal) in the reclining posture with Lakshmi near his feet. There is a separate shrine for Goddess Komalavalli. Andal idol is extraordinarily beautiful in this temple. I would say that this is one of the most beautiful idols of Andal I have ever seen. There is a shrine for Ram, Sita and Lakshman. Opposite to the main shrine, as usual, there is a small shrine of Garuda.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Yadhothakaari Temple
Highlights:
1) Ranganath in the reclining posture on the right side
2) One of the 108 Divya Desam temples
3) Birth place of Poigai Alwar

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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A rare temple for the God who keeps track of our deeds - Chitraguptar temple, Kanchipuram, India

Chitra Guptar temple is an unique and rare temple located in Kanchipuram city of South Inda. This small temple, which was built during the Chola period in the 9th century CE, is located in Nellukara street near Kanchipuram bus stand.

Chitra Gupta, the younger brother of Yama, the God of Death, is believed to keep track of good and evil deeds of all human beings. Everyone goes to heaven or hell based on the records maintained by Chitra Gupta. You cannot find a temple or shrine for Chitra Gupta anywhere else except in Kanchpuram. As Chitra Gupta is the God of Ketu, one of the Navagrahas, you can find a lot of devotees visiting this small temple.

The temple has Lord Chitra Guptar as the main idol with Utsava idols of Chitra Guptar with his wife Karni Ambal. There is a separate shrine for Ayyappa, Vishnu Durga, Navagraha, and Ramalingar in this temple.

When you go to Kanchipuram, visit this rare temple.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Chitra Guptar Temple
Highlights:
A rare and unique temple for Chitra Guptar, who keeps track of our deeds
2) One of the 51 Shakthi Peeths
3) The most famous temple of Kanchipuram, the city of thousand temples
Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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Subramanya became Creator - Kumara Kottam Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities for the Hindus. It is located in the Tamil Nadu state of India. It is being called as the city of one thousand temples. Even today, there are about 300 temples located in the city and many of them are very popular.

Sri Kumara Kottam temple is the most important Murugan (Subramanya) temple of Kanchipuram. Kumara Kottam temple is located in the west Raja street at a distance of around half a km from Kanchipuram bus stand. The temple is located very near to Kamakshi Amman temple and Sankara Mutt.

Legend:

As per the legend, once Lord Subramanya imprisoned the creator deity Brahma for not knowing the meaning of Pranava Mantra and he took over the creation task from Brahma. The idol of Lord Murugan in this temple is in the form of Creator form called as Brahma Shasta.

The extension of the legend states that Lord Shiva ordered Murugan to release Brahma. Murugan worshiped Shiva Linga to get rid of his sin of punishing Brahma. Linga is found in the temple in the name of Senapateeswarar.

As per another legend associated with this temple, Kachiappa Sivachariyar used to compose Skanda Purana hymns and deposit his works in the sanctum sanctorum of Murugan. Every night, Lord Murugan would modify his manuscript and make corrections.

A 20th century period scholar named Pamban Swamigal came to Kanchipuram. When he could not find out the location of Kumara Kottam temple, it is said that Lord Murugan himself took the form of a boy and guided the saint to this temple.

There is also a little known legend associated with Vishnu related to this site.  When there was a disastrous flood all over the world, the sage Markandeya swam through and reached Kanchipuram. The city was the only place which was not affected by the flood. Lord Vishnu followed the sage and he too reached Kanchipuram. He bathed in the holy waters of the temple and worshiped Lord Subramanya of Kumara Kottam temple. As per his request, Lord Subramanya made him to be present next to his shrine in the same temple. There is a separate shrine for Vishnu called as Ullam Urugum Perumal in this temple.

History:

The Tamil version of Skanka Purana (the story of Lord Subramanya/Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva) was composed by the saint scholar Kachiappa Sivachariyar in this temple.

Another highlight of the temple is that the famous 'Tiruppugazh' was composed by Arunagirinathar in praise of Lord Murugan in this temple.

The temple belongs to Chola period.

Temple Layout:

The temple has west facing tower (Raja gopuram).

The sanctum sanctorum enshrines Murugan. He has two arms and is found in the standing posture. His sculpture is exceedingly attractive. As stated above, he is in the form of Brahma Shasta. Only few temples depict this form of Murugan and it is considered to be unique and rare form. The main shrine has a long ardha mandapa and maha mandapa apart from the sanctorum.

