March 26, 2011

The birth place of Peyalwar

There were twelve important devotees of Lord Vishnu during Bhakti movement period in South India. They are called as Alwars. You can find the idols of Alwars in most of the Vishnu temples in South India.

Peyalwar the third Alwar, who was believed to be born in the 7th century AD. As he was mad on Lord Vishnu, he probably got the name 'Pei' Alwar (Pei means ghost in Tamil language). Peyalwar was believed to be born on a red allilly flower (sevvalli) in a well. The birthplace of Peyalwar, who was believed to be the incarnation of Nandakam - the divine sword of Vishnu, is located near Madhava Perumal temple in Arundale street at Mylapore localitiy in Chennai city, South India.

It is unfortunate that this divine place remains unknown in spite of Mylapore locality being one of the busiest areas of Chennai city. The site is poorly maintained today and encroached by people. The site has the well where Peyalwar was born and a mandap with a small idol of Peyalwar.

When you go to Mylapore area, ensure that you visit this divine site and pay homage to the great saint.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Peyalwar Avatara Sthalam
Site Type: Religious
Location:  Arundale Street, Mylapore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The birth place of Peyalwar

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 as this is centrally located in the city; local train facility is also available in Mylapore area
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




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Mylapore Madhava Perumal Temple -Chennai, South India

Mylapore area can be considered as the heritage area of Chennai city, one of the mour main cities of India. The most famous temple of Chennai, Kapaleeswarar temple is located in Mylapore locality. Apart from Kapaleeswarar temple, a lot of other important and ancient temples are located in Mylapore area. Madhava Perumal Temple is one such important temple which is located in Mylapore.

Madhava Perumal temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located near the famous Mundakakanni Amman temple near Luz corner of Mylapore locality. As per the Brahmanda Purana, the Goddess Lakshmi was born to the sage Bhrigu in this temple's tank. Even Lord Vishnu pointed out this site as the appropriate site for performing penance to the sage Vyasa. This site was called as Madhavapuram and Mayapuri in those days.

It is not known who built the current temple and when it was built. However, it is obvious that Madhava Perumal temple is an ancient temple for sure. Even the birth place of Peyalwar, one of the pouplar Vishnu deities and one of the twelve Alwars, is also located near this temple.

The temple has a beautiful tower. Similar to other typical South Indian Hindu temples, this temple also has the dhwajastamba and bali peeth in front of the main shrine. The main shrine has the idol of main deity Madhava Perumal (Maha Vishnu) in sitting posture. He is found with two hands along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on either sides. The bronze (utsav) idols of Lakshmi-Varaha and Madhava Perumal-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi are also available in the main shrine. Garud is located in a small shrine in front of the main sanctum sanctorum. On the left side of the main shrine, there are shrines of Peyalvar, Alwars, Senai Mudai and Ramanuj-Manavala Muni-Poigai Alwar-Bhoodat Alwar. All these shrines have their corresponding bronze idols.

There are separate shrines for Krishna and Ram-Lakshman-Sita. The corridor surrounding the main shrine has the shrine of Amruddha Valli, the main Goddess of the temple. The temple tank where the Goddess was born is present near the shrine of Amruddha Valli. There is a separate shrine for Andal. Hanuman shrine and Bhoo Varaha shrine are also present in this temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Madhava Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Near Luz corner, Mylapore area, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The birthplace of Maha Lakshmi

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 as this is centrally located in the city
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



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Mount Road Heritage Buildings

Chennai, the most important city of South India, was founded by the British. Chennai is one of the few Indian cities where the heritage buildings and architecture that belong to British period are found in large numbers. George Town area of Chennai city houses a lot of important heritage buildings. In addition to that, the famous Mount Road aka Anna Salai has a large number of heritage buildings.

Cuddon Building:
Cuddon building was built by Simpson & co in 1916. This beautiful ornate brick building was built as a car showroom. This building is also called as Gove building.







Bharat Insurance Building:
The Kardly building which was housing Bharat Insurance once is generally called as Bharat Insurance Building. It stands as a fine example of Indo Saracenic building and British architecture.







The Mail:
The building which houses the newspaper office ‘The Mail’ is a heritage building of British period.

P.Orr & Sons:
The building which houses the P.Orr & Sons watch company is one of the important landmarks of Anna Salai. This is a heritage building of British period.



LIC:
The 14 storey building of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) at Mount Road is one of the most important landmarks of not only Mount Road but the entire Chennai city. Till the beginning of 1990s LIC was the tallest building of Chennai city. You could find LIC building being shown symbolically to represent Chennai city in many of the old Tamil movies (Tamil = The language spoken in Chennai city).

