RAJASTHAN TOURISM Tour
The temple dominates the old city which evolved around it. The street
run in concentric circle around the temple. The four 'Veli' street mark
the outer limits of the temple town.
The temple is dedicated to both of Meenakshi of the limpid fish-shaped
eyes, the lovely consort of Lord Siva; and to Lord Siva himself (Sundareswarar).
It is one of the holiest places of worship in South India, drawing thousands
of devotees everyday. It has also been the centre of Tamil culture, sponsoring
literature, art, music and dance over the countries. Legend has it that
when the third and the last Tamil Sangam (Academy of Tamil Literature)
met at Madurai, literary works were thrown into the temple tank, where
a divine force caused works of merit to float and inferior literature
The original temple was probably a modest structure built to Agamic guidelines.
However, it has grown with the graceful additions of puissant dynasties
and victorious monarchs into an enormous complex extending over an area
of 65,000 sq.metres. The temple is dominated by four enormous towers (gopurams)
over the entrance gates. The oldest tower is the 13th century eastern
gopuram, opposite to the Sundareswarar shrine, built by Jatavarman Sundara
Pandyan. The southern gopuram is the tallest and was built in the 16th
century. From the top of the tower one can get a panoramic view of Madurai
and the 11 other gopurams of the temple.
Carved in relief on the face of a huge rock, Arjuna's Penance is the mythical
story of the river Ganges, issuing from its source high in the Himalayas.
The surface of the rock has detailed carvings, showing the most endearing
and natural renditions of animals. It also shows deities, and other semidivine
creatures and fables from the Panchtantra. Arjuna, one of the Pandava
brothers and a consummate archer, is shown standing on one leg, doing
penance to obtain a boon from Lord Shiva. It is said, that Arjuna had
made a journey to a bank, on the river Ganges to do penance, in the hope
that Shiva would part with his favourite weapon, the pashupatashatra,
a magic staff or arrow.
Originally built by the Pallavas, this large Siva temple was later reconstructed
by the Chola and Vijaynagara kings. Here, Lord Siva is worshipped as Earth
or Prithivi, which is one of the five elements. The dimensions of this
temple are reflected in its 20 - acre spread and its tall south gopuram
which soars to a height of 58.5m.
The eleven-storey structure which is adorned with beautiful sculptures
is one of the tallest temple towers in South India. The ancient mango
tree in the courtyard is revered by childless couples. They faithfully
strung small cradles to the branches of the tree and leave with the hope
that their desire for an offspring will be fulfilled. Also in the temple,
is a small panel depicting the story behind the temple's existence. Parvathi
incurred Siva's wrath when she made the mistake of playing a mischievous
prank on him by covering his eyes for a second. Since even that one second
of hindering Siva's vision led to years of darkness for the mortals, Siva
bade her to perform penance to obtain forgiveness. The temple is said
to have been built at the spot where the lord forgave her.
Not far from Triplicane, in Mylapore, there is yet another 8th century
Pallava temple. The temple 'Gopuram'(tower) is characteristic of Dravidian
style architecture .Dedicated to Lord Shiva,this temple has some beautiful
sculptures,among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints(Nayanmars)
which adorn the outer coutyard are rare specimens.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial,
The place has been associated with great men like Swami Vivekananda and
Mahatma Gandhi in whose names memorials have been here. They are very
beautiful and add to the attraction of this place. The beautiful Gandhi
Memorial completed in 1956, is situated as a memorial to the Father of
An urn of Mahatma Gandhi was kept here for public to pay homage before
immersion. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari twice in 1925 and 1937.
Mahatma Gandhi visited Kanyakumari in January 1937. In 1948 his ashes
were immersed in the sea waters in Kanyakumari. In commemoration of this
event a beautiful monument has been constructed here.
Its central shape is 79 feet high representing the age of the Mahatma
at the time of the sun at Mid day on 2nd October would fall on the peedam
through a hole in the roof. The memorial was transferred to the administrative
control of the Public (Information and Public Relations) Department from
Public Works Department of Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 1978.
CROCODILE BANK Not far from mamallapuram, this crocodile breeding and
research centre is run by Chennai Crocodile Bank Trust. Here, several
species of Indian and Continental crocodiles and alligators are bred in
These reptiles are kept in their natural habitat in open pools and can
be viewed from a safe proximity. This farm breeds crocodiles to augment
the crocodile population of wildlife sanctuaries.
The most important pilgrim center in the district is located in an island
just 5kms from Trichy. Srirangam, surrounded by the waters of the Cauvery
on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other, is a 600 acre island-town
enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganatha Temple.
There are not less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India.
The 72m high 13-tiered Rajagopuram was built in 1987 and dominates the
landscape for miles around, while the remaining 21 gopurams were built
between the 14th and 17th centuries.
The Palace, Thanjavur
The Palace near the temple is a vast building of masonry built partly
by the Nayaks around 1550 AD and Partly by the Marathas. Art Gallery:
In the palace there are a number of granite and bronze statues of the
Chola Period. Timings 9.00- 13.00 hrs. Wednesday holiday.
Sri. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram
Sri Ramanathaswamy temple which is situated near to the sea on the eastern
side of the island is renowned for its magnificient corridors with massive
sculptured pollars lining it . The corridor is the longest in the world.
It is 197 metres long ( East West ) and 133 metres wide( South-North
). The temple has storey tower ( Gopuram ), 38.4 high. The temple as it
stands today was built by different rulers at different periods from the
12th century AD . Pooja is being performed to Spadikalingam ( Mani Dharshan
) which was given by the Saint Sankarachrya to this temple, for an hour
early morning daily.
Bhavani (121 kms), Coimbatore
The Sangameshwarar temple at Bhavani is situated at the confluence of
the rivers Bhavani and the Cauvery. This place is called as "Tiruveni
of South India". It is an important pilgrim centre. Lord Sangameshwarer
with His consort Vedanayaki is the presiding deity. It is said that during
the East India Company regime the then Collector of Coimbatore and Salem
Districts, William Garrow, who had his headquarters at Bhavani, worshipped
the Goddess Vedanayaki. One night the Goddess directed him in his dream
to vacate his bungalow immediately. The moment he vacated, the entire
bungalow collapsed. In reverence of this miracle, he presented to the
temple an ivory cradle which is still in the temple with his signature.
Ooty lake, Ooty
The lake covers an area of one and a half square miles, with a railway
running along one bank. The large graveyard of St. Thomas's church, built
in 1870, overlooks the lake. It has the tallest memorial of Ooty, a huge
pillar surmounted by a cross, over the grave of William Patrick Adam,
the Governor of Madras Presidency, who died in Ooty in 1881. Paddle boats
or rowing boats are available for boating enthusiasts.
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