:: Mahabalipuram Temple
58-Km From Chennai, Tamil NaduCalled
Mamallapuram, The City Of BaliFamous :
Centre For Pallava Culture
And ArtsImportant Festivals Celebrated :
Dance Festival In The Month
Mahabalipuram Temple The history of Mahabalipuram dates
back to two thousand years, it contains nearly forty monuments of different types
including an "open air bas relief" which is the largest in the world,
for centuries it has been a centre of pilgrimage, it figures in the early annals
of the British search for the picturesque in India in the 18th century, today
it attracts shoals of foreigners in search of relaxation and sea bathing, and
most strange of all, it has an atomic power plant for neighbours. A small library
has been written on it. Over its history and that of its monuments a number of
scholarly controversies rage. Sri Lanka's national chronicle, the "Mahavamsa"
testifies to this fact.
Most of the monuments like rock-cut Rathas, sculptured
scenes on open rocks like Arjuna's penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Mahishasurmardini,
the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple are attributed to the period of Narasimha Varman-I
Mamalla. Mahabalipuram was already a centre of pilgrimage when, in the 7th century
Mamalla made it a seaport and began to make temples fashioned of rock. It was
through Mahabalipuram that many Indian colonists, who included sages and artists,
migrated to Southeast Asia.Some of the important pilgrimage attractions
of the small village of Mahabalipuram include:Shore Temple -
Facing the sea and designed to catch the first rays of the rising golden sun,
the Shore temple is perched on top of a rocky outcrop. This shrine is dedicated
to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The temple has interconnected cisterns through
which the sea can be let in to transform the temple into a water shrine. But,
in recent times, a stone wall as been added to protect the shrine from the rising
seas and further erosion.
There are ten Mandapas at Mahabalipuram of which two are unfinished. These
were designed as shrine with a sanctum and an outer hall. Excavated from one
of the low hills of Mahabalipuram, these pillared pavilions exemplify the glory
of Pallava rock art in its finesse. The most famous of these is the Ganesha
Mandapa, which is still an active shrine, dedicated to the elephant god, Ganesha.
Other important Mandapas include the Vishnu Sayana Mandapa, the Vishnu Sayana
Mandapa, the Varaha mandapa, and the yet unfinished Panch Pandava mandapa.
Literally 'Rathas' mean chariots. There are eight Rathas, of which five
have been named after the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata,
and their shared wife, Draupadi. The largest is the Dharmaraja ratha which sets
the tone for the others. The shape of these temples that were carved in the 7th
century became the birthplace of a new style of architecture unique only to Mahabalipuram.
The temples are modelled on a Buddhist vihara or monastery, as it sports a square
hall topped by a vaulting roof. The Bhima, Arjuna and Nakula-Sahdeva rathas are
lesser copies of the Dharmaraja ratha. The Draupadi ratha is the smallest and
the quaintest. It is a simple structure, fashioned as a thatched hut borne on
the backs of elephants and lions. It was probably the facsimile of a portable
The famous Dance Festival of Mahabalipuram is annually
celebrated in the month of December. Dances from all over India are staged here
including Bharatha Natyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra
Pradesh) as well as tribal dances, puppet shows and classical / traditional music.
How to Get There
Chennai (58-km) is the nearest airport with both domestic
and international terminus. Chennai is connected with all the major places in
India through the numerous domestic flights. International flights operate from
various parts of the world to Chennai. Rail :
railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations
one has to take road to reach the Mahabalipuram. Road :
are available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram
daily. The road to Mahabalipuram is good. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai.
Click Here to Book Mahabalipuram Temple Tour |||
Madurai, Tamil Nadu Deity Worshipped :
(Lord Shiva) And Goddess Meenakshi Built By :
King, Kulasekhara Festivals Celebrated :
In April-May And The Teppam Festival
Temple in Madurai is one of the most ancient in India. Although its origins
in times are not conclusively assigned, it is believed to be more than 2500
years old. The soaring and exquisitely carved nine storeys high towers enclosing
the temple are one of the best in temple architectures in India. There are twin
temples at south gateways dedicated to Lord Shiva and Meenakshi. On looking
up the south gateways you would see the four mythical beasts called Yalis glaring
downwards. The structures occupy a vast space, 258 m by 241m that rise out of
the teeming streets of the city center.
