November 21, 2010

The oldest surviving railway station of India

Royapuram Railway Station in Chennai (erstwhile Madras) city of South India is the oldest railway station of India which still survives.

Royapuram Railway Station is located in the Royapuram locality of North Chennai, and is one of the neglected local railway stations today where you can hardly find passengers. However, not many of the people even in Chennai city know that this was the second major railway station built in India, and this is the oldest railway station of India which still survives.
Royapuram Railway Station
In 16th April 1853, the first railway line of India was started between Bori Bunder to Thane by British government, which ruled India during that time. Neither the Bori Bunder nor the Thane stations survive in the original. (Bori Bunder has become the famous Bombay Victoria Terminus). However, Royapuram, from where India's second railway line started, still survives to some extent. The railway line which linked Madras (Royapuram) to Arcot (now Wallajahpet) was opened in 1st July 1856 AD. (The work started in 1853 and ended by 1856). Two trains, each with coaches made by Simpson & Co., inaugurated the service. One carried the Governor Lord Harris and 300 Europeans to Amboor, and the second train took Indian invitees to Triveloor. Royapuram remained as the main railway station of Madras (Chennai) city till 1907 AD.

When you happen to go to North Chennai, ensure that you visit this heritage site of Royapuram Railway Station for sure.

Happy travelling.
Royapuram Railway Station

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Royapuram Railway Station 
Site Type: Heritage site, Railway station
Location: Royapuram, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The oldest surviving railway station of India
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city




View Larger Map

November 20, 2010

List of Hindu Temples in Chennai

Listed below are the main, ancient, or rare temples of Chennai city, one of the important cities of India. Chennai has a lot of important tourist sites; however, most of them are Hindu temples, which are covered in detail in my blog. The list is dynamic and will be updated frequently. Happy travelling.


Triplicane
1) Theerthapaleeswarar Temple: An old Shiva temple located in Triplicane. One of Seven Sapta Sthana temples.


Mylapore
1) Karaneeswarar Temple: A 12th century little known temple. One of Seven Sapta Sthana temples.
2) Velleswarar Temple: One of seven Sapta Sthana Shiva temples. It is also a Navagraha sthalam in Chennai. Sukracharya got his sight back in this temple.
3) Virupaksheeshwarar Temple: One of seven Sapta Sthana Shiva temples. It is related to the life of Tirugnana Sambandhar.
4) Vaaleeswarar Temple: Believed to have been worshipped by Vaali of Ramayana. It is one of seven Sapta Sthana Shiva temples.
5) Malleswarar Temple: One of seven Sapta Sthana Shiva temples.

East Coast Road (ECR)
1) Sai Baba Temple: A calm and serene temple located near beach in Injambakkam.
2) ISKCON Temple: The only ISKCON temple in Chennai.
3) Puri Jagannath Temple: The replica of the famous Jagannath temple of Puri.

Sholinganallur
1) Pratyingara Devi Temple: A rare temple for Lion Goddess - Pratyingara Devi. You can find a lot of rare idols in this temple.

Thiruporur
1) Murugan Temple: One of the most popular Murugan temples in Chennai region. The place where Lord Muruga killed asuras in the battlefield.

Hanuman Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai, India

Ashok Nagar locality in Chennai city of South India is one of the busiest areas of the city. There is a famous temple dedicated for Lord Hanuman aka Anjaneya located in this area.

Lord Hanuman temple of Ashok Nagar is located in the 53rd street of Ashok Nagar area in Chennai city. This temple was built recently; however, it has become very popular in and around Ashok Nagar area. Lord Hanuman, the great devotee of Lord Rama, is also called as Anjaneya. There are few temples in Chennai dedicated for Lord Hanuman. Ashok Nagar Hanuman temple has become one of those few popular temples of Chennai city dedicated to Lord Hanuman.

Hanuman Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai


Lord Hanuman temple of Ashok Nagar is maintained very well and looks neat and tidy. The main shrine has the big idol of Lord Hanuman - around 20 feet. There is a shrine for Lord Ganesha. There is also a shrine for Bharat Mata (Mother India). This is very rare to find the idol of Mother India worshipped as a Goddess in South Indian temple.

