My India Travelogue (simplified version)

Day One

19 May 2010

Arrive at Chennai airport at 945am

 Melmaruvathur AdhiParasakthi Sakthi Peetam – Melmaruvathur ( மேல்மருவத்தூர்) is a town situated on NH-45 between Chennai and Kanyakumari. It is 92 kilometers from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. The famous Adi Parasakthi Temple is situated here. It is well connected by trains and buses from Chennai and elsewhere. The Temple is of immense significance. The Sanctum Sanctorium of the temple houses a suyambu which, according to people who go there year after year, keeps growing. The temple is visited by people from all over the world. Locals also tell the story of Bangaru Adigalar, who is commonly known as Amma.

 a lovely drive along villages

 Auroville – is an experimental township which is situated 8 km north-west of Puducherry in East Coast Road. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Richard (also known as The Mother), the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28 February 1968 , soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness. The Government of India and UNESCO has endorsed the project

 Manakula Vinayagar Temple – was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry i.e. before 1666. ]It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha. The temple also has a smaller shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan, who is Ganesha’s younger brother. Over 5000 devotees flock to this site everyday. There is also a temple elephant, Lakshmi, who give blessing to the devotees

 Walk along Pondicherry beach beach

 Gandhi Statue is a four-meter statue of Mahatma Gandhi is surrounded by eight granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 km from Puducherry Located across the street from the Gandhi statue is the statue of Jawaharlal Nehru. It is also flanked by four pillars from Gingee. The space in front plays host to various cultural, musical and commercial activities through the year

Day Two

20 May 2010

Breakfast at Anandha Bhavan

 Chidambaram Nataraja Temple – Lord Shiva temple located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram

 Vaitheeswaran Temple It is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It is one of the nine Navagraha Temples and the planet Mars (Angaraka) is also worshipped here. Believed to be the site of the curing of Angaraka of leprosy, this site is known for its Naadi astrologers.

It is believed that a bath in the holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex will cure all diseases.

 SwamiMalai Murugan Temple – is a Hindu temple located in the township of Swamimalai, 250 km from Chennai and is near to Kumbakonam and Thanjavur in . It is one of the Arupadaiveedu, believed to be the six main abodes of Muruga.

 Arrive at Tanjavur in the evening

 Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Brihadeeswarar Temple பெருவுடையார் கோவில், peruvuḍaiyār kōvil [?]), also known as Rajarajeswaram,[1] at Thanjavur in the n state of Tamil Nadu, is the world’s first complete granite temple[2] and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in temple architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its patron RajaRaja Chola I. It remains as one of the greatest glories of n architecture.[3] The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Great Living Chola Temples”.
Day Three

21 May 2010

 Drove to Rameswaram is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the n state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland by the Pamban channel and is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, is connected to mainland by the Pamban Bridge. Rameswaram is the terminus of the railway line from Chennai and Madurai. Together with Kashi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in to Hindus, and part of the Char Dham pilgrimages. Hence, it is a bustling pilgrim centre. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the n peninsula. According to legend, this is the place from where Lord Rama built a bridge Ram Setu (also known as Adam’s Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from her abductor Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage centre which is known as the Varanasi of the south.

 Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located in the island of Rameswaram in the state of Tamil Nadu, . According to Shaiva mythology, Lord Rama is believed to have prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon king Ravana. The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham shrines that has to be visited in one’s lifetime and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holy abodes of Lord Shiva[1].

 Dinner at Goswami madam restaurant

 night walk around the temple

Day Four

22 May 2010

 Ramarpadam Temple – Footsteps of Lord Rama

 Pamban Bridge – பாம்பன் பாலம் on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland . It refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. It was ‘s first sea bridge. It is the second longest sea bridge in (after Bandra-Worli Sea Link) at a length of about 2.3 km.

 Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple மீனாட்சி அம்மன் கோவில் is an historic Hindu temple located in the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, . It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is believed to have been built in 1600[1]. The tallest temple tower is 51.9 metres (170 ft) high[1].

 Heading to Trichy / Tiruchirappalli

 Rockfort or Ucchi Pillayar koil, is a combination of two famous 7th century Hindu temples, one dedicated to Lord Ganesh and the other dedicated to Lord Shiva, located a top of a small rock in Trichy, . Geologically the 83m high[1] rock is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating over 3 billion years ago, and mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.

 The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu. It is the first and foremost among the 108 Divya Desams, the holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. It is also considered to be one among the eight Svayam Vyakta Ksetras (“self-manifested shrines”) of Lord Vishnu.[1] The temple is also well known for it’s architectural grandeur. The annual 21 day chariot festival conducted during the month of Margazhi (Dec-Jan) attracts lot of visitors. Everyday during the festival, the sacred Vaishnavite text, Tiruvaimozhi is recited before Lord Ranganatha. Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world (Angkor Wat being the largest non-functioning temple). The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (6,31,000 m²) with a perimeter of 1,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in [2] and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The temple is enclosed by 7 concentric walls (termed prakarams or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. These walls are enclosed by 21 Gopurams. The space within the outer two prakarams is occupied by several shops, restaurants and flower stalls.

