December 12, 2018

Popular Temples of Kumbakonam

An hour’s drive away from Thanjavur lies the temple town of Kumbakonam, believed to be where the pot (Kumbham) containing nectar of life was spilled by Shiva. Kumbakonam is one of the prominent temple towns in the Cauvery region and also houses the holy tank of Mahamaham where the nectar pot fell.  The town is lined with colourful gopurams of numerous temples and is also a prominent place for religious studies. From Cholas to Pandyas to Marathas to British, the town was under various rulers over the years.

Though there are more than 80 temples spread across the town of Kumbakonam, here is a list of the popular ones which are a must visit.

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple:

Believed to have been built before the 7th century by the Chola rulers, Adi Kumbeswarar is one of the most important and popular temples in Kumbakonam. Rebuilt and renovated over centuries, the temple has beautiful sculptures from mythology adorning its pillars and walls. The hall that leads to the main sanctum has numerous pillars and its carved ceilings are coloured with vegetable dyes. The temple is dedicated to Kumbeswarar (Shiva) and the main shrine houses a lingam. The premise also has a temple pond, Kandha Kumbha Theertham.

Ramaswamy Temple:

Built in 17th century by the Nayaks, the temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The hall outside the inner sanctum is lined with numerous sculpted pillars which has characters from mythology and related designs. The ceilings too have carved designs and are colourful. The hall also has frescoes of the ten avatars of Vishnu. The inner walls are adorned with paintings depicting scenes from Ramayana.

Sarangapani Temple:

A prominent Vaishnavite temple in India, Sarangapani temple dedicated to Vishnu is the biggest one in Kumbakonam and is built in typical Dravidian style architecture.  The colourful and striking eleven storeyed gopuram is a major attraction of this temple apart from the chariot shaped main sanctum which has numerous carved pillars. The main shrine is of Sarngapani, an incarnation of Vishnu. There is also a shrine dedicated to Komalavalli, the consort of Sarngapani. The temple also houses quite a few other colourful entrance gates.

Nageswarar Temple:

The 9th century temple built during the time of Cholas has Nageswarar as its main deity, a serpentine form of Shiva. While the colourful entrance gate is quite an eye catcher, the inner entrance gate has gorgeous art work on its ceiling. The inner sanctum is in the form a chariot and has sculptures of horses pulling it.

Chakrapani Temple:

Dedicated to Vishnu, the presiding deity is Chakrapani (a form of Vishnu) who is worshipped as Sudarshana. The deity has a third eye on his forehead and eight stretched out arms. Apart from a colourfully sculpted entrance gate, the temple also houses carved pillars and an entrance foyer with art work on the ceiling.

Mahamaham Tank:

Located to the north of Kasi Vishwanathar temple, Mahamaham tank is where the Mahamaham festival (similar to Kumbh mela) is held every 12 years. It is believed that the waters of this tank can get rid of all the sins and is more sacred than river Cauvery. There are many lingams along the banks of the tank and it also houses  numerous wells. 


Kumbakonam is 40 Kms from Thanjavur and 282 Kms from Chennai. There are buses and trains that connect Kumbakonam with major cities across south India. The closest airport is at Tiruchirappalli, 95 Kms away.

Food and Accommodation:

Most of the hotels in Kumbakonam offer vegetarian fare.  The town is also known for its ‘Degree Coffee’ which is served in brass tumblers. The coffee is prepared with thick milk, is boiled to a certain temperature and gets its name due to this. One can either stay in Thanjavur and make a day trip to Kumbakonam or stay in Kumbakonam to visit its temples. There are numerous hotels in both Thanjavur and Kumbakonam catering various budgets.

November 14, 2018

November 5, 2018

Safety Tips for Travelers

Freelancer workers are on the rise. In the U.S., they comprised 34% of the workforce in 2014, and one study estimated the freelance community will make up 40% of the workforce by 2020. The freedom to work from any location means that more freelancers are choosing to live abroad than ever. Traveling to a new country, adjusting to the customs, and figuring out basic life etiquettes are difficult enough, but navigating health and safety in a foreign company can be even more difficult.