Near the tower, the flag staff, bali peetha and peacock vahana are found facing towards the main shrine.

The entrance of the temple's area enclosing the main shrine and inner prakara has the sub-shrine enshrining big idol of Ganesha.

The temple has two prakaras around the main shrine. The outer prakara is open space whereas the inner prakara has many sub-shrines and idols.

The mandapa where Kachiappa Sivachariyar composed Skanda Purana is found in the outer prakara.

In the maha mandapa, facing the presiding deity, the idols of Shiva Linga named Senapateeswarar and Santana Ganapati are situated.

The inner prakara has the following sub-shrines:


  • Palani Andavar with Ganesha at the entrance
  • Arumugam with Valli and Devasena - Utsava idols
  • Urugum Ulla Perumal (Vishnu) with his two consorts
  • Somaskanda  - Utsava idols
  • Muthukumaraswamy - Utsava idols
  • Nava Veeras - Utsava idols
  • Gaja Valli - a combine form of Valli and Devasena - Utsava idol
  • Valli - Utsava idol
  • Devasena - Utsava idol
  • Murugan with his two consorts - Utsava idols
The following idols are also situated in the inner prakara:

  • Nava Veeras
  • Pamban Swamigal
  • Ramalinga Adigal
  • Kachiappa Sivachariyar
  • Veerabhadra
  • Dakshinamurti
  • Vishnu
  • Chandikeshwara
  • Navagrahas

Kumara Kottam temple is definitely one temple in Kanchipuram which should not be missed.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Kumara Kottam Temple
Highlights:
1) One of the most important temples of Kanchipuram
2) The most important Murugan temple in Kanchipuram
3) The temple where the Tamil version of Skanda Purana was composed
4) The deity on which 'Tirupgazh' was composed

Location:
Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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Lizard worship in 1000 years old temple - Varadarajar Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Varadarajar temple, located in a sprawling 20 acres area, is one of the 108 Divya Desams (108 holy abodes of Vishnu). It is located in Chinna Kanchipuram locality in Kanchipuram city. It is the most important Vishnu temple in the city of 1000 temples.

Lord Vishnu, called as Varadarajar in this temple, is believed to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma in Krita yuga, Gajendra in Treta yuga, Brihaspati (Guru) in Dwapara yuga and Aadisesha in Kali yuga. Varadarajar in this temple is also called as Devaraja Perumal, Athigiri Arulala Perumal, Karivaradar and Giri Varadar. It is believed that Indira's white elephant Iravat, is in the form of a hill bears the image of Lord Vishnu in this temple.



This huge temple of Varadaraja was built by the Pallava kings in  the 11th century CE. The temple was patronized by the Chola and Vijayanagara kings. There is a big Raja gopuram (temple tower) for this temple in the main entrance. Once you enter the temple, you can find the beautiful 100 pillared hall (Nuttrukkal mandapa) with full of extraordinary sculptures. Behind the mandapa, the holy tank is located. The original figure of Lord Varadarajar made out of fig wood is kept at the bed of the tank and is taken out only once in every 40 years.

The first roundabout (prakara) of the temple is on the holy mound ''Hasthigiri'. The main shrine is about 40 feet height and you need to climb up 43 steps to reach the shrine. The sanctum enshrines Lord Varadarajar in the standing posture with four arms. The main idol of Lord Varadarajar is believed to be the second largest idol and the largest idol being Tirupati Balaji idol. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Perundevi. The idol of the goddess is very beautiful. Opposite to Varadarajar, there is a small shrine enshrining Garuda. Next to Perundevi shrine, there is a shrine for Lord Krishna.

One of the highlights of Varadarajar temple is a small shrine for lizards (lizard worship). Two lizard carvings - one with gold plate and another withe silver plate are carved in the ceiling along with the figures of Sun and Moon. Devotees touch these lizard figures; as per the belief, it will relieve them from their diseases and problems. As per the legend, the two sons of sage Srungibera (Hayman and Sukran) were the disciples of the sage Gautama. One day, the lizard was found in the water that they brought to Gautama to perform pooja. Hence, the enraged sage cursed them to turn into lizards. They got rid of their curse after visiting Varadarajar temple.

The Varadarajar temple is architecturally beautiful and a lot of sculptures and paintings are found. There is a shrine for Valampuri Vinayakar in the prakara. There is a shrine for Dharmendran and Andal too. There are also shrines for Yoga Narasimha, Rama, Ranganath, Danvantri and Karumanikka Perumal. Near the tank there is a shrine for Chakrathalwar with Narasimha on the back side.