While the dynasties that ruled here kept
on changing from time to time, various kings have renovated the temple. At every
turn there is magnificent architecture and superb sculpture. The convoluted corridors,
larger-than-life sculptures that are standing today date mostly from the twelfth
to the eighteenth century.
The image of the presiding deity the Goddess
Meenakshi is said to be carved out of a single emerald. The Goddess Shakti herself
born as daughter of a Pandyan king. As per the legend the marriage of the goddess
to Shiva took place in Madurai. The event is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety
every summer. The 150 feet South Gopuram emits flashes of greens, blues, yellows
and whites. The structure stands beautifully proportioned and is crowded with
gargoyles and gryphons perching on the ornate curved edges. Centre to these stand
or gently sit sedate gods and goddesses. In comparison to the statues of classical
Greece, the ancient Dravidian culture of South India has been painted with better
use of brilliant colors. The Origin Of The Meenakshi
Meenakshi Sundareswara temple and Madurai city originated together. According
to tradition, Indra once committed sin when he killed a demon, who was then
performing penance. He could find no relief from remorse in his own kingdom.
He came down to earth. While passing through
forest of Kadamba trees in Pandya land, he felt relieved of his burden. His
servitors told him that there was a Shivalinga under a Kadamba tree and beside
a lake. Certain that it was the Linga that had helped him; he worshipped it
and built a small temple around it. It is believed that it is this Linga, which
is till under worship in the Madurai temple. The shrine is called the "Indra
When the next Pandya, Malayadhvaja, and his queen, Kanchanamala, performed a sacrifice
for a child, Lord Shiva caused Goddess Parvati Herself to step out of the fire
as a little girl. She had three breasts. Lord Shiva told the couple that the third
breast would disappear when she set eyes on he who was to be her husband. They
were to name her "Thadathagai" and bring her up as if she were a boy.
Once Dhananjaya, a merchant of Manavur, where the Pandyas had arrived after the
second deluge in Kumari Kandam, having been overtaken by nightfall in Kadamba
forest, spent the night in the Indra Vimana. When next morning he woke up, he
was surprised to see signs of worship. Thinking that it must be the work of the
Devas, he told the Pandya, Kulasekhara, in Manavur, of this. Meanwhile Lord Shiva
had instructed Pandya in a dream to build a temple and a city at the spot Dhananjaya
would indicate. Kulasekhara did so. Thus originated the temple and city.
She succeeded her father to the throne at his death. She gained many military
victories. Finally she marched on Kailasa itself. When she saw Lord Shiva, her
third breast disappeared. The Lord told her to return to Madurai and said that
He would marry her there. The divine marriage was celebrated. This is the theme
much beloved of Madurai artists. There is a superb sculpture of this in the temple.
The crowning of Meenakshi, for She was the same as Thadathagai, is celebrated
as a festival in the temple.
The Lord performed many miracles at the wedding.
These are described in a celebrated poem, the "Tiruviayadal Puranam".
Under the name of "Sundara Pandya", the Lord ruled the land as a mortal.
After sometime, crowning Lord Muruga, their son, who was named "Ugra Pandya",
Sundara Pandya and Thadathagai went into the temple and assumed divine forms as
"Lord Somasundara" and "Goddess Meenakshi" respectively.
About The Temple
While the temple originated
in times to which no date can be assigned, the structures that are standing today
date mostly from the twelfth to the eighteenth century. They occupy a vast space,
258 m by 241m. There are the two main shrines, no less than twelve Gopuras, a
tank and innumerable Mandapas. At every turn there is superb sculpture, magnificent
References Of The Temple
Paranjothi Munivar wrote the Tiruviayadal
Puranam in the sixteenth century. It is regarded as the temple's Sthalapurana.
An earlier work adds a few celestial sports not included in the latter. These
are, or rather were painted on the walls around the Golden Lily Tank. Some of
the painted wooden panels are in the Temple Museum.