Following a few tips can help you avoid disease or injury or be better prepared for it.
1. Have emergency info on hand.
You should include information of your emergency contact, allergies, country of residence, language spoken, and insurance member information. If you carry the information on a notecard in your wallet, it will be easier to access in case of an emergency.
2. Make copies of all documents—including your insurance information.
Carrying your actual passport, visa, and other identifying documents with you can be dangerous. If you lose them, the process to get them back is a headache. Not having your insurance card when an emergency pops up can be devastating. Keep copies with you and your actual cards in a safe place.
3. Research medical concerns—diseases, common injuries, etc—for your location and ways to avoid them.
Every country is unique in this field. Make sure you’re caught up on recommended vaccines, and do your research! Is it flu season when you’re moving there? Is chikungunya a concern? Do most injuries come from skiers falling down slopes? Know what you’re up against and how to avoid it.
4. Know what to do if you become sick or injured.
Do you know how to say hospital in the native tongue? Does the country primarily rely on walk-in clinics for minor illnesses? Will you have to wait in long lines each morning for medicines? Here’s another area to put your research skills to test. Before you move or travel, have a fairly detailed, written plan on how to handle your health concerns.
5. Pay attention to your health.
Early detection on health issues can result in easy, quick assistance from a clinic or physician whereas ignoring health issues can lead to emergencies. Pay attention to your health so that you can take proactive measures to avoid illness and diseases.
6. Use a traveler’s insurance program like SafetyWing.
SafetyWing is the world's first International Travel Medical Insurance developed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and remote workers traveling or living abroad worldwide. You will be covered for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor or prescription drugs while you are in a country other than your home country.
Travelers around the world benefit from 24/7 support through a policy administered by Tokio Marine, one of the largest insurance companies in the world. It is available in 180 countries around the world, has a low US$250 deductible, and a high maximum limit of US$250,000.
In addition, SafetyWing provides emergency travel-related benefits for emergency medical evacuation, bedside visits, travel delays and lost checked luggage.

The benefits of guarding your health and safety while living or traveling abroad are vast. Being able to enjoy the culture and environment you’re travelling to is paramount, so making sure you’re covered in case of emergency should be a priority.

P.S.: This post is in collaboration with SafetyWing. Get yours here:

October 29, 2018

Pillar Rocks

Pillar rocks in Kodaikanal are a natural rock formation that look like pillars and is one of the major attractions in the hill station. September 2018.

October 25, 2018

Thalaiyar Falls

Thalaiyar falls in Theni district of Tamil Nadu is also sometimes referred as Rat Tail falls as the cascading falls looks like the tail of a rat from a distance. It is the highest waterfalls in Tamil Nadu and one can get a view of the same from the ghat road that connects Dindigul with Kodaikanal. While access to the base of the falls in denied, there is a tough trek that leads to the top of the falls.

October 22, 2018

Neelakurinji frames from Kodaikanal

It was almost the end of Neelakurinji season in September end when I headed to Kodaikanal to catch a glimpse of Strobilanthes Kunthianus (Kurinji or Neelakurinji) . While the Neelakurinji that had bloomed below the Coaker's walk area had died, the locals were helpful enough to guide me to Vilpatti, a few kilometers from the town. The flowers were in their full bloom in Vilpatti. 

Neelakurinji season has come to an end almost everywhere except Munnar where it would still be visible for a few more days. Rush now or else wait until 2030 when it is expected to bloom again. Here are a few frames from Vilpatti, Kodaikanal. 

October 20, 2018

Putra Mosque

Consecrated in the year 1997, Putra mosque with its pink dome and minaret is located adjacent to Putra lake and Perdana Putra, the Malaysian Prime Minster's office. Modelled on Persian Islamic design, the mosque has exquisite intricate carvings and floral works on the pink granite walls and ceiling of its prayer hall. The colourful painted glass windows are another eye catcher here.

October 17, 2018


Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia is lined with beautiful lakes and lush greenery.


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