Archive for the ‘Tamilnadu’ Category

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…

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.

Kanyakumari Attractions- Laced With Extraordinary Beauty!

Posted on November 5th, 2009 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

Sunrise in Kanyakumari Sunrise in Kanyakumari

Determined not to miss the famous sunrise of Kanyakumari, I and my friend Pallavi woke up early and after relishing a cup of tea walked to the beach for the breathtaking sunrise. Pallavi had ditched me on the trip to Ranthambhore National Park as she had missed the train. But this time she had promised to abide by her words, “I will surely reach on time”. Gosh! This time her entry into the train was quite dramatic, very much like the one made by Kajol in the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayege. But at last she managed not to push me into a state of despair this time. My heartfelt thanks to her.

The cool breeze, peaceful ambiance, romantic aura, swaying palms, limitless sky and bewitching waves of the beach hypnotized us completely. It was a world-out-of-this-world. The wind was chilly as it was the month of October. But we were enjoying every bit of the experience. Finally the much-awaited moment arrived. The first rays of the morning light fell on the unfathomable waves making the sea glowing like a jewel. The sight was simply overwhelming and the feeling was heavenly. I captured the blissful sight in my heart and in the camera as well. Pallavi said, “How much we crave for such sights in Delhi,’ where we are surrounded by a ‘sea of buildings’”. She also said, “thank God I could made it to Kanyakumari and I think this time I have overcome my karma of missing trains”. I looked her in the eye and we burst out laughing.

Post breakfast, we were slated to visit the renowned Kanyakumari Temple. Standing at the confluence of the three wonderful oceans, it is 3000 year old temple. Its extraordinary location and architectural beauty are its striking features. It is also laced with a legend, which is quite interesting. Our guide Sarvanan told us that the rock on which the temple is built has the footprints of the virgin goddess Kanyakumari (an incarnation of Goddess Parvati).

The legend goes that Kanya Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati was to marry Lord Shiva but because of some reason the Lord didn’t come on the wedding day, so the marriage could not be solemnized. After this incident the Goddess decided to remain virgin for the rest of her life. It is believed that the rice shaped stones on the beach today are the uncooked grains of the wedding. The wedding feast consisting of rice and other grains were left uncooked and were not used thereafter. According to the legend those grains transformed into stones with time. After hearing this legend we were constantly on a look out for such rocks at the beach.

After visiting the temple I found myself completely soaked in some new found energy. The statue of the goddess was very beautiful and the sparkling nose ring was shining brightly as if endowed with some spiritual power.

Our trip ended with shopping. We bought beautiful souvenirs made of bamboo and wood. Our trip to Kanyakumari rewarded us with great memories which will always remain etched in my heart.

Kanyakumari- A Destination Beyond Imagination!

Posted on October 28th, 2009 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

Traveling is one of those things in my life for which I am

Vivekanand RockVivekanand Rock

passionate to the hilt.I pray everyday to travel and explore this wonderful planet as much as possible, a prayer which might sound strange to you. My friends often say that I am drunk on traveling to the point of insanity. Anyway, I am more than happy about my passion and never leave an opportunity to travel, in fact, I am slowly and gradually learning the art of ‘creating’ such opportunities. So there I was with my camera at Kankakumari, the extravagantly beautiful destination.

After reaching Kanyakumari I soon walked down to reward my senses with the much awaited sights of its enchanting Kanyakumari beach. Kanyakumari is an arresting destination located in the wonderful state of Tamil Nadu at the southern most tip of the peninsular India. The fascinating feature of this place is that it is the point where the three oceans- Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet.

My guide Shankar told me that a dip in the water of the ocean is considered holy. But the irony is that the sea is quite rough and one must be careful while bathing in it. Well, I dipped my feet in the water and a feeling of sheer joy enveloped every atom of my being. The water was so clean and the view of the sea was overwhelming. My heart was wallowing in joy. One more thing which attracted me was the multi-colored sand. I took a stroll at the beach gazing at its beauty. I walked up to the lighthouse at the beach, which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings.

I also visited the famous Vivekananda rock jutting out of the sea. Housing the statue of Vivekananda, it is the place where he meditated. I spent some quality time there. The day was drawing to a close and now , holding my breath, I was eagerly waiting to see the sunset, which is one of the major attractions of Kanyakumari. The scene was dramatic, very dramatic. I wondered how mystic the drama of mother nature is! This was the most beautiful sunset I ever saw in my life.

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.

Hampi Tour – A Visit To The Glorious Era

Posted on September 7th, 2009 by Pooja Chaudhary  |  Comments Off

Hampi Virupaksha Temple

What do you have to say about Hampi which is dotted with enchanting
architectural ruins, which take you back in time?. Well my friend Divya had a lot to rave about this historic site and even showed me some of the photographs, which were simply mind-blowing. After seeing the pictures, on the spur of the moment I decided to visit this World Heritage Site.

I flew down to Bangalore, the nearest airport to Hampi. Bangalore is around 350 km from Hampi. From there I took a train to Hospet which is only 20 km from Hampi. After taking rest for some time I feasted on South Indian cuisine and got ready to explore the heritage monuments and temples. Finally I reached the Hampi ruins and was overwhelmed at the sight of the ruins, which really made me feel that I had stepped into a different world altogether. Being a World Heritage Site, Hampi attracts tourists from far and wide.

Our first halt was the Queen’s bath where the royal queen used to take bath. It is a huge and wonderful structure. The next attraction was the underground Shiva Temple . Its location was interesting but it was very dark inside. From here we headed for the famous Virupaksha temple (located in Hampi bazaar), which is the tallest structure in Hampi. It is an eleven storied structure which is truly an architectural wonder. Dotted with many beautiful pillars, the temple is a treat to the eyes. Each pillar is amazingly carved. The Hampi bazaar is lined with shops and restaurants.

Our next destination was the picturesque Hemakuta hill, which offers breathtaking sunset views. As the day was drawing to a close I managed to shoot some great pictures. I and my guide sat there for half an hour and then made our way to the Ganesha statue located between an array of pillars, which is lit up beautifully.

Hampi is not only famous for its heritage monuments and temples but also take pride in its picturesque sunrise and sunset views.

The next day I explored other marvels of Hampi like Vithala temple, the King’s balance, Lotus Mahal and Pattabhirama Temple. All I had to say at the end of my Hampi trip was ‘ wow’.