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Home :: South India Temples :: Mahabalipuram Temple


Mahabalipuram Temple


Location : 58-Km From Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Called : Mamallapuram, The City Of Bali
Famous : Centre For Pallava Culture And Arts
Important Festivals Celebrated : Dance Festival In The Month Of December


Mahabalipuram TempleAbout Mahabalipuram
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.

Mahabalipuram TempleMandapas - 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.

Rathas - 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 village shrine.

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
Air : 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 : The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (58-km). From these stations one has to take road to reach the Mahabalipuram.
Road : Buses 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.


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Meenakshi Temple


Location : Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Deity Worshipped : Lord Somasundara (Lord Shiva) And Goddess Meenakshi
Built By : The Pandyan King, Kulasekhara
Festivals Celebrated : Meenakshi Kalyanam In April-May And The Teppam Festival


Meenakshi Temple  Madurai Travel GuideMeenakshi 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 Temple
The Sri 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 Meenakshi Temple  Madurai Travel Guidea 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 Vimana".

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 architecture.

Meenakshi Temple  Madurai Travel GuideEarliest 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
Air : Madurai is connected by air with Mumbai and Chennai. Madurai airport is 10-km away from the city.
Rail : Madurai has direct rail connections to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin.
Road : 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.


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Murugan Temple


Location : 45-km From Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity :
Lord Subramanya
Significance :
One of the 33 Major Temples Of Lord Muruga In Tamil Nadu
Festivals Celebrated :
Skanda Sashti In October-November, Margazhi Tiruvadirai, And Navaratri


Murugan Temple Travel GuideThere 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
Tirupporur, meaning 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.

The Legend
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:
· Lord 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
Skanda is 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 Murugan Temple:

Palani Murugan Temple  Travel Guide
Palani Murugan Temple  Travel Guide

Mythological Background
In 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).

Temple History
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.


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South India Temples
«» Badami Cave Temple «» Guruvayoor Temple «» Kanchipuram Temple
«» Mahabalipuram Temple «» Meenakshi Temple «» Murugan Temple
«» Rameshwaram Temple «» Sabarimala Temple «» Somnathpur Temple
«» Thousand Pillar Temple «» Tirupati Tirumala Balaji

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