Five Elements of This World
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Last updated: 04/13/2009
The Pancha Bhoota shrines dedicated to Shiva constitute a set of five Saivite Temples in South India throughout Tamil Nadu held in reverence for centuries.Hindu belief hold life as a synthesis of the
Day 01 Chennai / Kanchi puram :- Kanchipram is a temple town and one of the seven sacred cities of India . The other cities- Ayodhya, Haridwar, varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain and the legendary Dwarka are all located in the north and are generally dedicated to one deity. Kanchi is uniquein that it is dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu. Kanchi shareswith Madurai and Varanasi the significance of being one of three cities in India where Goddess Shakti (known as Kamakashi) is worshipped. Kanchipuram is on the main Chennai to Bangalore road , on the northern bank of the palar River (also known as locally as the Vegavathi River). Another places to visits:-
Kailasanatha Temple :- Dedicated to Shiva, kailasanatha is the oldest temple in kanchi and for some the most beautiful . It was built by the Pallava king Rayasimha in the late 7th century, though its front was added later by his son king Varman III. Fragments fo the 8th century murals that once graced the alcovesare a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was frist built. Small shrines, 58 in all honour Shiva and parvati and their sons, Ganesh and Murugan, in a variety of ways. Some are intricately painted The temple is run by the Archaelogy Department . Non Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctum, where there is a prismatic lingam . This unique 16 saided black granite stone represents 16 aspects of the deity.it is said to be 2000 years old and therefore much older than the temple it self. This temple is free of the harassment you'll experience at the other sites and both the guide and the priest are knowledgeable and generous with information.
Sri Ekambaranathar Temple :- This temple is dedicated to Shiva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram, covering 12hectares. Construction began with the pallavas and continued with th Cholas. Its 59m-heigh gopuram and massive outer stone wall were added in 1509 by krishmadevaraya of the vijayanagar empire. The temple's name is said to be a modified from of Eka Amra nathar- lord of the mango Tree and in one of the enclosures is and old mango tree, with four branches representing the four Vedas.The fruit of eachof the four branches is said to have a different taste, and a plaque nearby claims that the tree is 3500 years old.
Kamakashi Amman Temple :- This imposing temple is edicated to the goddess patrvati in her guise as kamakshi, the godess who accedes to all requests. Because of this the temple is very popular with visitors, who leave precious gifts at the temple in the hope of having their request fulfilled. To the right of the entrance is the marriage hall with its ornate pillars. Deirectly ahead, the main shrine is topped with a plating of gold. As with many other temples, this temple has an annual temple chariot Festival, held on the 9th lunar dayin February March. In October/ Nov. the birthday of the goddess is celebrated.
Devarajaswami Temple:- Like the Sri Ekambaranathar Temple, this is an enormous monument. Dedicated to Vishnu, it was built by the vijayanagar emperors. It has massive outer walls an a beautifully sculptured 1000 pillared hall just96 pillars remain. Many of the pillars honour Vishnu in his various incarnations, including those of the fish, the turtle and the pig. The marriage hall on the raised platformin the centre commetrmorates the wedding of Vishnu and lakshmi . One of the temple's most notable features is a huge chaincarved from a single piece of stone. The large tank veside the hall contains a submerged 10m statue of the prostrate Vishnu. For 40 days once every 40 years the water of the tanks are drained, enabling a viewing of the statue. It is claimed that in 1979, the last time such an event occurred, 10 million people came to make offerings to the temple.
Vaikunta Perumal Temple:- Dedicated to Vishnum, This temple was built between Ad 674 and 800 shortly after the kailasantha Temple. The cloisters inside the outer wall consist of lion pillars and are reperesentive of the first phase in the architectural evolution of the grand 1000 pillared halls of later temples. Wall sculptures depict the history of the temple, with explanatory details givern in 8th century script. The main shrine is on three levels, which contain images of Vishnu in standing, sitting and reclining postions
Day 02 Kanchipuram /Podicherry :- Podicherry, the former French colony settled in the early 18th century, is a charming Indian coastal town with a few enduring pockets of French culture and an ashram. With the other former French enclaves of Karaikal (also in Tamil Madu), Mahe (kerala) and Yanam (Andhra Pradesh), it now forms the union territory of pondicherry.