In the 14th century
an invasion by Malik Kafur damaged the temple. In the same century Madurai was
under Muslim rule for nearly fifty years. The temple authorities closed the sanctum,
covered up the Linga, and set up another in the Ardhamandapa. When the city was
liberated, the sanctum was opened, and, tradition says the flower garlands and
the sandalwood paste placed on the Linga were as fresh as on the first day, and
two oil lamps were still burning.
The earliest references available
to any structure in this temple is a hymn of Sambhandar's, in the seventh century,
which refers to the "Kapali Madil". The present inner walls of the Lords
shrine bear this name today. In the early times the entire temple must have been
confined to the area between these walls, and the structures must have been of
brick and mortar. How to Get There
Madurai is connected by air with Mumbai and Chennai. Madurai
airport is 10-km away from the city. Rail :
direct rail connections to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameshwaram,
Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin.
There are excellent roads connecting Madurai to all parts of
South India. Madurai city has 5 Major Bus Stands- Periyar Bus Stand, Anna Bus
Stand, Palanganatham Bus Stand, Arapalayam Bus Stand, Mattuthavani Bus Stand.
From Madurai town buses, suburban buses, taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws
are available to reach the temple. |||
Click Here to Book Meenakshi Temple Tour |||
45-km From Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity :
One of the 33 Major Temples Of
Lord Muruga In Tamil Nadu
Festivals Celebrated :
In October-November, Margazhi Tiruvadirai, And Navaratri
are in all 33 major temples in Tamil Nadu where Lord Muruga or Murugan is worshipped.
Murugan Temples at Palani and Tirupporur find place of prominence among others.
Tirupporur Murugan Temple
place of the sacred war, the Murugan Temple is situated 25-km away from Chingleput
and 45-km from Chennai. It is an ancient temple dating back to the Pallava period.
According to one legend
out of many related to Tirupporur, Kanya rishi once cursed Lord Vishnu and his
consort Lakshmi. After having undergone the sufferings Lord Shiva came to this
place and relieved them from the effects of this curse. Lord Shiva and his son
Muruga are worshipped here. The legend also has:
Muruga with his consorts Valli and Devayanai granted protection to devas.
Agastya Muni was expounded the meaning of Pranaya here.
· Pranayam worshipped
Skanda here and the hill behind is called Pranaya Malai.
· Skanda worshipped
Shiva as "Vanmeekeswara" to rid the sin of killing Soorapadman.
Lord Vishnu worshipped Shiva on the Pranaya Hill.
About The Temple
enshrined here in several legendary forms enumerated in Skanda Puranam. The foremost
of the depiction is that of a warrior. The shrine in child form shows him expounding
the meaning of 'Om' as the oneness of creation to his father Lord Shiva.Palani
the mythological backdrop of Palani, Saint Narada once presented a Mango fruit
to Lord Shiva and Shakti, saying it was a fruit of Wisdom. Lord Ganesh and Lord
Murugan the two children of Shiva and Shakti wanted the fruit for himself in full.
Then it was decided that the one who first completes circumventing the Earth will
take the fruit. Lord Murugan using peacock as his mount set out for the journey.
But Lord Ganesh circumvented his father and mother assuming them to be equivalent
to Earth and got the fruit. When Lord Murugan came to know of this he sacrificed
everything including his clothes and went to Palani. Then Lord Shiva and Shakti
went and pacified him saying he himself was a fruit of wisdom (Palam Ni).
The 13th Century Murugan Temple
was constructed in the period of Chera Kings. The later findings prove the contributions
of Pandiyan and Chola Kings and worshipped Lord Murugan here. Bogar, a Siddha,
is also associated with this place. There are only 18 siddhas born in the world
and he is considered one of them. Bogar is believed to have visited China in search
of truth of life, where he also gained the knowledge in astrology, spirituality,
yoga, and medicine. Bogar once prepared a Master Medicine using almost 4448 rare
herbs. There is a place near Palani Hill called Thanasiappan Temple which is the
place where Bogar mixed the Nava Bashanam and made the Murugan idol. Later it
came to the knowledge that by using the milk and panchamirtham (a sweet recipe)
poured on the idol, one can extract the medicine from the idol. The milk and panchamritham
then becomes medicine to cure disease. |||
Click Here to Book Murugan Temple Tour |||