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Heritage buildings of Mount Road aka Anna Salai
Site Type: Heritage buildingsLocation:  Anna Salai, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Most of the heritage buildings in Anna Salai belong to British period

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 as this is centrally located in the city
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

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Chennai Botonical Garden

Chennai, the gateway to South India, has a lot of tourist sites. However, as the Chennai city is located in the southern part of India, has temples as most of the tourist sites. Egmore Museum, some amusement parks and beach are some of the exceptions. The botanical garden is one of such exceptional tourist attractions of Chennai city.
Chennai city has a zoological park and deer park. However, it never had a botanical garden so far. It was in the year of 2010 that the Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu Government started the first botanical garden of the city. The site where the botanical garden is located now is a landmark of the city. The site used to have a popular drive-in restaurant named Woodlands drive-in for many years. Most of the trees and plants that are found in the botanical garden are already available in the site as part of the drive-in restaurant.

The botanical garden is called as 'Semmozhi Poonga'. The botanical garden which is spread around 20 acres is located at the heart of the city - near Anna flyover (Gemini area). More than 500 species of plants and around 80 species of trees are available in this well maintained botanical garden. Some of the species are rare that cannot be found anywhere else in Chennai. Chennai, being a dry and hot city, it is really good to find colorful flowers over here.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: Semmozhi Poonga aka Botanical Garden
Site Type: Botanical Garden
Location:  Cathedral Road, Near Gemini Flyover, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The first botanical garden 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 as this is centrally located in the city
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

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March 19, 2011

Mylapore Mundakakanni Temple - Chennai, South India

Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India, has many important temples. Mylapore, the heritage locality of Chennai, has one of the two most popular temples of Chennai - Kapaleeswarar temple. Towards the north side of Kapaleeswarar temple at about 0.5 kms a small temple is dedicated to Mother Goddess. The name of the temple is Mundakakanni temple and it is located in a small street named Mundakakanni Koil Street. Even though this temple is small, it is quite popular among the citizens of Chennai.

Mylapore Mundakakanni Temple
You can find thousands of devotees visiting this temple during the Tamil month of Aadi. It is believed that this temple can cure Naga Dosham. This main deity of the temple is called as Mundakakanni, a form of the mother Goddess Parvati. However, there is a section of devotees who claim this deity to be the form of Saraswati, the Goddess of education. The idol of the main deity has only upto the neck and there is no body. The roof is also a tatched roof similar to that of many other village temples. Although the devotees believe that this temples is 1000+ years old, there is no record to proove that claim. I personally feel that this temple should be just few hundred years old and is a typical village temple.

The temple has a separate shrine for utsav idol (bronze idol) of Mundakakanni. This temple also houses the idols of Nagas (snakes) and seven bricks representing Sapta Matas (seven holy mothers).

There is a separate section which is more like an independent temple located within this temple. This is obviously an extension during the recent past. The main shrine has Ganesh named as Arutjothi Nirthana Vinayak. This section of the temple also has small shrines for other deities such as Ayyappa, Muthukumar (Murugan) with Valli-Devasena, Hanuman, Dakshinamurti, Ganesha, Naga, Ramalingar, Annapoorni and Vishwanath-Vishalakshi.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Mundakakanni Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Mylapore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: One of the important Goddess temples 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: Mylapore is easily reachable by road. MRTS railway station (local train) is also there at Mylapore.
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




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Egmore Museum - Chennai, South India

Chennai is one of the most important cities of India and it is also considered as the gateway to South India. Chennai has a lot of tourist sites in and around the city. The tourist sites in Chennai city include temples, churches, malls, British period buildings and zoological park. Chennai Government Museum is one of the unique tourist site in Chennai city. It is located in the popular Egmore area of Chennai and hence it is also referred as Egmore Museum.

Egmore locality in Chennai city is popular for more than 300 years. The second important railway station of Tamil Nadu is located in Egmore. Egmore, the erstwhile Ezhumbur village, was aquired by the East India Company in 1720. After the sepoy mutiny aka First War of Indian Indendence in 1857, the Egmore Museum was constructed. In 1896 the famous Connemara library was constructed within the Egmore Museum complex.
Elephant Skeleton
Chennai Government Museum is one of the oldest and important museums of the entire nation. The museum is well organized and divided into multiple sections such as art, archaeology, anthrapology, zoology, botany, children's museum, etc. The archaeology section of Chennai museum is one of the major highlights of museum. It has around 1500 bronze figures. I am not sure if we can find such a large number of collection of metal idols anywhere else. Some of the figures are very old and belong to 3rd century AD. The bronze figures which range from the period of 3rd century AD to 19th century AD are found in the archaeology section of the museum. There is a separate section for stone inscriptions and sculptures. Some of the beautiful sculptures found in the museum are so rare that they cannot be found in any ancient temple. The sculptures and bronze figures depicting Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Buddha and Jain Tirtangaras are found. This is perhaps the only big site where the architectural marvel of entire South India can be found together, be it Hoysalas, Cholas, Pallavas, Pandyas or Chalukyas.

Museum Main Building
The art section of Egmore museum is also very attractive as it displays a lot of famous original paintings. The paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the paintings of British Governor Generals, Tanjore paintings, Rajput paintings, Oil paintings, water color paintings, etc. are found in the art section of this famous museum. The anthropology section of the museum has a large collection of arms, folk art displays, ethnographic collections, musical instruments, pottery, etc.

