Monday, September 12, 2016

Huayna Picchu, Peru

Name :  Huayna Picchu

Location :

It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District. It rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called lost city of the Incas, and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.

Description :

Huayna Picchu, Wayna Picchu (Hispanicized spellings) or Wayna Pikchu (Quechua wayna young, young man, pikchu pyramid, mountain or prominence with a broad base which ends in sharp peaks, "young peak") is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River bends.

According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, "Unfinished Temple", and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon

Tourism :

The number of daily visitors allowed to enter Huayna Picchu is restricted to 400. Advance purchase of tickets online will guarantee admission. A steep and at times exposed climb leads to the summit. Some portions are slippery and steel cables (a via ferrata) provide some support during the one-hour climb. At times during the rainy season, the tours are closed. The climb is not recommended for visitors in poor physical condition because it features the World's scariest staircase.

From the summit, a second trail leads down to the Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon (a misnomer). These natural caves, on the north face of the mountain, are lower than the starting point of the trail. The return path from the caves completes a loop around the mountain as it rejoins the main trail.

Websites :

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Renukambe [Yellamma] Chandragutti, Soraba Taluk in Shimoga

Name :  Renukambe [Yellamma] Temple in Shimoga

Location :

Chandragutti is situated at a distance of 16 kms from Soraba (main bus stand). Soraba is one of the beautiful villages in Sahyadri ranges.

Description :

Renukamba Temple at Chandragutti in Karnataka is dedicated to Goddess Renuka. The temple is around 17km from Soraba. It is a cave temple and is in the form of half moon. The main deity worshipped in the temple is Goddess Renuka and she is also known as Guthiyamma. The hill on which the temple is located is known as Chandragutti.

Chandragutti is a religious center for goddess Renukamba wife of Jamadagni and mother Parusharam. The temple is situated on top of a hill which is completely covered with greenery. In short it’s very scenic. As soon as we reached the entrance of the temple we were welcomed by a small pond which is known as “Tottila baavi” and also there is small rock on which foot prints of main deity is carved. Once we crossed few steps, on to the right hand side there is a small temple of “Kalabairaveshwara”. In this temple lord is in both human and in “lingam” form. Few steps from this temple towards hill top will lead to Renukamba Temple.

By the time we had reached this place temple was closed. We got to know by a villager that this temple will be open for full day only on Tuesday and Friday and rest of the week temple is opened for few hours in morning. Since the temple was closed we could not see main deity, we could see “Matangi” seated along with her company in between two huge rocks. The main deity is inside a cave with golden coverings or golden statue as people say.

Along with this goddess there are 2 more temple, one of sacred seven headed “Nagaraja” (snake god) and “Parusharam” right in front of the Goddess Renukamba and the other one is of “Shoolada Beerappa”, there is a stair way which leads towards down the hill here is the temple of Shoolada Beerappa. This Shoolada Beerappa has hundreds of tridents (thrisuhla in Kannada) emerged from earth. Behind this is a small pond known as “Ammanavara Honda”. In south India “Ammnavaru” means goddess. Water for this pond comes from a bigger pond from top of the hill known as “tavarakere” (tavare means lotus in Kannada). The same water continues further ahead and reaches Tottila baavi

How to reach – We took a bus from Sagara (our main point) to Soraba and then from there another bus to Chandragutti, it was the same for return also. There are many (private) buses to Chandragutti from Soraba, Shimoga and very less direct bus from Sagara. Chandragutti is 106 kms from Shimoga. It can be reached from Soraba (approx 16kms), Siddapur (approx 18kms) and from Sirsi (approx 40kms) Sagara(approx 45 kms). Nearest Railway Station is Shimoga (106 Km).

See also 
As Chandragutti and Gudavi Bird Sanctuary or on the same road, one can visit these two together. They both a have difference of approx 10-12 kms from each other. From Soraba first comes Gudavi, at one point we need to take a right turn and continue approx of 6 kms from this Turing point.
I thank articles on net, my friends and villagers for helping me with the info.

Every year, there is a gathering of as many as 200,000 of her devotees at the Yellamma Gudda temple in Saundatti. This temple is an example of ancient architecture and dates back to the Kadamba period. Another temple is in Mahur, Maharashtra, the supposed birth place of the goddess, which finds mention in Devi Gita, the final chapter of Devi Bhagawatam as, "Matripura in the Sahyadri mountain; here the Devi Renuka dwells...". ( Renuka devi Temple, Mahur )

Legend :

Legend has it that Renukamba, a king of the Chandragutti region, was married to Rishi Jamadagni. The king had got Renukamba as daughter after he offered prayers to Goddess Mookambika.

