Friday, December 25, 2009

Jotiba Temple - Kolhapur




Name : Jotiba Temple

Location :
Jyotiba Temple is located 14 km north-west of Kolhapur in the Panhala Range, in Maharashtra. It is situated at an altitude of 3124 ft above the sea level.

Legend :

This temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. This is also called Kedarnath and Wadi Ratnagiri. Mythology says, Jotiba helped Mahalaxmi in her fight with the demons. He founded his kingdom on this mountain. He belongs to the Nath cult. He was born in the hands of Vimalmbuja, the wife of the sage Pougand, on Chaitra Shukla 6. This God is avtaar of Guard (Bhairav).

The temple is dedicated to Jyotiba (also Dattatreya), which was formed by the amalgamation of the jyotis (souls) of three gods - Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the three gods took the form of Jyotiba to destroy the evil Ratnasur who troubled civilians.
With this incidence name of village was Wadi Ratnagiri. Instead of taking such long name public accepted this place as the name of God ‘Jotiba’ and this name became famous.

Description :

The original temple was built in 1730 by Navajisaya. The interior is ancient and the idol is four-handed. There are other temples and Light-towers.



Decorated bamboo sticks called as SASAN KATHI are attraction of this fair. Not less than 2000 sticks are traditionally involved in fair. Sequence of these sticks is a convention. It is not changeable. A colorful procession of SASAN KATHI is main attraction of fair. Devotees from abroad and various parts of country take part in this procession.

Festivals :

On Chaitra Poornima (appr. In Mar-Apr.) a big fair is held, when lacs of devotees come with tall (Sasan) sticks. Due to scattering of 'Gulal' the whole mountain is turned pink.

Sunday is a preferable visiting day. On the full moon day a Palkhi procession is carried out.

There is other temple of goddess ‘Yamai’ on the northern part of hill. She is believed to be sister of Jotiba.

Website :
http://tourism.kolhapurworld.com/jotiba_temple.html

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Theertha Malai


Name : Theertha malai. In Tamil it means Hill with Holy Water

Location : It is located 60Kms from Dharmapuri on the way to Thiruvannamalai via Aroor.

Deity : Theerthangeswarar and Arulmozhi Vadivambigai

Description :

This Shiva hill temple is 500meters high. It is a very old shrine and the inscriptions on this temple says Chola emperors had regularly visited theis temple including Rajendra Cholan.



Legend :

It was said in old puranas that Lord Rama had worshiped Shiva in two places during his Ramavathar. One is Rameshwaram and other Theertha malai. Hence there is belief that a holy dip in the waters of this spring will wipe out the sins committed by the people.

In order to worship to Lord Shiva, Rama sent Hanuman to fetch water from the River Ganga, but when Hanuman did not return at the appointed time for pooja, Rama unleashed an arrow onto the rocky slope of the hillock and water sprang forth, which today is called Rama Theertham.

This pilgrim and picnic centre becoming very popular with the public. The temple situated about one k.m up the steep slope of a hillock derives that its name from the five springs in the temple.

The tiny waterfall drops from a height of about 30 feet is perennial and during the summer as well as the rainy season the water falls on the bathing ghat behind the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The other Theertham, all of which have their origin in different parts of the rocky surface, are the Agasthya Theertham, AgniTheertham. Kumara Theertham and the Gouri Theertham, besides these four Theerthams the Hanuman Theertham is situated about 16km from the main temple on the banks of river South Pennar. This too is also closely associated with the temple. It is stated that when Hanuman returned with the water from the Ganga, he found that Rama had brought the Ganga water with his arrow. He then threw away in anger the vessel containing the Ganga water. This water fell onto the riverbank.

Hanuman Theertham also is a very holy place. During summer even when the river is dry there will be sweet water in the spring that flows from rock in the riverbed. The waters of the Theerthamalai are supposed to have medicinal values too. It may be mentioned that Theerthamalai has huge reserves of magnetite iron ore that can be utilized for the Salem Steel Plant.

Several Inscriptions can be found in the Theerthagireeswarar Temple. They relate to the Vijayanagar and Chola rulers. There is one inscription in ancient Telugu and Kannada. Poet Saint Arunagirinathar referred to the Temple of Theerthagirieeswarar in his compositions. The Mandapam near the sanctum sanctorum is supposed to be built by Sila Naicken. He is said to have maintained a well-fortified garrison at the top of the hill from where a commanding view of the surroundings can be on all sides is available.

There is another spring known as Vashista Theertham higher up in the hill. Close by are the wonderful granite pieces of Saptha kanyakas. The beauty of these sculptures is that they can be viewed only through a very narrow crevice in the rock. The nine-day annual festival at the Temple is in the month of March.


Theerthams :

There are 5 holy water source in the hill temple. They are
1. Rama Theertham
2. Kumara Theertham
3. Gowri Theertham
4. Agni Theertham
5. Agasthya Theertham

Another theertham (Hanuman Theertham) is on the way from Aroor to Oothangarai. it is belief that we should first go to Hanuman theertham and then go to Theertha malai to get full blessings of Theerthangeshwarar.



The theertham on the hill comes from a high point and it is perennial whole year. Also pilgrims get full freshness in body and mind aftre having a bath in this theertham.

Website :
http://narennarasim.blogspot.com/2009/02/blog-post.html

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Perak Tong temple



Name : Perak Tong temple

Location : Within the huge limestone caves of Gunung Tasek, 6 km to the north of Ipoh, nestles the Perak Tong temple.

Description :

Ipoh has many limestone caves due to the surrounding karst formations. The famous of them are three namely, The Sam Po Tong, Perak Tong and Kek Lok Tong

Perak Tong temple was built in 1962 by a Buddhist priest from China. This temple houses over 40 Buddha statues, the centre piece being a 12.8m high sitting Buddha. The statue of Buddha in Perak Tong was the tallest and largest of its kind in Malaysia when first commissioned.



Beyond the main altar, a passage leads into the cave's interior. On the walls of the cave, a visitor will find himself fascinated by mystical mural paintings.

It has a steep, tall staircase in the interior of the cave rising up steep climb of 385 steps. Afterall this is a limestone cave, so you may find water dripping from the ceiling at certain points. The cave opens again to reveal a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. Even there is a wonderfull garden up there.
Website : http://mynicegarden.blogspot.com/2009/10/hike-up-perak-cave-temple-part-3-of-3.html

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maa Sharda Temple - Maihar



Name : Maa Sharda Temple

Location : Maihar city lies in Satna District of State of Madhya Pradesh. Sharda Devi (goddess) is situated in Trikuta hill around 5 km from the heart of the town. Maihar is about: 42 km. away from Satna, 65 km. away from Katni,

Description :

Maihar is a holy town of Madhya Pradesh State. Devotees from all over India visits ‘Maa Sharda Temple’ throughout the year. Temple is located in top of the mountain and can be reached through 1060 steps, road. It is quite obvious that visit is not easy task specially for aged or physically unfit devotees. Considering the problem of devotees, management had started the service of ropeway service for devotees to reach Mother goddess Sharda Temple conveniently and in short time. Many peoples visit the temple in Navratri or Ram Navmi.