You will definitely get the religious vibration when you find yourself in front of the gigantic image of Lord Hanuman in this temple. When you pass by Ashok Nagar area, ensure that you visit this temple for sure.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Hanuman Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Ashok Nagar area, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous Hanuman temple in Chennai
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map

Swarnapureeswarar Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai, India

Ashok Nagar, one of the busiest localities of Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state of India, has a beautiful small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which remains unknown to most of the citizens of Chennai city. The name of that unknown temple is Swarna Pureeswarar temple.

Swarnapureeswarar Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai
Behind the famous Hotel Saravana Bhavan restaurant near Ashok Pillar in Ashok Nagar area, the temple of Swarna Pureeswarar is located in a small street (45 th street corner). The temple is around 40 years old and well maintained. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form a big Shiv Linga named as Swarna Pureeswarar in this temple. The goddess Swarnambigai is located in a separate shrine and the goddess is found with two hands in the standing posture. This small temple also houses other shrines for Nava Siddhi Vinayak, Anjaneya, Ayyappa, Vallaba Ganapati (Ganesh with his consort and with 10 hands), Lakshmi, Bala Muruga, Navagraha, and Kalyana Muruga (Subramanya with his consorts Valli and Devasena). The wall surrounding the shrine of Swarna Pureeswarar has the idols of Nardhana Ganapati (the dancing Ganesh), Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeswara. The wall surrounding the shrine of Swarnambika has the idols of Icha Sakthi, Kriya Sakthi, and Gnana Sakthi.

When you pass by Ashok Nagar area of Chennai, don't forget to pay homage to Swarna Pureeswarar.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Swarnapureeswarar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Ashok Nagar area, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A prominent temple at the heart of the Chennai city
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city



View Larger Map

Mallikeswarar Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai, India

Ashok Nagar is a prominent locality in Chennai city in Tamil Nadu state of India. Almost all Chennaites would know about this busy locality and the popular land mark called Ashok Pillar in this area. However, hardly anybody know about the Mallikeswarar temple located near Ashok Pillar landmark in Ashok Nagar area of Chennai. Inside the Police training college complex, opposite to Hotel Saravana Bhavan restaurant, this old temple of Mallikeswarar temple is located.

Mallikeswarar temple is also called as Thoppaswamy temple, as this temple was worshipped by a Siddha named Thoppaswamy. Thoppaswamy lived in the period of 1780 - 1830 AD, and this temple of Mallikeswarar is believed to be at least 300 years old. This is unfortunate that such an old temple is located well within the heart of the city, and hardly anybody in Chennai knows about this.

Mallikeswarar Temple, Ashok Nagar, Chennai
The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form of Shiv Linga called as Mallikeswarar in this temple. The main shrine has series of small shrines. The first shrine has Sakthi Vinayakar, the second shrine has the main deity of the temple Mallikeswarar, the third shrine has another Shiv linga called as Viswanath; along with Viswanath the statue of goddess Vishalakshi is also found; this Shiv linga is bigger in size than the main deity. There is another shrine dedicated to the main goddess of the temple, Maheswari. In the entrance of these series of main shrines there are two small shrines - one for Lord Ganesha and another for Lord Murgua. This small temple also houses small shrines for other Gods and Goddesses such as Sun, Moon, Sani, Bhairav, Hanuman, Garud, Rama along with Lakshman and Sita, Ayyappa, Navagraha and Satya Narayana. Satya Narayana is a form of Lord Vishnu, which is rarely found in temples.

When you pass by Ashok Nagar, Chennai, go and visit this small and beautiful temple of Mallikeswara.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Mallikeswarar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Ashok Nagar area, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 300 years old temple
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map

November 16, 2010

Victory War Memorial, Chennai, India

Victory War Memorial in Chennai is one of the two memorials dedicated to those soldiers who lost their lives during wars.

Chennai, the erstwhile Madras, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India. Chennai is also considered as the gateway to South India. The famous Marina beach, which is arguably considered as the second longest beach in the world, is located in Chennai city.