Sages like Peyalwar, Budhatalwar, and Tirumangai Alwar have sung hymns on this deity. The great Hindu reformer saint Ramanujar was believed to have lived in this temple for sometime. This is the birth place of Vedanta Desikar. Garuda Seva, which is a grand utsav (festival) done in Vaikasi month is said to be the most and special festival here.

There is another legend related to this temple. Lord Brahma wanted to get darshan of Lord Vishnu in Chathur Bhujam (with four hands) and becasue of this, he did penance towards him. First, Vishnu gave his seva in the form of Teerth, which is now called as "Pushkar". Next he gave the seva in the form of forest, which in now called as "Naimisaranyam". But still, Lord Brahma was not satisfied. At that time, he heard an Asarari (an unknown voice from heaven) which said that to get the darshan of Sri Varadarajar, he must do the great Ashwamedha yagna for hundred times. But, Lord Brahma felt so depressed that he didn't have patience to perform 100 Ashwamedha yagna. Finally as per Vishnu's advice, he performed one  yagna which was equivalent to 100 Ashwamedha yagnas. It is said that doing one Ashwamedha yagna in Kanchipuram is equivalent to 100 times of doing the same anywhere else. Brahma started the yagna and from the fire of the yagna, Sri Varadarajar came out and gave his darshan.

"Ka" - means Brahma and "Anjitham" - means who was worshipped. Since, Brahma worshipped Vishnu as Varadharajar, this place is called "Kanchi".



Happy travelling.







Site Name: Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Highlights:

1) One of the most important temples in Kanchipuram
2) The most important temple in Little Kanchipuram (Chinna Kanchipuram)
3) The most important Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram
4) One of the 108 Divya Desams temples
5) Lizard worship
6) The second biggest Vishnu idol
7) 1000 years old Pallava temple
8) Beautiful sculptures, paintings, and architecture

Location: Chinna Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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Worshipped by Tortoise - Kachabeswarar Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Kachabeswarar temple is one of the most important and big temples of Kanchipuram city, the city of thousand temple. Kachabeswarar temple is located in the southern corner of Western Raja street, at a distance of around 1 km from the famous Ekambareswarar temple in Kanchipuram.

Kachabeswarar temple is a Shiva temple, and Lord Shiva, the main deity of this temple is called as Kachabeswarar. The goddess is called as Soundarambikai. The temple has big Raja gopuram (temple tower) and very big in area. The temple also houses other idols such as Saraswati, Ganesha, Chadurmukeswarar, Shasta and Bhairav. There are four shrines of Lord Shiva around the temple tank (called as Ishta Siddhi Teerth) - Dharma Siddheswarar, Kama Siddheswarar, Artha Siddheeswarar and Moksha Siddheswarar. Near the main deity Kachabeswarar, there is an idol of Lord Ganesha called as Satyamozhi Vinayaka, which was worshipped by Lord Vishnu.


As per the legend, when the Devasa and Asuras were churning the milky ocean to get amridha, the mountain which was used as the churning stick, started sinking. Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Koorma (tortoise) and lifted the mountain on his back. Due to this, he got proud and increased the water level which troubled the universe. At this juncture, Lord Shiva destroyed the tortoise and strng its shell on the sacred garland worn about his neck. Later, Lord Vishnu regretted his act and came here to get blessings of Lord Shiva, and hence Shiva in this temple got the name Kachabeswara (Kachab means tortoise). It is believed that Lord Brahma and his consort Saraswati also worshipped Kachabeswarar in this temple. Asura guru Sukracharya worshipped here to get Mrutyusanjeevini and Vajrayakkai.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Kachabeswarar Temple

Highlights:

1) One of the most important temples in Kanchipuram
2) Worshipped by tortoise (Koorma incarnation of Lord Vishnu)

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city

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Jwarahareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Kanchipuram, which is called as the city of thousand temples, has around 250 temples at present in and around the city. Even though most of the temples are very ancient, have historical importance, or architecturally beautiful, only few temples are popular and are being visited by the devotees. Jwarahareswarar temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Kanchipuram city, which is an architectural wonder, but remains as an unknown temple.


This temple, currently under the control of archaeological department of India, is located at the south direction of the popular Ekambaranathar temple of Kanchipuram city. It is an ancient temple and architecturally very beautiful. As per the legend, the Rakshasa Juraha was killed by Lord Shiva here, and hence he got the name Jurahareswarar in this temple. It is also believed that Shiva (Jurahareswarar) cures the fever and heat related diseases of the devotees.

