Archive for the ‘South India Tour’ Category

Revive your Spiritual Senses on South India Temple Tour

Posted on January 18th, 2013 by admin  |  Comments Off

Speaking volume about its architectural beauty, South India temples are simply stunning. The magnificence of temples in South India makes them extraordinary gems in the state.

Meenakshi Temple MaduraiMeenakshi Temple Madurai

India, the haven of religious places, has always been on the must-visit travel places in my list. One factor about India that makes me leave speechless is its never-ending faith in God. That is why there are innumerable temples and sacred spots.

Let me recall my South India temple trip, which still leaves my mind with awesome memories. I was in Tamilnadu for some project work and after accomplishing my official work, I set out my South India temple tour.

I am a devotee of Lord Shiva and the temples dedicated to Him are on the top of my wish-list. That encouraged me to start my Tamilnadu trip with Shri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. Legends say that Shiva and Meenakshi (the consort of Shiva, known as Parvati) were married in Madurai.

As I entered the temple with my two colleagues, Ashka and Shabby, we were simply amazed to gaze at the large temple complex of Meenakshi temple. It had 12 gopurams or towers, adorned with brightly coloured sculptures of Hindu deities. Well, we could easily make out that we had to devote more time and it actually happened. It took us hours to explore the far-stretched temple complex but we were contended with our visit to Meenakshi temple.

Rameshwaram TempleRameshwaram Temple

Next in our travel plan, Rameshwaram was on the top. Having read a lot about the significance of the temple, I was eager to step into this religious abode. Select any Tour packages for south India temples, the outcome will be great. An important Hindu pilgrimage spot, Rameshwaram was the place where Lord Rama built a bridge across the sea to the island of Lanka. There was another spectacular temple, The Ramanathaswamy Temple. It dates back to the 17th century and serves as a finest specimen of Dravidian temple architecture.

How could we miss out The Shore Temple in Mamallapuram on our South India temple travel! The history of the temple dates back to the 7th century. The Dravidian-style temple made you wonder how could such perfection be carried out in the ancient era without technology.

Holding back our curiosity, we moved on to Kanchipuram, another amazing destination of spiritual tours of south India. Being one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities, it is packed with spectacular temples. We headed to Kamakshi Amman Temple where Goddess Shakti was worshipped. It is one of the most famous temples in Kanchipuram.

Our South temple tours ended smoothly and we were back with lots of wonderful memories.

South India is An Extensive Magnetism of Touristy Attractions

Posted on August 28th, 2012 by admin  |  Comments Off

India is all set to drive you as me acclaiming to the country fruitful of eternal attractions to consider. Each and every state of the country introduces to its visitor with its rich culture & traditions. A trip to South India attractions has made me sure to come over again. I, Harsh Baghel ought to click the unknown characters of history, thus knew better to South India through a tour operating agency from Delhi.

I was given an all-time guide to my trip go pleasant by tour agency that I hired to. I as a photographer to a Travel Magazine in Delhi preferred to go there by all-connecting conveyance, Indian Railways.

On the first day of my trip there, I considered best to my South India tours packages that assured me having a well-planned journey to some of the most fascinating allures of this biggest jaunt of the nature lovers, adventure freaks, honeymooners and numerous avid travellers. Also I was offered warm hospitality availing finest hotel to rest there.

On the second day, this south India trip came as one of the best tourist suits exploring the wonders of this captivating place in their own unique way. Enriched with the hill stations, temples, beaches and the valleys, South India was answerable that gave me a dose of refreshment.

South India HouseboatSouth India Houseboat

Trip to this region of the country takes place as incomplete, if no visit to the natural vistas and exotic wildlife sanctuaries renders. Truly I would say that there is no vacation like a vacation to Incredible South India travel destination. If you are a history buff, an itinerant traveller of cities and an adventurer as me, you have endless reasons to enjoy on a beach and relax on an amalgamation of all the imagines that I had dreamt of before.

On the third day to my south India holidays, I turned to natural beauty of this tropics. south India has many fresh waters lagoons, rivers and beaches that offered me the most soothing and energising experience. There were numerous explanations that I am eager to tell you are especially designed for people to explore and enjoy the house-boating in Karnataka, or the full fun-basking in Kerala.

