December 24, 2010

Colourful Gods of Madurai...!!

On my way back to Bengaluru from Kanyakumari, we had two pit stops. The first being Thirunalveli, to have a taste of the mouth-watering halwas. The second stop was at Madurai, the big town of yesteryears. Though compared to those times, Madurai has slowed down a bit, but it still attracts pilgrims from all over the country and is quite crowded during day time.

Madurai was, is and will always be known for the famous Meenakshi temple. The temple with its huge colourful gopurams looks a stunner even from a very long distance. The beautifully carved sculptures on the gopurams would make one feel that it must have taken many years in the making. There are 12 such wonderful gopurams around the sanctum, of which 4 of them form the four main entrances. Various shades of red, pink, green, blue and yellow have been extensivley used on the sculptures and this makes it astoundingly beautiful. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati. There are also differenet shrines with various deities near the main temple.

I kept gazing at the magnificent  works for a very long time even as pilgrims walked briskly past me in order to have a darshan. The lovely temple pond, Porthamarai (Pond with the golden lotus) is situated inside the temple. I found the corridors around the inner sanctum to be very broad with huge carved pillars everywhere. After the darshan  I moved towards the very famous thousand pillar hall better known as Aayiram Kal Mandapam. All the pillars shows extensive dravidian architeture and have been well maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. Towards one side of this hall lies the musical pillars. When struck, each pillar produces a musical tone different from the other. My curiosity made me strike many pillars and I listened to some lovely music. This hall also has an art museum which showcases coins, drawings, ivory works etc which are centuries old.

After a photoshoot with the cute temple elephant, we browsed through the many shops selling paraphernalia. Various celebarations and festivals are held at this temple througout the year and in full pomp and glory it would be a sight to behold. Being one of the popular temples of South India, Meenakshi temple at Madurai is definitely worth a vist for its fabulous carvings and the colourful gods.

Signing Note:  Witness Gods at their colourful best...!!

Route: Bangalore- Hosur- Krishnagiri- Salem- Dindigul-Madurai
Distance- 440 kms

December 19, 2010

December 13, 2010

Kanyakumari- The Tip of India...!!

There are very few places on this beautiful earth where one can witness both the sunrise and the sunset over the horizon. One amongst them is Cape Comorin which is the tip of the  Indian mainland. Cape Comorin which is better known as Kanyakumari is the place where the three humungous water bodies namely, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal meet up.

After travelling for about 2 hours from Thiruvananthapuram, we reached the tip of India. It is a crowded little place with shops and hawkers selling shells of various shapes and sands of different colours. A small boat ride from the mainland took us to the famous Vivekananda rock, where the great philosopher had meditated. There are a lot books about his teachings which can be purchased. Next to this stands the massive statue of Thiruvalluvar which has been constructed on another rock. These two are infact the main tourist destinations in Kanyakumari. On the way to these rocks we saw many rocks protruding out of the sea. It could possibly have been a part of the mainland many ages ago.

The beach was our next destination and witnessing the lovely sunset, the intention. The beach is covered with rocks at quite a few places and many tourists including myself climbed on to it to enjoy the colourful horizon and stare at the dipping sun. We kept gazing at the darkening horizon and enjoyed the moments of solitude. Having witnessed numerous sunsets and a few sunrises, I definitely feel that a sunset is more spectacular than a sunrise. Period...!!

Another interesting attraction at Kanyakumari is the 3 different colours of the 3 waterbodies that you can see at one particular location. Shortage of time forced us to leave the same night back to Thiruvananthapuram and miss the next day's beautiful sunrise. I would definitely like to come back to Kanyakumari some time soon and witness both the visual treats.

Kanyakumari is not a typical beach town as it has a rocky seafront. Travelers head to this lovely place to witness the spellbinding sunrises and the breathtaking sunsets. It is infact a photographers paradise as it gives them the opportunity to capture the different shades of the sky as the sun rises and sets over the horizon.

Signing Note: Witnessing the rising and the setting of the sun makes up for a serene holiday.

Route: Thiruvananthapuram - Kanyakumari
Distance : 85 Kms
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