Description : The Ayodhya Temple at Jal Sansthan is a beauty not only because of its historical importance, but also due to the rivers like Sarayu and Gragra surrounding it. It holds a special importance because it is known to be the birth place of Prince Ram who is an icon of the Hindu mythology. The serenity and the spirituality this place offered indeed touched the very depth of my soul and heart.
After I had visited The Residency, I decided to take the blessings of God by visiting the most famous temple in Lucknow- Mankameshwar. The temple is not far from my previous destination and is situated in an area called Daliganj. It is said to be at least a 1,000 years old and is flooded with devotees all the time. Though the temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, it also has a Shani temple within its premises.
The most interesting thing about the temple was that it had a woman priest who is said to be the first woman priest in the history of this temple. No fee is charged to enter temple premises and though it looks quite old from the outside, it is well maintained from the inside. It is surprising that the old walls of the temple have been able to survive for all these years and credit goes to temple administration for maintaining them.
I have always been fond of stories related to Lord Shiva and have always believed in him. Since I was allowed to capture pictures here, I did not let the opportunity slip and clicked some 20-30 photos within the premises. You will see innumerable shops offering stuff for puja inside the temple. Flowers, sweets and most importantly milk; everything is available just outside the temple.
A small market can fulfil your wish of getting a souvenir though I myself did not buy anything from here. Daliganj is full of old buildings and looks far away from the humdrum of city where there is immense construction going on, and there is a lot of traffic because of metro railway pillars taking up a lot of space on road.
You should give this temple a visit as it is the oldest and one of the most famous temples in Lucknow and if you are lucky enough to visit in the holy month of sawan, you are going to see thousands of devotees pushing to touch the holy shivling. It is a beautiful place and truly a one where you could feel at peace and reflect on your life.
Description : Lucknow is a city which will always remain special to me. The St Joseph’s Cathedral here is one of the places I regularly visit as it is calm and serene. It provides me with a sense of holy support and lighting a candle has become a habit whenever I am in Lucknow.
One particular thing that sets apart the temples in the Southern parts of India from the rest is their design. The Kalinga architecture design has always attracted the historians and archeologists from different parts of the world. I was in Visakhapatam, and it was my sixth day here. Till now I haven’t been to any temple that features Kalinga architecture. So, the Simhachalam Temple Visakhapatnam was my obvious choice as my next destination.
Simhachalam Temple is located on the beautiful Hill top, which in turn is in Simhachalam. Yes, until one guy from the lobby told me, I didn’t know that Simhachalam is a suburb place in Visakhapatnam. Just like the last few tourist spots, this was also located far away from the hotel. Being alone in a new city was not an issue for me, because I have done a lot of travelling in the last few years.
As per the lobby guy, the distance between Rushikonda and the Simhachalam Temple is almost 25 kms. He also shared some details about how to get there if you are at the bus stop. Well, you can hop into the APSRTC bus, from the Dwarka Bus Station. But, for me hiring a cab was the best option. Fortunately, I had the contact number of the chauffer who took me to Yarada beach yesterday.
I left the hotel room at about 10 in the morning, and I was certainly pleased to find that the cab was already waiting outside. Wasting no time, I jumped inside the cab and the ride was pretty smooth. In half an hour, I was finally there. Locating the Simhachalam Temple is quite easy, as the nearest landmark is the Police Station.
The temple was amazingly marvelous and it definitely represented on the finest works of Kalinga architecture. It was constructed in the 11th century, and it is dedicated to one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu, Narasimha. One of the priests told me that the temple by built by the King Sri Krishnadevarayam. Most of the time I spent there was behind examining the inscriptions on the temple, which were dated back to 11th Century. At the end of the day, I was tired, but at peace.
It was my third day in Visakhapatnam, and I was feeling quite refresh after a deep slumber. But, I did have an idea about the place which I was about to visit. Today the Visakha Museum was on my list, and that’s the reason why the historian inside me was quite excited about it. With that excitement in my mind, I took a quick shower and had my breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant.
Since my childhood, I have quite fond of historical monuments, artifacts, and other such thing that take me to the ancient world. For this reason, I left my hotel room as soon as possible to avoid too much of crowd which may show up as the day would progress. Before leaving the hotel, I had garnered some info regarding how to reach the Visakha Museum.