This temple belongs to the Chola period. The main shrine of Jurahareswarar temple is circular, which is a unique architectural feature. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva (Jurahareswarar). You can also find the idol of Kuber in this temple.

The temple  has a tank named 'Vepperi Kulam' aka 'Upperi Kulam'.

As photography is banned inside this temple, I couldn't display the pictures of this extraordinarily beautiful temple. When you visit Kanchipuram temple, ensure that you do visit this temple.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Jurahareswarar Temple

Highlights:

One of the architecturally beautiful temples in Kanchipuram

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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June 11, 2010

An architectural marvel of Pallava era - Vaikunthanatha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Vaikunthanatha Perumal Temple is located very near to Kanchipuram bus stand in Kanchipuram city, the city of thousand temples. This is one of the most important temples in Kanchipuram city. It is one of the 108 Divya Deshams . This temple is also referred as 'Parameswara Vinnagaram'. Similar to Kailasanathar temple in Kanchipuram, Vaikunthanatha Perumal temple is an architectural marvel.


As per the legend, the dwarapals of Lord Vishnu were reborn as Pallava and Villava. They performed Ashwametha Yagna in this place and Lord Vishnu gave darshan to them.


The temple, built by Nandivarma Pallava, is architecturally  beautiful. The main shrine has three floors. In the first floor, Lord Vishnu is present in the sitting posture. In the second floor, you can find Lord Ranganath along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi in the reclining posture. The top floor has  Lord Vishnu in the standing posture. There is a separate shrine for Goddess Vaikunthavalli Thayar. The temple is full of rare sculptures and idols which are extraordinarily beautiful. The architectural style of Pallava era and the beautiful sculptures are the main highlights of this temple.

Don't miss to visit one of the most beautiful temples of Kanchipuram to get the feel of the great Pallava architectural style.

Happy travelling.

Site Name: Vaikundanatha Perumal Temple
Highlights:
1) One of the most important temples in Kanchipuram city
2) One of 108 Divya Desams are present in the temple (108 most important temples of Lord Vishnu)
3) Three forms of Lord Vishnu available in the same temple
4) One of the most beautiful temples of Kanchipuram city with full of sculptures
5) Ancient architecture of Pallava era

Location: Kanchipuram, 75 kms from Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai (around 75 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in the city


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June 5, 2010

Ulagalanda Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, India

Site Name: Ulagalanda Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:  Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: 35 feet tall gigantic deity; Four Divya Desams in a single complex
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road and train
Hotel: A lot of options across Kanchipuram
Restaurants: A lot of options across Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is one of the seven holy sites for Hindus. The ancient town is located at a distance of around 75 kms from Chennai city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The town is said to have more than one thousand temples. However, currently although one thousand temples cannot be found, there are about one hundred important and ancient temples found across the town. Let us discuss about Ulagalanda Perumal Temple in this article. 

Ulagalanda Perumal Temple is located very near to the most famous Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram. The temple is considered as the 50th Divya Desam located in the Thondai region. Apart from this, there are three other Divya Desams located within this temple complex. Nowhere else, we can find four Divya Desams together. Moreover, the 35 feet tall gigantic idol of the presiding deity is the major attraction of this temple. 


Highlights:

  • Four Divya Desams in a single temple complex - Ooragam, Karagam, Karvanam and Neeragam

Ooragam

  • Tirumangai Alwar and Tirumazhisai Alwar have sung about this site in their verses.
  • It is considered as the 50th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Thondai region.
  • Vishnu is found in the gigantic 35 feet high and 24 feet wide form
  • God - Ulagalanda Perumal a.k.a. Tri Vikrama
  • Goddess Aaranavalli a.k.a. Amrudhavalli
  • Viman - Sarasreekara Viman
  • Teerth (sacred water) - Naga Teerth

Neeragam

  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 47th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Thondai region.
  • God - Jagadeeswarar a.k.a. Tiruneeragathan
  • Goddess - Nilamangaivalli
  • Viman - Jagadeeswara Viman
  • Teerth (sacred water) - Akroora Teerth

Karagam

  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 52nd Divya Desam temple. It is located in Thondai region.
  • God Karunakara Perumal
  • Goddess Padmamani
  • Viman - Vamana Viman
  • Teerth (sacred water) - Akraya Teerth

Karvanam

  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 53rd Divya Desam temple. It is located in Thondai region.
  • God Tirukkarvanna Kalvar a.k.a. Navaneetha Chora
  • Goddess Kamalavalli
  • Viman - Pushkala Viman
  • Teerth (sacred water) - Gowri Tadakam

Legend:

Ooragam

The temple is associated with the legend of Vaman Avatar of Vishnu and it does not mean that the incident related to Vaman and Bali happened in this site. 