There is one ancient inscription near the feet of stone sculpture of Sharda Devi situated in Sharda Devi temple. There is another statue of Lord Narsingh along with Sharda Devi. These statues were installed by Nupula Deva on Shake 424 chaitra krishna paksha 14 Tuesday, vikram samvat 559 i.e. 502 AD. This stone inscription Sharda Devi in four lines is of size 15" by 3.5" in Devanagari script. Another stone inscription at the temple is of size 34" by 31" inscribed by a shaiva saint Shamba who had knowledge of Buddhism and Jainism also. This inscription bears a scene of Nagadeva and reveals that it was about Damodara, son of Saraswati, was considered the Vyasa of Kaliyuga. And that there prevailed system of goat sacrifice at that time during worship.

Legends :

1. It is a common belief that first fall Adiguru Shankracharya offered his prayer and worship in this temple.

2. Traditional sacred stories says that when Lord Shiva was in state of deep sorrow and anguish, due to the death of Sati (Wife of Lord Shiva) and was roaming in earth with her dead body on his back. Lord Vishnu, came forward to save mankind and cuts the body of Sati in to 52 pieces. In Maihar necklace of Sati fell down and hence temple was established here. Its name “Maihar” can be broken to two parts “Mai” means mother and “har” means necklace.

3. Local tradition reveals that the warriors Alha and Udal, who had war with Prithvi Raj Chauhan, are associated with this place. Both the brothers were very strong followers of Sharda Devi. It is said that Alha penanced for 12 years and got the amaratva with the blessings of Sharda Devi. Alha and Udal are said to be the first to visit the goddess in this remote forest. Alha used to call the mother goddess by the name 'Sharda Mai' and henceforth she became popular as 'Mata Sharda Mai'. One can see down hill behind the temple, the pond known as 'Alha Pond'. At a distance of 2 km from this pond is situated the akhara of Alha and Udal where they did practice of kusti.

Website :
http://www.prlog.org/10293618-ropeway-facility-for-maihar-temple-tour-indus-excursion.html
http://www.indianetzone.com/16/maihar_mother_goddess_sharda_temple.htm

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Big Buddha of Phuket



Name : The Phuket Big Buddha. It aka "Phraputthamingmongkol Eaknakakeeree"

Location : Khao Nakkerd, Karon, Phuket, Thailand

Description:

The Phuket Big Buddha is 45 meters (150 feet) high and reachers 25 meters diameter at its base. The Buddha is sitting on a huge podium designed as a lotus flower. From Nakkerd Hill (Khao Nakkerd) he is looking to the east towards Chalong Bay. The construction is going on and is now in finishing stage.

And we can have a chance to walk inside the atatue to pay respect the Big Buddha. Inside the Big Buddha, there is stairway up to the top of its, but we have to wait till work is complete.

The view is enormous and a ride up to the summit of Nakkerd Hill is always worth the trip. The road up to Big Buddha is between Chalong Circle (Ha Yeak Chalong) and Wat (Temple) Chalong. You can't miss the turn as you see huge signs with "Big Buddha". This road to the peak is 5.5 km, mixed partially paved and dirt. If you drive up with a motorbike you should keep an eye on the many pot-holes.

Website : http://platial.com/post/4577334

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Panchapandava Cave Temple, Palavaram




Name : Panchapandava Cave Temple, Palavaram

Location : Pallavaram, Chennai

Lord Brahma at Pallavaram :
This is an left over ruins of ancient rock-cut temple where Lord Brahma and his Trimurti associates were worshipped. The Panchapandava Cave Temple was built in the early 7th century by Mahendravarman I, king of the Pallava dynasty. The holy site was eventually taken over by Muslims, and has now fallen to ruin.

The Panchapandava Cave Temple is located in Pallavaram (Pallavapuram). Today it is a suburban town within the city limits of Chennai, in Kanchipuram district. The temple site is ancient, as evidenced by artifacts found there from the Old Stone and Iron Age.

Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, is said to have lived in this area. The Pallavaram Temple has long been known as 'Panchapandava' Temple because of its association with the five Pandava brothers, although there is no extant evidence of that connection.

The site is one of a series of amazing rock-cut temples constructed by King Mahendravarman throughout his kingdom, others of which are found at Dalavanur, Tiruchirapalli, Mandagapattu, Kilmavilangai, Mamandur and Tiru-kazhukunram.

Architecture :
The Panchapandava Temple was constructed in typical Pallava style, with six huge pillars in front. Cut into the mother rock was a sanctum sanctorum featuring five cells, one for each member of the Trimurti, the presiding deities. The two cells on the outer sides were for subsidiary deities, whose identity is unknown. All five shrines face south. The sanctum as a whole projects outward, carved from a protruding section of the main rock. In the picture below, we see that at one point, a roof covered the sanctum and a narrow porch area. As was typically the case with Mahendra rock-cut temples, the number of shrines correspond to the number of pillars, so that each niche would be approached by stepping between a pair of pillars.

To the Vaisnavas and Saivites, the hill at Panchapandava Cave Temple is known as Panchapandava Malai. To the Muslims who have taken it over, it is known as Maula Ka Pahad. Muslims believe that Pallavaram Hill is home to a relic of Prophet Mohammad. In the evening during Ramadan (called Ramzan in India), Muslim pilgrims walk to the top of the hill where the cave temple ruins are found.



In fact, it was originally the Sufi Muslims who invaded this area, taking over the Panchapandava caves and turning them into a masjid for worshipping the panjã (palm). While now being used as a Muslim dargah, the temple ruins have unfortunately been painted and renovated beyond recognition.

Website :
http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/10-09/features1520.htm

Vedagirisevara Hill at Tirukkalukkunram



Name : Vedagirisevara Temple & Orukal Brahma Temple

Location : Tirukkalukkunram, Tamilnadu

Lord Brahma at Tirukkalukkunram :



From the time of King Mahendravarman I through the next century, there were quite a number of rock-cut temples constructed in South India. One of these, the Orukal Temple at Tirukkalukkunram, is the subject of today's segment. The Orukal mandapam is located on the east side of the Vedagirisevara Hill at Tirukkalukkunram, in Chingleput district of Tamil Nadu. Tirukkalukkunram is 16 km. from Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram). The area is surrounded by a cluster of four hills, believed to represent the four Vedas. The fourth of these holy hills, Atharvana, is best known for the prominent temple that sits atop it -- Vedagirisvara Temple. Further down the slope of that hill, King Mahendravaram excavated another temple from the hillside, and a standing deity of Lord Brahma resides there. On the rear wall, to the left of the sanctum are the bas-relief sculptures of Brahma and, to the right, Visnu.

Description :
Vedagirisevara Hill at Tirukkalukkunram draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, who come to visit the various shrines on the hill. The total area on the hill is some 265 acres, and the top is 500 feet above ground level. Devotees clamber up 562 stone slab stairs as they ascend to Vedagirisevara Temple. Along with the Orukal rock-cut temple, there are several other small mandapams along the path.

Before ascending the steps, devotees offer their respects to Siddharti Vinayaka (Ganapati) and Ayyappa at the foot of the hill. In the main Vedagirisevara Temple at the top of the hill, the presiding deity is Vedagirishwarar, a swayambu Lingam enshrined in a niche carved from three large boulders. Descending a few steps down on the other side of the hill, a monolithic cave-temple is seen. This mandapam is full of rare sculptures belonging to the Mamalla period (A.D. 610-640).