Renukamba was such a devout wife that she could carry water in pots made of sand and she is used to carry the water pot on her head with snakes as pads for the pot. Not a single drop of water fell from her pot.

But once Sage Jamadagni doubted her character and asked his son Parashurama to kill her. Parashurama took his mother to the cave at Chandragutti and cut her head leaving the torso in the cave. He took the head to his father. Sage Jamadagni offers a boon to Parasurama who in turn asks the life of his mother. The sage immediately gives the boon and Renukamba is brought back to life.

This divine incident is believed to have taken place at at Chandragutti in Karnataka.

The popular festival in the temple is held in the month of March.

Executive Officer,
Shree Renukamba Temple,
Chandragutti Post,
Soraba Taluk,
Shimoga District
Pin – 577429

Websites :

Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple), Ko samui Thailand

Name : Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)

Location :

The temple can be reached via a causeway from the main island of Koh Samui. From the airport, head north on route 4171. Take the second right and the first left, then follow until the road ends.

Description :

A dazzling temple featuring a towering 12-meter golden Buddha. Though by no means an ancient temple (it was built as recently as 1972), Thailand's Wat Phra Yai or "Big Buddha Temple" is still a cultural and artistic gem that's well worth a visit.

The temple complex is majestic, dazzling, serene, and perhaps a bit amusing all at once. Here, every available surface is drenched in gold and bedecked with ornate mirrored tiles the color of precious jewels. A wide skirt of steps flanked by two sinuous emerald dragons leads straight to the towering central figure: a 12-meter-tall golden Buddha. It sits atop a hill overlooking the stunning aquamarine waters surrounding the tiny islet of Koh Faan.

Sitting in Mara pose, this Buddha represents a state of enlightenment, purity and calm. Reflecting these principles, a ring of large bronze prayer bells encircles the Buddha, gently swaying in the cool ocean breeze. Use one of the provided wooden strikers to lightly ring each bell for good luck as you take in the glorious views.

In the early mornings, one can observe monks chanting their morning prayers as well as locals who bring offerings of food, incense and flowers. Be sure to pop into a few of the stalls surrounding the base of the temple during your visit. Local street food, fruit, flowers and fun souvenirs can be found aplenty. Neaby Chaweng Beach, Wat Plai Lem and Ang Thong National Marine Park are popular stops to check out during your visit as well.

Know Before You Go :

It is requested that visitors respect the sanctity of the space by wearing modest clothing (trousers or long shorts and tops that cover the shoulders), removing shoes before entering the complex and being courteous of local devotees.

Websites :

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mount Popa Shrine

Name :  Mount Popa Taung Kalat Monastry. The name Popa is believed to come from the Pali/Sanskrit word puppa meaning flower

Location :

Mount Popa is a volcano 1518 metres (4981 feet) above sea level, and located in central Burma (Myanmar) about 50 km (31 mi) southeast of Bagan (Pagan) in the Pegu Range. It can be seen from the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River as far away as 60 km (37 mi) in clear weather. Mount Popa is perhaps best known as a pilgrimage site, with numerous Nat temples and relic sites atop the mountain.

Description :

Southwest of Mount Popa is Taung Kalat (pedestal hill), sheer-sided volcanic plug, which rises 657 metres (2,156 ft) above the sea level. A Buddhist monastery is located at the summit of Taung Kalat. At one time, the Buddhist hermit U Khandi maintained the stairway of 777 steps to the summit of Taung Kalat. The Taung Kalat pedestal hill is sometimes itself called Mount Popa and given that Mount Popa is the name of the actual volcano that caused the creation of the volcanic plug, to avoid confusion, the volcano (with its crater blown open on one side) is generally called Taung Ma-gyi (mother hill). The volcanic crater itself is a mile in diameter.

From the top of Taung Kalat one can enjoy a panoramic view. One can see the ancient city of Bagan; behind it to the north, the massive solitary conical peak of Taung Ma-gyi rises like Mount Fuji in Japan. There is a big caldera, 610 metres (2,000 ft) wide and 914 metres (3,000 ft) in depth so that from different directions the mountain takes different forms with more than one peak. The surrounding areas are arid, but the Mt Popa area has over 200 springs and streams. It is therefore likened to an oasis in the desert-like dry central zone of Burma. This means the surrounding landscape is characterized by prickly bushes and stunted trees as opposed to the lush forests and rivers Burma is famous for. Plenty of trees, flowering plants and herbs grow due to the fertile soil from the volcanic ash. Prominent among the fauna are macaque monkeys that have become a tourist attraction on Taung Kalat.

