Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

Hi everyone , I have been nominated by Garima Puri
http://garimapuri.art.blog
for this award . I thank her for considering me for this award. I feel excited and happy. Do visit her blog , I have provided the link above . Her writings are amazing , spreading positive vibes .

Rules for this award

Questions and Answers:-

1) Describe your writing style?
I feel my writing style is neat and good .

2) Do you plan your blogs or is it more so have free style?
As I write more about my temple visits , I do plan and gather more details about the unique significance of the temple .Other than that vacation trips I write it in free style .

3) What is it that you enjoy most about being a blogger?
Nowadays I spend my time more on wordpress , enjoy reading others blog and gain more knowledge.

4) What is the best piece of advice you have ever received from someone?
To cover up the foodies session and about the people I meet during my travel.

5) Do you see yourself blogging in 5 years?
I will try to keep improving day by day .

6) What been the highlight of your year?
Everyday been a highlight especially this year 2020 (corona) lockdown.

7) What do you miss about last year?
Nothing I was busy travelling atleast once in a month .

8) If you could change one thing what would it be?
Fast forward this year 2020.

9) Would you encourage your kids to become bloggers?
Yes definitely and has already suggested my daughter .

10) If you could snap your fingers right now and change one think about the world what would that one thing be?
I want both the ruling party and opposition party to hold hands in doing something for the welfare of the citizens

My nominees are

https://aarzish.wordpress.com

https://themirage6.wordpress.com

http://penofhearts.com

https://anuragverma08.wordpress.com

http://motivated.photo.blog

http://runningbeautywith.fashion.blog

https://bemittydrg.wordpress.com

https://crazienerds.wordpress.com

https://lifeinwords2.wordpress.com

https://dakshali27.wordpress.com

I would like to ask the nominees to answer the same questions.

Happy Blogging!!!

Sri Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple Uthiramerur

Uthiramerur village is located about 85 kms from Chennai off the GST Road. This is an ancient village well known for its temples, architecture, sculptures and stone inscriptions.

This is one of the ancient temples known for its architecture. It is said seeing this temple , the Astalakshmi temple of Beasant nagar , Chennai has been built .

Uthiramerur is well connected by road with buses plying from Chennai and Kanchipuram.
This is a 3 tiered temple , with Nava Sundaravaradar dieties .

There are only a few temple of Lord Vishnu with Standing , Sitting and reclining posture within the 3 tiered gopuram.

Thirukostiyur in Sivagangai district Parameswara Vinnagaram in Kanchipuram and Kudalazhaghar temple in Madurai . Kudalazhaghar and Thirukostiyur temples they officially allow us to climb the gopuram by paying Rs. 20 per head . Whereas Parameswara Vinnagaram is in a dilapidated stage and under renovation .

The above said 3 temples are Divyadesham Perumal temples .This temple does not comes under a Divyadesham. It’s a Abhimana sthalam and Prathana sthalam.

As per legends it is said that
Sundara Varadhar was worshipped by Yudhishtira,
Vaikunda Varadhar by Bheema,
Achudha Varadhar by Arjuna,
Aniruddha Varadhar by Nakula and
Kalyana Varadhar by Sahadeva.

Also, it is believed that Goddess Ananda Valli gave darshan to Draupadi.
Hence it’s called as Pancha Varada Sthethram .

The belief of this temple is, those who pray here (with their horoscope) to Sri Kalyana Varadar on 5 consecutive Wednesdays are said to find their life mate immediately. Those who offer prayers on Tuesdays to Sri Achutha Varadar are said to find jobs immediately.

The Nava Murthy’s are

1. Sri Sundhara Varadhar
2. Sri Vaikunta Varadhar
3. Sri Achutha Varadhar
4. Sri Anirutha Varadhar
5. Sri Kalyana Varadhar
6. Sri Nara Narayana
7. Sri Yoga Narasimha
8. Sri Lakshmi Varahar
9. Sri Ananda Padmanabha

The sanctum is built in such a way that all 3 forms of Lord Vishnu are set one above the other as 3 levels or floors.

The presiding deity is Sri Sundara Varadaraja Perumal here in standing posture along with Sri Devi and Bhoodevi in the first level.

There is a staircase on which one can climb with much ease to go to the next floor one by one , in the next level Sri Vaikunda Varadar is in sitting posture.

After circumbulating all the 3 tiers there are seperate steps to climb down too .

While climbing up to the next level there is Sri Parthasarathy preaching Gita to Arjuna on the outer wall facing south. Lord Narasimha is present on the outer wall facing west and Sri Varaha Perumal with Lakshmi facing North. Here Varahar is in sitting posture with Sri Lakshmi sitting on his lap looking at Varahar’s face in a praying gesture.

In the third (upper most) level the Lord is in reclining posture on Aadhiseshan as Sri Ranganathar. Lord Brahma is seen on a Lotus emerging from Ranganathar’s navel. Lord Shiva is seen near the feet of the deity with the Deer and Mazhu (a weapon) on his hands.

Lord Ranganatha is seen blessing Markandeya Maharishi with his right hand. Bhoodevi is in a praying gesture standing opposite Markandeya.

Other than these three, there are other deities called Sri Achudha Varadhar, Sri Aniruddha Varadhar and Sri Kalyana Varadhar in the 3 sides of the pragharam.

There is also Sri Dhakshinamurthy on the tomb facing south which is unusual in Vaishnavite temples.

Inside the temple
About the temple
The narrow steps leading to the 3 tiers
2nd tier
3rd tier this picture we took in our recent visit after seeing Athi Varadhar (sayana kolam)
This picture is our entire tour group inside the temple
Sri Sundara Varadaraja Perumal (pic courtesy Saravana Prakash )
Sri Vaikunda Varadhar (pic courtesy Saravana Prakash)

Sri Venkatachalapathy temple Krishnapuram

Krishnapuram Venkatachalapathy  temple(also called Krishnapuram Temple) in Krishnapuram, a village in Thirunelveli district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. It is located 10 kms from Thirunelveli .

The presiding deity is Venkatachalapathy in Tirumala and the thayars are Alarmel mangai and Padmavathi. There are seperate sannadhis for both the thayars in the praharam.

There are seperate shrines for

The main deity Sri Venkatachalapathy with Sridevi and Bhoomidevi

Alarmelmangai thayar

Padmavathi thayar

Garudan

Alwars and acharyas

The sculptures in this temple are mind blowing especially the Manmathan (God of Love) idol .

It is said the last King of Nayakar family named Krishnappa Nayakar built this temple to celebrate his victory, being Sri Venkatachalapathy his Kuladeivam .

The main significance of this temple is a 42 pillared Urtsava Mandapam with sculptures in this temple are mind blowing especially the Rathi Manmathan idol .

The sculptures of Rathi and Manmatha right opposite each other. Rathi’s hands are so beautifully depicted that the veins on her left wrist are clearly seen , so that one is tempted to actually feel the wrist to confirm if its only a sculpture and not a living person. One look at the beetal chewing Rathi leaves us with the same stunning feeling – For a minute, it seems that Rathi is actually standing there in front of us – alive- and chewing the leaves, such is the depiction. To her right, is a small bowl for her to spit the beetal leaves.

Opposite Rathi stands the 5 ½ feet Manmatha, with a bow in hand and truly handsome – The craftsmanship is of the highest order that it brings the sculpture to life . The sugarcane bow has a hole on top if u drop a needle r mustard its falls down as the bow has a slight bend it is amazing how they made this possible in a stone sculpture . Now this statue is undergoing some renovation as there has been a 1 and half feet damage in the bow downwards .

The temple dates back to 9th Century AD. There is one inscription in the temple and five copper plates from the 16th century indicating various grants to the temple. It is understood from the inscriptions that the temple was built by Krishnappa Nayak (1563–72), the son of Viswanatha Nayak, the founder of Madurai Nayak dynasty. Krishnappa is attributed to the construction of the precincts around the temple and the soaring temple tower. The copper plates from Sadasiva Raya indicate grants to light lamps perpetually and lay gardens. There were six villages to allow the continuous functioning of the temple.

Krishnappa Nayak also laid four streets around the temple for the smooth passing of the temple car. The villages Ariyakulam, Kodikulam, Kuthukaval, Puthaneri, Pottukalam, Sriramakulam and Alikudi were donated to the temple for the performance of daily poojas. An Agraharam with housing for 108 Brahmin families well-versed in Vedas and agamas was established. Deivachillayar (Mayilerum Perumal), the son-in-law of the minister of Viswanatha, played a key role in the construction of the temple.

The temple was originally administered as a sub temple of Ramaswamy temple of Thirunelveli, but came under the administration of Nellaippar temple from 1973. It came under the dominion of Tiruchendur Devastanam from 1986.

Many archeological students come here to admire the sculptures .

We visited this temple during our Thamirabharani pushkar trip . Near by temples being Nava Thirupathi 9 Divyadesham Perumal temples each one related to a Navagraha .