There are two verandahs in the cave complex, each being supported by massive pillars. The upper verandah is the Orukal Temple, home to a large lingam with deities of Brahma and Vishnu on either side. On the lower verandah there are two more life-size statues, decorated with ornaments.

At the foot of the hill is a very large temple tank, Nandi Thirtham, with a huge Nandi facing Vedagirishwarar on the hilltop. There are 12 theerthams at different places on and around the hill.

Legend :
The Vedas are said to exist here, embodied as the four local hills. The great sage Bharadvaja, who had been continually chanting the Vedas over three lifetimes, was approached by Paramesvra, who granted him a boon for all his efforts in attempting to learn the Vedas. Paramesvra said to the sage, "The Vedas you have learned all these years are like this handful of earth. What you have yet to learn is vast, like these mountains." It is believed that Vedagiri Hill at Tirukkazhukkunram is the place where Paramesvra caused the Vedas to appear in the form of these mountains. Devotees believe that circumambulation of the Hill gives an effect equivalent to worshipping the Vedas, and many devotees are found chanting "Veda, Veda, Mahaveda" in this place.

Other Places :

16 km. away, at the nearby Mammalapuram (Mahabalipuram) complex, there are fourteen more cave temples, nine monolithic shrines, three stone temples, and four relief sculptured rock panels, which drawn throngs of tourists to the area. Some of them are fortunate enough to press on to Vedagirisevara Hill at Tirukkalukkunram, and get the darshan of Lord Brahma.

Website :
http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/10-09/features1522.htm

Arulmigu Maha Sapthakannika Devi Kovil, Seremban (Negeri Sembilan)



Name : Arulmigu Maha Sapthakannika Devi Kovil, Seremban (Negeri Sembilan)

Location : This temple is situated on Victoria Hill in Seremban (Negeri Sembilan), Malaysia

Description :

Built over 100 years ago and is one of the few Kaniamman temple in Malaysia. The scenic view of this temple is breathtaking, which is surrounded by flora and fauna. Although the temple does not have an easy access route, it is definitely worth the journey. The seven kanni devi’s are Biramme, Mageswary, Gaumaree, Varaagi, Vyshnavi, Magenthari and Chamundee.

Legend :

Before the temple was built, Victoria hill was a primary source of silica stones, and was mined by a Chinese contractor. The contractor primarily used explosives to mine Victoria hill. On one occasion, he repeatedly tried to blast explosives but it failed. Immediately he saw a snake slithering past him. The stunned contractor took a gun and shot the snake. Soon after, the contractor and his workers fell ill. After consulting a spiritual medium, the contractor was informed that he had done injustice by mining on the hill. The sacred hill was the dwelling of Nagamma, who frequented the hill in the form of young snakes and maiden ladies.

To repent this injustice, the contractor was instructed by the medium to carry out prayers for Nagamma at Victoria hill. During the prayer, a man got into a trance and started moving like a snake. He slithered across the ground to a particular location. He then advised the contractor to build a temple for Nagamma at that location. Under that mystical command, the Nagamma temple was built.

Over the years, many devotees of this temple have witnessed the amazing sakthi of Nagamma.

Festivals & Pooja :

The most important date in this temple is May 1st, whereby a special pooja is conducted annually. Devotees of Nagamma, fast for three days and carry pots filled with milk from the foothill to the hill top. When the devotees arrive at the temple, the milk is poured onto the seven Kanni Devi’s. Nagamma gives her blessing during this festive occasion, and this has been witnessed by several devotees. Once during this annual festival, the priest of this temple witnessed a beautiful cobra resting beneath a tree near the temple. Astonishingly, the cobra was in seven different colours. As he was stunned by this miraculous incident, the priest called other devotees to witness this mystical event. After receiving the blessings of Nagamma, the priest returned to the temple. He was shocked to see that the seven shades of the cobra was the exact colour of each sari on the seven Kanni Devi’s.

Directions:

Take Seremban exit. Take flyover to Pusat Kualiti Alam untill tunnel. After tunnel, uturn. Take exit to seremban 2, and short distance away, turn left into mud road. Tel: 0196209259

Website :

http://mysticaltemplesofmalaysia.blogspot.com

Veerabhadreshwara Temple



Name : Veerabhadreshwara Temple

Location :

This is an ancient cave temple situated in the lovely picnic spot of Kalhatti falls. This temple is near Kalhattipura which is 20 km south of Tarikere in Chikmagalur District and about 10 km from Kemmannagundi. Tarikere Junction Railway Station is the nearest railhead.

Description :

This temple i am not sure if it is Hill temple, but it is constructed in a gap between rocks, this temple is said to have been built during the Vijaynagara period. The main deity is Lord Veerabhadreshwara, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The entrance of the temple is decorated with three stone carvings of three elephants. According to legends, this place has once hosted the hermitages of Sage Agastya.

The temple conducts its festival for three days every year. No animal sacrifice is made at this temple, but animal sacrifice occurs at the goddess temple a few yards before the Shiva temple.

Other Attractions :

Goddess Chowdeshwari Temple and the Kalhatti falls, situated amidst the natural surroundings, attract both tourists and pilgrims.

Website :

http://www.india9.com/i9show/Veerabhadreshwara-Temple-63045.htm

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Katarmal Sun Temple



Name : Katarmal Sun Temple

Location : Katarmal is about 25 kms from Ranikhet. Seven kms away from Almora, in Uttarakhand state.

Description :

Katarmal is a 800-year old Sun Temple and is the second in importance after the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa.

The deity of the sun temple in Katarmal is known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya (the old Sun God). The temple, noted for its magnificent architecture, artistically made stone and metallic sculptures and beautifully carved pillars and wooden doors, has a cluster of 44 small, exquisitely carved temples surrounding it.



The present mandapa of the temple as well as many of the shrines within the enclosure have been constructed much later. The image of Surya in the temple dates back to 12th century. The idols of Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana are also found in the temple. However, the intricately carved doors and panels have been removed to the National Museum in Delhi after the 10th-century idol of the presiding deity was stolen.

A beautiful trek leads you to the Temple. If anyone don't feel like trekking they can also drive very close to the temple.

Website : http://www.dazzlingindia.com/whattoseeatAlmora_649.html

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shivagange




Name : Shivagange Hill

Location : Shiva Ganga is a hill about 50 km from Bangalore, 20 km ahead of Tumkur. It’s a pretty tall hill with two Shiva temples, one very close to the foot of the hill and another, that’s possibly around 5 km uphill!

Deity : The deities are “Gangadhareshwara”, and his consort “Swarnambha”.

Description :

This place is also called as “Dakshina Kaashi” - Kaashi/Varanasi of South India. One strange happening here in Shivagange is, if you do an ‘abhishek’ of ‘ghee’ in the temple, the same ghee turns in to ‘butter’.

The place is just fantastic, with breathtaking views from the high altitudes. Brilliant are the views of the surrounding city, the nearby `pushkarini’ or pond, from the top of the hill. The unique feature of the hill is, that it looks like a bull (Nandi) from the East, a Ganesha from the West, a Linga from the South and a cobra from the North. A flight of steep steps leads to the shrines of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave temple and Honnadevi temple. The spring water found here is considered to be the sacred water of the 'Ganges'.

Most of the place is rocky, with railings to hold on to as you climb, and monkeys to make sure you don’t take any offerings to the deity on top.