It is now a designated nature reserve and national park. Nearby lies Kyetmauk Taung Reservoir that provides sufficient water for gardens and orchards producing jackfruit, banana, mango and papaya as well as flowering trees such as saga (Champac) and gant gaw (Mesua ferrea Linn). A pozzolan mill to supply material for the construction of Yeywa Dam on Myitnge River near Mandalay is in operation.

Legends :

NAT Legends : 

Who are NATs ? : In Buddhist traditions of Myanmar, Nats are spirits of humans that met tragic ends and are portrayed accordingly in shrines across the country. One of the most well-known of the 37 spirits in the shrine of Mount Popa is Ko Gyi Kyaw, who died from his wild lifestyle and alcohol abuse. As the patron saint of tramps and alcoholics, his shrine is often covered in bottles of whiskey.

Many legends are associated with this mountain including its dubious creation from a great earthquake and the mountain erupted out of the ground in 442 BC. It is possible that the legends about Nats represent a heritage of earlier animist religions in Burmese countryside, which were syncreticised with Buddhist religion in the 11th century. There are legends that before the reign of Bagan king Anawrahta (1044 - 1077) hundreds of animals were sacrificed here as a part of nat worship rituals.

Mount Popa is considered the abode of Burma's most powerful Nats and as such is the most important nat worship center. It has therefore been called Burma's Mount Olympus due to the Nat activity and the shrine .

1) One legend tells about brother and sister Mahagiri (Great Mountain) nats, from the kingdom of Tagaung at the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy, who sought refuge from King Thinligyaung of Bagan (344-387). Their wish was granted and they were enshrined on Mt Popa.

2) Another legend tells about Popa Medaw (Royal Mother of Popa), who according to legend was a flower-eating ogress called Me Wunna, she lived at Popa. She fell in love with Byatta, whose royal duty was to gather flowers from Popa for King Anawrahta of Bagan (1044–1077). Byatta was executed for disobeying the king who disapproved of the liaison, and their sons were later taken away to the palace. Me Wunna died of a broken heart and, like Byatta, became a nat. Their sons also became heroes in the king's service but were later executed for neglecting their duty during the construction of a pagoda at Taungbyone near Mandalay. They too became powerful nats but they remained in Taungbyone where a major festival is held annually in the month of Wagaung (August).

Although all 37 Nats of the official pantheon are represented at the shrine on Mt Popa, in fact only four of them - the Mahagiri nats, Byatta and Me Wunna - have their abode here. Burmese superstition says that on Mt Popa, one should not wear red or black or green or bring meat, especially pork, as it could offend the resident nats, although Byatta and his brother Byatwi were the only Muslims who had shipwrecked and landed in Burma.

Burmese Myth :

There are many Burmese myths about the mountain, especially the one that said victory for any man who collected their army on the slopes of the mountain was guaranteed. The belief that victory can be guaranteed by visiting Mount Popa is interesting because it shows the cultural identification of life and prosperity with the mountain. The still current popularity of Mount Popa exemplifies the fact that Burmese people still rely heavily on ancient traditions in daily life. It is these ancient traditions that characterize the culture of the surrounding area and beyond. People travel great distances to assure their good luck into the coming years to Mount Popa, host to an immense annual festival which actually takes place in the temple atop the mountain.

Festivals :

Many Burmese pilgrims visit Mt Popa every year, especially at festival season on the full moon of Nayon (May/June) and the full moon of Nadaw (November/December). Local people from the foot of Mt Popa, at Kyaukpadaung (10-miles), go mass-hiking to the peak during December and also in April when the Myanmar new year called Thingyan festival is celebrated. Before King Anawrahta's time, hundreds of animals were sacrificed to the nats during festivals.

The festival involves a transgender medium being possessed by a nat spirit which give him the ability to communicate between the nats and the people. It is these types of festivals, the type that are unique to the region but also incredibly important to the participants, that attracts tourists to Burma.

Websites :

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kondarangi Hills - Malligarjuna Swamy Temple

Name : Kondarangi Hills - Malligarjuna Swamy Temple

Location :

It is situated in Tamilnadu on the way to Tharapuram from Oddanchatram (via) Moolanur. It is 15kms from moolanur and the village is called Kondarangi Keeranur.

