Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Meenakshi Amman Temple

The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Minakshi). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai, home of the Tamil language.
The temple has a stunning architecture and a significant testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins for their master architecture in sculpting this temple.This was a frontrunner in the election for the modern seven wonders of the world for its architectural importance. The complex houses 12 magnificent gopurams or towers that are elaborately sculptured and painted. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is believed to have been built only recently in the early 17th century.

According to Hindu legend, Shiva came down to earth in the form of Sundareswarar to marry Meenakshi, an incarnation of Parvati. Parvati had earlier descended to earth in the form of a small child in response to the great penance of Malayadwaja Pandya, the ruler of Madurai. After growing up to adulthood, she began ruling the city. The Lord appeared on earth and proposed to her. The marriage was supposed to be the biggest event on earth, with the whole earth gathering near Madurai. Vishnu, the brother of Minakshi, was traveling to preside over the marriage from his holy abode at Vaikuntam. Due to a divine play, he was tricked by god Indra and delayed on the way. Meanwhile, the marriage was presided over by a local god Koodal Azhaghar. This angered Lord Vishnu, and he swore never to enter the city, settling on the outskirts at a beautiful hill called Alagar Koil. He was later appeased by other gods, and he proceeded to bless the divine couple - Shiva and Parvati.
Both the marriage and the Vishnu's pacification are still celebrated as the biggest festival in Madurai, called Chithirai Thiruvizha also called as Azhakar Thiruvizha (the festival for the Beautiful Lord).
The divine couple are believed to have ruled the region for a long time. It is not clear what happened to the place after they left.Though there is proof that this divine incident was real Another legend says that Shiva's idol, in the form of the lingam, was discovered by the God of heaven, Indra, who built the original temple. This tradition is still followed in the temple - the deity is accompanied by a model of Indra's vehicle, during festive processions.
Thousand Pillar Hall
Thousand Pillar hall of Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple was built with the oldest Nellaiappar Temple,Tirunleveli as a model. The Aayiram Kaal Mandapam or thousand pillar hall is of very high sculptural importance and contains 985 (instead of 1000) magnificiently carved pillars and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The thousand pillar hall is supposed to have been built by Arya Natha Mudaliyar, the Prime Minister of the first Nayaka of Madurai (1559-1600 A.D.), the founder of 'Poligar System'. An equestrian statue of the Mudaliyar flanks one side of the steps leading to the 'mandapam'. Each pillar is sculptured and is a monument of the Dravidian sculpture. There is a Temple Art Museum in this 1000 pillars hall where you can see icons, photographs, drawings, etc., exhibiting the 1200 years old history. Just outside this mandapam, towards the west, are the Musical Pillars. Each pillar, when struck, produces a different musical note. The kalyana mandapa, to the south of the pillared hall, is where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated every year during the Chithirai Festival in mid-April.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The flight into Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is an unforgettable experience - over the dramatic expanse of the Himalayas - for Ladakh straddles four main ranges - the great Himalayan, Zanskar, Ladakh and the Karakoram. This is the highest inhabited region in India and the River Indus with its tributaries, slice their way through the ranges. Remote though it is, Ladakh has never been totally isolated. Over the centuries the trade route from India to central Asia passed through this area undeterred by its high passes and desert landscape. Caravans carrying spices, brocades, pearls, carpets and more mundane merchandise like salt and tea took just two months to cover the distance from Amritsar in the Punjab to the central Asian towns of Varkand and Khotan! Leh and Kargil on this ancient route developed then into centres of trade.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

National Parks India

National Parks in Andaman Nicobar
:: Wandur National Park
National Parks in Arunanchal P.
:: Namdapha National Park
National Parks in Assam
:: Kaziranga National Park
:: Manas National Park
National Parks in Chhattisgarh
:: Indravati National Park
National Parks in Gujarat
:: Gir National Park
:: Marine National Park
National Parks in Himachal Pradesh
:: Great Himalayan National Park
:: Pin Valley National Park
National Parks in Jammu & Kashmir
:: Dachigam National Park
:: Hemis National Park
:: Kishtwar National Park
National Parks in Jharkhand
:: Hazaribagh National Park
:: Palamu National Park
National Parks in Karnataka
:: Bandipur National Park
:: Bannerghatta National Park
:: Nagarhole National Park
National Parks in Kerala
:: Eravikulam National Park
:: Periyar National Park
:: Silent Valley National Park
National Parks in Madhya Pradesh
:: Bandhavgarh National Park
:: Kanha National Park
:: Madhav National Park
:: Panna National Park
:: Pench National Park
National Parks in Maharashtra
:: Navegaon National Park
:: Tadoba National Park
National Parks in Meghalaya
:: Balpakram National Park
:: Nokrek National Park
National Parks in Orissa
:: Chandka Elephant Reserve
:: Nandan Kanan National Park
:: Simlipal National Park
National Parks in Rajasthan
:: Desert National Park
:: Keoladeo National Park
:: Ranthambore National Park
:: Sariska National Park
National Parks in Uttar Pradesh
:: Dudhwa National Park
National Parks in Uttarakhand
:: Corbett National Park
:: Govind National Park
:: Nandadevi National Park
:: Rajaji National Park
:: Valley of flowers National Park
National Parks in West Bengal
:: Sunderban National Park