Inside some of the rocks and even inside the temple and the deities and sannidhis, you could find some small fountains or water bodies, that never dry up throughout the year. But the most intriguing of all was a tunnel which supposedly led into the heart of Bangalore.

Other places one can visit in the same hill -

1.Gangadhareshwara Temple


As we go up the hill, we first see the Gangadhareshwara, ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a low roof and alight only with diyas. Pujas and abhisheka are performed here. It is believed that the Abhisheka in ghee turns into butter. There is a tunnel in the Garba Griha (inner sanctum) which is believed to be connecting to the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple at Bangalore. Nobody has tried to enter the tunnel as it is closed from both the entrances for safety reasons.

2.Olakala Teertha

Further up on the hillock we come across the spring water, Olakala Teertha. One has to step down the narrow stairs between the rocks to find the spring. It is said that one who is pious and good can touch or feel the water.

3.Nandi Statue

At the top of the hill is the Nandi Statue, is a monolith placed on a huge rock .The view around the area atop the hill is mesmerizing. This is the peak of Shivagange. After this is the visit to Patala Gange.



4.Patala Gange

Patala Gange is a temple built in the mountain. Here has underground spring seeping at entrance of the temple. Sometimes the water level is up to the knee length and very cold. Passing this we arrive at the Garba Griha where in we can crawl into a tunnel to make the Pradakshina to the Lord. They say the water flows here is connected at Antargange.

5.Shantala drop

Queen Shantala, wife of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana committed suicide here. The drop is more than 500 ft.

It takes about 2-2.5 hours to go up and around 2 hrs to get down the hill. There is a lot of crowd on Sundays and on Maha Shivarathri. Overall, it appears to be a great place for a quick weekend trip.

Traveling Tips

* You need to carry plenty of water and a food packet as the hill is a good 2 km(approx) trek.
* Beware of menace of monkeys. Please do not take carry bags and do not litter.
* Wear a cap or umbrella to avoid the scorching sun.
* There are not many hotels or eat-out, so pack your lunch if you plan to stay longer.
* You start early from Bangalore and cover Shivagange, Namada Chilume and Devarayana Durga in one day. There is a Kamat Outlet and many more hotels on Tumkur road for food and refreshments.

Website : I have used the material from http://www.karnataka.com/tourism/bangalore/shivagange.html for this post. All the credit for this post goes to them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Toong Wah Tong



Name : Toong Wah Tong cave

Location : Toong Wah Tong is located about 500m away from Lost World of Tambun on the way to Tanjong Rambutan in Kinta district, Perak, Malaysia.


Description :

The 130 over years old cave temple which is located about 60 steps high or 100 feet above ground. Visitors will be fascinated by the beautiful cave temple.

Once you are at the temple, you can get a good view of the surrounding greenery including the lime stone hills. Founded by a famous tin miner Leong Sin Nam, the temple opens daily to the public from 9am to 5.30pm. Many tourists from around the world have come to visit this temple. Some came to offer prayers and some came to take a good view from the temple.



Local people will normally come to pray and at the same time climb the hill to keep themselves healthy. Visitors will be welcome by the writings on the wall that read: "If you can climb up the hill, it is fated and when you descend, its your good fortune".

Website : http://eat-n-sleep.blogspot.com/2009/09/toong-wah-tong-cave-temple.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Areopagus or Mars Hill



Name : The Areopagus or Mars Hill or Hill of Ares; Areios Pagos

Location : Athens, Attica State, Greece

Features : Footsteps of Paul

Myth and Mystery :

According to Greek mythology, Ares was tried in a court of the gods on this hill for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios. Another legend says that the hill was the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his stepmother and her lover, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

History :

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, like the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership derived from those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions except that of a murder tribunal.

In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens. At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers could find sanctuary.
In the Bible

The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was then that the Apostle Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of "the Unknown God." According to the biblical account (Acts 17):

A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean. (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you."

...When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." At that, Paul left the Council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.




What to See ;

The Areopagus is a bare marble hill across from the entrance to the Acropolis. Its ancient marble steps can be slippery, especially in the rain. Wear appropriate shoes. Near the base of the stairs is a bronze plaque with the Greek text of Paul's sermon. At the top there are nice views of the Acropolis.

Website : http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-areopagus-mars-hill

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talacauvery - Karnataka



Name : Talacauvery

Location : Located in the Brahmagiri hill, in the Kodagu district near Bhagmandala.

Description :

Talacauvery is presumed to be the origin of the Cauvery River. A tank had been built here and it is supposed that the Talacauvery received water from here. Talacauvery is an important religious place, as a holy kundike is believed to have been emerged from a small permanent spring. Today, however, the source has dried up. Cauvery continues to flow and is considered a holy river by most of the South Indians. A small temple had been built to mark this place.

This temple in Talacauvery is frequented by the local worshippers. During special occasions people take a dip in the holy river. A lot of religious and historical significance is associated with this place. Talacauvery in Karnataka is situated at 1276 meters above sea level. People from all over the world come to this holy place to witness the origin of Cauvery. This river is the lifeline of South India. As a traveler one can check out the temple located near Talacauvery. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Agastheeswara. The temple establishes a link between Cauvery and Agasthya muni (hermit).

Legend :

As is the case with many of the religious places throughout India, Talacauvery too has many popular legends associated with it. According to the legend Agasthya had Kavery in his kamandalam. Ganesha took the form of a crow and toppled the water. He then quickly reverted back to a small boy. The sage thought it was some naughty kid who was playing a prank on him. In his rage he tried to strike Lord Ganesha. When the lord showed himself the sage was bewildered. As penitence, he knocked his own head.

Lord Ganesha is also related to Banavasi in establishing the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangam. As a result these temples are dedicated to him.

Festivals :

Numerous pilgrims from across the country visit Banavasi in Karnataka on Tulasankramana day. They come here to see the miraculous spring active again. The water too gushes out at a fixed moment. It is also considered that the tula snanam will be quite holy during this time. As a result is this bath is performed by several people throughout the pilgrim town by the banks of the river Cauvery. Idols of Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and Ganesha are also to be found here.

Other attractions :

From Mysore, this could be done as a 2 day trip. First day ,one can visit Tibetan monastery / Cauvery Nishadharma Followed by a halt at Madikeri (Mercara, also known as Scotland of India ). From Madikeri it's 62 kms Via Bhagamandala(Yet another Temple with religious importance)and in this Stretch road is Good and so scenic.

Website :

http://www.indianetzone.com/21/talacauvery_religious_site_karnataka.htm

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Valli Malai



Name : Valli Malai

Location :

Valli Malai is situated in North Arcot district near the town Walaja. There is a Murugan temple for Lord Muruga along with Valli and Devayanai.

Description :

Behind the temple there is a kulam Saravana Poikai. Near the kulam there is a Valli temple also. On the top of the hillock there is another temple for Lord Muruga. One has to climb 444 steps to reach this temple that is carved in a single rock. On the steps there are a number of resting mandapams. Out of the many canopies one of them is still not renovated. When they tried to renovate it, Mr. Arunachalam, Mr. Apathurai and Kripananda Variar tried to remove the stone. When they had smoke incense smell coming from the chamber below the stone they had the vision of siddhas and rishis seated in yoga posture. All the three had a shock and became unconscious. From that time the stones were closed and this particular canopy has been left as it is without renovation. There are a number of stories about this.