Apart from the lush green expanses of south India, the states in south India also house numerous wildlife sanctuaries and natural parks. Hereby, I am speechless to say that South India is an apple of tourists’ eyes and it answers all a honeymooner, adventure freak or nature lover thinks to come in.

Explore the Wonders of South Zone

Posted on November 18th, 2011 by manish  |  Comments Off

Meenakshi Temple Sri Meenakshi Temple

In Madurai, we came across the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. This huge temple complex houses the statues exploring different human emotions. Its exquisitely carved towers represent the finest examples of Dravidian architecture.

After the Madurai sightseeing tour, we headed towards Kanyakumari. It is known as the land’s end where you can see the horizon. The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean seems to meet here. We all were excited to see the sunrise view and the thought did not let us sleep. Well, we had no regret of it after seeing the beautiful view of sunrise. Believe me, it was breathtaking.

Kovalam, this wonderful place was our next destination. As the name suggests, Kovalam was truly blessed with groves of coconut trees along the beaches. The palm fringed bays organized in coconut groves, offer a relaxed stay. The seamless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and far-spread white sands washed away by surf makes the beach a heaven. Visiting the beach was really relaxing and refreshing.

We were feeling ourselves fortunate enough being in the wonderful land of Kerala. The palm-fringed beaches, enchanting backwaters, exotic wildlife and Ayurveda therapies, what else you could ask for!
We headed towards Periyar wildlife sanctuary which is home for the varieties of animals and birds. The creatures we could see there were nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, cormorants, king cobra, python and many more.

While exploring the South Indian Cities, we also came across the city of Alleppey, which is also known as Alappuzha. It was once a busy port that serves as the entrance point of Kerala. Visiting Alappuzha beach is one of its kind experience. The beach was clean and has all the facilities to enjoy interesting water sports activities.

The days were passing with excitement to see new destination. When we visited Fort Cochin, we got flabbergasted to see the fascinating beauty of the fort. The colonial charisma and several exotic cultures still can be seen there. Jewish Signage is another popular attraction of the place. Exploring different
historic attractions in the morning, we also witnessed Kathakali dance show in a theater in the evening.

After a drive of 280 km, we reached the beautiful land of Ooty where we checked-in hotel for taking rest. Enjoying the world-class amenities of the hotel, we went for enjoying the full-day sightseeing of Ooty and Coonoor. The exotic mountain ranges of Himalayas, the salubrious weather and the gurgling streams make Ooty a destination worth to visit.

Next day, we were in the temple city of Mysore. A city which boasts of gardens, palaces, shady avenues and much more. We explored Somnathpur Temple and in the afternoon, we visited Srirangapatnam. It was a great experience altogether.

While driving to Banglore, we also visited Sravanbelgola on the way. The afternoon sightseeing tour of the city made us cheerful. Next day, we were transferred to Mumbai from where we left for home.

The 18 days which were spent with my family at different destinations are a lifetime experience for me. The beautiful memories of the tour still fills my heart with great joy.

In Madurai, we came across the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. This huge temple complex houses the statues exploring different human emotions. Its exquisitely carved towers represent the finest examples of Dravidian architecture.

 

After the Madurai sightseeing tour, we headed towards Kanyakumari. It is known as the land’s end where you can see the horizon. The Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean seems to meet here. We all were excited to see the sunrise view and the thought did not let us sleep. Well, we had no regret of it after seeing the beautiful view of sunrise. Believe me, it was breathtaking.

 

Kovalam, this wonderful place was our next destination. As the name suggests, Kovalam was truly blessed with groves of coconut trees along the beaches. The palm fringed bays organized in coconut groves, offer a relaxed stay. The seamless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and far-spread white sands washed away by surf makes the beach a heaven. Visiting the beach was really relaxing and refreshing.

 

We were feeling ourselves fortunate enough being in the wonderful land of Kerala. The palm-fringed beaches, enchanting backwaters, exotic wildlife and Ayurveda therapies, what else you could ask for!

We headed towards Periyar wildlife sanctuary which is home for the varieties of animals and birds. The creatures we could see there were nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, cormorants, king cobra, python and many more.

