Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kanyakumari District Tourist Spots-1

Kanyakumari Beach
The beach at Kanyakumari is comparatively small but crowded especially in mornings and evenings to enjoy the splendid Sunrise and Sunset.The sand at the beach is also peculiar which is multicolored and attracts all visitors.The Sun rise and Sunset at Kanyakumari is very spectacular and the colour changes of the horizon in the early morning is enchanting.

The confluence of Indian Ocean,Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal is also an exhilarating sight at that 'Triveni Sangamam' the colors of the three seas can be differentiated.The scenic beauty of the sea and surrounding area is mind blowing.
Vattakottai Fort
This fort is 6 km from Kanyakumari and is a medium sized fort.
Vattakottai beach and the fort are lovely picnic spots.

 Udayagiri Fort
Situated at Thuckelay 14 km from Nagercoil was built in 17th century and was renovated by Marthanda Varma Maharajah in the 17th Century.
The tomb of the Army Chief of Marthanda Varma Maharajah who was Admiral of the Dutch, 'Eustachias De Lannoy' is there inside the Chapel of the Fort.
A spotted deer park,Children's park and a pond for ducks and swans are in the fort.

 Manakudy Estuary
Manakudy backwaters area near Nagercoil is very beautiful.
The mangrove island which is a bird hub and the estuary and nearby areas are all very charming.
Ullakarvi Waterfalls
Ullakarvi Waterfalls is situated at 'Azhakyapandiapuram' village 17 km from Nagercoil.There are two waterfalls, lower falls and the upper falls.The lower falls is a favorite picnic spot and the cool water is tempting for a refreshing bath.
Mukkadal Dam
Mukkadal dam is situated 10 km from Nagercoil in a pleasant scenic place surrounded by hills on three sides.The dam was built by Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma Maharajah of Travancore in the year 1945 for the supply of drinking water for Nagercoil town.The nearby area where abundance tree varieties are seen and the beautiful grasslands,valleys are marvelous sights.
St.Xavier's Church Kottar
This Cathedral of the Roman Catholic diocese of Kottar attracts large number of devotees and tourists.St.Francis Xavier celebrated Holy Mass here in the 16th century.

 Thiruparappu Waterfalls
The beauty of Thiruparappu Waterfalls which is 600 ft long and 50 ft high is extremely beautiful.The nearby areas are all fascinating.The waterfall is near to the famous Thiruparappu Shiva Temple.

 Sothavilai Beach
Sothavilai beach near Nagercoil is one of the longest beaches of Tamil Nadu and stretches over 4 km.
Sanguthurai Beach
Sanguthurai Beach which is about 8 km from Nagercoil is a beautiful palm fringed and sandy beach.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Suchindram Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple

Suchindram  Sree Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple also called as Thanumalayan Perumal Temple is situated on the banks of the river Pazhayar at Suchindram in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu State.Basically this temple is a Lord Siva temple and Devi Parvathi is also installed in this temple as 'Aram Valartha Nayaki/Umaymmai.
The idol of the presiding deity in the Lingam form is believed to be an embodiment of 'Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma' and since the divine 'Trinity' is present here this temple is considered sacred  by both  the sects Vaishnavite and Saivite  of Hinduism.Up to the formation of the  State of Kerala this temple was under Travancore King's administration.
In an ancient devotional song in Malayalam which describes the names of the 108 famous Lord Shiva temples in Kerala area (108 Shivalayangal) the name of this temple is also included.Obviously it was written before the formation of Kerala State and areas including  Suchindram  was attached to Tamil Nadu State in 1956.
Reciting that poem ceases  the sufferings and problems of the devotee is that as mentioned in it.The poem  is as follows:-
" Sreemad Dakshina Kailasam Sree Peruru Raveeswaram
Suchindram Chovvaram Mathur Thrippangottadha Mundayur
Sreemandhamkunnu Chovvallur Pananchery Korattiyum
Porandakattu-vangannur Kolluru Thirumangalam
Thrikkariyooru Kunnapram Sreevelloor-ashtamangalam
Airanikulavum Kainur Gokarnam Eranakulam
Parivaluradattum Nalparappil Chathamangalam
Paraparambu Thrikkuru Panayuru Vytilla
Vaikom Rameswarm -mattu-mettumanururedakkolam
Chemmanthattaluva pinne Thirumittakodu Cherthala
Kallattupuzha Thrikkunnu Cheruvathuru Ponganam
Thrikkapaleswarm Moonnu mavittathoor Perummala
Kollathum Kattakambala Pazhayannuru Perakam
Athambyelar Ambilikattu Cheranalluru Maniyoor
Thali Nalu Lodungallur Vanchiyoor Vanchuleswaram
Panjarkulam Chittukulam Alathuradha Kottiyoor
Thrippaluru Perunthatta Thrithala Thiruvallayum
Vazhapally Puthupally Mangalam Thirunakkara
Kodumbura -shtamikkovil  Pattanikkattunashtayil
Killikkurissiyum Puthur Kumbhasambhava Mandiram
Someswarancha Vengalloor Kottarakkar Kandiyoor
Palayuru Mahadevanelluradha Medumpur
Mannur Thrichaliyur Sringapuram Kotturu Mammiyoor
Parambumthali Thirunava -kkarikkattu Thenmala
Kottappuram Muthuvaravalappayi Chgendamangalam
Thrikandiyoor Peruvanam Thiruvalloor Chirackalum"
Ipparanjava Noottettum bhakthiyothu padikkuvor
Deham Nasikkiletheedum Mahadevante Sannidhouh
Pradoshathil Japichal Akhilasesha Duritham kedum
Yathra Yathra Siva Kshetram yathra yathra Namamyaham.

