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Showing posts from 2008

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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Some Memorable Sights during my trip - And No temples this time.....

I have been writing pages and pages about my trip to Thanjavur and surrounding places, mostly temples. Here is something different. To finish off my series of blogs about my Diwali trip, let me invite you to join me in a different kind of tour – a tour through the eyes, or rather the lens of my camera. These are photographs taken over a period of 15 days, at various places. Let me assure you that there is not a single temple among them. These are purely of the sights I saw during my trip, something I will remember all my life, and would like to share with all of you. From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip the sun set during our return trip from Rameswaram From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip A lotus in a pond near Thirukkarugavur From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip The road covered with husks near Nagapattinam From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip A hermit crab leaving its shell at Kodikkarai From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip scenes near Vedaranyam Fr

Diwali Tour Part 18 – Thiruvidaimarudhur and related Parivara Sthalams

Every Shiva temples has certain deities . While the central deities are Shiva and Parvati, all Shiva temples have other deities in the Pragaram like Ganesha, Muruga, Dakshinamoorthy, the Navagrahas, and Chandikeswarar. Each of these deities takes his/her place according to the direction/position he/she is assigned. Situated around Kumbakonam is a group of temples whose deities (not necessarily the central one) together form a temple much, much bigger than any temple in existence. The temples are as far apart as Swamimalai and Chidambaram. These temples are collectively called the Parivara Sthalams . The central temple in this group is Thiruvidaimarudhur. Thiruvidaimarudhur - Shiva From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip Thiruvidaimarudhur is situated 8 Kms from Kumbakonam on the Mayiladudurai road, 1 km from Thirubhuvanam. This is a huge temple, with 3 pragarams. It is considered auspicious to circumambulate all the 3 pragarams. From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip The main deity i

Diwali tour Part 17 – Nagore and Velankanni - A Photo blog

The main reason for our trip to Thanjavur was to visit temples. We visited a number of temples around Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Mayiladudurai and Thiruvarur. There were only two exceptions to this – the Nagore Dargah, where we did not enter, as it was terribly crowded, and the Church at Velankanni where we offered candles, salt and pepper like thousands of other devotees who were also there like us. From Diwali 08 - Thanjvur Trip Having studied in a convent school , going to church, for me has always been a wonderful experience. The calm and quiet environs of a church attract me as much as the cymbals and gongs in a temple do. I had long wanted to visit the church of the holy mother at Velankanni, and this Diwali, my wish was finally fulfilled. Velankanni is situated 12 Kms south of Nagapattinam , and is a beach town. The church is huge, and the authorities have used the surrounding land well to provide facilities for pilgrims. Details about the church, accommodation, routes

Diwali Tour Part 16 –Murugan Sthalams around Thiruvarur

Long long ago , there lived a talented sculptor, who was also a very devout man. He once got a vision of Lord Muruga, asking him to make 3 sculptures of the lord as Shanmugha (6 faced), seated on a peacock, which would be more beautiful than any other idol made so far. Of course, a sculptor needs a patron, and the lord provided him a patron in the form of the king who wanted a beautiful idol for the temple at Sikkal. He wanted a stone idol for the moolavar as well as bronze idol for the Utsavar. The sculptor began his work with a huge block of stone at the village right next to Sikkal. He worked with so much devotion and dedication, that when he was done, it was certainly the most beautiful sculpture of Shanmugha ever made. It was so detailed, that even the veins on the palms of the lord and the on legs of his mount were visible. The whole sculpture stood, not on a base, but on the two spindly legs of the peacock, Muruga’s mount. It held in its mouth, a snake, and the Lord sat on it, 6

Diwali Tour Part 15 – Saptha Vidanga Sthalams

Muchukunda Chakravarthi was a great and valorous king. He was once approached by Indra for help during the war between Devas and Asuras. Muchukunda gladly agreed to help the lord of the Devas, and joined in the war. Finally, with Muchukunda’s aid, the Devas succeeded in routing the Asuras, and Indra was extremely grateful to the king. He offered the king a gift of his choice, and Muchukunda, a devout man, asked for the lingam worshipped by Indra. Indra was stunned. He did not want to part with his precious lingam, but the king wouldn’t accept anything else. He finally decided on a deception, and showed Muchukunda seven lingams and asked him to choose the one he wanted. Muchukunda was a smart king, and prayed to Shiva to identify the correct lingam. Shiva was pleased and helped him identify the original lingam prayed to by Indra. Indra was so impressed by this that he gifted all the seven lingams to the king. Muchukunda returned to earth with the seven lingams and installed them at var