 

While exploring the South Indian Cities, we also came across the city of Alleppey, which is also known as Alappuzha. It was once a busy port that serves as the entrance point of Kerala. Visiting Alappuzha beach is one of its kind experience. The beach was clean and has all the facilities to enjoy interesting water sports activities.

 

The days were passing with excitement to see new destination. When we visited Fort Cochin, we got flabbergasted to see the fascinating beauty of the fort. The colonial charisma and several exotic cultures still can be seen there. Jewish Signage is another popular attraction of the place. Exploring different

historic attractions in the morning, we also witnessed Kathakali dance show in a theater in the evening.

 

After a drive of 280 km, we reached the beautiful land of Ooty where we checked-in hotel for taking rest. Enjoying the world-class amenities of the hotel, we went for enjoying the full-day sightseeing of Ooty and Coonoor. The exotic mountain ranges of Himalayas, the salubrious weather and the gurgling streams make Ooty a destination worth to visit.

 

Next day, we were in the temple city of Mysore. A city which boasts of gardens, palaces, shady avenues and much more. We explored Somnathpur Temple and in the afternoon, we visited Srirangapatnam. It was a great experience altogether.

 

While driving to Banglore, we also visited Sravanbelgola on the way. The afternoon sightseeing tour of the city made us cheerful. Next day, we were transferred to Mumbai from where we left for home.

 

The 18 days which were spent with my family at different destinations are a lifetime experience for me. The beautiful memories of the tour still fills my heart with great joy.

 

South India-The Land of Remarkable Temples Part-1

Posted on November 11th, 2011 by manish  |  Comments Off

I still remember the day when my father planned a South India tour. We, all five members of the family were really excited because for one or another reason, the tours earlier planned by us got limited to just planning only. It was for the first time when my whole family accompanied me on this 18 days tour.

Elephanta Cave Fort St. George

Well, we reached Chennai by flight from Delhi. On being reached and welcomed there in the evening, we were transferred to a good hotel. Believe me, staying out with your family is a wonderful experience. Next day, the tour started with morning city tour of Chennai.

While visiting the Fort St. George, we realized that we were in a new world. Beautifully surrounded by cannon-proof walls, the fort reminds one of old era. Within the fort, we came across little St Mary’s Church and Protestant church. The day was good and we returned to hotel in night.

Next day, we embarked on a full day sightseeing tour of two famous cities-Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. There we reached Kanchipuram, the Golden City of a Thousand Temples. I was too delighted as I love to explore religious spots and there I was.

We all visited some temples of 7th and 8th centuries like the Vaikunthaperumal Temple, Ekambareshwar Temple, Kamakshi Temple and Kailashnath Temple. My father who has a great interest in exploring new places, shared his knowledge with us about the temples. It reminded me of my childhood days when we all siblings used to sit beside my father and heard many religious stories.

Well, we moved ahead and shop around Kanchipuram. Embellished with striking patterns there are fine silk saris and my mother could not help herself buying one.

At Mahabalipuram, we came across several attractions related to Mahabharata age. There is exquisitely rock cut temple, known as Five Rathas, dedicated to Pandavas and Draupadi. We also saw ‘Arjuna Penance’, which is a group of elephants.

Next day, we headed towards Pondicherry. This union territory is situated within the state of Tamil Nadu.
Based on our experience, I can say that the city is like a living monument of French culture in India.

We got an opportunity to visit The Aurobindo Ashram, where we meditated for some time. It was a great experience. The tranquil ambience of the Ashram fills your heart with calmness and peace. ‘Auroville‘, the international township was also became a part of my exploration.

Our enjoyment, and curiosity was piqued with each passing day. The next day started with paying a visit to Tanjore, where we visited a big temple, dedicated to lord Shiva. Another attraction which we visited there was Tanjore museum. It houses a beautiful collection of South Indian sculptures and paintings.

Sri Ranganathaswami Temple Sri Ranganathaswami Temple

In Trichy, we came across several worth-admiring temples. Located on 83 m long rock outcrop,  Rock Fort Temple, showcasing the finest example of architecture.