It is good to know that the museum is on the beach road itself. However, the distance was certainly not a walk-able one. Yes, from Rushikonda the museum was about 13 Kms. For this reason, I was left with the option of hiring either a cab or an auto rickshaw. I went with the former one, i.e. a cab. It took more or less 10 minutes to reach the spot.
Well, located at Waltair, which in on the beach road, this museum was nothing like a new building. The ceramic floor and renovated walls were not that bad. In fact, the Visakha museum is an old building which was owned by numerous Dutch families. This is the reason why the locals often refer to the museum as “Dutch Bungalow”. The old building was occupied by them till the end of 70s.
As I went inside the museum, the ancient armory, coins, crockery, jewelry, portraits, and maps really took me back into the time. In addition, the letters and diaries were quite intriguing for me. Apart from them, I also came across lots of manuscripts, scrapbooks, as well as models related to planes, submarines, and warships. Overall, the museum will not leave you dissatisfied. After spending like 2hours inside, I stepped out, hired a cab, and went back to the hotel with tons of memories in my mind.
After having a gala time at the Paithalmala Hill Station in Kerala the next destination that we were quite keen to visit was the Thirunelli temple in North Wayanad. This site fulfilled both my criteria of being a perfect tourist attraction.
Firstly, the temple dates back in history and secondly, it is located amidst lush green woods and high mountains. So I set foot towards the ancient Thirunelli temple which is located at an altitude of around 900 meters above sea level. Due to its beautiful environs and cherished history the temple witnesses large influx of local as well as national tourists every year.
The temple is located in a valley surrounded by tall trees and gigantic mountains and is located around 32 kilometres from Manathavady in Kerala. Although there are no records of the exact dates of establishment of the temple it is very evident that Thirunelli was once a famous and well established town and centre for pilgrimage in south India.
This ancient town was surrounded by mountains on the four sides and was built amidst the inaccessible jungle valley. In the dense woods surrounding the temple the ruins of two ancient villages can also be found. This was truly a treat for me as I was thrilled to discover the portal to the olden days via this site.
The temple is visited by many devotees as according to mythology lord Vishnu has blessed the waters flowing in the springs and rivers surrounding the temple to have the capability to wash away all sins. Hence, the springs and river near the Thirunelli temple are colloquially called as Papanasini.
Even today the temple priest leaves some materials for worship in the temple believing that god Brahma himself would descend to this temple to perform the rituals of worshipping lord Vishnu who is the presiding deity of this temple.
It was an amazing experience for me to have visited the Thirunelli temple in Kerala. The beautiful ancient temple surrounded by lush-green forests and tall mountains gave me an inexpressible solace and peace. I felt such things are important in life when you are living in a society.
Rajarajeshwara Temple Kannur : Kerala is bestowed with amazing number of temples holding itself to age old traditions and interesting folklore. On my recent trip to Kerala, I happened to visit the Rajarajeshwara Temple at Kannur. For every pilgrim traveler, this place would be a blissful stop. For a heritage lover like me, the incredible sculptures entwined me in this magnificent place!
After visiting the beautiful St Angelo fort of Kannur the next destination that I was very keen to visit was the Muthappan temple. This temple is quite famous for its unique ceremonies and offerings and its interesting mythologies relating to the presiding deity. Also known as the Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple it lies at a distance of 22 kilometres from the Kannur town.
The major bus terminal that lies nearest to the temple is the Kannur municipal bus stand. The Muthappan temple is a famous tourist attraction of Kerala and is flooded with huge volumes of devotees every year who gather to offer gratitude to the deity.
The temple’s presiding deity is Muthappan and it is built in Kerala Kavu style of architecture. This eminent Hindu temple is located on the banks of the ricer Valapattanam. Tghe presiding deity of this temple is said to be a manifestation of two mythical characters the Vellattam and Thiruvappana. According to the local sayings lord Muthappan is not of Vedic origin in fact he is linked to the folklores of Kerala. Many believers also link the deity to lord Shiva and Vishnu.