The zoological gallery in Chennai museum is another highlight of the museum. This is perhaps the most favourite destination of children in Chennai museum. This section has exhibits pertaining to reptiles, birds, animals, and skeletone. The most interesting exhibits are the gigantic skeleton of Indian whale and the skeleton of elephant.

Ancient Bronze idol
In addition to all the above sections, Chennai museum also has Children's section, botanical section and also exhibits coins and stamps. The most popular library of Chennai city, Connemara library, is located within the museum complex. Victoria Hall, one of the heritage sites of British period, is also located within the Egmore museum complex.

When you go to Chennai, never miss this unique place of great collections.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: The Government Museum, Egmore
Site Type: Museum
Location:  Egmore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: One of the oldest and biggest museums of India; contains a lot of rare articles in large numbers

Ancient Sculpture
Timings: 9:30 AM to 5 PM; Closed on Fridays and national holidays 
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: Egmore Museum is located at a distance of around 1 km from Egmore railway station, the second important railway station of Chennai city. You can easily reach museum by road. City buses are available in this route. Local trains are also available to reach the nearby Egmore railway station.
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

Victoria Hall




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March 6, 2011

Yelagiri Hills

India, the heaven for travellers, has a lot of tourist sites, including many hill stations. Manali, Shimla, Kufri, Nainital, Darjeeling, Ooty, Munnar, Gulmarg and Kodaikanal are some of the most famous hill stations of India. The list is actually endless. Tamil Nadu, the southern state of India, has a lot of tourist sites. However, most of them are religious sites. Only few hill stations are located in Tamil Nadu; Ooty, Kodaikanal and Yercaud are the well known hill stations of Tamil Nadu. There is one more hill station located within Tamil Nadu state; that too this hill station is located very near to Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India. Let us explore this not so popular hill station of Tamil Nadu. The name of that hill station is Yelagiri.

Yelagiri is perhaps one of few hill stations in India which is very cheap. This is a perfect weekend getaway. There are not many places to visit in and around Yelagiri. If you want to spend your weekend peacefully, Yelagiri is one of the best places for relaxation in South India. Yelagiri is a perfect weekend getaway for the citizens of two main South Indian cities - Bangalore (Bengaluru) and Chennai, as this is located on the route of Chennai - Bangalore. It is located at a distance of around 240 kms from Chennai and 160 kms from Bangalore. The nearest town is Jolarpettai which is hardly 20 kms from Yelagiri. The nearest popular town is Vellore. You can reach Yelagiri easily on roads. Otherwise, there is train facility till Jolapettai. From there, you can take a cab till Yelagiri.

As mentioned above, Yelagiri is a site for relaxation. Hence, the number of tourist spots in Yelagiri is very lesst. Even the lodges/hotels and resorts are also very less in Yelagiri. It's very difficult to find restaurants or ATMs. Still, Yelagiri is a site which every traveller must visit.

Punganoor Lake:

Punganoor Lake is the most popular tourist site of Yelagiri. It is located at the center of Yelagiri. The lake is surrounded by hills in all sides and it is an ideal place for boating. This lake has its own unique charm. There is an adjoining park near the lake.


Murugan Temple aka Velavan Temple:

There is a temple dedicated to Lord Murugan in Yelagiri which is a popular tourist spot. The temple, which is also called as Velavan temple can be reached by climbing up few steps. At the entrance, there is a rare statue of Gadotgajan (the son of Mahabharat Bheema). The temple has two shirnes; the first shrine is for Lord Ganesha and the next shrine is for Lord Murugan with Valli and Devasena. The temple also has the statue of Lord Murugan and Valli in the form of Kuravan and Kurathi which cannot be seen in any other temple.

Nilavur Tribal Village:

Nilavur is a tribal village located at a distance of around 3 kms from Yelagiri. There is a small lake and park as tourist attraction in this village.

Park:

An excellent park is being maintained near Kodai Vizha Thidal, which is one of the main attractions of tourists in Yelagiri.


Telescope:

You need to pass through 14 hair pin bends to reach up the Yelagiri hills. There are three view points from where you can have a look at the adjoining villages and towns of Yelagiri. One of the viewpoints is called as Telescope viewpoint. Although you cannot fine Telescope here, there used to be one in those days.

Jalagamparai waterfalls:

Jalagamparai waterfalls can be reached either by trekking from Nilavur or getting down to Jolapet and taking Tirupattur route on the road. Jalagamparai waterfalls is located near Tirupattur town. This is a picturesque waterfalls where tourists enjoy by taking bath. The river Attaru falls in the form of waterfalls here. There is an attractive temple for Lord Murugan near the waterfalls. The temple is in the shape of Shiv Linga.


When you happen to go to Bangalore or Chennai, take some time to visit this small but beautiful hill station.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Yelagiri
Site Type: Hill station
Location: Near Vellore, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the very few hill stations of Tamil Nadu; a perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore and Chennai
Nearest Railway Station: Jalarpet
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from Jolapet, Vellore, Chennai and Bangalore
Hotel: Very few hotels are available
Restaurants: Difficult to find good restaurants in Yelagiri




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