We also visited Sri Ranganathaswami Temple, which is 7 km from Trichy. It is said to be the abode of Sri Ranganatha. It is said to be the largest temple in India. Visiting temple was already a great delight and moreover, the magnificence of temples just left us amazed.

To be continued…

Honeymoon in Goa-A Cherishable Affair–Part 1

Posted on October 27th, 2011 by admin  |  Comments Off

Goa is the destination that became very special for me as I opted the place for celebrating my honeymoon. After browsing a lot on Internet, we finally selected a renowned tour operator to plan our honeymoon trip as the Goa honeymoon package offered by them was well-planned and suited our preference.

We left from Delhi and reached Goa by flight. As I have already heard a lot about this beautiful place and on being reached there, I could see why it is called a perfect honeymoon destination. The exotic aura of beaches and the serene natural ambiance seem magical. We enjoyed our dinner and stayed overnight at hotel.

Our entire day was dedicated to full day sightseeing of Goa. We visited Old Goa and some famous Cathedrals and Churches there. These include Se-Cathedral, St. Catherine’s Church, Church of St. Francis Xavier and Arch of Vice Roy of Goa.

Then, we headed for Miramar beach, which is the only beach near any city. It offers a wonderful view of the river Mandovi flowing into the sea. We decided to discover the scattered beauty of nature with river cruise. It is structured at the long Mandovi River. The cruise was fun-filled and exciting that made me nervous initially but later on I enjoyed it. During the river cruise, we could also admire the astonishing sunrise and sunset.

We also got an opportunity to visit Dona Paula, a small fishing village, which was located at the tip of Panji. After coming back, we stayed overnight at hotel.

Next day, we simply enjoyed at leisure and spent time with each other. We too enjoyed the amenities of the resort. That was a complete relaxing day for us and we made the most of it by enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful resort.

The moments that we spend on Goa Beaches were really magical for us. We visited Condolim Beach, Baga Beach, Arambol Beach, Vagator Beach, Benaulim Beach, Palolem Beach, Agonda Beach, Mobor Beach and Cavelossim Beach. Basking in the sun, taking pleasure in the fun-filled water sports like parasailing, waterskiing & river rafting and enjoying the natural beauty with your partner is truly a blessing.

Next day, after spending the morning at leisure, we were transferred to airport for flight to Mumbai. On being arrived at Mumbai, we met their representative and afterwards, checked in into the hotel for staying overnight there.

To be continued……

Fairs and Festivals of India Reflect its Rich Cultural Heritage

Posted on April 14th, 2011 by admin  |  Comments Off

The incredible country like India can be best described by the phrase ‘Unity in Diversity’. India is a land of rich cultural heritage which beautifully reflects in its various attractions. The various states of India have their own unique culture. Although there is so much diversity in culture of India but still there is unity among Indians. Fairs and festivals are among the most colorful part of Indian culture. They are also the perfect means of getting acquainted with the culture of India.

It would be no exaggeration to say that India is a land of fairs and festivals as its calender is full of various fairs and festivals commemorating various occasions. Fairs and festivals of India attract tourists from across the globe.

Some of the most famous fairs and festivals of India are:

Diwali
It is the festival of lights which is celebrated with great flavor

DiwaliDiwali

throughout India. Symbolizing the victory of good over evil, this festival commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom after 14 years of exile. On this festival people illuminate their houses with earthen lamps and lights, distribute sweets, burn crackers and worship Goddess Lakshmi. This festival falls in the month of October or November.

Navratri
This festival is celebrated for nine days in honour of the goddess. The goddess symbolizes power. During these nine days nine forms of the goddess are worshipped and devotees observe fast for nine days. The goddess is known by several names like Durga, Laxmi, Bhavani, Kali, chandika, Maha gauri, Ashtabhuja and Siddhiratri. All the nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influences us with.

Holi

It is a festival of colours which is celebrated with great enthusiasm

HoliHOli

especiallyin North India. During this festival people play with powdered colours and water. Huge bonfires are lit on the evening of Holi. This festival also symbolizes the victory of good over evil. There is an interesting legend associated with it.

Pushkar Fair
It is the largest cattle fair in the world. Held in Pushkar City of Rajasthan it is marked with several cultural activities like dance, music, competitions and many more. It is celebrated in October/November.