The Sthanumalayan is considered as an embodiment of the Trinity Brahma Vishnu Mahaswara and the top part of the 'Lingam' is where Lord Shiva exists,middle part is of Lord Vishnu and at the base part is lord Brahma exists is the belief.In the word 'Sthanumalayam' 'Sthanu' represent Lord 'Shiva', Mal' represents Lord Vishnu and 'Ayan' represents Lord Brahma.

If we take it to account 'Sthanumalayam' as Sthanu+Alayam, the meaning becomes temple of Lord Shiva.
There are  legends that the Goddess 'Kanya Kumari' performed penance to marry the Shiva of this temple but the celestial Devas did not allow to workout the plan because  Devi had to maintain her virginity to kill an Asura(Demon).
Any how it can be assumed that the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, but the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma also.

When Sage Gauthama Cursed Indra Deva he Propitiated the Trinity by performing penance at this place and the ugly figure of Indra happened because of the curse by Gouthama  was cleaned and purified by the Trinity  Gods here and hence the name 'Suchindram'.(Suchi means 'to cleanse' or purify).Indra begged the presence of the Trinity at this place is the legend.It is believed that Indra Deva performs 'Ardhayama pooja (mid night pooja ritual) now- a- days also in this temple.
Another legend is that when one of the 'Saptha Rishis' Sage Atri and his wife lived at this place the Devas planned to test the chastity of Atri's wife Anasooya when Sage Narada happened to praise about  herQualities of chastity, love and respect to her husband.Lord Brahma,Vishnu and Mahadeva disguised as mendicants and approached her 'ashram' when Atri was not there  and asked for alms.When she offered them food they said as per a vow she had to serve them without wearing any clothes.She prayed to the almighty and sprinkled water from the 'Kamandalu'(waterJug) of her husband and because of her power of spirituality and chastity the Trinity Gods transformed to  as babies.She fed the babies after removing her dress as demanded by them earlier and laid the babies in cradles.Meanwhile Parvathy Devi,Saraswathi Devi and Mahalakshmi Devi came there and Anasuya turned back the Gods to their original form.When they left the place a 'Syambhoo Lingam'(Self manifested idol) was formed under a 'Konna' tree.