The temple arch
Our tour group in front of the temple
We both in temple corridor
Sculptures in the urtsava mandapam
The Manmathan idol under renovation
Elephant and Bull Sculpture
We both in front of the temple

Mystery blogger award

Here are the RULES 

• Put the award logo on your blog

• Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

• Mention the creator of the award
The creator of this award is..Okoto Enigma

• Answer the five questions you were asked

• Tell the readers three things about yourself

• Nominate ten to twenty bloggers

• Notify the bloggers that you nominated them by commenting on one of their posts

• Ask your nominees five questions with one weird or funny one

• Share a link to your best posts

I am thankful to Dr. Namratha
http://penofhearts.com/,
for nominating me. She has an amazing blog of drawing , doodling colouring and her recent writings about Covid 19 creates awareness . I find her blogs are always interesting to read . I literally enjoy reading her posts. Please do visit her blog and you will not be disappointed.

https://wp.me/pboAsn-qF
I consider this as her best as I have gone through only a few .

Three Facts About Myself:

1. Iam an Indian living in Chennai, Tamilnadu .

2. Iam a Homemaker who like to travel a lot . As we both are retired and free .

3. I write about my temple visits in Facebook my friends suggested me to start a blog.

Her Questions are

When you started blogging and why?
My friends suggested me as I write up in my Facebook timeline about my temples visits.

What really makes you angry?
When trust is lost .

What makes you smile?
The voice of my grand daughter.

What is your favorite place to visit and why?
Kailash manasarovar and Mukthinath I almost covered 104 divyadeshams and 9 Jyothirlingams .

What is your favorite memory till date?
The day my grand daughter was born .

My questions are

1. How do you spend your time during this lock down

2. Your favourite destination

3. What makes you more happy

4. Your favourite quote

5. What annoys you the most

I nominate

https://cricketvikas.wordpress.com/

https://thesocialvigilante.wordpress.com/

https://akshita1776.wordpress.com

http://makemythoughtsmyworld.design.blog

http://abhinthulasidas.home.blog

http://idealinspiration.blog

https://maveriksjourney.wordpress.com

http://daneelyunus.com

http://positivesideofcoin.com

http://rainbow-thoughts.com

I consider all my blog posts as the best , so please go through . Once again thanking Dr. Namratha as this is my first award .

Sri Vaitheeswaran koil

The temple is located between Sirkali to Mayiladuthurai State Highway. Frequent bus services are operated by Tamil Nadu government. There is a Railway station which is located between Chennai to Mayiladuthurai railway road. Karaikal is the nearest proposal airport located around 40 kilometer from temple. Now Buses originate from Vaitheeswaran Koil to Chennai directly.

This temple is one among the navagraha sthalam and is associated to Mars planet (Angharakan).

The entrance of the temple leads to a narrow path fully covered with both the sides shops of pooja articles, ghee diyas flowers, garlands, idols of lords and much more things .

Vaitheeswaran Koil or Pullirukkuvelur is a temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanathar or Vaitheeswaran meaning the “God of healing” and it is believed that prayers offered to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. Vaitheeswaran is a Tamil derivative from vaidya (Doctor) and Ishvara (Lord Shiva). The presiding deity is Sri Vaidyanathan . He is the God of Healing. When pronouncing in Tamil, it sounds like “Vaideeswaran”.

During the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam (pot of Jatayu having holy ash of Vibhuti). One of the nine planets, Angaraka (Mars), suffered from leprosy and was cured by Vaidhyanathaswamy and from then on it is treated as one of the Navagraha Temples for planet Angaraka. Goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva, asked her son,Subramanya to appear with one face from his regular appearance of six faces. When he did so, she was pleased and presented him with vel (a weapon) to slay the demons. Subramanya overcame the asura Surapadman (a demon) and in the war, his army was severely injured. Lord Shiva came out as the healer Vaitheeswaran and cured the wounds. As per another legend, Shiva came as Vaidya, a doctor, and cured the leprosy of a staunch devotee named Angahara. Jatayu, Muruga and Surya were all believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here. Murugan obtained a trident at this place and is called Selvamuthu Kumaran.

The temple has a five-tiered gopuram(temple tower) and large precincts. The central shrine is that of Vaitheeswaran present as lingam in the inner most sanctum. The first precinct around the sanctum has the metal image of Subramanya, worhsipped here as Muthukumara Swamy.

The other metal images in the sanctum are of Nataraja, Somaskanda, Angaraka and stone sculptures of Durga, Dakshinamoorthy, Surya (Sun god), Jatayu, Vedas, Sampati.

The shrine of Thaiyalnayaki who stands with the medicinal oil to cure the diseases of the devotees is present in the second precinct facing south. The large precinct also has a small shrine to Dhanvantari and shrine of Angaraka in stone sculpture. The southern gateway from this precinct leads to the temple tank and directly faces the Thaiyalnayaki shrine. The Sthala Vriksha (temple tree) is margosa (Azadirachta indica) which possesses medicinal properties.
It is located in the eastern gateway of the temple. The eastern gateway also has the shrine ofAdi (original) temple that has a smaller replica of the main shrines. There is a fine metal image of Gangavisarjanar inside the temple.

The temple is revered by Devaram hymns of saint poets Thirunavukkarasar and Thirugnanasambandar belonging to the 7th century. The poets name the towns where they found the temple in their hymns and Pullirukkuvelur finds a mention in their verses, corresponding to the temple. The hymns appear to recognise the function of the mantras(sacred text) as invocation of Lord Shiva. In addition the hymns from Thirunavukkarasar likens Shiva to luminous objects – a flame, a pearl, a diamond and pure gold. He also indicates wasting lot of days not worshipping Shiva at this temple.

Devotees take a holy dip in the temple tank before worshipping Vaitheeswaran in the temple. It is also a local belief that dissolving jaggery (Tamil:vellam) in the waters cures skin diseases. Tonsure ceremony of getting children shaved for the first time to promote proper growth is a very common practise. Mavilaku ma (litting lamps in rice cakes) is a form of worship practised. The practise of jamming salt and pepper in front of the temple mast and the pot near the temple tank is also followed. Unlike other temples in South India, where each shrine has a priest, each priest in the temple associates themselves with the devotees and perform worship on their behalf.

The holy soil rounded with ash (called Thiruchandu Urundai) is treated as medicine and believed to cure all the diseases. Another medicine given is chandan (sandalwood powder) with saffron. It is a practice to purchase silver-plated images of body parts to put in the Hundi (vessel for offering) to fix ailments one might be having. The Vaidya Veeraraghavaswamy temple at Thiruvallur is considered the Vaishnavite temple equivalent of healing abilities of the presiding deity to that of the Saivite Vaitheeswaran Kovil.

The temple is a part of the popular Navagraha pilgrimage in Tamil Nadu. The planets are believed to influence the horoscope computed based on time of one’s birth and subsequently influence the course of life. Each of the planets are believed to move from a star to another during a predefined period and thus sway over an individual’s fortunes. The Navagrahas, as per Hindu customs, are believed to provide both good and bad effects for any individual and the bad effects are mitigated by prayers. As in other Navagraha temples, the common worship practises of the devotees include offering of red cloth, grains (toor dhall) , flowers and jewels specific to the planet deity. Lighting a set of lamps is also commonly followed in the temple.

Brahmotsavam (annual festival) is celebrated during the Tamil calendar months of Pankuni and Thai (January–February). Karthigai festival during November is also celebrated with pomp and glory. Kantha Sashti, a festive occasion for Subramanya, is celebrated in the shrine of Muthukumaraswamy.
The temple is maintained by Dharmapuram Adheenam, a Saivite muttor monastic institution located in the town of Mayiladuthurai, India. As of 1987, there were a total of 27 Shivatemples under the control of theadheenam.

The village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Naadi astrology in Tamil. It is located 7 kilometers from Sirkazhi, 235 kilometers from Chennai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 110 km from Thanjavur and 16 km from Mayiladuthurai .

The holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex contains nectar, and a holy dip is believed to cure all diseases.

The temple is revered by the Devaram hymns of 7th-century Saiva nayanars -Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the nayanars).

In front of the temple entrance
Temple pond
Lord Vaidyanathaswamy
Picture if Vaidyanathaswamy and Goddess Thayalnayaghi
The temple corridor
Angharakan sthalam
Sthalapuranam
Picture of Lord Muthukumaraswamy

Sri Shivaloganathar temple Thirupungur

Thirupungur is a small village about 2 kms from Vaitheeswaran Koil near Mayiladuthurai, Tamilnadu.

This place was once surrounded by Pungu trees and hence the name Thirupungur.

The Shiva lingam is one of the 64 Swayambhu (Self manifested) lingams and is supposed to have come from an anthill . The Nandi here is also a Swayambhu . The presiding deity at this temple is Shivalokanathar and His consort is Soundaryanayaki.  Vinayakar is supposed to have dug a tank here for Nandanar on Lord Shiva’s orders and is known as Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar. Devotees offering their prayers to Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar have all their wishes fulfilled.