Day Five


23 May 2010

 Samayapuram Mariamman Temple is a Hindu temple in Samayapuram near Trichy / Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, . The main deity, Samayapurathal or Mariamman is made of sand and clay like many of the traditional Mariamman deities, and hence unlike many other Hindu deities there are no abhishekams (sacred washing) conducted to the main deity, but instead the “abishekam” is done to the small stone statue in front of it.

It is believed by the devotees that the Goddess has enormous powers over curing illnesses[1] and hence, it is a ritual to buy small metallic replicas, made with silver or steel, of various body parts that need to be cured, and these are deposited in the donation box

Devotees also offer mavilakku, a sweet dish made of jaggery, rice flour and ghee. [2] Offerings of raw salt is also made to the Goddess by the rural devotees.

The temple attracts hundreds of devotees on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays, the holy days for Mariamman. Samayapuram is the second most wealthy (in terms of cash flows) temple in Tamilnadu after Palani.

 Annamalaiyar Temple (Arunachaleswara in Sanskrit) is a noted Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located at the bottom of the Annamalai hill in Thiruvannamalai town in Tamilnadu, . It is the home of Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswarar (Lord Shiva worshipped as a Shiva Lingam) and Unnamalaiyaal (Apitakuchambaal – Parvati), and is one of the largest temples in .

It occupies a special place in the Saivite realm and is regarded as one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams (one of the five grand temples associated with the five basic elements) – associated with the element Fire; the other four being Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram Natarajar (sky), Kanchi Ekambareswara (earth) and Kalahasti Nathar (wind).

It is said that the Saivite saint poet Manikkavasagar composed the Tiruvempaavai while at Thiruvannamalai.

 The golden temple of Sripuram is a Spiritual park situated at the foot of a small range of green hills in a place known as “Malaikodi” in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, . The temple is at the southern end of the city of Vellore, at Tirumalaikodi.

The salient Feature of Sripuram is the Lakshmi Narayani temple or Mahalakshmi temple whose ‘Vimanam’ and ‘Ardha Mandapam’ have been coated with gold both in the interior and exterior.

 Arrive at Kancheepuram- is also known as ‘Silk City’, since one of the main professions of the people living in and around is weaving silk sarees. The silk weavers of Kanchi settled more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in the country.

me trying my hands with kanchi silks
Selecting an engagement saree is not an easy task

 Saree shopping for more then 3hours

Day Six

24 May 2010

 The Kamakshi Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated toKamakshi, one of the forms of the goddess Parvati. It is located in the historic city of Kanchipuram, near Chennai, and is popularly associated with Sankaracharya, one of the greatest Hindu gurus. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, the Akilandeswari temple in Thiruvanaikaval near Tiruchirappalli and this Kamakshi are the important centers of worship of Parvati as the mother goddess, in the state of Tamil Nadu. The temple was most probably built by the Pallava kings, whose capital was Kanchipuram, around 6 C.E.

 Tiruthani Murugan temple is a famous Hindu temple, in South , dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is one of the Arupadaiveedu, the six holy abodes of Lord Muruga. The other five are;

Palani (100 km west of Madurai),

Swamimalai (150 km east of Madurai),

Tirupparangunram (5 km from Madurai),

Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai) and

Thiruchendur (100 km south of Madurai).

The temple is located in the township of Tiruttani 50 km north of Chennai en route to Tirupathi. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Murugan married Valli, the daughter of a hunting tribe cheiftain, here.

 On way to Tirupathi

 Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a famous Hindu temple of Lord Venkateswara located in the hill town Tirumala, near Tirupati in the Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh, . The temple is situated on Venkatadri, one of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills (Saptagiri in Sanskrit). The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Venkateswara, is also known by other names – Balaji, Govinda and Srinivasa.

The temple is reportedly the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world.[1] The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most visited holy place in the world.[2]

According to legend, the temple has a self-manifested murti (idol) of Lord Venkateswara, believed to have resided there for the entire Kali Yuga[

 Drive back to Chennai

Day Seven


25 May 2010

 Marina Beach – The 15 km long and 400 to 500 meter wide Marina Beach features the Light House, memorials, statues, walkways, gardens and drives alongside the beach front.

Towards the south of the city of Chennai, Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar is preferred by younger Chennaiites with its promenade, restaurants and coffee shops.[citation needed] There are a quite a number of beaches and resorts between Elliot’s Beach and Mahabalipuram, along East Coast Road. The most notable of these is Covelong Beach which has a cove and a fort built by the Nawab of the Carnatic.[2]

 MGR Samadhi & Anna Samadhi

 Shopping at T Nagar until late evening

 Luggage packing for early morning flight

Day Eight

26 May 2010

 945am flight from Chennai to Penng

Thanks to wikipedia for providing all the necessary information.

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