Valli Malai Shakti Peetam (Iccha Shakti) :

Here Valli Devi has importance from very ancient time many siddhas lived on this hill. In fact one may call it a Siddha Bhumi. On top of Valli Malai near the ashram there is a place where Valli made a paste of turmeric for taking bath. Nearby is the place where Murugan took the form of a tree. Valli Malai Swamigal removed what remained of the tree and made it into a water pool.

Ganesa Giri :

There is a natural rock formation like an elephant and Lord Ganesa has helped in the Valli Tirumanam. Lord Ganesa is in the form of a natural rock formation the Ganesa Giri and protects all the bhaktas.

Tiruppukazh Asramam

Near the Valli Malai rock temple the asramam is situated. Swami Satchidananda accepted Tiruppukazh as the Veda Mantra and taught all with music. In 1950 he attained samadhi. This samadhi is made of a single rock. Presently this asramam is administered by Sri Balananda Swami.

Siva-Visnu
On the top of the hillock there is a Siva lingam called Tirumal Gireeswara. Here Vaisnavism and Saivism commingle. After the puja the priest blesses the devotees with sadari proving that this is a Vaisnava site.



Kumari Teertham
On the west of the asramam, there is a spring which is called Suriyan Kanaa Cunnai, meaning the pond that does not see the sun, i.e. the sun's rays never touch it. The story goes that Lord Murugan came as an old man and asked Valli to give honey and tinai maha (millet flour) to eat. On eating the same he had hiccups and asked for water from a pond which does not get either sun rays or moon rays. The water is perennial and is considered as Ganges water. There are references about this spring on palmyra leaf sources. Young women sprinkle this water on their head and pray to Valli for a good husband.

Valli and Devasena and temple history

Maha Visnu's daughters were Valli and Devayanai. They wanted to have a husband who will never get angry. They performed penance and Lord Muruga appeared before them. Both of them wanted to get married to them. He said that Devayanai will be married as daughter of Indra and Valli to Veddas and then he will marry them.

After destroying Surapadma, Lord Muruga restored the Indra Loka to Indra As a gift Indra gave his daughter Devayanai to Lord Murugan in wedlock. Valli was born on Valli Malai and brought up by Vedda king Nambi Raj. Valli and Lord Muruga played a lot of leelas for nearly twelve years and ultimately married. This hillock where Valli was born therefore gets the name Valli Malai.

Website : http://murugan.org/centers/vallimalai.htm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Servarayan temple



Name : Servarayan temple

Location : Servarayan hill, Yercaud, Tamilnadu, India

Description :

On top of the Servarayan hill stands the Servarayan temple in which Lord Servarayan resides with his consort Kaveri. This deity, the local people believe, is the guardian angel for the 67 villages in and around Yercaud. This temple is inside a cave and one has to bend and go in. People go inside in batches of three.

The cave extends beyond the temple and the locals say it extends all the way to the Kaveri in Karnataka, a distance of 480 km. Very few have explored the full cave.
After 3 km. it is pitch dark inside the cave; no ventilation; snakes all over. it is believed some saints, in the days gone by, had travelled the full length. Tippu Sultan was supposed to have hidden in this cave during a war.



To the south east of the temple is a very old well and it is a wishing well!
The locals believe if they are able to throw at least one stone, from three picked up from the temple, inside the well, with their backs to the well, they will succeed in whatever they plan to do.

Other Attractions :

If one walks down from the Temple, one reaches Killiyur falls. Water, falls from a height of 300 m. During the rainy seasons, the locals say, these falls are very dangerous. Next to the Servarayan temple is the Raja Rajeswari Amman temple. There is also the Jothi Samadhi ashram. The massive Rajarajeswari idol is installed in a sitting posture, and 4.5 feet tall. One can buy prasad, gem stones and lucky stones. There is also a hall for meditation. One can get a full view of Namakkal and Salem from the "Ladies Seat". The Anna Park is a quiet place to relax.

One of the important places in Yercaud is the Pagoda point. The Pagoda Point, is so known because a number of pyramid-like structures abound here. The Anjaneya temple is believed, by the locals, to be very powerful. One can get a full view of Salem from here. The one kilometre lake is surrounded by trees all round. It is a pleasurable experience to go boating in this lake.

Websites :

1. http://usandeep.com/trekking/yercaud.html

2. http://archives.chennaionline.com/toursntravel/placesofinterest/yercaud.asp

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maruthuva Malai


Name : Maruthuva Malai or Marunthuvazh Malai

Location : It is about 2 km from Swamithoppe and 11 km from Nagercoil.

Legend :

According to tradition, the Maruthuva Malai is a fragment of the Sanjeevani Mountain, a piece of which fell down here, and it was carried by Lord Hanuman from Mahendragiri to Srilanka for healing the fatal wounds of Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama.

Description :

The Maruthuva Malai also known as the Marunthu Vazhum Malai – the abode of medicinal herbs, forms from part of the western ghats.

This hill is also believed to be noted in Ayyavazhi mythology as Parvatha Ucchi Malai. Apart from the Mythology, this hill is historically related to the life of Vaikundar. So few theologians consider this hill as sacred and consider it one among the Ayyavazhi holy sites. Backing some quotes from Arul Nool and Akilam some even argue that Marunthuvazh Malai is one among the Pathis. It was nearly 2 kms. walk from the bus stop. It stretches for more than a km, reaching a height of 800 feet at the highest point.

After climbing for a while there were no stairs, simply bushes. When we were about to reach to the top again there were stairs.



Then there is a Temple at the Top.



But this wasn’t the top of the hill there was a path on the right side to go up. We continued on that path and we found carvings on the hill.

Website : http://admirableindia.com/tamil-nadu/trip-to-kanyakumari-chapter-12-maruthuva-malai-or-marunthuvazh-malai-part-1

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lord Arthanareeswarar - Tiruchengode



Name : Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple (also known as "Thirukodi mada chengundroor " in vedic times)

Location : Tiruchengode taluk is located in Namakkal district, south of Salem district and east of Erode district.

No of Steps : 1206

Sthala Vruksham : Eluppai Tree stands as the Sthala Vruksham the tree of the temple on the north side.

Legend :

1. Adi Kesava Perumal, enshrined here, instructed Gowri on the Kedara Gowri Vratam which she performed to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar. One of the 64 manifestations of Shiva - the man-woman form with Parvati constituting the left half of Shiva.

2. A battle of strength between Adi Seshan and Vayu, saw the former clinging tightly to Mount Meru and Vayu using his might to blow it away. The latter succeeded in blowing it away to Tiruchengode and the blood spilled by Adiseshan colored it red. Kamadhenu is said to have obtained 5 hills from Shiva, of which this was one; hence this hill with 2 stories of its origin,with rocks colored both red and yellow represents the masculine and feminine aspects of the Ardhanareeswara manifestation of Shiva.

One is Thiruvannamalai,the next Srilanka and the other is Nagamalai in Thiruchengode.

Period : This ancient hill temple according to the inscriptions on the walls must have been built about 2000 years ago. Many renovation works and additions were done by the kings and chieftains ruled over Tamilnadu in the past.