Nandanar was a devout Lord Shiva Bhaktha.  He was born into a low caste family and as a result was denied entry into any temples. His ambition was to visit the temple at Chidambaram.  He was working in the fields of a Brahmin Landlord. He would always put off Nandanar’s request to visit Chidambaram. Nandanar used to tell everyone that he will visit “Chidambaram tomorrow” (Thiru Nalai Poven). He was telling this over a period of time to everyone and he came to be known as “Thiru nalai Povar”.

However, one fine day, he told Nandanar that he would be granted the wish if Nandanar were to achieve the impossible task of tilling all the forty acres of the paddy field overnight.  A disappointed Nandanar prayed to Lord Shiva to grant him the wish of visitng Chidambaram.  Suprisingly the next morning , the Landlord and Nandanar were both astonished to see that all the forty acres of the field had been ploughed!!!  The Brahmin immediately realised his folly and prostrated before Nandanar and pleaded forgiveness.  Nandanar set out to Chidambaram and on the way he stopped at Thirupungur to have a darshan of the Lord.  Nandanar was not able to have the darshan as Nandi was blocking his view.  He started singing in praise of Lord Shiva.  Lord Shiva wanted to know who the devotee was , the dwarapalakas informed Him that it was Nandanar.  Immediately, Lord asked Nandi to move to a side to facilitate Him to have a clear view of Nandanar.  You can see the Nandi at this temple is shifted to a side.  Also the Nandi is not hanging out the tongue as is usually the case.  You can also see the dwarapalaks craning their necks as if to see in the direction of the entrance.
Nandi gritting his teeth in anger

Once, there was debate between Shiva and Parvathi as to who was more charming.  They sought the opinion of Vishnu, who in turn asked Brahma to play the Judge.  Brahma rolled a dharba grass and threw it.  He said that an answer would be available wherever the grass fell.  The grass fell at Thirupungaur and became Pancha Lingam. When Shiva and Parvathi came here, Shiva looked very handsome to Parvathi and Parvathi looked very beautiful to Shiva.  Their dispute was thus amicably resolved.  It is a belief that marital problems will be solved by worshipping at this temple.  Separated spouses will be reunited after visiting the temple.

Brahma Lingam at Thirupungur
According to archaeological evidence, Rajaraja Cholan had gifted twelve velis (measures) to this temple.  During his reign there was severe drought that resulted in famine and the king prayed to Lord Shiva to bring rain. Lord Shiva came in his dream and asked him to do special poojas for Sivaloganathar. Sundarar was present at the temple when the King came to offer his prayers.  The King requested Sundarar to sing in praise of the Lord and bring rain. Sundarar agreed on the condition that the King would donate twelve velis (measures) of land to the temple. Sundarar sang in praise of the God and there was a heavy downpour threatening to cause heavy damage to the country.  The King requested Sundarar to stop the rain.  Sundarar again laid the same condition.  The king gifted the land and immediately it stopped raining.

There is a seperate shrine for Nandanar in front of the temple .

This temple is one among the 276 Paadal petra Shivalayam Sundarar Thirunavukarasar and Thirugnanasambandar has sung praising this Lord.

Brahma , Indra , Surya and Agasthiya Maharishi prayed the Lord to get rid of their curse .Patanjali and Vyagarapadha Maharishis have also worshipped here.

We were lucky to have the divine dharshan n blessings of this Lord during our Mayavaram Thula snanam .

In front of the temple
The Swayambu Nandi
One could notice the Nandi moved to the right side pillars
Nandanar Shrine
Nandanar
Panchalingam
Brahmalingam
History of the temple
How to worship Lord Shiva

Vaigasi Vishakam

The significance of Vaigasi Vishakam

The supreme divine incarnation of Lord Muruga took place in the Tamil month of Vaigasi (mid May – mid June) on a Full Moon day in the asterism or nakshatra `Vishaka`. The auspicious Vishaka nakshatra is a combination of three stars that shines brightly in the sky. It is the sixteenth nakshatra of the 27. This year it falls on 4th of June 2020.

Birth of Muruga
Lord Muruga incarnated to destroy the demons – Surapadma, Tarakasura, and Singamugha. They were causing untold misery to the Gods by keeping them enslaved for ages. The Gods beseeched Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva meditated and six sparks of fire emanated from his third eye, hence he is called Skanda. The fiery sparks were too unbearable and so was carried to the sacred River Ganges by Agni and Vayu, who dropped them there. Mother Ganges carried the fiery sparks to pond Saravana, which was covered by water reeds. The sparks transformed and Lord Muruga manifested here as six babies on six lotuses that bloomed from the pond. The six babies were nursed by the six nakshatras called six Krithikas, who are the stars of the constellation Pleiades. Hence he is called Kartikeya, son of Krithikas.

Six faces of Muruga
Then Goddess Parvati embraced the six babies and made it as one with six heads and 12 hands. So he is called Shanmuga. The six faces of Muruga stand for: creation, preservation, destruction, involution, supreme grace, and primal source of wisdom. He is the God of all knowledge and imparted the meaning of the primordial cosmic word OM to his father, Lord Shiva.

Sage Agastya (a revered Vedic sage), who mastered this mantra, revealed the secrets of the mantra:

” Om Saravana Bhava “
Om – is considered the most sacred mantra, represents the infinite, that all aspects of life are intertwined.
Sa – attracts all people to your side;
Ra – brings wealth and prosperity in your life;
Va – dissolves competition, diseases, debts and your physical discomforts;
Na – surmounts your problems through enemies;
Bha – attraction through charming;
VA – stops negativity and influence from bad planets and evil forces.

Yesterday being Vaigasi Vishakam , thirumanjanam was done to Lord Muruga in the morning followed by alangaram in Nellikuppam , Boologanathar temple near Cuddalore ,Tamilnadu.

Evening by 5 pm ShivaSakthi homam has been done by keeping 108 kalasams followed by Abhishegam and Alangaram to Lord Shiva (Boologanathar) and Goddess Bhuvanambika for (lokha shemam) Universal welfare due to lock down devotees were not allowed and was done in a low key with the temple officials .

Pictures courtesy Hari priest of Sri Boologanathar temple , Nellikuppam .

Abishegam and Alangaram of Lord Murugar
108 kalasam
ShivaSakthi Homam
Lord Shiva (Boologanathar)
Goddess Bhuvanambika

Pradosam

Pradosha pooja is a bimonthly occasion on the thirteenth day of every fortnight in the Hindu calendar. It is closely connected with the worship of Hindu Lord Shiva. The auspicious 3 hour period, 1.5 hours before and after the sunset is one of the optimum time for worship of Lord Shiva.

Pradhosha pooja is one of the most important among the poojas performed to Lord Shiva. Every month twice it is celebrated on the 13th day of full moon and on the 13 day (thriyodasi) of the new moon, between 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. is called Pradhosha. It comes once in fifteen moon days.

During Pradosha pooja Lord Shiva’s Vahanam, Nandi (the bull) is given the first priority of abhishegam and then to Lord Shiva and other deities in the temple .

Pradhosha time is especially meant for praying to Lord Shiva. Praying in that time is believed to free us from all our sins and gives moksha finally (hence the name Pradhosha). During Pradosha time a special type of circumambulating called Somasutra Pradakshanam  is done.

The origin of Pradhosha is related to churning of milky ocean by Devas and Asuras.

Once the gods (Devas) and the demons (Asuras) were churning the milky ocean hoping to extract Amirtham (Divine Nectar) with the help of Vasuki, the serpent king. Vasuki, who was used as a rope around Mount Meru to churn the ocean couldn’t bear the pain. So, it started spewing venom (Alagala visham). Frightened by the effects the venom could cause, Lord Brahma took to his heels. Lord Vishnu’s bluish body darkened further. The Devas, being chased by the venom , ran towards Lord Shiva and pleaded him for help.

At Kailash, the Devas ran around (circumambulated) Shiva and tried to escape from the poison. But the poison sprout in front of them forcing them to turn back and run in the opposite direction. This repeated a few times before Shiva sent Sundarar to fetch the poison and eventually drank it to save the world.

From then on, the period during which the Devas circumambulated around Lord Shiva is regarded as Pradosha and the way they circumambulated is referred to as the Somasutra Pradakshanam.

Somasutra Pradakshinam is a unique way of circumambulating the Lord Shiva on Pradosam day .

First saluting the Rishabha Devar (Holy Bull or Nandi) go anti-clockwise and salute Chandishwarar (not crossing the Gomukhi). Now return in the clockwise manner salute Rishabham and continue clockwise till the Gomukhi (not to cross it again). Then return in anti-clockwise direction salute the Rishabham again and proceed towards Chandikeshwarar. From there return back clockwise without worshipping Rishabham and reach the Gomukhi. Finally return back anticlockwise from there to salute Rishabham and continue to Chandikeshwarar and return back to Rishabham and worship the Shiva Lingam (at the altar) by viewing through the space between the two horns of the Holy Bull. This is one Pradakshinam. Three such times Pradakshinam to be done. Must not cross the Gomukh from where the abhishegam water of the Lord flows through. If you carefully observe the curve traced by doing the pradakshinam is very similar to the periphery of the crescent. Hence this way of circumbulating is called Soma sutra Pradakshinam.