Victory War Memorial, Chennai
Victory War Memorial is one of the two war memorials located within the boundaries of Chennai city. Victory War Memorial aka 'Cupid's Bow' is located near the Marina beach. In fact, you can consider the Victory War Memorial, located near Fort St. George on the beach road as the starting point of Marina beach. This war memorial was constructed to commemorate the victory of the Allied Armies in the World War I.  A circular rock and marble structure have been built here, in memory of those who sacrificed and lost their lives for the country’s honor, during World War I.However, it is known today in the memory of World War II soldiers.

When you happen to visit Chennai, you would definitely visit Marina beach. Ensure that you also make a short visit to the Victory War Memorial.

Happy travelling.

Victory War Memorial
Fast Facts:
Site Name: Victory War Memorial 
Site Type: Memorial
Location: Near Marina Beach, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
1) Built on the memory of First World War victory
2) One of the two war memorials in Chennai 


Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city



View Larger Map

November 13, 2010

St. Mary's Church, Fort St. George, Chennai, India

St. Mary's Church is one of the oldest British buildings in India and it is also considered as the oldest Anglican Church East of Suez.

The British East India Company which entered India around 1600 AD for trading activities slowly occupied the entire nation and started ruling the county. Chennai, the erst while Madras, was one of the cities occupied by the British East India Company in their earlier years. Fort St. George was constructed by the British in the year of 1639. The secretariat of Tamil Nadu state government is inside the fort. (Tamil Nadu is the state where the city Chennai/Madras is located). Apart from the secretariat building and various offices, the buildings having tourism importance are Museum and St. Mary's Church.
St. Mary's Church, Chennai

St. Mary's Church was constructed in 1678-1680 AD by the British East India Company. Similar to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, there is a group called Anglicanism in Christianity religion. The St. Mary's Church located inside the Fort St. George of Madras/Chennai is the oldest Anglican Church East of Suez. St. Mary's Church is perhaps the oldest British period building in India (excluding forts, if only buildings are considered).

St. Mary's Church is a historically important church. The ancient prayer house inside the church solemnized the marriages of Robert Clive and Elihu Yale (Co-founder of Yale University of USA). The church is full of plaques and memorials. The Baptisms are taking place in this church since 1680 AD. You can find that ancient font in this church. The interior walls of this beautiful church are decorated by small statues.

The highlight of the church is church tower which is visible even from a long distance.

St. Mary's Church is one of the ancient British sites which is worth visiting. Don't miss this.

Happy travelling.
Entrance of St. Mary's Church

Baptism takes place here since 1680
Fast Facts:
Site Name: St. Mary's Church 
Site Type: Church
Location: Fort St. George, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
1) One of the oldest buildings of British period
2) 350 years old church 
3) The oldest Anglican Church East of Suez
4) The church solemnized the marriages of Robert Clive and Elihu Yale
5) Baptism takes place since 1680

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map

November 12, 2010

An unknown temple at the heart of the city - Egmore Ardhanareeswarar Temple, Chennai, India

Egmore is a popular area in Chennai city, the gateway to South India. Egmore is popular mainly due to its Railway Station that connects to many major cities of India. About one km from Egmore Railway station, near the popular Dasprakash Hotel in Poonamallee High Road, the ancient temple of Ardhanareeswarar Temple is located. The very next small lane after Dasaprakash Hotel will take you to this ancient temple.

Egmore Ardhanareeswarar Temple, Chennai
Even though it is believed that the famous saint Tirunavukkarasar has sung about this temple, this temple remains unknown to the most of the Chennai citizens today. As it is believed that Tirunavakkarasar has sung about this God, this God (the main idol), if not the temple, should be 1300 years old. It seems Tirunavukkarasar refers this place as 'Ezhum Oor' meaning 'awakening'. Hence, this temple becomes a Devara Vaippu Sthalam.