Pongal
It is an important festival of South India which is celebrated for four days. It is a harvest festival. During the festival cattle, Sun god and Rain god are worshiped.

Eid-ul-Fittr
It is an important festival of Muslims which marks the end of Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting. During the festival people exchange greeting and sweets and offer prayer in mosques. Feasting is the main feature of this festival.

Desert Festival
This is a famous festival of Rajasthan which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city of Jaisalmer. During the celebration the desert comes alive with cultural activities. Folk dance, puppet shows, turban-tying competition, camel race etc are the main highlights of the festival.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple Where One Can Hear the Echoes of Dravidian Culture

Posted on October 8th, 2010 by govind  |  Comments Off

 Meenakshi Temple Meenakshi Temple

The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historical 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 Meenakshi or Fish-eyed Goddess). The glorious architectural beauty of this Dravidian structure summons scores of tourists to this place from several parts of the globe. But it is said that only the fortunate one’s get an opportunity to visit this Hindu religious destination.

I have heard, read and seen about this temple since my childhood which develops a sense of inclination in me towards this magnificent architecture. Finally this curiosity ended last week when I visited this colossal building during my Chennai Tour. The impressive architectural beauty, striking atmosphere, intricate carving and religious atmosphere absorbed me when I entered the temple premises.

The temple is enclosed within a high-wall and at the center there are two sanctums one is for Meenakshi and another is for Sundareshwara. The whole temple is encircled with number of smaller shrines, grand pillared halls and twelve impressive gopurams. I was impressed by towers in the temple which are adorned with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors. The chiseled out beauty of these towers showcases the affluence of craftsmanship achieved by artists during the Dravidian era.

Every nook and corner of this magnificent edifice have its own identity and own significance yet the most striking feature is 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams. These towers are elaborately sculptured and painted brightly with several mythological figures which touch the heart of every visitor.
Ashta Shakthi Mandapam located on the eastern entrance of the temple is known for the statute of eight goddesses which are famous for their crafting and elaborate design. Adjoining to this is the Meenakshi Nayak Mandapam, known for its sculptured pillars that portray the story of Lord Shiva’s Thiruvilayadals (miracles) and Meenakshi’s birth. This hall also has a lamp-holder with 1,008 lamps which is lit up during festive occasions.

Orthamarai Kulam (Golden Lotus Tank) is a scared lake situated inside the temple premises. The Oonjal (swing) Mandapam and Killikoontu (parrot cage) Mandapam is located on the western side of the lake. Every Friday the idols of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are placed on the swing in the Oonjal Mandapam and mantras were chanted. It is because of this Friday is considered as auspicious day to visit this temple. The shrine of Lord Sundareswarar’s is situated to the north of Kilikoontu Mandapam. Here Sundareswarar is worshipped in the form of a linga with his 64 bhootaganas, 32 lions and 8 elephant attendants.

After exploring some of the popular attractions of this temple I sat on the staircase of Potramarai Kulam – The Golden Lotus Pond. I was seating quietly and the continuous chants, prayers and devotional carnatic music accompanied by Mridanga and Nadaswara creates a mystic atmosphere in which I was completely lost. I felt that I was away from the world and my mind was thoughtless. The peace that I felt cannot be expressed in words. Based on my experience I assured that people who want to feel the power of religion and spirituality must visit the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Rameshwaram Tour offers beauty and spirituality in plenty!

Posted on August 26th, 2010 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

 Rameshwaram Rameshwaram

‘Boss will remain a boss’. Seems it’s their ‘job profile’ to not grant leave to their respective subordinates. I sometimes wonder do they get special incentive for not approving leave! Well after a great deal of efforts I somehow managed to take four days leave for the Rameshwaram Tour which I had planned with my friend Pallavi. It was such a great feat for me. But the sinister forces were lying in wait to attack my happiness. At the crack of the dawn, on the same day when we had to leave for Rameshwaram, Pallavi called to say that her boss canceled her leave as she has to accompany him on an urgent business trip. This dampened my spirits but I still decided to go alone as my heart didn’t allow me to maul my dream of visiting Rameshwaram, a place I always wanted to visit.