Nowadays as the temples are crowded Somasutra Pradakshanam is not done instead after abhishegam and alangaram of the deities , the procession diety is carried within the temple complex on the Rishabha (Bull) Vahana 3 times and the devotees too follow chanting ” Om Namashivaya “.

Here am sharing the pictures of yesterday’s (3rd of June 2020) Pradosa pooja done in Sri Bhuvanambika sametha Boologanathar temple in Nellikuppam , Cuddalore in Tamilnadu . The priest Hari being the nephew of my friend shared the pictures of the abhishegam (ablutation with water , milk, curd , sandal , turmeric tender coconut water , lemon , honey Vibhuthi and fragrance powder on the idol) and alangaram (decorating with flowers clothes and ornaments) of the deities as we could not go in person due to lockdown . Feeling blessed to have the divine dharshan of the deities.
OM NAMASHIVAYA !

Milk abhishegam
Curd abhishegam
Turmeric powder abhishegam
Sandal powder abhishegam
After alangaram
Lord Shiva
Lord Bhairavar
Lord Vinayagar
Goddess Bhuvanambika

Swasthika well of Thiruvellarai Pundarikaksha Perumal Temple

Thiruvellarai Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal Temple near Trichy, Tamilnadu.

This temple is one among the Cholanadu Divyadeshams and it is a Moksha Sthalam.

This temple pond is known as Swastika kinaru (kinaru means well) and it’s a architectural marvel .

This post is about the unusually designed well located at the back of the (beyond the compound wall of the) temple premises. This Swastika shaped well is surrounded by hedges and bushes. It is protected by Tamil Nadu state department of Archaeology and renovated with the financial assistance of 13th finance commission 2013-14. The well together appears like the symbol ‘Swasthika.’ Each wing of the Swasthika has 51 steps leading to the water and , on descending down the 20th step, one has to take a right to reach the tank below. The supporting beams made of stones criss-cross the structure. The peculiar feature of the well is that it ensures privacy for those taking bath in the four enclosures. Hence local people call it as Mother-in-law – Daughter-in-law Tank (மாமியார் மருமகள் குளம் அல்லது கிணறு) since when taking bath in this tank both of them would not be visible to each other. This peculiar shaped well was excavated by one Kamban Araiyan from Alampakkam during the year 805 A.D. during the reign of Pallava king Dantivarman (746 – 847 A.D.). It was excavated under the instructions of Dantivarman. The well is named after ‘Marpiduku’ one of the royal titles king Dantivarman and popularly called as ‘Marpiduku great well.’ There are statues of Nandhi (bull vehicle) and Nagas (serpents) found around the well. According to the hoarding kept there the well underwent renovation during the 13th century A.D. by Yosala Veera Ramanathan and this renovation was carried out by Kudanthai Vanigan Uyyaneri Kaatinaan .

An inscription found on one of the side wall of the well speaks about the excavation of the great well

No. 40 – (A. R. No. 541 of 1905) – Tiruvellarai, (then) Lalgudi Taluk, Trichinopoly District. On the margin of a well called ‘Nalumulaikkeni’ (which means the well that has for corners) – This inscription records the construction of a well called Marppidugu-Perunkinaru at Tennur in Thiruvellarai by Kamban Araiyan , the younger brother of Visayanallulan of Alambakkam , in the 4th year of Dantivarman. Published in Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XI, p. 157. (Grantha and Tamil characters)

Courtesy:Know Your Heritage.

The board about Swasthika well
Swasthika well

Sri Chamundeeswari Temple Mysore

Every year when we go to see my sister in law in Bengaluru from Chennai , we make it a point to visit some temples . As a friend of mine suggested to go to Mysore and listed me some of the temples she went .

After visiting my sister in law we went to satellite bus top in Bengaluru and took a bus to Mysore and put up our stay near Jagan Mohan Palace .

As we reached by afternoon had late lunch by 2pm and took a room near by and took rest and by evening 5pm we got freshened up and enquired about the bus stop there and took a Volvo bus to Chamundi Hills . Every 10 minutes there is a bus to Chamundi Hills .

Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore, Karnataka is one among the Shakthi peedams.

This temple dedicated to Chamundeshwari Devi is located atop the Chamundi hills in Mysore, Karnataka. The temple is counted among one of the Maha Shakti Peedas where the hair of Sati Devi fell after her dead body was cut into many parts by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra. It is said that the demon Mahishasura was killed by Chamundeshwari Devi here on the tenth day after fighting with him for nine days. Thereafter, the town came to be called Mahishasurana Uru (the town that Mahishasura belonged to). Later, the name shortened to Mahisur or Mysuru which got anglicized as Mysore. The Skanda Purana refers to a sacred place here by the name Trimuta Kshetra which is surrounded by eight hills and Chamundi hills is one among the eight hills which was earlier known as Mahabaladri in honor of Lord Shiva who resides in the Mahabaleshwara Temple, which is the oldest temple in the hills.

As per local belief, the Deity was consecrated by Sage Markandeya.
The Deity being ashta bhuja i.e. having eight hands is in a sitting posture. The temple which is said to be 1000 years old and a small shrine earlier acquired importance after the Wodeyars came to power. Chamundeshwari Devi became the tutelary Deity of the Wodeyar Royal family and the presiding Deity of Mysore. The temple as seen today in it’s glory was expanded during their reign.

The Mysore Dasara is the most famous and important festival celebrated here to mark Navaratri and Vijayadashami. The festival celebrations have been led by the Wodeyar Royal family for more than 400 years. The festival is so famous that apart from Indians, many foreigners reach Mysore on the Vijayadashami day to witness the festivities.

On the day of Vijayadashami, the festival begins with a Nandi Dhwaja puja at noon which is followed by the Jambu Savari of Chamundeshwari Devi who is regally seated on a decorated elephant. The ride begins from the Mysore Palace amidst a huge procession during which the city comes to a standstill and finally ends at the Bannimantap ground. The Royal family worships the Banni tree here as it is believed that the Pandavas hid their weapons in this tree during the last year of their exile. The conclusion of the festival begins with the torch light parade in the Bannimantap ground during the evening.

There is a huge granite Nandi on the 700th step on the hill in front of a small Shiva temple a short distance away. This Nandi is over 15 feet high, and 24 feet long and around its neck are exquisite carved bells.

The shrine of Mahabaleshwara is located close to the Chamundeshwari temple, but does not receive much crowd like the Devi shrine. As a matter of fact, the shrine of Mahabaleshwara is much older than the shrine of the goddess. Here the linga is embedded with a face of Lord Shiva .

In front of the demon statue
15 feet Nandi
Main deity picture
Temple Gopuram
Carved doors with silver
Silver carved doors

Thenangur Sri Pandurangar Temple

This temple is in Vandavasi , 8kms from Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu .

Thennangur Village is landmarked by this temple, which is well connected with Thiruvannamalai, Kanchipuram and Chennai. People who are visiting Kanchiuram, Thiruvannamalai and Chennai can add this place in your iternary ,worth to visit this temple without second thought.

Location wise it is located on Tamilnadu state Highway 116 on Thiruvannamalai Kanchipuram road. While coming from Kanchipuram it is 5 km before Vandavasi. One can see Temple vimana Gopuram on your right around 8 km before Vandavasi. There are no clear sign boards on road, so once you see gopuram from road keenly observe and take right from Highway towards village. It is @ 1 km inside which is single road after crossing Highway.

Structure of Temple Resemble the Pandaripuram temple in Maharashtra with 12 feet Hight Lord Panduranga accompanied by Matha Raghumayee in standing posture blessings the Devotees . Lord Idol is made of Salagrama Stone.

The temple was build by the disciple of his holiness Gnanananda Swamigal, His Holiness Harida Giri swamygal. It is being administrated by his holiness Namanadagiri Swamigal Presently. There is a idol for Him within the temple complex .

Primary Temple modeled upon the Puri Jagannath Temple and outside structure Reflects Pandava architecture .This temple stands with a 120 feet toll tower and Gold Kalasa of 9.5 feet with sudarshana chakra above . Passing the balipeeta, There is Mahamandap, where one can see swamy different alankar photo gallery.

Daily there is a different alankaram to god. That is one more special and unique thing of this temple. Temple is open from Morning 06:00 to 12:00 and evening 04:00 to 08:00. During alankara they ask you to sit and will tell history of the temple and then bhajans will start . Gents are allowed with bare top. Shirt and baniyan has to remove before entering into main temple . Bhajan will end once alankaram is finished . After swamy alankar is over they will open curtain and you will have the divine dharshan 12 feet height swamy in front of you with well decorated avatar. It is not only surprising and also amazing . You will feel blessed. Inside walls and ceiling are decorated beautifully with gold foil paintings done on fibre glass which gave a rich red and gold ambiance.