This is a very small temple which enshrines Shiva in the form of Linga. Ardhanareeswarar is the name of Lord Shiva in this temple. Ardhanareeswara is the form depicted as half Shiva and half Shakti.  However, in this temple, the God is present in the form of Linga. The name of the Goddess in this temple is Tiripura Sundarai. There is a separate shrine for Lakshmi Narayana in this temple. The idols of Surya, Sukra, Navagraha, Ganesha and Murugan are also found in this very small but ancient temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Ardhanareeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Egmore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
1) 1300 year old idol

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

View Larger Map

November 11, 2010

A Heritage Railway Station

Chennai, the gateway to South India, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India, has two main railway stations that connect to all major parts of India. One is Central Railway Station. The second important railway station of Chennai city (the erstwhile Madras) is Egmore Railway Station.

Egmore Railway Station
Egmore is an anglicized form of Ezhumbur. Ezhumbur was a small village, which was acquired by British and made as a part of Madras city. The British East India company built many landmarks in Egmore area such as Egmore Railway Station, Egmore Museum, etc. Egmore Railway station was built and inaugurated in the year of 1908 AD. Egmore Railway Station is still the second important railway station of Chennai and remains as one of the main landmarks of the city. Egmore Railway Station is also a heritage building, which serves as a fine example for the architecture of British period in India.

Happy travelling.

Egmore Railway Station
Fast Facts:
Site Name: Egmore Railway Station 
Site Type: Heritage Building, Railway Station
Location: Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
1) A heritage railway station of British period
2) The second important railway station of Chennai city
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map

November 10, 2010

The Kirk - St. Andrew's Church, Chennai, India

St. Andrew's Church aka the Kirk is one of the oldest and popular churches of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state, South India. This architecture marvel was built by the British East India Company for its Scottish population in the year of 1821 AD. In Scottish language, the word "Kirk" means Church. Hence, this church (St. Andrew's Church) is affectionately called as "The Kirk".
The Kirk, Chennai, India

St. Andrew's Church aka the Kirk is located at Poonamallee High Road, diagonally opposite to Egmore Railway Station. This is just five minutes walk from Egmore Railway Station, the second important Railway Station of Chennai city.

This church is considered as one of the finest examples for Georgian architecture in the entire Asia. The interiors of the church have wooden works. The interior of the church is in circular shape and very elegant. The highlight of the church is its tall dome which has a diameter of 52 feet. There are 16 circular pillars that support the dome. The walls of the church are exceptionally decorated. The church compound is surrounded by well maintained greenery, which increases the beauty of the church.

This two centuries old church built exclusively for Scottish community of Chennai (erstwhile Madras) is worth visit. Don't miss to visit this church when you happen to go to Chennai.

Happy travelling.

The Kirk, Chennai, India

Fast Facts:
Site Name: St. Andrew's Church aka The Kirk 
Site Type: Church
Location: Near Egmore Railway Station, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
1) One of the oldest churches of Chennai city
2) One of the popular churches of Chennai city
3) The church built by the British East India Company
4) Church built for Scottish population in Chennai
5) Approximately 200 years old church
6) One of the finest examples for Georgian architecture in the entire Asia
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map

November 9, 2010

Buddhist Temple in Chennai

If you are from South India and wish to visit a Buddhist temple, don't worry. You don't need to travel to Sri Lanka or Tibet. You don't even have to travel to Gaya or Sarnath. In Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of South India, you can find a temple for Lord Buddha. That too, this temple is located well at the heart of the city. Egmore Railway station is one of the two main railway stations of Chennai city. Buddha temple is located at a small lane named Kenneth lane just opposite to Egmore railway station. It hardly takes five minutes walk from the railway station.

Buddha Temple, Egmore, Chennai
 This small temple of Lord Buddha is situated inside the building of the Maha Bodhi Society of India. It belongs to Sri Lankan Buddhists. The Maha Bodhi Society of India was founded by Anagarika Dharmmapala in May 1891 for the purpose of restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at places such as Gaya and Sarnath. He founded the Society's first center at Buddha Gaya, and in various other cities including the one found at Egmore, Chennai.

The shrine has just a big idol of Lord Buddha. The building is used by the pilgrims as a guest house. When you happen to go to Egmore, visit this small temple of Buddha having a big idol of Buddha.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Buddha Temple 
Site Type: Temple
Location: Near Egmore Railway Station, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 
A rare temple for Lord Buddha in South India
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


View Larger Map