Description :
The hill, which is about 650 ft. height . The hill is referred in many names like Chemmalai, Nagamalai, Nandhimalai and many more. Ardhanareeswarar - one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, acessible by a motorable road; this is an ancient temple mentioned in the Tamil work Silappadikaram as Neduvelkunru. The red color of the hill caused the name Chengode. The image above, shows the view of the surrounding area from the top of the Tiruchengode hill. This temple  is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamilnadu.

Lord Arthanareeswarar is giving salvation to all souls, from the hill top temple. Lord Sengottuvelavar and Lord Adhikesava Perumal in separate shrines as presiding deities.

Lord Arthanareeswarar has a unique form here, which combines half male and half female form. The lord is also known as Madhorubagan and Ammayappan. It is claimed that this rare posture of the Lord as prime deity can be found only in this temple in the whole of Asia. The hill top temple can be reached by climbing up 1206 steps, made of stone.

View of Mountain :

The hill which stands in the midst of Thirukodimada Sengundroor and also sung in Thevaram is Nagagiri, it is also called as Nagachalam, Panimalai, Uragaverpu, Siva-malai, Kodaimalai and Deivathirumalai. This divine mountain contains about 350 acres of land which is 2000 feet above sea level . It kindles imagination and appears different from different angles. This is actually formed by Nagamalai and Nandimalai .

North side view gives an illusion that as though, Snakes are spreading its hood. Eastern view supplants as Sivalingam and Western view suggests that a snake is ready to engulp, Southern view resembles Thirukayilai.

Nagar pallam



NandhiMalai and NagaMalai is split by a small valley called Nagar pallam. Nagarpallam is the first and foremost past of the huge mountainNagamalai. On either sides of the steps one can see a huge Snake with 5 heads spreading its hood carrying the father of the world as Sivalingam. Over the head of the Snake it is believed that rivers Gange, Yamuna and Saraswathiflow as holy water. People worship this carved stone Snake with Kumkum and camphre. They also make Pongal for the same.

Arubadam Padi / Sathya Vakku Padi :

Beyond Nagar pallam after crossing some Mandapas, one has to cross special steps called Arubadam Padi (60 steps) or Sathya Vakku Padi(steps of truth) by the saint ArunagiriNadhar. And among the 1200 steps these 60 steps are considered to be the most important ones. The 60 steps of Sathya Padi is of same order and so there footsteps stands as a good example for the architectural excellence of Tamilians.

In Olden days there 60 steps were used by the people to solve, unsolvable cases and to know the reality in cases relating credids and bargains. The respective men are told to promise their statements on the 60th step and it is belived that the people will only say the truth while standing on the 60th step. It is said that even the Supreme Court at chennai has accepted the statements that were declared by the people, standing on the 60th step.

Ucchi Pillaiar / Varadikal :



If one climbs further about 425 feet the renowned Pandeeshwara temple could be reached.
People fondly call it has Ucchi Pillaiar.Here one could see a Lingam and Pillaiar. On the west of it lies a stone Varadikal (Maladi kal) or Vandhya Paatana Sikara. The childless parents offer their worship to get the boon of a child by the grace of ucchi pillaiar and Ammai Appan Lord Arthanareeswara.

Girivalam :

One who thinks Arthanareswara and desire to start circling the Arthanarswara hill and forwarding one foot will get equal benefit of Yagam and for second foot he will achieve the benefit of Raja suya Yagam and with clear mind of third foot will achieve Aswameda Yagam and who continues further will get beneficial of all Yagams.
uring circling we can inspire the fragrance of mooligai which leads to good health.

How to make girivalam

* Everyone should circle the hill with barefoot.
* Mutter the name "Om Namashivaya"
* view the peak of the Arthanareeswara hill during the circling.
* Though there is no restriction to circle the hill with respect to time, it is better to circle during the night, ought to belief of formers and sidhas , at this time heavenly asters circle Arthanareeswara hill along with us.
circling path covers around 7 kms. It takes normally 1 1/2 hours to cover the distance.

Sthala Theertham :



AMMAIYAPPAR THEERTHAM (or Deva theertham) is the most important one as it is found at the feet of LORD ARTHANAREESWARA idol in the sanctum sanctorum. This spring of fresh water came into existence by God's grace and the power of Rishis and Siddhars.

Website : http://www.arthanareeswarar.com/English.asp

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mandalay Hill




Name : Mandalay Hill

Location : It is located to the northeast of the city centre of Mandalay in Burma. The city took its name from the hill.

Description : The 240 metre (790 ft) Mandalay Hill is known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries, and has been a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for nearly two centuries. At the top of the hill is the Sutaungpyei (literally wish-fulfilling) Pagoda.

A panoramic view of Mandalay from the top of Mandalay Hill alone makes it worthwhile to attempt a climb up its stairways. There are four covered stairways called saungdan leading up the hill from the south, southeast, west and north, and convenient seats of masonry work line these stairways all the way up. A one-way motor road today saves time and also makes it accessible for those who are unable to climb up the stairs, leading to an escalator and a lift to the pagoda at the summit.

Two gigantic chinthes or leogryphs (stylised lion figures) stand guard at the southern and main approach at the foot of the hill, popularly known as the Chinthe hnakaung atet (two chinthes ascent).



It is a gentle climb and there are many stops along the way, most importantly the hermit U Khanti's dazaung (or) hall where the Peshawar Relics ( three fragments of bone of the Gautama Buddha) were kept from 1923 until after the Second World War when they were moved to a building at the foot of the hill and no longer on display. Leaving U Khanti's dazaung is by way of a tunnel lined by Hnakyeik shissu or the 28 Buddhas of the past and present worlds, or alternatively up a steep flight of steps next to the tunnel. Climbers will see plenty of stalls selling flowers, paper streamers, miniature pennants and umbrellas for the Buddha, and food and refreshment for visitors and pilgrims. All the dazaungs have frieze paintings, most of them from the late Konbaung dynasty period; there is one depicting 'Awizi ngayè (Avici Hell) in detail.

Farther up near the summit, a gigantic standing image of the Buddha called the Shweyattaw (literally standing) (or) Byadeippay (prophesying) Buddha with his right hand pointing towards the city.

Legend : It is said that Buddha once visited the place and prophesied that in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era a great city would be built at the foot of the hill where his teachings would flourish. One curiosity that belongs to the myth surrounding the ancient kingdom of Bagan is the so-called 'Kyanzittha's spear mark' near the top of the hill. He was supposed to have executed a miraculous pole vault using his spear across the Irrawaddy!

The last stop before the Sutaungpyei pagoda completes the legend of Mandalay. Here on the south terrace of a small stupa is the image of the ogress Sanda Muhki who, for want of something to offer the Buddha, made an offering of her own breasts! And for this extreme act of merit the Buddha made the prophesy that Sanda Muhki would be reborn as a great king who would built a city at the foot of the hill and become a great supporter of Buddhism in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era (1857 AD), the year King Mindon laid the foundations of Mandalay.



On each of the four corners of the terrace can be seen a king of the ogres with his army of miniature ogre images behind him paying obeisance to the Buddha. There are also images of various creatures, one at each level before a Buddha image, such as a rabbit, a cockerel or a lizard, representations of the Buddha's innumerable reincarnations during his cycle of Samsara (birth, suffering, death and rebirth).