I had heard and read a lot about the wonderful Rameshwaram town (an island) in Tamil Nadu and now I was eagerly waiting to experience its charm for real. An inexpressible feeling of joy enveloped my heart as I stepped into the beautiful land of Rameshwaram. This city is steeped in natural beauty and has great religious significance. It is affectionately dubbed as the ‘Varanasi‘ of the South. It is a religious city which draws devotees of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The Hindus believe that a visit to Varanasi( the most sacred pilgrimage of Hindus) is incomplete without a visit to Rameshwaram. According to the legend it is at this place where Lord Rama performed thanks giving rituals to Lord Shiva after his triumph over the demon king Ravana in the battle at Sri Lanka.

I was booked in the Hotel Royal Park which is a budget luxury hotel offering good services and facilities. One of my friends had suggested this hotel to me. The famous Lord Ramanathaswamy Temple of Rameshwaram is located only 2 km from this hotel.

Post breakfast I along with my guide Ramesh embarked on my journey to explore the mesmerizing Rameshwaram. I first visited Ramanatha Swamy Temple which dominates the land of Rameshwaram. It is the major draw here. Reflecting the brilliance of Dravidian architecture, the temple dates back to the 12th century A.D. It boasts of the largest temple corridor in India. Its other attractions are its 22 big wells, each having different taste of water, elaborately sculpted pillars and carvings on the walls.

Next we drove to Dhanushkodi, a scenic site located 8 km from Rameshwaram. The legend goes that at the request of Vibeeshana, brother of Ravana and ally of Rama, Rama broke the Sethu with one end of his bow and hence the name Dhanushkodi, Dhanush meaning Bow and Kodi meaning end.

We also visited Kothandaraswamy Temple which is located at 12 km from the city center. It is a historic place where Vibhishana( Ravana’s brother) surrendered to lord Rama.

My next halt was Agnitheertham. It is a place which holds immense mythological significance. My guide told me that it is at Agnitheertham where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva. The water at this place is considered holy and hence devotees from far and wide come here to take a dip. With a desire to accumulate some good fortune I also took a bath in the water.

Next was my favorite attraction-the beach. The beach was peaceful and beautiful. The serene beach and shallow water make this place a perfect destination for swimming and sunbathing. The view of the dolphins in the sea was mesmerizing to the hilt. Last but not the least was the enchanting sunset view which was breathtaking. With the wonderful memories of Rameshwaram I went back to the hotel.

Day I: Kerala Tour: Give in to the sweet seduction of Kovalam Beaches!

Posted on July 1st, 2010 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

 Kovalam Beach Kovalam Beach

Drudgery of daily life’. Sounds familiar na! This is something which everybody experiences but magic lies in creating some moments of happiness, punctuating the monotony. For me happiness is synonymous with traveling. And whenever I think of traveling two names bounce around in my mind; Monika and Anand as they are also absorbed in the wonder of traveling. We have been friends since college days and over the time we have also become travel comrades. Out of the three of us, Anand is the most fortunate soul when it comes to taking leave from office. History repeats itself; this time also he got leave quite easily. We asked him what spell he casts on his boss! He smiled and said, “simple, I work hard and you girls hardly work, this is the reason”. Again, as usual, he without missing the opportunity started pulling us and also gave us some funny tips on how to handle a difficult boss.

Monika and I had a hard time getting a seven day’s leave. Hold on; the worst part of the story is that we work in the same organization, which makes it all the more difficult. Jittery and hyper, we were waiting for the acceptance of our leave. Gosh! Sometimes these bosses act like a nagging mother-in-law. Finally our big boss approved our leave, but only for 4 days.

Taking glee in our victory we set out on our much-awaited journey to Kovalam. We flew down to Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala and after covering a distance of 16 km by car reached the mesmerizing Kovalam, the beach town. Affectionately dubbed as the ‘Land of coconut groves’, Kovalam is among the most fascinating attractions of Kerala, God’s Own Country. After refreshing ourselves we headed towards the Lighthouse beach of Kovalam.