Adjacent to the temple there is a Sri Chakra Sakthi peedam maintained by the same trust . All the deities related to Sri Chakra Maha sodasi , Rajarajeswari , Saraswathi , Lakshmi , Brahma ,Vishnu , Rudra , Eswara Vinayaga , Bala , Annapoorni , Ashwaruda , Rajamathangi , Varahi , Prathyangara , Sarabeswara , Chakrathalwar ,Yoga Narasimha , Agoramurthy ,Vanadurga , Parasaraswathi , Medha Dakshinamurthy , Subramanya, Chandi Mahalakshmi, Caumari ,Vaishnavidevi Mahendri Chamunda Mahalakshmi are in idol forms .

Right of the temple there is Nitya annadanam Hall where one can have Lunch, which is open for all and for all 365 Days.

This temple we went on a Sri Rama Navami day and the lord was decorated as Sri Ramar with bow .

Near by is a Goddess Meenakshi Amman temple at a walkable distance. It’s a recent times built temple.

Hope you too get the divine dharshan of Thenangur Lord Pandurangar.

Sri Pandurangar temple
Waiting for the curtain to open
Divine dharshan of the Lord Pandurangar
In Ram Avatar
Decorated roof
On the walls
From the entrance
Adjacent Sri Chakra Peedam
Goddess Meenakshi Amman temple near by
Entrance of Sri Meenakshi Amman temple

Kulu Manali

From Amritsar we started after having a complimentary breakfast in Hotel Ritz plaza .

We were informed before as it would be a long journey and reach only by night so that day was full of travelling .

Had lunch break by 1.00 pm and again started our journey .

Coffee break at Mandi the travel and the entire journey was through scenic places with chill breeze mountains valleys falls and much more made the journey awesome .

We reached Hotel Whistling pines by night had dinner and took rest.

Next day morning we were excited to see the snow hills from our room windows . As this is the first time we are witnessing snow other than that we had seen only in movies .

After our breakfast we were informed they are not allowing till rohtang pass as there was some land slides but could go to Solang valley .They charged Rs. 600 for to n fro for that and we hired thermalwear and it was charged Rs. 300 per head along with boots . We had to buy caps and gloves .

Solang Valley derives its name from combination of words Solang and Nallah. It is a side valley at the top of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India 14 km northwest of the resort town Manali on the way to Rohtang Pass, and is known for its summer and winter sport conditions. 

Solang valley is also known as the ‘Snow Valley,’ which is famous for hosting various winter adventure sports like skiing, parachuting, paragliding, trekking, and mountaineering . As we went during the vacation time it was over crowded, our bus moved inch by inch and without the air conditioner could not sit in the bus with those thermal wear. Somehow managed and reached the place and had to walk half a km from parking place .

To our disappointment there was only snow at some places already occupied by people’s taking photos and selfies due to heat the snow had melted and water flowing here and there . We could not move fast with that boots as we were not used to but enjoyed the cool climate and wore their tribal dresses and took pictures . After spending 2 hours we thrived on fruits bread sandwich and hot maggi for afternoon lunch it tasted yummy to that cold weather .

Then by evening started from there as it started drizzling and again asusual moved inch by inch due to traffic and reached mall road did some shopping and reached room by night and had dinner and slept well .

The next day morning after breakfast we started to Hadimba temple .

Hadimba Devi Temple, locally known as Dhungari Temple , is located in Manali, a hill station in the State of Himachal Pradesh in north India It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima a figure in the Indian epic Mahabharata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest called Dhungiri Van Vihar at the foot of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground which was worshiped as an image of the deity. There is no main deity idol only the rock is worshipped. The structure was built in 1553 by Maharaja Bahadur Singh .

This temple too was crowded and then on our way to Shimla we saw Hanogi Mata temple , manali tunnel Pandoh dam .

Pandoh Dam is an embankment dam located on the Beas river. En route to Manali, a short stop at this dam would be a pleasant surprise. Pandoh lake is the reservoir of the dam. The water in Pandoh dam is used for power generation at the Dehar Power House, before being discharged into River Sutlej. It is about 10km from Manali.

At 8.8 km (5.5 mi) length, the tunnel will be one of the longest road tunnels in India and is expected to reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by about 46 km (28.6 mi). The tunnel is at an elevation of 3,100 metres (10,171 ft).

Before lunch we enjoyed river rafting in Raison . At a distance of 13.5 km from Kullu, 14 km from Naggar and 27 km from Manali, Raison is a small cluster of villages on the banks of Beas River which has vast camping grounds maintained by Himachal Pradesh Tourism. It is one of the top adventure destination in Himachal and also a top rafting destination in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Rafting in Raison is one of the top things to do in Kullu & Manali.

Situated at an altitude of 1433 m, Raison is well known for its camping sites and white-water river rafting. Numerous apple orchards and fruit gardens of plums and apricots add to the natural beauty of the place. Apart from the nature, Raison is famous for adventure activities like rafting, trekking, mountain climbing and river crossing etc.

By the end of the winter season, in the month of March, the whole region becomes colorful with blooming flowers. This place is also famous as rural centre of AIIMS where summer camps for various ophthalmological diseases are held every year.

At the camping sites, there are about 14 tourist huts, which require advance booking through the Kullu Tourist Office. These wooden huts are built along the banks of the Beas River.

During winter the temperature falls down to 1-2°C and the summer weather is pleasant and enjoyable. Summer between March to June is the best season for outdoor activities like Rafting, Trekking and River Crossing. There are several rafting agencies along the Beas river between Khatrain and Kullu. These are approved agencies by HP Tourism and the prices are almost same at all the points.

Rafting charges vary depending on the season and group size. The usual charges for 7 km rafting stretch cost between Rs. 500-800 per person. Additional price is charged for photos and videos. The cost can be bargained, especially if you have a group participating in the activities.

Rafting Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM .

It was a great and thrilling experience we fully got drenched and those who dint join the ride where sent to the other end through our tour bus such that they could join the rafting people . We after the rafting changed our clothes in cloak room .

Then we had a lunch break on the way that took for about an hour .

We reached Shimla by night .

Hotel Ritz plaza lawn
Breakfast
Started in bus
Lunch break
Having lunch
Coffee break at Mandi
Our tour group
Whistling Pines
Changed to thermalwear
Kulu Manali
Kulu Manali
Kulu Manali
Tribal dress looking bloated as we wore them on thermalwear
Hadimba temple
Pandoh dam
Hanogi Mata temple
River rafting
Before wearing life jacket
Miniature of Hadimba temple in the hotel we had lunch that afternoon

Anthili Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple

Anthili , Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar temple. This is one of the 8 temples in Tamil Nadu, where Lord Narasimha provided darshan after the killing of Hiranya.

This temple is near Thirukovilur and lesser known ancient temple. Its said to be 1600 years ancient temple and was worshipped by Madwa saint Vyasaraja theerthar , who is said to be the incarnation of Sri Raghavendra.

Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple At Anthili .

The Lord gave dharshan to Garudan here .

Temple history:
Garuda once felt anxious that he was left out both in Gajendra moksham and Narasimha Vaibavam. He did severe penance in this place and God gave him dharsham as Lakshmi Narasimhar.

Lord Narasimhar made Garuda understand that it was not intentional to leave him during Gajendra moksham / Narasimha Vaibavam and it was due to urgency.

Garudar felt very happy and wished that Lakshmi narasimhar should stay in that place and bless all devotees.

Temple Location

Anthili is 35kms West of Villupuram and 1km East of Arakandanallur/ ThiruKovilur Railway Station ( Villupuram-Mugaiyur-Thirukovilur route)

Before going one should confirm it is opened as we went at the right time we were able to get the dharshan of the Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar and Lord Anjineyar.

The way is full of paddy fields though GPS guided us we now n then stopped to confirmed the right route and the villagers were very kind and polite to guide us .

It was a a scenic place and both Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar temple and Lord Anjineyar temple looked to be adjacent to each other on a small hillock with a dwajasthambam in the open place no compound wall as such was built to this temple.

Aadhi Thiruvarangam

Aadhi Thiruvarangam . The main diety of this temple is Gigantic Sri Ranganathar bigger than the Lord at Srirangam .

Chennai- Villupuram- 160kms, Villupuram – Thiru kovilur- 40kms (Frequent buses from 3.30am from Villupuram new bus stand), Thiru Kovilur- Manalurpet – 15kms (Government and Private bus every half hour),  Manalurpet- Adhirangam-5kms (mini buses- local buses ply here every half hour)

Located about 60kms South West of Villupuram on the banks of the now completely dry South Pennai river is Aadhi Thiruvarangam , an almost unknown and yet, one of the oldest temples for Lord Ranganathar .

This temple dates back to the first Yugam (Kretha Yugam) and the first Avathaaram (Matsya Avathaaram). Hence, this Kshetram is referred to as ‘Aadhi’ Rangam .

Lord Ranganatha is seen in a gigantic east facing sleeping posture and measures over 15 feet, not seen in any Divya Desam , though this temple is not a Divyadesham. It is considered as one of the prathana sthalams with His consort Goddess Ranganayaki Thayar .

This is a Prarthana Sthalam for
Good Education (as the Lord initiated Brahmma with the Vedic lessons)
Progeny (as the Lord granted the wishes of the King who prayed here) and one’s overall well being as Lord Ranganathar himself directed that an image of his be created at this place.