The temple has seven tier towering 'Gopuram' which is gigantic and has beautiful sculptures and carvings with the images of deities and scenes form the epics Ramayana, Mahabharatha etc.The interior of the temple is also heavily carved and ornamented with spectacular mural paintings.On the walls of the 7 floors of the Gopuram are also seen ancient mural paintings which are scenes from the epics Ramayana,Mahabharatha etc.
Champakaraman Mandapam is filled with beautiful sculptures and spectacular sculpted pillars.'Alankara Mandapam' has the famed musical pillars which produce seven 'swaras' which are seven musical notes when tapped.There are 1035 carved pillars in the 'Nritha Mandapam'.
This temple has the large 'Nandi Statue' which is supposed to be  800 years old and made up of lime and mortar.It is 21 feet high 13 feet long and 10 feet wide.
There is a huge Hanuman Swamy Idol(Anjaneya Swamy) in this temple which is 18 feet tall and carved out of a single piece of stone and depicted as in a happy state.Two centuries back it was buried under the  soil in the temple premises  to protect it from the  invader Khan Chanda Saheb and again brought out for reverence in 1930 only.The depiction is that as when  he met Sita Devi at Lanka and showed  her his true mighty form but  with folded hands bowing to her in respect.People offer 'Abhishekam'(unction) with water,milk,Panineer(Rose water) etc for him.Muzhukappu with sandalwood paste,Venna charthu, Vadamala etc are also offered.
There are several other  sub deities in this temple including 'Lord Ganapathi,Lord Vishnu,Lord Subramanya,Dakshina Murthy,Sitha-Rama,Kalabhairava Swamy,Navagrahas with their celestial vehicles,Lord Ayyappa Swamy etc.
A rare idol which is female form of Ganesha known as 'Vigneswari' is in this temple.Such a depiction is found elsewhere only in a temple in Jabalpur and another in Tibet.
It is believed that Sage Agasthya, Sage  Aadi Shankaracharya,Sage Ramanuja etc worshiped in this temple.It is also  believed that Lord Indra still worship here every day. 
There is large temple pond known by the  names as 'Indra Theertham' and 'Prapancha Theertham'
The annual festival in this temple  is for ten days in the month of 'Markazhy'(Dec-Jan) and on the last day  the temple's decorated  wooden Radhams (Chariots/Temple Car) in which  the main deities are placed are drawn  around the streets surrounding the temple by devotees and it  is witnessed by several thousands of devotees and tourists  The car festival marks the close of that year's annual ceremony.
Other festivals are 'Aardra Darsanam,Shivarathri,Navarathri,Thrikkarthika,Paimkuni Uthram' etc.
The temple timings are morning 4.30 am to 1.30 pm and evening 3.30 pm to 9.00 pm.
There are Railway Stations at Kanyakumari and at Nagercoil.Kanyakumari is only 14 km from here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kanyakumari tourist attractions

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

At Kanyakumari one of the top tourist attraction is the beautiful monument 'Vivekananda Rock Memorial' built on the island rock 'Vivekananda Rock' 500 meters off  the main land. From the southernmost tip to the rock there is ferry boat service and tourists enjoy this trip also.
The Vivekananda rock was famous as 'Sripadam Para' as there is an imprint of goddess Kumari Devi on it.The legend is that Kumari Devi performed penance on this rock for propitiating Lord Shiva.
While Vivekananda Swamiji visited Kerala  he visited  Kanyakumari also and because of an inspiration he swam to the rock and meditated on it.It is said that Swamiji got enlightened at this place.The rock came to be known  both as Vivekanda Para (Vivekananda Rocks) and also in the previous name  as Sripadam Para later on.
The Vivekananda Memorial was built in 1970 which consists of two sections such as Vivekananda Mandapam and Sripada Mandapam.A shrine is made where the foot print of the Devi is existing.
A statue of Swami Vivekananda is installed in the building and the architectural beauty of the building is superb. There is a meditation hall, study hall,museum etc in this building. A nominal entrance fee is charged and the timing is from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

Kanya Kumari Devi Temple

Kanya Kumari Devi Temple also known as Kumari Amman Temple is visited by large number of  devotees and is located near to the sea.There are so many legends about Devi Kanya Kumari.The sand in Kanyakumari beach  is unique slight reddish colored  and the reason for this typical sand  also leads to a story of Devi Kanya Kumari.The temple is styled in Kerala architecture and the Pooja rituals followed here is  of Kerala Style.

St.Xavier's Cathedral

St.Xavier's Cathedral was built in 16th Century and is revered by large number of devotees.It is located at Kottar and this Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to St.Xavier who is lovingly called as Valia Pandaram.The annual festival is celebrated for ten days during Nov-Dec.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial 

Mahatma Gandhi memorial which is a beautiful monument is in Kanya Kumari
which was built in 1956 and attracts large number of tourists.This monument was constructed in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, The Father of the Nation.
The building is also known as Gandhi Mandapam and resembles Hindu Shrines of Central India.A pot containing Gandhiji's funeral ash was kept here for a period till it was immersed in the sea.On October 2nd through a hole on the roof Sun's ray's fall exactly on the spot where the pot was kept.October 2 is birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

Thiruvalluvar Statue

Thiruvalluvar was a great Tamil poet and the author of the globally renowned book 'Thirukkural' which is a collection of 1330 Tamil couplets.His 133 feet high statue stands on a small island rock off mainland.The statue has 38 feet high pedestal and the exact height of the statue alone is 95 feet.140 steps lead visitors to the feet of Thiruvalluvar.The timing is 8 am to 4 pm.

Chitharal Jain Monument

At this small hamlet in Kanyakumari the  ruins of the Chitharal Jain monument can be seen.This is a historical evidence that there was Jain settlements in this place.