As in goa , there are plenty of reminders of the colonial days, despite the fact that the French relinquished control of pondy over 50 years ago. The tricolour flutters ober the grand French consulate, there's an hotel de ville town hall the local police wear red kepis Caps and belts, and you can often hear French spoken on the streets. Tamils from outside pondicherry dismiss the place with an almost French expression of phhhh and a put down: it's just dolphins and bicycles. Extensive restoration work of the buildings in the centre has been undertaken by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the alliance Francaise, and other bodies .Many houses and institutions in the streets between the waterfront and the old canal are now some what chic and gentrified, their gardens ablaze with flowering trees and their entrances adorened with shiny brass plates. Yet pondicherry is still very much an Indian city .Its just that on the eastern side of the canal, it is a bit more relaxed and people don't sleep on the streets. The French influence is reflected as one might expect, in the food. There are some very good restaurants serving everything from authentic bouillabaisse to crÃ¨me caramel to die for. As in theirother colonies the French soon sought out a good source of mineral water, and bottled pondicherry water is by far the best in India .Hotels are excellent valuesince Tamil mNadu's punitive taxes do not apply here. You may come here to see robindo ashram, or to check up on ancestry, but chances are you'll stay longer than you'd intended Long before a word of French was spoken in pondicherry, significant things were happening around the area. The jury is still out when it comes to issuing definitive statements on the early history, but archaeologist claim to have evidence of two early settlements. One was called podhigal and was identified as the abode of the Hindu saint called Agastya. The other settlement was called Vedapuri- here scholars would study the Vedas. Recent excavations in the district of Arikamedu, just near pondicherry, have revealed significant trade connections with ancient Rome and Greece.
Day 03 Pondicherry /Chidambarm :- Seventy Kilometers south of Pondicherry, Chidambaram's great temple complex of Nataraja, the dancing Shiva, is another of Tamil Nadu's Stunning Dravidian archetiectural highlights. The best time to be here is during one of the many festivals. The two largest are the 10 day temple chariot festivals, when idols of the deities are hauled in procession around the temple in a huge decorative may and December /Janauary. In February the Natanjali Dance festival attracts performers from all over the country. The main focus at Chidambaram is the Nataraja temple, and the small townhas developed around it with streets conveniently named after the four cardinal points. This is an easy town for walking, with most accommodation being close to the temple. The tourirst office is at the tamil nadu.
Nataraja Temple :- Chidambaram was a Chola capital from Ad 907 to 1310 and the Nataraja Temple was erected in the later stages fo the Chola administration. Set within a wlled rectangular frame, the complex covers 22 hectares and has four large gopurams, the north and south ones towering 49m high. The temple is renowned for its prime examples fo Chola artistry and it has been patronized by numerous dynasties since the original chola construction. To the left of the southern entrance the Ganesth shrine set on a stepped pedestal, contains an impressive statue of the elephant god Directly ahead of the entrance a Nandi looks towards the golden topped Chit Sabha Hall of the inner sanctum, which houses the mataraja icon and the lingam. The long, awesome corridors surrounding the sanctum contain sculptured halls with pillars andmumerous shrines .
Around Chidambaram : Pichavaram:- The seaside resort of Pichavaram, with its backwaters and mangrove forests, is 15km east pf Chidambaram. Here, you can meander through the silenced of the 4000 canals encircling 1700 islands. At the tourist office you can book a rowing boat, with boatman. Vaitheeswarankoil About 25 km suth of Chidambaram, this tiny town is well known for its Viadanatheeswarar Temple dedicated to Shiva and parvati. Pilgrims come to bathe in the tank waters, which are believed to hold curative powers. The town has another claim to fame its Nadi astrologers, who predict the future according to ancient texts inscribed on palm leaves. There are varying reports on these astrological activities. Some people find them helpful; others claim that rather than telling fortunes the astrologers are making fortunes by exploiting naive foreigners.
Day 04 Chidambaram/Thanjore /Trichy:- Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola kings, whose origins , like those of the Pallavas, pandyas and Cheras with whomthey shared the tip of the Indian peninsula, go back to the beginning of the Christianera. Power struggles between these groups were a constant feature of their early history, with one or another gaining the ascendancy at various times . The cholas turn for empire building came between 850 and 1270. At most of the Indian peninsula south of a line drawn betweem Mumbai and Puri, including parts fo Srilanks and , for a while, the Sricijaya kingdom of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Thanjavur wasnot the only place to receive Chola patronage. Within easy reach of Thamjavur are numerous enormous chola temples the main ones are at Thiruvaiyaru, Gangakondacholapuram and dharasuram .The Cholas also had a hand in building the enormous temple complex at Srirangam near Tiruchirappalli, which is probably india's largest. Thanjabur is famous for its distinctive style fo art, which is usually a combination of raised and painted surfaces. Krishna is the god most popularly depicted, and in the Thanjavur School his skin is white, rather than the traditional blue black. Set on a fertile delta where agriculture is and impotant industry, thanjavur is a great place to be during pongal (Harvest festival) celebrations in Janaury.
Thanjabur palace & Museums- The huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers and shady courtyards of this vast, labyrinthine building in the centre of the old town were constructed partly by the mayaks of madurai around 1550 and partly by the Marathas. Because of years fo meglect many sections are in ruins , although restorations is now under way. Follow the signs up to the Royal palaceMesueum, which has and eclectic collection of regal memorabilia, most of it dating from the early 19th century when serfoji II ruled.
Day 05 Trichy/ Madurai :- The long history of Tiruchirappalli (also known as Trichy ) goes back to the centuries before the Christian rea when it was chola British- French struggle for supremacy in India.