As per legend, a demon king named Somukan stole all the Vedas from the Devas and all the sages were worried. They appealed to Lord Vishnu, who appeared as Ranganathar at this place to emerge from water to rescue the scriptures. He is also believed to have advised Brahma at this place. As per another legend, a king named Surakeerthi who was childless worshipped Lord Vishnu at this place to get children . Chandra, the moon god, lost all his glow on account of a curse he incurred. The celestial deities advised him to worship Vishnu at this place. He established a tank and worshipped Ranganathar with the holy waters and believed to have been relieved off his curse. The temple tank , Chandra Pushkarani, is believed to be the tank he established .

The temple is considered as Periya Perumal temple, meaning the image of presiding Ranganathar is larger than the one found at Sri Ranganathar temple at Srirangam .

We had the divine dharshan of this Lord after our visit to Thirukovilur as both temples are near each other .

The temple view from outside
Inside the temple
Thayar sannidhi
Picture of the main diety
Lord feet
This granary is outside the temple and was used to store grains donated by the devotees
The view from inside the granary

Thirukovilur Thiruvikrama Perumal

This temple is one of the Divyadeshams and comes under Nadu Naadu Divyadeshams.

Chennai- Villupuram- 160kms, Villupuram – Thiru kovilur- 40kms (Frequent buses from 3.30am from Villupuram new bus stand)

Thirukovilur is connected well with all cities near by .

When we went we had to stop the car a km away from the main Gopuram and it was surrounded by vegetables vendors selling vegetables and other stuffs from this Gopuram we had to walk some more distance to the main entrance of the temple.

This temple is one of the Divyadeshams and comes under Nadu Naadu Divyadeshams.

It is a very ancient temple. Originally it is said to be a Lord Krishnan temple . It is one among the Pancha Krishnaaranya Kshetrams.

Peyalwar , Poigaialwar , Boodathalwar,
Thirumangaialwar, Manavaalamaamunigal and Vedhanta Desikan have sung fine verses on the Lord of this temple.

The Moolavar Idol is in a posture of measuring the three worlds with his one foot lifted and pointing to the sky.
It is a must-visit temple for all Vaishnavites since Naalayira DivyaPrabhandam (also known as Dravida Vedham) originated from here only.

Here unlike in Ulagalantha Perumal Kanchipuram the Lord is seen lifting His right leg and the left leg dharshan ” thiruvadi sevai ” is given only on Vaikunda ekadesi .

There is Goddess Durga shrine in the koshtam which is a unique significance of Lord Vishnu temples .Goddess Durga is the one who was in the place of Lord Krishna when Vasudeva took Lord Krishna to Nandagopal . So sister of Lord Krishna has a shrine in this temple.

As per legend, the temple is believed to have been a Krishna temple originally. The temple name, Kovilur, refers to the original deity Gopalan, indicating  Krishna . Hence when entering this temple there is a seperate shrine for Lord Krishna.

As sage Mrikandu heard about Vamana avatar of Vishnu and wanted to have a view of it . Lord Brahma directed him to visit the place and perform penance. The sage came to the place along with his wife Mithravathi to start the penance. The pair used to feed Brahmanas in their hermitage. To test their devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared as a Brahmana and sought food from the pair. Since all food for the day were given already, Mithravathi was worried and prayed to Vishnu. All the vessels were full with food and she was able to feed the Brahman. Pleased by their devotion, Lord Vishnu reappeared as Vamana – Thrivikrama form.

It is said the three alwars met at Mrikandu Maharishi ashram and it is said the Lord too joined them thus the three alwars has sung and glorified this Lord . It is the main sanctum sanctorum which is said to be Mrikandu Maharishi ashram .

As per legend, Vishnu appeared to the mudhal alwars (first three alwars) at Thirukovilur. It was day time, but it darkened and started raining heavily. The wandering Poigai Azhwar found out a small hide out, which has a space for one person to lie down. Boodathazhwar arrived there looking for a hiding place and Poigai accommodated him, with both sitting together. In the meanwhile, Peyazhwar also came to the same place as all the three preferred to stand because of lack of space. The darkness became dense and inside the small room, they were not able to see each other. In the meanwhile, they felt a fourth person also forced his way among them. The three alwars realised from the light of the lightning that the fourth one had a charming face that was sublime and divine. The trio could immediately realize that it was Vishnu who was huddling among them. Poigai wished to see Vishnu’s face continuously but could view only from the simmering light of the lightning. With a view to maintain the continuity of light, he instantly composed hundred songs wishing the earth to be a big pot full of ghee like an ocean where the Sun could be the burning wick .

It us said to be the birth place of Aditya Karikalan brother of Raja Raja Cholan .
Tirukoyilur is a place of historic importance. King Malayaman (Malayaman Dynasty), who is famous for his war and administrative skills ruled from here. “Vallal” Pari (Vallal – patron king, Pari is one of the 7 patron kings who supported “poets” and scholars. They are famous for their charitable activities. Daughters of Paari, Angavai and Sangavai were married to Malayaman’s son Deiveegan and the marriage ceremony took place in a place called “Manam Poondi” (manam – wedding, Poondi – lock/bond; place where the wedlock happened).

Temple Gopuram
Picture of Thiruvikrama Perumal
The temple corridor
Inside the temple
Thayar sannidhi
Inside the temple
On the Gopuram

Singirikudi Poovarasankuppam Parikkal Narasimhar Temples

The visit of the 3 Narasimhar temples on a single day is considered sacred and to fullfill our wishes .

This is a Narasimha Khsetra, situated about 3kms west of Abhishekapakkam road junction of Pondicherry–Cuddalore Road.

This holy place is at a distance of about 15 kms from Pondicherry.
1. Singirikudi
2. Poovarasankupam Lakshmi Narasimhar
3. Parikkal Lakshmi Narasimhar

These 3 temples are said to be “nerkottu Narasimhars ” as they are located in a single stretch .Singirikudi and Poovarasankupam are in the single line facing Parikkal .

SINGIRIKUDI

Singarkudi temple is located in Singiri kudi, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.

Lord Narasimha Swamy is the presiding deity with His consort Sri Kanakavalli Thayar. This place is also known as Abhisheghapakkam .

Singirikudi Narasimha Swamy temple is one among the 4 Narasimhar temples (already I have mentioned 3 above the other one being Anthili near Thirukovilur) in this region. The ancient name for this place is Krishnaranya Kshetram , although people popularly know it as Singarkoil. Vimanam is Paavana Vimanam.

Singirikudi Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy has six hands. The Lord holds:
Banner, Sudarsana chakra, Hand Dagger, Arrow, severing the demon’s head, Knife, holding down Hiranyakasipu’s leg,
tearing out Hiranyakasipu’s intestines with the right hands. Holding up a garland of demon’s intestines, Conch, Shield, Bow, Mace, severed head, Pressing down Hiranyakasipu’s
head, tearing out Hiranyakasipu’s intestines with the Left hands.

This is a Narasimha Kshetram, situated about 3kms west of Abhishekapakkam road junction of Pondicherry–Cuddalore Road.

This holy place is at a distance of about 15 kms from Pondicherry.

There were stone inscriptions in the temple which describe the donations offered by Chola Kings , Sri Krishnadevaraya etc to Sri Narasimha.

Sri Narasimhar is giving dharsan with 16 hands (thirukkarams) in a gigantic posture in ugra form .

One could see Neelavathi, wife of Hiranyakasibu, Prahladha , Sukracharya, Vasishta in the lower east of the pedastal.

There are seperate shrines for Thayar and Goddess Andal .

Sri Devanathan , the presiding deity of Thiruvaheendrapuram is giving dharsan here as Sri Ugra Narasimha.

As per legends a devotee, Nimi Chakravarthy (King) conducted many yagnas and secured many boons from the Devas. For the welfare of mankind, he wanted to perform Indra Yagna. Thus, the king approached his guru Vasishta and informed him about the yagna and also requested Vasishta to conduct the yagna. Sage expressed his inability to perform the yagna but gave assurance that he would visit him on the following day. So, king got the help of the sage Koushika.

After conducting the yagna successfully, he wanted to take rest and retired to his palace. He ordered his guards not to allow anyone to visit him. At this time, sage Vasishta liked to meet the king and asked the guards to allow him into the palace. The guards refused permission. Due to this act, the sage cursed the king to lose his identity and wander in the atmosphere without a body.

The king came to know about this and he too cursed the sage like wise. The king felt that it is not proper for a Sage to curse anyone while he is asleep. Thus, the sage and the king were roaming in the atmosphere without a body aimlessly. All sages assembled and wished to perform a yagna to relieve them. The king did not want to assume his normal self instead he wanted to worship God through eyes of mankind.

Sage Vasishta approached his father Brahma and sought his guidance. Lord Brahma suggested him to go to the Singirikudi and do tapas. The sage went to Singirikudi and attained salvation through penance. Sage Vashista was liberated from his curse at this place.