I have always been in love with Kerala and have traveled to this place several times. It was as enchanting as ever. Every visit to this destination becomes a special memory for me. Anand hails from Kerala but because of his professional carrier he and his parents stay in Delhi. He was so happy to be here and I could clearly see it on his face glowing with joy. As we were talking how wonderful we were feeling to be here, Monika said, “ what greater delight is there than to feel in rhythm with nature, to leave behind the nagging bosses and rat-race of urban life and feel like a free bird”. With a grin, I said, “I completely agree with you sweetheart”.

Once a traditional fishing village Kovalam is one of the most fascinating destinations of Kerala which is famous for its beaches. Its vegetation, natural beauty, salubrious climate, peaceful environment, mesmerizing blue water of Arabian sea, white sand and swaying palm trees leave tourists spell bound. There are three beaches in Kovalam: the Lighthouse beach, the Hawah beach and the Samudra beach. The lighthouse beach is the largest and the most popular one and is named so because of the presence of a lighthouse here. All the three beaches are separated by rocky headlands. We reached the top of the lighthouse and enjoyed the breathtaking view of the beach and the town. The experience was simply overwhelming.

Kovalam was one of the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. To add more adventure to our visit to the beach we indulged in parasailing and the pleasure was unlimited. Next was the swimming session. Being a non-swimmer I decided to stay back while Anand and Monika went for swimming.  I could see them enjoying like kids. Sitting on the shore I was enjoying the views of extensive stretch of sand, lashing waves and limitless sky. And the cool breeze was blowing a melody into my ears. I can’t express in words what a wonderful feeling it was! A feeling which was feeding my soul with peace and joy. I also collected some sea shells to take back home as a memory of this place.

Next we went to the nearby restaurant to pamper our taste buds with some amazing south Indian dishes. After gorging on the dishes we again went to the beach to capture the beauty of sunset as the day was drawing to a close. And the sunset view was breathtaking, mind-blowing and enchanting. The rays of the sun had cloaked the sea in golden hue and the birds were freely soaring in the sky. The unfathomable waves had taken a different look altogether and the moon was slowly making its presence felt. And the ‘wow’ factor had completely taken over…

We came back walking to our hotel as it was located near the beach. Post dinner we again went to the beach for a walk. The view of the beach in moonlight was completely different. We sat there and chatted for an hour while enjoying the charm of the sea. This was the end of our beauty and adventure packed day. The next day we were slated to go for blissful Ayurvedic massage at Somatheeram ayurvedic resort which is the oldest Ayurvedic resort in the world.

I had already started dreaming with open eyes! And ended my day with a short poem dedicated to Kerala:

How heavenly Kerala is! a paradise on earth!

Epitome of natural beauty, this land transports you to the world of rapture

Relishing its glory, drunk on its beauty

Offering heartfelt thanks, I bow before almighty who festooned this land with natural wonders.o

Madurai Tour- A Blissful Experience!

Posted on September 17th, 2009 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

Meenakshi TempleMeenakshi Temple

“Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul”. This quote sits smug on the culturally rich city, Madurai. Fashioned in the shape of a lotus flower, this city was the next attraction on my list of places in India I wish to visit. Once the capital of the empire of the Pandayas, Madurai is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. It is internationally famed for its incredible Meenakshi Temple, which is one of the highly revered pilgrimages of the Hindus.

As I set out for a visit to the Meenakshi Temple my guide Rakesh acquainted me with a wonderful legend about it. According to the legend Lord Shiva poured nectar or ‘Madhu’ on the land of Madhurai. Hence the city was blessed and named Madhu. Later the name was distorted to Madurai after the 14th century.

We reached there early morning as I wanted to attend the aarti. I was completely overwhelmed at the sight of the temple. The exquisite carvings of the temple are a treat to the eyes. What enchanted me the most were the incredible gopurams decorated with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vibrant colours . I wonder how talented the artists were! I also saw the thousand pillared hall festooned with amazing sculptures.

While exploring the Kalyana Mandap, Rakesh told me that this hall serves as a venue for the celebration of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This celebration is observed during the Meenakshi Thirukalayanam in the month of Chaitra (April).

Post lunch, I went to the Chitirai bazaar in Madurai to buy some souvenirs. The bazaar was stocked with glass bangles, handloom saris, woodcarvings, brass ware, palm basket and jaggery. I bought some souvenirs and with golden memories of the temple came back to the hotel.