September 21, 2012

Shankaranarayana Temple - A rare temple in South India

Site Name: Shankaranarayana
Site Type: Hindu pilgrimage
Location:  35 kms from Udupi, Karnataka state, India
Highlights: A rare Hindu temple where the confuluence of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu is found; one of the seven holy sites of Karnataka state of India
Nearest Railway Station: Udupi
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
How to reach: Well connected by road from Udupi; do not depend on public transport
Hotel: It is better to go to Udupi for the same
Restaurants: Vegetarian low budget restaurants; hygienic food is served in the temple; the alternate is to go to Udupi

Shankaranarayana is a small village in Karnataka state of India surrounded by a lot of popular heritage sites such as Udupi, Kollur, Subramanya, Sringeri, etc. It is considered as one of the seven sacred sites created by Lord Parasuram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu within the Karnataka region. The highlight of the temple is that the main deity is the confluence of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, two important Gods of Hinduism. It is very rare to find such a temple. (There is one such temple located near Tirunelveli town in South India.)

This Kerala-type temple built in the beautiful valley has a picturesque pond in front of it. The pond is called as 'Koti teertha'. As per the Kerala temple style, this temple also has long lamp post and flag staff (called as dhwajastambha) as one enters inside.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has the main deity in the form of Linga one foot below the floor. The devotees can view only the mirror image of the deity. This naturally formed ling is round in shape on the right side and flat on the left side. The right side is considered as Lord Shiva and the left side is considered as Lord Vishnu. The flat side of the Linga has the footprints of the holy cow (Kamadhenu). The deity is always covered by water called as Suddhamrita Teertha. The deity (Linga) is named as Udbhava Linga. It is placed ahead of two silver plated idols of Lord Shankara and Lord Narayana with the five hood serpend in the backside. Both these idols can be seen very well from outside unlike the main deity.

The main shrine also houses few more idols. The majestic silver idol of Shankara Naryana is also found in the shrine. In addition, the idols of Lakshmi, the wife of Narayana (Vishnu) and Gauri (wife of Shiva) are also located inside the main shrine. Also, Maha Ganapati is prominently installed in the shrine.

The temple has two prakaras (corridors). The outer prakara having open sky as its roof has few small shrines. Venugopals shrine, Hanuman shrine and some Naga idols are all located in this prakara.

Happy travelling.

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Coorg - the Scotland of India

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September 12, 2012

Explore Coorg - the Scotland of Inda

Lush bamboo and sandalwood forests, majestic waterfalls, verdant hills dotted with vast tea estates, spectacular streams and magnificent temples - that is Coorg, the Scotland of India, the best kept secret of India.

This book named "Explore Coorg - the Scotland of India" covers every nook and corner of Coorg in detail and provides a lot of vital information to travelers. This solo authored travel guide is a compilation of the notes and memories of the author's travels through this picturesque region in South India.

The book explores various travel destinations in Coorg hill station such as Madikeri, Raja's Seat, Omkareshwara Temple, Raja's Tomb, Dubare Forest, Bylakuppe Golden Temple, Nisargadhama Forest, Iruppu waterfalls, Abbi falls, Tala Cauvery and Bhagmandala. The unique feature of the books is that the author has visited all the places he writes about.

Apart from the travel destinations, the book also covers several other important details that are vital for any traveler visiting Coorg. Some beautiful pictures of the hill station along with the tips on hotels and restaurants are also featured in this travel guide.

This book will definitely help you to explore Coorg also called as the Scotland of India with ease and comfort.

Happy travelling.