Temple Gopuram
Inside the temple
Picture of the main deity Ugra Narasimhar
Ugra Narasimhar in Sthalapuranam book
Inside Singirikudi temple

POOVARASANKUPAM

Poovarasankuppam is a very famous Lakshminarasimha Kshetra situated at Villupuram, Tamilnadu.

It is said that for the first time, after the Hiranya Samharam at Ahobilam, Lord Sri Narasimha appeared at Poovarasankuppam in the same form and gave Darshan to the Sapta Rishis as Lakshmi Narasimha. Hence, the importance of The Temple.

As the sages could not bear the Ugra of the Lord pleaded His consort to calm Him down .Thus the Goddess sat on his lap with one eye towards the Lord and other eyes on the devotees.

Those who cannot go to Ahobilam, Andhrapradesh can have the dharshan of Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar by visiting Poovarasankuppam. This is called South Ahobilam. One eye of Goddess Lakshmi is on the Lord and the other graces the devotees .

One of the kings of the Pallava dynasty embraced Jainism and started destroying Vishnu and Shiva temples. People were enraged at this act and protested against the demolition of temples. The king imprisoned those who protested against him. ‘Narahari’, a sage who was horrified at the act, spearheaded the movement against the king and was sentenced to death. Furious at the punishment imposed on him, the sage cursed the king with ‘Brahma hathi dosham’.

At this juncture, the king was besieged with problems and difficulties. Finally, he repented for his sins and wanted to get rid of the curse by seeking the blessings of the sage. He went in search of Narahari. While taking a nap beneath a ‘Poovarasan tree’, the Lord appeared in his dream and declared that he would be redeemed of his curse as the sage would come there to bless him. He woke up from sleep but was unable to identify the Lord. Just then a leaf from the Poovarasan tree dropped on the king. He could see the image of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha on the leaf. His happiness knew no bounds when the sage appeared in person to bless him. The king was absolved of the curse. As per the wishes of the sage, the king constructed a temple for the Lord at Poovarasan Kuppam. Narahari stayed there and propitiated the Lord. Hence this place got the name Poovarasankupam.

Performing pooja to this Lord for 48 days will relieve us from debts and enemies .

One should be before 1pm after that the temple is closed and opens only by 4pm and no near by Hotels are there .

When we went we got struck like that and was searching for a good Hotel a man came to us and said near by a mess is there it is runned for weavers in Siruvanthadu 2 kms from Poovarasankupam or else you had to go to Villupuram as we dint want to miss the temple we had food in that mess (the food was homemade and tasted good). Then saw the sarees weaved by them and bought a few of them too .

The main deity picture
Inside the Poovarasankupam Lakshmi Narasimhar temple
Inside the temple
In front of Poovarasankupam Lakshmi Narasimhar temple
In front of the mess in Siruvanthadu

PARIKKAL

Located around 25kms South West of Villupuram and 3kms west of the Kedilam Cross Road off the Chennai-Trichy National Highway is the1800 year old Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Parikkal.

According to another legend the Lord destroyed a demon known as Parikalasuran here to save his devotees and hence the place came to be known as Parikkal. The Lord here was said to have appeared before Vasantharaja, a local ruler. Unlike in most of the Narasimha temples, the Utsavar archa-vigraha here is also that of Narasimha in standing posture with Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side. 

An interesting feature at this temple is the presence of two Anjaneya idols in the same Sannidhi. Unlike other temples, Anjaneya gets the 2nd right of Thirumanjanam after Lord Narasimha (in other temples, Thaayar is the one who gets the Thirumanjanam after the Lord).

This is a Prarthana Sthalam – Three kinds of worries for human beings- Debts, Enemies and Diseases – are said to go away if one offers prayers at the Parikkal Narasimha temple .

It is considered sacred to take the blessings and visit this three temples on Swathi Nakshatra day. Though not possible on a Swathi Nakchatram day people visit these 3 temples on a single day . Avoid weekends as its crowded .

Route map of the 3 Narasimhar temples
Inside the temple
The main deity

Sri Lalithambigai Temple Thirumeeyachur

Thirumeeyachur is located at a distance of about 20 kms from Mayiladuthurai on the Mayiladuthurai to Thiruvarur route. From Mayiladuthurai first travel to Peralam (17 kms) and then to Thirumiyachur (3 kms). Nearest railway station is Peralam which is 2 kms away from this temple.

It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams – Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Devaram poems by Tamil  Saivite Nayanar Thirugnanasambandar.

As per legends Arunan was the charioteer of Suriyan. He was handicapped. He had a desire to worship Lord Shiva at Kailayam (Mount Kailash). When he expressed this to Suriyan, the later not only declined to give permission but also made fun of the deformity of the former. Arunan who was immersed in his devotion to Lord Shiva took on the form of beautiful women “Mohini”. He set off to Kailayam. Indra who saw Mohini was carried away by her beauty. The result was the creation of “Vaali”. Returning from Kailash, Arunan told Suriyan that he had a dharshan of Lord Shiva at kailayam. When sooriyan heard the form of “Mohini” from Arunan, he asked him to show the form. Arunan turned into Mohini and Sooriyan was lured to her beauty. The result was the creation of “Sugriva”. Lord Shiva became angry at Suriyan making fun of his devotee Arunan. He cursed Suriyan. Suriyan became dark. He was ordered to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi for 7 months placing them on an elephant in the sky. Then only his curse would go null and void. Suriyan started performing the pooja placing Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi on elephant . Shortly before the closing of the seventh month, Suriyan went to Lord Shiva and asked why he was not granted absolution from the curse. Parvathi became furious and asked him “Couldn’t you even wait till the end of the period?” She rose to curse him. Lord Shiva became perturbed as the whole world would become dark if another curse was made on Suriyan. He pacified Parvathi and granted Sooriyan absolution at the right time. The face of Suriyan brightened and the world came out of darkness. Lord Shiva who graced Suriyan sits on Gajaprushta Vimana at the Sanctum Sanctorum and graces all with the name Sri Meganadhar at this shrine, Thiru Meeyachur.

There are many specialties to this shrine. It is the birth place of Sri Saneeswaran, Arunan, Garudan, Vaali and Sugriva and Yama .

Yama has worshipped this Lord . He did abhishegam with1008 conches and offered Pirandai (a sacred creeper he brought to earth) rice as neiveidyam to the Lord on Sadayam nakchatram being the star of Yama the diety of death . Hence devotees offer the Lord Pirandai rice in lotus leaves , for their longevity. We were lucky enough to taste it on the day we went .This temple we went during our grand daughter’s aksharaabyasam in Koothanoor Saraswathy temple.

Lord Shiva pacifying Goddess Parvathi is in idol form in the koshtam (pragharam) inside the temple . This idol is amazing sculpture seen from one side the Goddess appears angry and from other side seems smiling .This sculpture is called as Sthethra Puraneswarar .

The consort of Lord Meganathar is Goddess Lalithambigai. There is a seperate shrine for her in the front .
The deity is seated resting her folded right leg on the sea in a Abhaya ,Varada Mudra posture t. Her left leg is in Sukhasana posture. She is said to be in Manonmani Swaroopa and hence is also known as Santanayaki. The Goddess is installed over Sri Chakra and is seated with her right leg folded.

From the mouth of Shakti appeared the  vachini devatas and they gave to the world Lalithasahasranamam .

Lord Hayagrivar (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) conveyed to sage Agasthiyar Lalithasahasranamam . As told by him Agasthiyar and His wife Lopamudra came to this temple and chanted Lalithasahasranamam and worshipped the Goddess .

This temple has Goddess Durga in the koshtam . The uniqueness of Goddess Durga in this temple is , She has a parrot in her hands and its said the prayers we do to Goddess Durga is conveyed to Goddess Lalithambiga by this parrot .

During Navarathiri all 9 days are celebrated in a grandeur manner and on Vijiyadasami day ghee pond ritual is done to Goddess Lalithambigai. 15 feet length 4th feet width plantain leaves are spread with chakrapongal ( sweet pudding made out of rice and jaggery) and a pond is made in the center of the chakrapongal and ghee is poured fully , after the alangaram of the Goddess Lalithambigai the screen is opened and the reflection of the Goddess is seen in the ghee pond . Its believed those who witness this ritual of the Goddess will be relieved from rebirth.

Inside the temple
Inside the temple
Sthethra Puraneswarar at the koshtam
The Goddess angry posture from one side after Lord Shiva pacifies appears smiling on the other side (video courtesy by murugesan pillai )
In front of the temple
Goddess Sri Durga
Picture of Goddess Lalithambigai
Picture of Goddess reflection in ghee pond ritual

Ooty flower show

Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam called as Ooty is located in the Nilgris district of Tamil Nadu . It is the most popular hill station located in the Nilgris district. It is 80 kms north from the district of Coimbatore . It’s also known as Queen of Hills .

The world famous Ooty Summer Festival – 2020 is held annually in the Queen of Hills – Ooty during the month of May. The Summer Festival which includes flower show, fruit show, vegetable show, rose show and spice show, attracts a huge number of tourists to Ooty. Different verities of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and several images of animals and birds decorated with flowers are displayed during the Summer Festival to provide a visual treat to the tourists.