Monday, May 12, 2008

Temples of Jaipur

The cultural roots of Jaipur are reflected in the temples of Jaipur. The city houses several temples, which depict the religious nature of the pink city dwellers. The royalty of Jaipur always encouraged the spirituality and aesthetic sense of admiration in the foundation of the city. It doesn't mean that people are conservative or orthodox in their approach. Here, all religions are equally appreciated, but as Hindus dominate the city, you will find a number of temples in Jaipur.The artistic temples of Jaipur provide an enthralling view to the visitors. Amongst the others, temples like Birla Mandir, Moti Dungri, Galta ji and Govind Deo Ji are worth mentioning. Birla Mandir gets the limelight of this trip with its wonderful carvings and brilliant architecture. Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Temple of Moti Dungri lies on the peak of a hill. Govind Deo ji temple is situated in the beautiful City Palace complex of Jaipur. Galta Ji Temple is dedicated to sun god and gives a panoramic view of the city of Jaipur. All these temples are known for their architectural styles and craftsmanship of their designers. The spiritual aura, which these temples create, attracts tourists and devotees from both far and near. In this section, you will get to know more about temples of Jaipur.
Galtaji is a holy pilgrimage of India, located 10 kms away from Jaipur in Rajasthan. The vast complex of Galta Ji has several temples in it. The Temple of Galtaji is famous for its natural water springs. Set amidst the beautiful landscape, Galtaji Temple offers a picturesque view of the city.
Birla Temple
Birla Temple forms one of the major attractions of Jaipur. Birla Temple of Jaipur looks stunning, when it is brightly lit in the night. Birla Mandir, in pure white marble, dominates the skyline of southern part of Jaipur. The enormous temple was built during the year 1988, by Birla Group of Industries, one of the business tycoons of India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan), the preserver and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Due to this reason, Birla Temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple.
Govind Dev Ji Temple
Govind Dev Ji Temple is one amongst the major tourist attractions of Jaipur. The Temple represents the royal past of Jaipur. The Temple is dedicated to Govind Dev Ji (Other name of Lord Krishna). Govind Devji Temple of Jaipur is situated in the City Palace complex, between the Chandra Mahal and Badal Mahal.
Moti Dungri is a small hill, centrally located in the city of Jaipur. The term Moti Dungri means Hill of Pearls or Pearl Hill. The hill is occupied by a palace and a temple. The temple of Moti Doongri is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This ancient temple serves as a tourist attraction for the scenic view it offers.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Corridor of Ramanathaswami Temple,Rameshwaram

Corridor of Ramanathaswami Temple,Rameshwaram

This Shivastalam is considered to be one of the holiest shrines in India. It represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgirmage center held on par with Banaras. The island-temple town is located off of the Sethu coast of Tamilnadu (south eastern). This shrine is regarded as the 8th of the Tevara Stalams in the Pandya region of Tamilnadu. This temple is assocated closely with the Ramayana and Rama's victorious return from Sri Lanka. The corridor of Ramnathswamy Temple at Rameshwaram is the largest temple corridor in India. The temple has 1220 metres of magnificent corridors and has 1200 gigantic granite columns. Ramnathswamy temple was built in the 17th century. The temple is situated close to the sea on the eastern side of the island and has a 54 metre tall gopuram.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Sundarbans, formerly SUNDERBUNDS, vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp forming the lower part of the Ganges Delta, extending about 160 miles (260 km) along the Bay of Bengal from the Hooghly River Estuary (India) to the Meghna River Estuary in Bangladesh.
The name Sundarbans is perhaps derived from the term meaning "forest of sundari, a reference to the large mangrove tree that provides valuable fuel. Along the coast the forest passes into a mangrove swamp; the southern region, with numerous wild animals and Crocodile- infested estuaries, is virtually uninhabited. It is one of the last preserves of the Bengal tiger and the site of a tiger preservation project.

Sunderban covers an area of 4262 sq. kms in India. The Sunderban Tiger Project was started in 1974 and has an area of 2585 sq. kms. The core area is 1330 sq. kms and is a national forest and UNESCO world heritage site. Sunderban is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world.

Sunderban is only accessible by waterways. Nearest railhead is Port Canning from where organized group trips start. there are several other entry points but Port Canning is most popular.
The other route is through Basanti which is connected by bus service to Calcutta. From here one can take boats to Sajnekhali. One can also come via Port Canning and Gosaba or from Sonakhali to Sajnekhali.
For Bhagabatpur, Namkhana is an access point.
By Air: Dum Dum (166kms), is the nearest airport at Calcutta.
By rail: The nearest railhead is at Canning, 48 kms away.The nearest town is Gosaba, 50 kms away.
Sundarbans is accessible only by riverine waterways. From Calcutta there are suburban train to Canning and buses to Namkhana, Raidighi, Sonakhali and Najat from where Motor launch services are available for Sundarbans.
Road: Above mentioned embarkation points from Calcutta are: Namkhana (105 km), Sonakhali (100 km), Raidighi (76 km), Canning (64 km), Najat (92 km).
Waterways: Approximate time taken between various points are : 1. From Namkhana - Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project (2.5 hours) Sagar Island (2.5 hours) Jambudwip (3.5 hours)2. From Sajnekhali - Sudhanyakhali (40 minutes) Buridabri (Tiger Project Area) (5 hours) Netidhopari (3.5 hours) Holiday Island (3 hours)3. From Sonakhali - Gosaba (1 hour)4. From Raidighi - Kalas (5 hours)