Tuesday, December 11, 2007

tamilnadu tourist places-kanchipuram-pallava architecture

Kanchipuram Travel Guide
Temple at Kanchipuram, Kanchipuram Travel GuideKanchipuram, the Golden City of a thousand temples, and one of the seven sacred cities of India, is 71 km from Madras. It was, successively, the capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijayanagar. During the 6th and 7th centuries, some of the best temples in the city were built by the Pallavas.

The city was also a great seat of learning. Sri Sankaracharya, Appar, Siruthonder and the great Budddhist Bhikku lived, and worked here. Today, it is known not only for its temples, but also for its handwoven silk fabrics.
Given its illustrious past, it is not surprising that Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Today, apart from its temples, this small town is also known for its thriving handloom industry.

The silk weavers of Kanchi settled more than 400 years ago and have given it an enviable reputation as the producer of the best silk sarees in the country. Woven from pure mulberry silk, the sarees in dazzling colours are embellished with fine gold thread (zari) and are available in every imaginable design and variety, which can make the job of selection quite challenging.

Temple festivals are held throughout the year and apart from the temple car (ratha) festivals which are held in January, April and May, there are other days when the idols in the temples are taken out in procession on their respective vahanas or vehicles.

Temples of kanchipuram:

Sri Ekambareswara Temple

Sri Ekambareswara Temple, Kanchipuram Travel GuideThe most famous Siva temple at Kanchipuram is the Ekambareswara temple where he is worshipped in the form of Earth Linga and its 11 storey structure temple tower which is adorned with beautiful sculptures is one of the tallest temple tower in south india.

The sthalapurana says that when Lord Siva was deeply immersed in the task of creating, protecting and destroying the Universe, Parvati, his consort, in a jocular mood, closed his eyes.This resulted in staying the process of creation and destruction as well as obstruction to the natural law of things. It was a serious matter and Siva became angry and cursed Parvati to go to the Earth and expiate her misdeed.accordingly Parvati came to the banks of the river Kampa under a single mango tree at Kanchi and made a Shivalinga out of sand and worshipped it.

To test her sincerity Siva placed various obstacles and hindrances in the way of Parvati's penance. But with the help of Vishnu she could tide over all the difficulties. At last Siva hurled a deluge by taking out the Ganges from his matted hair, to wash away the Linga worshipped by Parvati. She clasped it with all veneration to her breasts and this pleased Siva who took her again as his consort. The temple is said to have been built at the spot where the lord forgave her. In the month of Phalguni on the 10th day of Uttiram the marriage of Siva and Parvati is celebrated with great pomp and splendor.

The ancient mango tree in the courtyard is worshipped by all even today with great veneration. It has got four branches representing the four Vedas. Each branch bears fruit with a different taste and the leaves are also different in appearance. It is a popular belief that if a childless woman takes the fruit of the tree she is blessed with children. In the prakaram round the mango tree is a lingam. Which is a composite of 108 small lingams and another one of 1008 small lingams. There are idols of the 63 Nayanmars also. There are two tanks in the temple, Kampa Nadi and Sivaganga.

There is a Vishnu shrine in the Siva temple and the name of the Vishnu is Nilatingal Tundattan. The temple has silver and gold-plated vahanams of considerable value. 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.

Sri Kailasanathar Temple

Dedicated to siva ,the Kailasanathar Temple was built by the Pallava ruler Rajasimha Pallava, and was completed by his son, Mahendra Varma Pallava. Rajasimha Pallava ruled Kanchi during the period from 685 A.D. to 705 A.D.This temple is unique in its architecture.

It was constructed mostly of limestone. The walls and vimaanam of this temple are filled with great sculptures, and paintings. There are 58 small shrines situated around the main shrine. Paintings of Fresco-style adorn the inner walls of the shrines.It has an attractive panel depicting Shiva and Parvathi in the midst of one of their innumerable dance competitions. It is the only temple at Kanchipuram which is not cluttered with the more recent additions of the cholas and vijayanagar rulers.Fragments of the eigth century murals which once graced the alcoves are a visible remainder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built.

The locals believe that this temple served as a shelter for the king during wars. The architecture of the temple appears to confirm the belief. The remnants of an escape tunnel built by the kings is displayed with pride, even now. Once in a year, the temple is visited en-mass by the local people on the evening of the Maha-Sivaraathri. At that time, there could be hours of waiting in long queues. However, it is a Hindu faith that it is auspicious to visit this temple on the night of Sivaraathri.

The temple lies away from the commotion of the city, in a rustic suburb. It is under the maintenance of the Department of Archeology, Government of India. There isn't much of a security problem. Tourists are allowed to freely photograph the sculpures in and outside the temple, with the exception of the Sanctum and the main Deity.