Tsunami Memorial

Many people lost their lives in the worst Tsunami occurred in 2004 and there is a memorial built at Kanyakumari for their  memory.

Our Lady of Ransom Church 

This 15th century Church is dedicated to Mother Mary and is a fine example of Gothic architecture.The beautiful Church forms a scenic picture against the backdrop of the blue ocean.

Mathur Aqueduct

Mathur Aqueduct or hanging trough is among the tallest and longest trough bridges in Asia.It is having 115 feet height and a kilometer long.It was constructed in the year 1966 over the river Pahrali in Mathur, a small hamlet.The concrete structure is supported by 28 pillars and carries water for irrigation purpose.The aqueduct is divided into two sections one as a canal and the other as a road.

Kamarajar Manimandapam

There is a monument at Kanyakumari in memory of the great independent leader and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State, Shri.Kamaraj. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thiruvattar Aadi Kesava Perumal Temple

Thiruvattar Aadi Kesava Perumal Temple is a beautiful perennial temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu which is located at Thiruvattar near Marthandam in Tamil Nadu State.This temple is situated 30 km from Nagercoil off Marthandam.From Marthandam the distance to  Thiruvattar is 6 km.
The State of Tamil Nadu has 32 Districts and Nagercoil City is the headquarters of Kanyakumari District.It is also the Southernmost City in South India.The places of this district was part of erstwhile Travancore State  and was known  as Nanjinadu and Edanadu.These places became part of Tamil Nadu State when Kerala State was formed in 1956.
The Aadi Kesava Perumal Temple at Thiruvattar is believed to be older than Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple of Thiruvananthapuram.Some devotees consider him as the elder brother of Sree Padmanabha Swamy in this regard.
In both these temples the deity Maha Vishnu is in reclining posture and the idol is large in size.In both these temples the idol is shown as Maha Vishnu reclining on the serpent Anantha.Both these idols are made of 'Salagramams'.
Thiruvattar temple was also revered by Veera Marthanda Varma Maharajah and before the assignment of each war he performed to widen Venad State into  a bigger Travancore  State, he used to visit this temple and worshiped Aadi Kesava Perumal.
The Legend is that Lord Aadi Kesava Perumal (Lord Maha Vishnu) killed a demon by name 'Kesi' and his wife performed penance to Ganga Devi and pleaded to cause destruction to this temple by floods in nearby rivers.River Thamirabharani, River Kothai and River Pahrali tried this task but were in vain and these rivers are found circling this place and the name derived as 'Thiruvattar'.
The temple is situated in a beautiful scenic place surrounded by these rivers and it is existing in three acres of land.The temple roof is copper plated.There are large number of wooden pillars and stone pillars.The deity of this temple is made out of 16008 Salagramams.(Salagramams are a typical type of stones which are considered as sacred and found in the River 'Gandhaki' in Nepal.Using a method known as 'Kadusarkara Yogam' by adding several other herbs and natural materials the idol is made.The idol of this temple is 22 feet long.It is depicted as reclining on the serpent Anantha with the Head of Lord Maha Vishnu in the South and feet in the North.The Posture of the deity is called as 'Bhujanga Sayanam'.The Sun's rays falls directly on the deity during two periods in an year.
There are 18 steps to reach his 'Sannidhi' and as in Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple there at Aadi Kesava Perumal temple also there is 'Ottakal Mandapam' in front of the sanctum which is having 18 feet  width and 3 feet height cut out as a single piece of  stone.
This temple is also one among the 'Divya Desams', the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu.The Tamil Saint Poets 'Alvars'(Azhvars) praised all these 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu in their hymns and poems and they  mentioned and described  13 temples out of these  as 'Malai Nadu' temples( which refers to Kerala temples).Out of these 2 of them became part of Tamil Nadu State including Thiruvattar temple  and  only 11 Divya Desam temples are in Kerala at present.
Reference of this temple is found in the 2000 years old 'Sanghakala' Tamil literature text known as 'Pura Nanooru'.
The Pooja rituals followed in this temple at present is also of the  Kerala style and the priests are  from Kerala.The festivals are as like that of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.
There is separate shrine for Lakshmi Narasimha Moorthy in this temple compound.
There are very old inscriptions found in this temple.Very beautiful sculptures of Venu Gopala,Rathi Manmathan,Indrajith and Lakshmana,Oorthava Thandavam etc are existed in this temple.Very beautiful murals are also seen at Aadi Kesava Perumal temple.
The offerings include Paalpayasam,Aval,Unniyappam,Aravana,Paanakam and many more.
It is believed that Lord Parasurama and Sage

Vasishta performed penance in this temple.