Rock fort Temple :- the spectacular Rock fort Temple is perched 83m high on a massive rocky outcro[p which rises abruptly from the plain to tower over th old city The sri Thayumanaaswamy Temple, dedicated to Shiva, is passed on the way to the top. It acquired its name from a legend about a pregnant woman who, distressed and alone in her labour, prayed for help. Shiva appeared to her in the guise of her mother and assisted her through the birth. So Shiva came known as anavar thayuma he who became mother.
Sri Ranganatahaswamy temple :- The superb temple complex at srirangam, about 3km north west of the Rock fort is situated on an island formed by two arms of the cauvery River the northern arm I known as the killidam river. For viashnavaites this temple ramarks in importance with the venkatesthwara temple at tirupathi. Uncertainly surrounds the temple's history. Legend tells how Ravana's brother Vibhishana assisted Rama in his battle against Ravana. In appreciation, Rama presented Vibhishana with the Srirangam Vishnu Vimana (inner Shrine) and abode of the deity. Vibhishana set out with the Vimana to Return to his home in Lanka. On Arrival at the Cauvery River he placedthe Vimana on the Ground. When he endeavoured to continue his journey he was unable to lift the Vimana. Vibhishana became distressed , but Vishnu explained that he had always wanted his sanctuary to be here and in order to console Vibhishana, Vishnu promised to Take a position facing Vibhishana's native land of lanka. This legend has been instrumental in the development of philosophies and study in the Vishnu tradition. The temple is mentioned in the poetry of the Sangam (the ancient academy of Tamil literature, but concrete evidence of its existence dates from the 10th Century, with records of donations made to the temple .
Day 06 Maduari :- Maduari is an animated city packed with pilgrims, beggars, businesspeople, bullock carts and legions ofunderemployed rickshaw drivers, it is one of suth India's oldest cities and has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage for centures Madurai's main attraction is th fmous Sri meemakshi Temple in the heart of the old town , a riotously baroque example of Dravidian archieture with gopurams covered from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicoloured images of gods, goddesses,animals and mythical figures . The temple seethes with activity from dawn till dusk, its many shrines attracting pilgrims and tourirsts from all over the world. Madurai is an ancient city. It was the site of the Sangam, the ancient academy of Tamil literature, which existed in the centuries around the beginning of the common Era. The writhing of thesangam celebrate Madurai and its may attributes. The places to see the madurai Meenakshi Shrine, vambuthurar Gopuram, Kilikattu Mandapam, Golden Lotus Tank, Gopurams, Kalyan Mandapam, Ashta Shakti Mandapam, Meenakshi Naiker Mandapam, Trimalai MNayak Palace, Museums, Mariamman Teppakkulam Tamk
Day 07 Madurai / Rameshwarm :-known as the Varanasi of the south , also the Island of Prayer, Rameshwaram is a major pilgrimage centre for both Shaivites an vaishnavaties because it was here that Rama(an incarnation of Vishnu in The Ramayana ) offered thanks to Shiva. At the town's core is the Ramanathaswamy Temple, one of the most important Temples in South Indian Rameshwarm is on the island in the Gulf of Mannar, connected to The mainland at Mandapam by rail and by one of india's engineering wonders, the Indira Gandhi Bridge. Places to visits; Ramanathaswamy Temple, Kothandaraswamy Temple & Dhanushkodi, Adam Bridge, Snorkelling,
Day 08 Rameshwarm : Full day city tour and Temples of the Rameshwarm.
Day 09 Rameshwarm /Kanyakumari:- Kanyakumari is the land's End of the indian subcontinent. Here there is a merging of three oceans: the Bay of Bengal , the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, At Chaitarpurnima The fpril full moon, it's moonrise over the ocean simultaneously. ITt is common belief that this is the only place where this occurs, but you may also observe it other parts of southern Tamil Nadu Kanayakumari is a popular pilgrimagedestination and is of great spriritual significance to Hindus. It is dedicated to the Goddess Devi Kanya, who is an incarnation of devi Shiva Wife .
Day 10 Kanyakumari :- Visits the kumari Amman Temple, Gandhi Memorial , Vivekananda memorial, Vivekananda puram and then transfer to your Hotel for Complete relaxationâ¦
Day 11 Kanyakumari / Trivenderum / Next Destination :- In the morning after breakfast proceeding to Catch flight for next destination tours endsâ¦
An Extension of this tour is available to relax in Kerala beach pls contact our travel coordinator to know further detailsâ¦â¦.
- Inclusions -
- Accommodation, breakfast , sightseeings
- Exclusions -
- any taxes, visa fee,air ticket, any personal anture of expencess, any donations to temples,tips, any drinks etc
- Extras -
- The Pancha Bhoota shrines dedicated to Shiva constitute a set of five Saivite Temples in South India throughout Tamil Nadu held in reverence for centuries. Hindu belief hold life as a synthesis of the five basic elements (the Pancha Bhootams) wind, water, fire, earth, and space. Shiva is worshipped as the embodiment of each of the five elements in the vast temples at Shri Kalahasti, Tiruvanaikkaval, Tirunannamalai, Kanchipuram and Chidambaram. Each of these temples is rich in legend, history, sculptural wealth and festival traditions
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