At the summit

Once on the terrace of the Sutaungpyei Pagoda, a panoramic view of the Mandalay plain stretches far to the horizon, with the old city walls and moat, the Thudhamma Zayats (rest houses), various stupas around such as the Kuthodaw Pagoda and its 729 satellite stupas each housing a page inscribed in stone the world's largest book (the entire Pali Buddhist Canon), Kyautawgyi and Sandamuni Pagodas, the Irrawaddy to the west and the Minwun Hills on its opposite bank, the road to Madaya and Mogok to the north, and the Shan Yoma range of mountains to the east. There is yet a final stop down the northern slope immediately after the Sutaungpyei Pagoda called the Mwegyi hnakaung (Two Great Snakes) Pagoda. It has the images of two great cobras that were believed to frequent the hill to pay their obeisance to the Buddha and above these images seated are those of two Nats that they became when they died. Pilgrims stuff bank notes in the cobras' mouths and pray. The Champac, with its fragrant white blossoms on branches like candelabra, grows wild on the hill, along with the crimson red flowers over the feathery foliage of the Flame tree. Sunset over the river and the western hills as seen from Mandalay Hill can be a wonderful experience, and crowds of tourists may be encountered in the evenings enjoying it.

Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandalay_Hill

Friday, September 11, 2009

Malekal thirupathi - Lakshmi Venkataramana Temple



Name : Lakshmi Venkataramana Swamy Temple - ARASIKERE / ARSIKERE. Also known as Malekal thirupathi

Location : Arsikere is a town in Hassan district in the state of Karnataka. It is known for its coconut production and Malekallu Tirupathi hill. Arsikere is a major railway junction.

Description : The Malekallu Tirupathi hill has 1300 steps and its beleived that lord Rama had visited this place. Its the only place you can see a standing Venkateshwara idol other than famous Tirupati of Andhra Pradesh. There is a famous temple called Shri Lakshmi Venkataramana Swamy temple. One can also see a stone mantapa atop this hill. It is a central place for visit to places of tourist interest, like Belur (40 km), Halebidu (25 km) and Shravanabelagola (80 km).

It was an important town during Hoysala rule and the name Arsikere comes from one of the princesses of the Hoysala dynasty, who built a big pond (kere in Kannada). Arasi means queen in Kannada. Therefore, it is 'Arasiya+kere' which means 'princess-pond'.

Website : http://www.travel2karnataka.com/arasikere.htm

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shanti Ban - Nepal



Name : Shanti Ban

Location : Godavari, Nepal

Description : Shanti Ban is a complex with a distantly visible Image of Lord Buddha , a symbol of peace, as a focal point to provide easeness to anybody and to draw their attention toward it.

The Shantiban complex also includes a Library, Meditation Center, Child Education etc ultimately. First ever Shanti Ban is established at Godavari in Nepal, which is a milestone for the development of complexes all over the world.



Second Shanti Ban is already on progress at Lumbini, birth place of Lord Buddha , in Nepal again. This endavour of establishing Shanti Ban around the world will be continued for world peace.

Website : http://www.shantiban.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kailash Tekari



Name : Kailash Tekari

Location : Kailash Tekari is situated on the Ambaji-Khedbrahma Highway, just one and half km from Ambaji, in Banaskantha District, Gujarat

Description : On the top of Kailash Tekari is a beautiful Shivalaya, where one can go only by climbing the steps and walking on a wonderful hilly area of Kailash Tekari. Exploring Kailash tekari is always a pleasant experience for visitors, along with its beautiful Sunset Point. Moreover, The Temple Trust has recently constructed a big Artistic Stone Gate at the Temple of Mahadev on Kailash Tekari, which is also administered by Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust.

Nestled atop a hillock Kailash tekri is Mangalya Van ( a unique garden that is of late drawing hordes of tourists ).

The van was developed by the forest department in 2007. The spot's USP is a unique Rashi Van' within and a garden of plants, which astrologers say have the same effect as stones on one's life. All those who come to Manglya Van invariably enquire about the effects of plants on sun signs and want to take back home a sapling that favours their zodiac sign. They grow it in their backyard or in the vicinity of their house. Each of the 12 zodiac signs have been given three plants and are planted in 18x18 metre in this garden

Other places to visit near the hill is Pushpanandji Yagashram which is opposite to Kailash Hill.

Website : http://www.onlineambaji.com/Kailashhill.htm

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Atago Shrine




Name : The Atago Shrine

Location : It is located in Minato, Tokyo, Japan.

Description : It is a Shinto shrine built in 1603 (the eighth year of the Keichō era) on the order of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The current shrine was rebuilt in 1958.

The shrine is located on Atago Hill, which is 26 meters above sea level. In old times, the shrine had an excellent view of Tokyo, now obscured by high rises. The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life.



Legend : According to legend, a young samurai dared to ride his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun. It took his horse only one minute to get up, but 45 minutes to get down, and the horse was totally exhausted afterwards.

The shrine was erected to protect the residents from fire, since its formerly excellent view was well suited to watch for fires, and therefore the main Shinto god worshiped in this shrine is the fire god Homusubi no Mikoto. Other gods worshipped are also Mizuhanome no Mikoto (a god of water), Ōyamazumi no Mikoto (a god of mountains) and Yamato Takeru no Mikoto (a god of military).

The shrine is dedicated to the "God of Wishes" and is widely visited by people wanting a profitable future.

Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atago_Shrine_(Tokyo)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Valle dei Templi



Name : Valle dei Templi ( Valley of Temples )

Location : It is an archaeological site in Agrigento (ancient Greek Akragas), Sicily, southern Italy

Description : It is one of the most outstanding example of Greater Greece art and architecture, and is one of the main attraction of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The area was included in the UNESCO Heritage Site list in 1997. Much of the excavation and restoration of the temples was due to the efforts of archaeologist Domenico Antonio Lo Faso Pietrasanta (1783-1863), who was the Duke of Serradifalco from 1809 through 1812.

The term "valley" is a misnomer, the site being located on a ridge outside the town of Agrigento.

Overview :

The Valley includes remains of seven temples, all in Doric style. The identification of the names, apart that of the Olympeion, are a mere tradition established in the Renaissance times. The temples are:

1. Temple of Juno, built in the 5th century BC and burnt in 406 BC by the Carthaginians. The Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno) is situated at the top of the hill and is traditionally dedicated to the protector of matrimony and childbirth. Built around the V century BC, it was set ablaze by the Carthaginians in 406 BC (evidence of burning is still visible on the walls of the cella). The temple was initially constructed with 34 columns of which 30 still remain standing. To the east is the altar of the temple, while, at the back of the building (beside the steps), there is a cistern.


2. Temple of Concordia, whose names stems from a Latin inscription found nearby, and which was also built in the 5th century BC. Turned into a church in the 6th century AD, it is now one of the best preserved in the Valley.

3. Temple of Heracles, who was one of the most venerated deities in the ancient Akragas. It is the most ancient in the Valley: destroyed by an earthquake, it consists today of only eight columns.

4. Temple of Zeus Olympic, built in 480 BC to celebrate the city-state's victory over Carthage. It is characterized by the use of large size atlases.

5 Temple of Castor and Pollux. Despite its remains include only four columns, it is now the symbol of modern Agrigento.

6 Temple of Vulcan, also dating from the 5th century BC. It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley; it is now however one of the most damaged by the years and natural phenomena.

7 Temple of Asclepius, located far from the ancient town's walls. It was the goal of pilgrimage of people seeking foor healing from illness.