Bali was a powerful Asura King. Indra sought the help of Vishnu to control Bali. Vishnu took the form of a dwarf (Vaman) and asked for three feet of space to the King. When the King offered the same, Vaman took the gigantic form called as Tri Vikrama and measured the sky and the earth with two feet. For the third foot, the King offered himself to Tri Vikrama. Thus, Tri Vikrama put his right foot on the head of the Asura King and sent him to Patal Lok. As the King could not get the darshan of the gigiantic form, Vishnu appeared in the form of Sesha (serpent) and gave darshan to him. 

This temple represents the images of Tri Vikrama as well as Sesha (Ooragam).


Neeragam

Vishnu appeared in the form of a child on a banyan leaf to a Rishi named Akroora in this site.



Karagam

The sage Garga got darshan of Lord Vishnu in this site. The name of the site was probably Garagaham, which would have later become Karagam. As per another concept, the word "kar" means cloud and the site name might related to that.


History:


The temple is believed to have been built by the Pallavas originally, with additions made by the Cholas, and Sambuvarayars.

The inscriptions from the period of Nandivarman III Pallava (9th century CE), Kulotunga Chola I (11th century CE), Rajaraja Chola III (13th century CE) and Sambuvarayar (16th century CE) are found in this temple. 


Temple Layout:

Ooragam

The temple is east facing and has a beautiful three tiered tower. The Avatars of Lord Vishnu such as Ram, Krishna and Narasimha have many temples. But, the other Avatars of Vishnu have only few temples. This temple of Ulagalanda Perumal is dedicated to Vaman Avatar of Vishnu, which is rare. 

In the sanctum, the gigantic 35 feet high and 24 feet wide stucco idol of Ulagalanda Perumal, who is also called as Trivikra, is found. He has his left leg raised towards the sky and his right leg rested on the head of Bali. It is an exciting experience to get darshan of this magnificent deity.

The sanctum also enshrines the utsav idols of Vishnu along with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. Lokanathan is the name of the utsav deity.

In the Ardha Mandap, Vishnu in Sesha form is found in a small north facing shrine. This shrine is called as Ooragam, whereas the main shrine is called as Peragam. Both the shrines together form a single Divya Desam, which is popular in the name of Tiru Ooragam.

The Viman above the sanctum is called as Sarasreekara Viman. It is unusually broad like a gopura and looks very attractive and artistic.

The Goddess Aaranavalli a.k.a. Amrudhavalli is found in a separate shrine in the prakara.

The bali peeth, tall flag staff and Garud are found facing towards the sanctum.

The sub-shrines of Andal, Vishwaksena and Alwars are found in a separate mandap in one corner in the outer prakara.


Neeragam

Neeragathan shrine is found in the outer prakara of Ulagalanda Perumal temple. The original deity is not found. What we see today is the new deity and not the original one. He is found in the standing posture and has four arms. The utsav idol is said to be original. 

It is not known why the utsav idol was brought to the premises of Ulagalanda Perumal temple. The stone idol, viman, teerth and the temple, everything is lost now.




Karagam

The south facing shrine of Karunakara Perumal is located in the prakara of the temple. It is considered as a separate Divya Desam. Vishnu is found seated on Sesha. However, this is not the original deity. The original deity, viman, teerth and the temple are lost. It is not known why the original utsav idol was brought to this temple. As per the pasuram sung by Tirumangai Alwar, it is understood that the original deity was found in the standing posture.


Karvanam

The west facing shrine of Karvanna Kalla Perumal is located in the prakara of the temple. It is considered as a separate Divya Desam. Vishnu is found in the standing posture. However, this is not the original deity. The original deity, viman, teerth and the temple are lost. It is not known why the original utsav idol was brought to this temple. The utsav idol is found along with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

Facing towards the Raja gopura, outside the temple, the shrine of Hanuman is found. It is a rare idol. Hanuman has four arms holding conch and discus in his two upper arms.

Happy travelling.