The rituals of this temple are very peculiar and distinctive and do not follow any Satvic Brahmanical form of worship that is widely followed in other Hindu temples of the state. The most interesting part about the Muthappan worship is the Muthappan Theyyam which is a traditional dance which enacts the characters of Muthappan. Unlike other Hindu temples the main offerings made to the presiding deity of this temple are meat, toddy and fish.
The Muthappan Thruvoppana Mahothsavam is a major festival that is celebrated with great pomp and show on 3rd, 4th and 5th march every year in the temple. Another distinctive feature about this temple is that dogs are considered divine here and the temple entrance also has dog statues at its both sides.
There are other Muthappan temples also in Kerala and Karnataka showing how famous this deity is among the residents of this region. It was indeed a very different experience for us to visit this unconventional temple of Kannur.
It is easy to decipher that Bhoramdeo refers to the Hindu Lord Shiva’s name. The Bhoramdeo Temple is not just a single temple, but a complex of temples all pledged to Lord Shiva. For the first time I have come to see a temple with architectural features that have erotic sculptures apart from the Khajuraho or Konark Sun Temples.
My journey into the temple complex was welcomed by the sculpted figure of Nandi, the sacred vahan of Lord Shiva under a colorful arch. The alamade is laid out like an esplanade with huge trees on either sides. A man made lake holds the sight of all visitors with the backdrop of the Maikal Mountains.
The Bhoramdeo Temple is built of stone. The entire complex is set at the foot of the scenic thickly forested Maikal Range Hills. Dating to 1100 AD and much older than the Khajuraho Temple Groups, the brick temples were built during the rule of Pandavas.
The sensuous sculptures on the exterior walls took me by much surprise. They in fact represent the Kama Sutra, reflecting the then prevailing cultural, agricultural, religious and social ethos of the region. It is said that these fifty-four erotic postures also reflect on the tantric culture practiced by the Nagawanshi Kings.
Within the complex the other temples one will come across are the Istaliq temple, Chekri Mahal, Madwa Mahal and an Open Air Museum. I was told that the best time to visit the Bhoramdeo Temple was during the Bhoramdeo Mahotsav.
Built by King Ramachandra of Nagar Dynasty in the name of the princess Ambika Devi of Haiya Devi Dynasty whom he married, the Bhoramdeo Temple is a special attraction for lovers of both Archaeology and it’s intriguing history.
The main attraction in the Bhoramdeo Temple Complex is the Shiva Linga Shrine carved to perfection and artistic appeal, beckoning the visitors to utter devotion and focus. So beautiful is the Temple that Sir Cunningham is said to have termed the Temple as ‘one of the most beautifully decorated temple seen by him.’
Don’t believe us? Come here and experience the magic take you captive too.
There lay several unexplained phenomena in this universe. Some say that Science and religion do not have any difference, while some strongly believe that Religion is by far more complex and superior to Science and can answer those questions, which Science fails to. I do believe there is some power, which is beyond our levels of understanding. After surging through the wild and a fun filled day, I was on my way to experiencing something beyond my wildest dreams.
It is said that in the folklores of Lord Shiva and his consort Shakti, Shakti immolated herself in the fire pit of a yagna kund, in the rage of an insult committed by her father Daksha towards her Lord Shiva during a yaga. The death of his wife caused Shiva to grieve wherein he razed the yaga and with the body of Shakti he danced the ‘Shiv Taandav’. In doing so he cut off Shakti’s body and dispersed parts of her body in fifty-two different places on Earth. These have been consecrated as the Shakti Pithas. Among these, the place where Shakti’s tooth fell has been venerated as a shrine and named Maa Danteshwari.
Built in the 14th Century by the Chalukya Kings in the South Indian Style of architecture, the temple has a large value to its history. Maa Danteshwari’s idol is chiseled from black stone while the entire temple is parted into four chambers, the Garba Griha, Maha Mandap, the Sabha Mandap and the Mukhya Mandap. The temple is surrounded by ginormous walls and is in fact inside a very spacious courtyard.
The six hundred year old temple represents the socio-religio- cultural history of that region. This temple stands to witness centuries of history and tradition still ignorant to man. Maa Danteshwari is worshipped with great pomp and devotion and is treated with high respect and faith by the locals.
With this blessed visit, my day feels purer and so do I. Not only do I have some stunning images to share with you but also an entire history you would have never heard of before.