The Valley is also home to the so called Tomb of Theron, a large tuff monument of pyramidal shape; scholars suppose it was built to celebrate the Roman victims in the Second Punic War.

Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_dei_Templi

Friday, July 24, 2009

Anuvavi Subramanyaswamy Temple



Name : Anuvavi Subramanyaswamy Temple

Location : This Anuvavi Subramanya Swamy Temple is located at Periyathadagam, at a distance of 12 kms from Coimbatore.

Main Deity : Subramanyaswamy

Legend :

When Lord Anjaneya was on his way back bringing Sanjeevi hill he felt very thirsty and stopped in this place to quench his thirst. Unfortunately Lord Anjaneya could not find water in that area. So Anjaneya prayed to Lord Muruga for water. As an answer to Anjaneya's prayer Lord Muruga appeared with Deivanai and with the help of his weapon "VEL" pierced on this hill and water started to ooze out from the hill which helped Lord Anjaneya to quench his thirst. Even today the villagers of this area use the natural water from that particular pond for drinking and other purposes. The last Kumbabhishekam was performed in the year 1969.

Description :

There are nearly 550 steps to be claimed to reach the main temple. There is small temple for the Lord Ganasha on the way. Main deity here is Lord Subramaniya (Sri Karthikeya) with his
consorts Sri Devayani and Sri Valli.

Adjacent to sannathi of Lord Subramaniya is the sannathi of Lord Anjaneya Swami. There is a small 'rath' made of wood for taking the deity around the temple in 'parikrima'.

If you climb the steps that are adjacent to the Anjaneya sannathi, you will see the place from where Lord Subramaniya had witnessed Lord Anjaneya quenching his thirst.

Adjacent to that is the spring from where water is collected in the tank.

Festivals :

The temple celebrates all the functions connected with Lord Subramaniya like Karthika of every month, thai pusam, panguni uttaram vaikasi visakam etc.

Website : http://www.pearlscorniche.com/anuvavi-subramanyasamy.html

Kurunda Malai - Kulanthai VelayuthaSwamy Thirukoil



Name : Arulmigu Kulanthai VelayuthaSwamy Thirukoil

Location : It is located at Kurunthamalai, in Coimbatore District, in Tamil Nadu. It is about 24 km from Coimbatore and 4 km from Karamadai.

Description : The presiding deity here is Kuzhandai Velayudaswamy (Lord MUruga), enshrined in a west facing sanctum. There is a Vinayakar image worshipped at the base of the hill. Tirumalai Nayakar of Madurai is believed to have built this hill temple.

Arulmigu Kulanthai VelayuthaSwamy Thirukoil is one of the most beautiful temples in the region and was built around 750 years ago. The temple was named after its location on a hill covered with full of ‘Kurunda’ trees and hence the name ‘Kurunda Malai’.

Legend : Legend has it that Thiru Agasthiya Munivar got 'Mandira Upadesam’ from Lord Muruga at this temple.

Festivals : The major festivals celebrated here include Thaipusam, Panguni Uthram and Chithirai Kani. During the festive occasions thousands of devotees throng here to obtain the blessings of the Lord.

Website : http://www.india9.com/i9show/Arulmigu-Kulanthai-VelayuthaSwamy-Thirukoil-26844.htm

Lingyin Temple




Name : Lingyin Temple, Língyǐn Sì. The temple's name is commonly literally translated as Temple of the Soul's Retreat.

Location : It is located north-west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. It is one of the largest and wealthiest Buddhist temples in China.

Description : Lingyin Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Chan sect. The monastery is the largest of several temples in the Wulin Mountains, which also features a large number of grottos and religious rock carvings, the most famous of which is the Feilai Feng; literally "the peak that flew hither").

History

The monastery was founded in 328 AD during the Eastern Jin Dynasty by Indian monk Huili. From its inception, Lingyin was a famous monastery in the Jiangnan region. It still has the Stone Pagoda which contains Huili's Ashes.

At its peak under the Kingdom of Wuyue (907-978), the temple boasted nine multi-storey buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls, more than 1300 dormitory rooms, inhabited by more than 3000 monks. Many of the rich Buddhist carvings in the Feilai Feng grottos and surrounding mountains also date from this era.

The Feilai Feng grottos

Feilai Feng, or "the Peak that Flew Hither", also commonly translated as "Flying Peak", is located in front of the temple proper. The peak is so-named because it is made of limestone, giving it a craggy appearance very different from the surrounding mountains. Legend holds that the peak was originally from India (with some versions suggesting that it is Vulture Peak, but flew to Hangzhou overnight as a demonstration of the omnipotence of Buddhist law. A large number of carvings dot the surface of the peak. More are located in various caves and grottos throughout the peak. Within the main cave, dedicated to the bodhisattva Guanyin, there is a crack in the ceiling of the cave that stretches up to the surface, so that a person standing at a certain position can see a sliver of sunlight. This is known as the "one thread of heaven"

Other Attraction :

Hall of the Heavenly Kings

The formal entrance of the temple is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings. The principal statue in this hall is that of the Maitreya Buddha in his manifestation as the cloth bag monk, or the Laughing Buddha. At the back, facing up the hill, is the Skanda Buddha, or Weituo as he is known in Chinese. This statue dates from the Southern Song Dynasty. Arranged along the left and right are the Four Heavenly Kings. The ceiling is ornately painted and decorated with phoenixes and dragons.

Visitors to the temple are often impressed by the size and majesty of the entrance hall and its statues of the heavenly kings. Indeed, the hall of the Heavenly Kings at the Lingyin Temple is as large or larger than the main hall at many temples, reflecting its status as the centre of Buddhism in south-eastern China.

Grand Hall of the Great Sage

The second and principal hall is the Mahavira Hall, or the Grand Hall of the Great Sage. It is separated from the Hall of the Heavenly Kings by a large courtyard, featuring a raised lawn bordered with trees. To the left of the courtyard stands the Hall of the Five Hundred Arhats.

Hall of the Medicine Buddha

Further uphill and behind the main hall is the Hall of the Medicine Buddha, housing a statue of the Bhaisajyaguru Buddha, commonly called the Medicine Buddha.

Sutra Library

Uphill from the Hall of the Medicine Buddha is the Sutra Library (Chinese: 藏经楼; pinyin: Cángjīng Lóu). This, and the Huayan Hall behind it, were built from 2000 to 2002 to re-create the five-hall main axis. The Sutra Library does not house a major statue and is not open for worship.

Huayan Hall

The fifth and last hall on the main axis is the Avatamsaka Hall, or Huayan Hall. Built in 2002, this hall houses statues of the three sages of the Avatamsaka Sutra, known as the Huayan Sutra in Chinese - Shakyamuni, Manjusri, and Samantabhadra.

Hall of the Five Hundred Arhats

The Hall of Five Hundred Arhats, also a modern addition, faces onto the western side of the court yard in front of the main hall. The building has a complex floor plan, shaped like a Buddhist swastika. Along the arms of the swastika are arranged the five hundred arhats as slightly larger-than-life bronze statues. Each statue is seated on a unique ornate seat. At the centre, where the arms of the swastika join, stands a bronze canopy housing statues of four bodhisattvas representing the four cardinal directions. This is currently the tallest solid bronze structure in the world.

Website :
http://www.lingyinsi.org/

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