Ooty Flower show dates is on May 15th to 19th May 2020. Seeing this on news channels reminded me of my visit to Ooty flower show on the year 2015 .

You can book the tickets online directly from horticulture department website or also you can get the ticket on the counter, be prepared for long queue. The tickets per adults was Rs 40 and for kids above 5 years was Rs 20 (May 2015).

Approximately 15,000 potted plant on display, cultural activity & music’s, around 3,00,000 flower saplings of over 150 types out of 52 varieties.

4 to 5 hrs, minimum half day required, tickets is valid for full day.

Vehicles will be stopped 1 km before the garden, so prepare to walk a bit to reach the spot.

We were lucky enough to witness the flower show on May 19th 2015 with my daughters family it was a visual treat to see flowers of different types and colours . Happy to share the pictures .

The Golden Temple Amritsar

From Wagah border after watching the procession we travelled by our tour bus to Golden temple .

As the passage is too narrow we had to get down in the main road and take an auto to the temple .

Both sides of the roads are shops selling kurtas materials chickenkari works and fast food shops of Punjabi dishes .

While entering one has to clean their feet in the flowing stream of water and cover our heads and slippers stands are within the complex .

Here too handbags are not allowed and mobiles are allowed .

The Golden Temple is also referred to as “Darbar Sahib” or “Harmandar Sahib”, and is one of the oldest and holiest shrine of worship places for the Indian Sikhs . It is located in Amritsar, Punjab.

The entire top of the temple is made of pure gold, adding to the beauty of the temple.

The most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex is the Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water. … The structure is decorated inside and out with verses from the Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book).

The temple is surrounded by a manmade lake that boasts a lot of exotic fish in it. To get to the temple, you will literally have to walk on water.

The temple is entered from four different sides to show openness and acceptance,
has a circumambulation path around the pool. The temple is a collection of buildings around the sanctum and the pool.

The temple was initially built without any gold coating. It is during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of Punjab in the early 19th century that the temple went under full renovation and made into what it is today.

Before the temple was built, the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, used to meditate at the site. It was not until the fifth Guru, Guru Arjana that the temple was built.

The manmade lake around the temple is known as ‘Amrit Sarovar’ which is translated as ‘Pool of Holy Nectar’.

The temple is considered holy such that 35% of the pilgrims that visit it are from faiths other than Sikh.

The Langar is the dining hall in a Gurdwara, here the food is served , given to all regardless of their caste or religion as a gesture of equality.

It consists of a simple roti dhall rice sabji and a kheer .

The Golden temple serves up to 200,000 people during special religious events. Amazingly, all the food served are donations from faithful.
Approximately daily they serve 50000 people per day .

With hand painted mosaics and patterns, the Golden temple is one of the most significant symbols of Mughal and Indian architectural genius.

It is a must for not only for Sikhs but others to visit The Golden Temple and pay your homage. Not only the experience will be blissful but it also has a healing effect both on their mind and physical body. It is difficult to quantify the blessings and what one takes with them after their visit to the temple .One
can spend hours inside the Golden Temple without ever getting bored of the unique atmosphere.

The Golden temple at night
Inner entrance
We both
Our tour group

Wagah border Amritsar

By 11am we started from Hotel Ritz plaza Amritsar by 1.30 pm we had a lunch break , that took a hour . By the time we reached the Wagah border it was about 2.45 pm . The building was a huge spherical gallery over crowded as it was vacation period . Our tour organizer managed to get places from where we can view the procession comfortably . The procession starts depending on the sunset and that day it started by 6PM though we assembled an hour before . It’s better you be there by 4 pm itself ,because if its overcrowded entry will be denied . No entry fees are collected. Purses , handbags any covered bags are not allowed .Mobiles and cameras are allowed .There are vendors selling water bottles , snacks and cool drinks . Even National flags and caps are sold there but we had our own tour caps.

It was a goosebumps moment all in their patriotic way said ” Vande Mataram “.

The front places were occupied by the people with VIP pass .There is place named Khasa , which is around 15–16km before Amritsar. Their you can get VIP passes for Wagah Border ceremony. You need not necessary have a defence background. You just need to show your ID and after that they will register your name for VIP passes.

The lowering of the flags ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border is a daily military practice.

This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah-Attari border by BSF. As the sun sets, the iron gates of India and Pakistan at the border are opened and the two flags of both the countries are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again.

Inspite of the intense heat and the huge crowds, the experience was very elevating. The BSF has made all efforts to keep the huge crowd entertained. Must Visit for everyone who goes to Amritsar. Proud to be an Indian .
JAIHIND

In the reception
In bus travelling to Wagah border
Lunch break
At the entrance
The crowd
The procession
At last found a place to sit and watch

Sri Pundareega Varadaraja Perumal Temple

During our one day trip on sri Rama Navami somehow we missed this Sri Pundareega Varadaraja Perumal temple .

This temple is in Bukkathurai near Uthiramerur and is about 35 kms from Chennai.

So we decided to go on a day without knowing it was thiruvathirai star day .

When we went the temple gate was closed before we could get down of the car saw a snake passing by , bit scared to get down saw the priest and his son(6-7 years) accompanying him with milk and flowers for the pooja rituals .

We got down the car and followed them and said about the snake , the priest told us today is Sri Ramanujar jayanthi he has given you dharshan in Adhiseshan roop .

This temple seemed to be an ancient one . The main deity is Sri Pundareeka Varadaraja Perumal .

There were seperate shrines for Goddess Andal , Lord Hanuman and Garudan .

The backside pillars of the main sanctum sanctorum were carved with Lord krishna and Lord Lakshmi Varaghar .

The temple is well protected with compound wall and gate . The pradhakshanam path was vast . No pond was found near the temple .

The priest was new so he dint know about the sthalapuranam about this temple and was in a hurry preparing for the thirumanjanam of Sri Ramanujar. He said he was in Kooram (a village near Kanchipuram) temple just 15 days back he came to this temple . After doing archana we came with the blessings of Lord Pundareega Varadarajar and Sri Ramanujar.

In front of the temple
Carvings in the pillars
Lakshmi Varaghar

Unamancheri Sri Ramar Temple

A lesser known ancient temple in Chennai built at same time of Tirumala using the same stones .

One of the Prince in the lineage of the Krishna Deva Rayar was Achutha Rayar and he was born with disabilities.

As per legends Achutya Raya was born physically challenged.  Lord Narayana
appeared in his dream and asked the king to come to Unamancheri.  There the Lord gave the King Pattabhisheka darshan along with Sita, Lakshman,  Bharat , Shatrughan and Hanuman.  The Lord told the king to construct a pond and perform Pujas to Him.  The king as instructed constructed a huge pond and started doing the pooja rituals , slowly his physical defects started to disappear.  He further expanded the temple into a bigger temple.

The original name it seems was Unam maikkum solai ( meaning garden that destroys physical defects ).  The priest said that this is the name in British records also.

Inside the temple Sri Ranganatha ( kula deivam of Lord Rama according to the priest ) has been  carved above the sanctum sanctorum instead Gaja Lakshmi we see usually in many temples.

Sculptures of Sri Devi,  Bhoo Devi,  Nila Devi,  Bibi Nachiyar and Malayala Nachiyar are there he said.  On the roof we can find carvings of  Rahu,  Ketu,  fish , crane , lizards and flower.

The seal of the Vijayanagar Empire – boar, dagger, sun and moon are seen outside the temple on the wall.

People with delayed marriage, progeny and with defects come to the temple and pray .

Outside the  temple on a pillar is Kalinga Narthana Krishna ,  he showed us.  People personally offer Puja to this sculpture for solving problems like delayed marriage and progeny.

When his father prayed to the lord – the almighty asked to come to Unam maitha Solai and look out for Lord Rama – Sita idols which was later found in a dense hermitage .

The Prince worshipped the idols found there of Sri Rama Pattahisrjakam – Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana , Bharat and Satrugana.

The Hanuman inside the temple here is two faced one facing Lord Rama and other towards Bhakta.

The temple previously had a small garba graha alone and a pond behind it.

The Abhishekam performed for the Lord Rama and Sita flow to the pond and the prince used to bath here. One day the disability is completely disappeared.

Later Prince Achuthan Rayar built a big temple and donated lot of lands

This temple and Tirumala is both built from same stone (brought from Hampi) and same king .

Thaipoosam is famous here – with the parvettai festival happens throughout the day and night. The Urchavar goes to a hillock nearby – Nallambakkam and returns the next day with much fanfare and lighting’s

TO REACH THERE:

From Tambaram: 13km via Perungalathur, Vandalur and then on Vandalur – Kelambakkam Road. Right turn at Unamancheri near Kolapakkam.

From Medavakkam: 21km on Medavakkam – Mambakkam Road, then turn towards Vandalur at Mambakkam. Left turn at Unamancheri near Kolapakkam.

In front of the temple
Lord Hanuman temple
Kalinga Narthana Krishnar in the pillar
Boar symbol on the wall
Vahana of the Lord is kept in this place
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