Legend :

1. It is believed that when we do meditation on Pournami or Amavasya days on the top of this hill, we can get connection with our ancestors and their blessings.

2. It is said that there is a shusma vibrations between palani Temple and this temple. Kondrangi Shiva is seeing his Son from here. Also we can see this hill when we climb Palani hills.

3. Pandavas of mahabharata are said to have done meditation in the cave here. It is said that Arjuna attained powers during his vana vasa here. They say when we meditate in this hill we can travel to a diffreent Astral World.

Description :

This Hill has a steep Conical shape and it is about 748meters high. There is a very wonderful Rock cut Temple on the top where Lord Shiva showers his blessings in the name of Malligarjuneswarar. It is a Swayambhu Lingam ( Formed on its owns ). The hill itself looks like a Huge Linga.

The steps are rock cut and it seems very difficult to climb the hill. But with Lord shiva's blessings it is very easy to reach the top. It takes two hours to reach the top. If there is Rain or high winds it will be difficult to ascend or descend. There is a perennial spring on the top.

There is a Cave where Sidhhars and Thavasis have done meditation. There is also a Temple located at the foothills known as Ketti Malleswarar Sri Bhramaramba Temple.

Festivals :

Chitra Pournami and maha Shiva Ratri is celebrated in grand manner when lot of devotees throng to get blessings of Malligarjuna swamy

Websites :

I sincerely thank Mr.Dhanasekar who maintains a facebook page on Kondarangi malai for providing all the above details. Link to his page is as below. Devotees who wish to visit kondarangi malai can contact him for further details.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ratnagiri Murugan Temple, Saravanampatti

Name : Ratnagiri Murugan Temple

Location :

Sri Ratnagiri Murugan Temple, Saravanampatti, Coimbatore district.
+91 - 422- 553 5727

Legend :

Many years back, a woman devotee was praying to Lord Ratnagiri Muruga for long years seeking child boon.  She was undergoing severe fasting for the boon.  One day, she came to the temple alone when no one was present in the surroundings.  She was in deep meditation for a long time shedding tears and was going round the temple.  A cow boy enquired her of her sorrow.  The woman told him of her want.  The boy gave her a little sacred ash and advised her to go round the prakara with her prayer.  After finishing the first round, when the woman wanted to see the boy, he was not there.

The woman conceived within a few days then and understood that the boy was no less a person than Lord Muruga Himself.  The temple has the reputation of blessing a woman devotee in person  gifting her wish.

Lord Sri Muruga graces with four hands on His peacock facing the left side.  Lord Vinayaka – Swayambu Vinayaka from a rock – is by the side.

Poo parithal – picking flowers:

It was customary in days of yore, that boys and girls related to each other qualifying a marriage liberty (Murai Mappillai and Murai Penn) visit the temple together on Mattu Pongal day (almost on January 15 according to the Gregorian calendar).  The bridegroom-boy will offer the flowers to his fiancĂ©e.  They will then offer garlands to the Lord with the prayer to unite them in wedlock.  The custom has vanished in the modern days.  Yet, lovers aware of the custom visit here to pray to Lord Muruga to succeed in their love affair.

The belief still remains that any one bringing flowers, making a garland himself/herself and offer it to the Lord will have the life partner of his/her choice.  After marriage, they come again to offer their grateful prayer to the Lord to have wise children.

Also, school friends, though placed in different places due to their occupations, use to come to this place, pray to Lord Muruga and share their old experiences.  The tradition is still followed, on the Mattu Pongal day.

Description :

Temple Speciality is Lord Swayambu Vinayaka appearing from a rock graces in the temple.
A demon performed penance for centuries on Lord Shiva and got the boon to rule all the worlds. Intoxicated by the power of the boon and his prowess, he began to harass the devas very cruelly forcing them to live in oblivion.  Once the demon saw Indira, the king of devas in his hideout.  Indira began to run but the demon chased him.  Indira reached this Ratnagiri mount where Lord Muruga changed him as a peacock, his vehicle.  The demon returned disappointed.  The wonder took place here, according to scriptures.

Festivals :

Thaipoosam in January-February, Mattu Pongal falling almost on January 15, New moon days, Kruthika days, Vaikasi visakam in May-June are the festive days observed in the temple with special pujas. The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Websites :


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