Kanchipuram Travel Information

Area : 11.6 Sq. Kms (4.5 sq. miles)

Population : 130,926 (1981 census)

Altitude : Sea level

Climate : Summer - Max : 36.6°C- Min : 21.1°C
Winter Max : 28.7°C - Min : 19.8°C

Rainfall : 87cms (35") Average

Season : Throughout the year

Clothing : Tropical

Languages Spoken : Tamil, Telegu and English.

Tamil nadu tourist places-chidambaram

Chidambaram Travel Guide
Chidambram Natraj Temple,Chidambram Tarvel Guide
The temple town of Chidambaram, 58 km south of Pondicherry greets the visitors, with a beautiful temple, dedicated to Lord Nataraja - Lord Shiva in the enthralling form of a Cosmic Dancer. This is one of the few temples, where Shiva and Vishnu are enshrined under one roof. Chidambaram is also called Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of Thillai shrubs. It is one of the five Shaivite mukti sthalams, the other four being Kalahasti, Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvanaikaval. A unique feature of Chidambaram is that a person of any race or religion can visit the shrine and pray.
Chidambaram is also known as Thillai, since the place was originally a forest of Thillai(Excecaria agallecha)shrubs. It is an important pilgrim centre and a holy place for Saivaites as the famous Nataraja Temple is located here.

Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique not only it is devoted solely to the art of Bharatanatyam, but also it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary Lingam. Spread over an area of 40 acres with a gopuram on each side, the temple is distinguished by five sabhas or courts.

The eastern gopuram is 40.8 m. high and carved on it are the 108 dance poses of Bharatanatyam. The western tower has also similar carvings while the northern tower which soars to a height of 42.4 m. is the tallest.

The idol of Nataraja is installed in the Kanaka Sabha, the roof of which is covered with gold Plates. The icon is a stunning piece of sculpture that evokes a sense of continuous movement. Though non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum, replicas of this idol are easily available in most handicraft emporia and shops selling art and curio objects.

A shrine to Govindaraja or Lord Vishnu lies adjacent to the main shrine and has a beautiful idol of the lord reclining on Adisesha, the serpent. There are two other shrines, one dedicated to Subramanya and the other to Ganesha. In the courtyard, a large Nandi looks on devotedly at its lord and master through an aperture on the wall.

Chidambaram General Information

Area : 5 sq. kms.

Population : 58,740,(1991 census)

Altitude : 5.97 m (19.45')

Climate : Summer : 37.0ºC 36.4ºC
Winter : 21.3ºC 20.1ºC

Rainfall : 85.5 cms average

Languages spoken : Tamil and English

STD : 04144

Chidambaram Travel Information

Chidambaram is well connected by road with several towns in the state. There are bus services to Pondicherry, Chennai, Nagapattinam and Madurai. It is also served by the Chennai - Trichy (main) metre gauge line and has rail connections to Chennai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Trichy and Rameswaram. The nearest airport is Trichy from where Indian Airlines connections are available to Chennai, Madurai and Srilanka.

By Air : Nearest Airport is Trichy

By Rail : It is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Chennai.

By Road : It is also connected with all major towns.

Chidambaram Near by places of interest:

Chidambaram Travel VacationsOnce the site of a Danish settlement, Tarangambadi has the remains of the Dansborg fort built by Ore Gedde, the commander of the Royal Dutch Navy, in the 17th century.

The fort constructed in 1620 with two storeys was the most important building which housed the top echelons of the Danish officials. Apart from the ramparts, the rest of the buildings are in good condition.

The Church of Zion
The Church was built in 1701 in the corner of King Street and Queen Street. After several modifications during 1782 - 1784 and 1800 - 1839, the Church as it stands today has a vaulted roof and is very impressive.

The Gate
The 200-year-old Gate is of historical and architectural interest. The residents of Tarangambadi have to pass through it on their way in and out of the town.

Masilamaninathar Temple
The Masilamaninathar temple was built in 1305 A.D. by the Pandya King Kulasekaran and is of great architectural interest. There are several smaller shrines in this temple complex.

Rehlings Gard
Another interesting building in Tranquebar is Rehlings Gard named after Johnnaes Rehling who was the Danish Governor and owned the house between 1823 and 1841. It presently houses the St. Theresa's Teachers Training College and well preserved.

British Collector's House
The British Collector's house on the eastern end of King street opposite to the Dansborg fort is yet another important and impressive landmark. It is about 150 years old and is one of the largest buildings in the town with beautiful round columns, a central courtyard and a garden at the back.

Efforts are on to restore all the monuments to their old glory and plans are afoot to develop Tarangambadi into a modern tourist centre.