October 16, 2011

Bangalore Palace

Bangalore, also called as Bengaluru, is the capital city of Karnataka state of South India. It is nicknamed as the garden city and once it used to be called as 'pensioner's paradise'. The city has become very popular in the last two decades, thanks to a lot of IT industries started here.

There are many places of interest in Bangalore. One of the interesting tourist site is Bangalore Palace. Although, it is not a little known place, I would say it is not often visited by many Bangalore residents. Nonetheless, I consider this site as one of the best places to visit in Bangalore city.

Bangalore Palace
The Bangalore Palace located in a locality called Vasanta Nagar is picturesque and magnificent. Anyone who visits this extraordinarily wonderful place would definitely fall in low with the site. The construction of Bangalore Palace was started in 1862 and completed in 1944. It was built to look similar to the Windsor Castle of England.

The palace is surround by a huge garden and open space. The palace, which is used as a museum nowadays, has various sections. The entire palace is well maintained and all the sections have audio tour facilities.

The entrance hall has the bust of Wodeyar king and the preserved animal heads such as elephants which were hunted by the Wodeyar kings. The grand staircase showcases few paintings and statues. Then, there is a huge durbar hall. The hall and the adjoining sections have well decorated roofs, artistically beautiful glass windows, chandeliers and a lot of wooden works.

There are other sections such as private staircase, Maharaja's quarters and Maharani's quarters. There is a room where a huge collection of classical paintings are found. There is another room where the hunted animals various body parts are used to prepare certain tools and displayed. Then there are some huge rooms such as Maharani's courtyard and Maharaja's courtyard. Some of the Wodeyar family photographs and genealogical portraits are also found in the palace.

The Bangalore Palace is definitely a tourist site not to be missed in Bangalore.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Bangalore Palace
Site Type: Palace, Museum, Heritage site
Location:  Bangalore city, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: One of the popular tourist sites in Bangalore; one of the best palaces of South India
Nearest Railway Station: Bangalore
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
How to reach: Train, road and air
Hotel: A lot of options ranging from star hotels to budget hotels
Restaurants: A lot of restaurants - vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian, all over the city

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October 15, 2011

Sadras - The Fortress Town

Sadras is a fortress town located approximately at a distance of around 70 kms from Chennai, the gateway to South India. Sadras is the anglicized name of Chaduranga Pattinam.

Dutch Fortress
Sadras has two tourist sites. The first one is a Dutch fort and the second one is an old Hindu temple. Sadras was established as part of Dutch in the 17th century CE. It soon became a center for weaving muslin cloth for export. The Dutch built the magnificent fort for the commercial purpose near the beach in Sadras. The first battle between the Dutch and the British East India company started here and it is referred as the Battle of Sadras. The fortress was raided by the British in 1818 CE and came under their control. Today, the fortress, which is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India, has only few structures and walls. Most of parts of the fortress are in the ruins. There is a section where the graveyard of Dutch men are found inside the fortress.

Dutch Tombs
Apart from the historical Dutch Fort, there is another place of interest in Sadras. About 0.5 km from the fortress, there is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is called as Giri Varadar in this temple. This small beautiful temple doesn't have rajagopuram (tower). A long lamp post and the small shrine of Hanuman are located in front of the temple on the road. The main entrance of the temple has the idols of Ganesha and Nagaraja (snake God) on either sides.

 The main shrine is located on a raised platform (rather on an elevated hillock). The entrance of the main courtyard has the idols of Lakshmi Narasimha and Lakshmi Naryana which are generally not found in the other Vishnu temples. The sanctum sanctorum has the idol of Lord Giri Varadar in the standing posture with four arms. The deity is also called as Malai Mandala Perumal. His consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are found on his either sides. Outside the sanctum sanctorum, the idols of Lakshmi and Narayana are found. There is a separate sub-shrine in Maha Mandap where a lot of utsav idols (bronze idols) are placed.

Malai Mandala Perumal Temple
The temple has only one prakara (corridor). The shrine of the Goddess Perundevi is located in the prakara. There are also other shrines such as Vishnu Durga, Andal and Alwars in the prakara.

In front of the main shrine the bali peeth, flag staff and the small shrine of Garud are located. The idol of Garud is rare as it is found along with eight serpents (Ashta Naga Garud). It is believed that the first Alwar, Bhoodath Alwar had stayed in this temple. As per the history, Raghavendra Swamigal had also stayed in this temple for sometime.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Sadras
Site Type: Hindu temple, Fortress, Historical site
Location:  15 kms from Mamallapuram, 85 kms from Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Dutch fortress in ruins; old temple for Lord Vishnu where the idol of Garud carries eight snakes
Nearest Railway Station: Chenglepet
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Reachable by road from Mamallapuram, Chennai or Chenglepet
Hotel: Available only in the nearby cities - Chenglepet or Chennai
Restaurants: No restaurant; you need to come to Chenglepet, Mamallapuram or Chennai

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October 13, 2011

Aappoor Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple

Aappoor is a small village located near Chenglepet city in South India. The distance is around 5 kms from Singaperumal Koil. This small village is famous mainly due to the hillock temple of Lord Vishnu.

If you travel from Singaperumal Koil, you will reach Thiruckkachur village first at a distance of 3 kms. This village has three ancient Shiva temples and one of those temples is located on top of the hill. Another 2 kms of journey will take you to Aappoor. Here also, the temple is located on top of the hill.

You can reach this hillock temple of Aappoorar a.ka Nithya Kalyana Perumal by climbing 500+ steep steps. The temple is very small. It has just one shrine where Lord Vishnu named as Nithya Kalyana Perumal is found in the standing posture. Unlike other usual temples, he is not found along with his consorts in this temple. A small idol of Garuda is found facing the main shrine. There are no other idols or shrines in this small temple.

The highlight of the temple is that the Lord wears saree in this temple. As it is believed that Lakshmi (the Goddess) is present within the Lord, he wears saree like a female in this temple. It is believed that the unmarried people get married if they visit this temple.

There is no mythological story associated with this temple. Neither the history is known.

Beware of monkeys! You can find a lot of them near the main shrine.

It is better to visit the temple in a cool evening.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Nithya Kalyana Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  5 kms from Singaperumakoil, 17 kms from Chenglepet city, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Lord Vishnu wearing saree
Nearest Railway Station: Singaperumalkoil (for intracity trains); Chenglepet
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Reachable by road from Singaperumal Koil and Chenglepet
Hotel: Available only in the nearby cities - Chenglepet or Chennai
Restaurants: No restaurant; you need to come to Chenglepet for one

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