Meenakshi Amman Temple or Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is dedicated to lord Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and Shiva who is known as Sundareswara. The temple is located in the southern bank of river Vaigai and is situated in  the heart of  the city of  Madurai, Tamil Nadu in South India, covering an area of 17 acres, the entire city being  built around it.

The temple complex has 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest tower being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (162 feet) high along with two golden sculptured vimana gopuram.

All fourteen towers have been segregated   based on the stages they are:

  • 4 Rajagopurams – Nine tier gopurams ranging from 152 feet to 162 feet with carving of mythological stories
  • 1 Seven tier – Chittirai gopuram is about 177 feet in height and contains 730 aesthetic sculptures of exquisite refinement
  • 5 Five tier gopurams above Swami Sannidhi
  • 2 Three tier  gopurams above amma sannidhi
  • 2 Golden gopurams

meenakshi amman, madurai temple, gopuram

The main shrine of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are surrounded by three enclosures and each of these are surrounded by four minor towers the outer tower is larger and higher as compared to the corresponding inner one. Both the Meenakshi and Sundareswarar shrines have gold plated Vimanam (tower over sanctum). The area covered by the shrine of Sundareswarar is exactly one fourth of the area of the temple and that of Meenakshi is one fourth of that of Sundareswara.

Meenakshi temple gold plated VimanamMeenakashi is an avatar of goddess Parvati – the consort of Shiva. The name “Mīnakshi” means fish eyed and is derived from the words “mīna” meaning fish and “akṣi” meaning eyes. The lady goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple and not Sundareswarar (Shiva). As per legend Madurai is the actual place where the wedding of Shiva and Meenakshi took place. The Meenakshi temple complex is one of the largest and certainly one of the most ancient in the world.

madurai meenakshi devi

The sacred temple tank Porthamarai Kulam (“Pond with the golden lotus”) also know as Adhi Theertham, is (50m) by (37m) in size. According to legend, Shiva promised a stork that no fish or other marine life would grow here and thus no marine animals are found in the tank. The huge Golden Lotus in the pond is said to have bloomed for Indra as a wish from Shiva.

golden lotus meenakshi temple

Temple is also famous for many halls, some of the very famous ones are:

  • Kilikoondu Mandapam (“bird cage corridor”) is the hall surrounding the sanctum of the Meenakshi amma
  • Kambatadi Mandapam (“Hall of temple tree”) is the hall with seated Nandi
  • Puthu Mandapam (“new hall”) is constructed by Tirumala Nayak which contains a large number of sculptures
  • Ashta Shakthi Mandapam (“Hall of eight goddess”) is the first hall in the entrance of Meenakshi shrine tower near to East Tower
  • Viravasantharaya Mandapam is a large hall with a huge corridors to the south of the pillared hall
  • The Mangayarkarasi mandapam is a newly built hall situated opposite to the marriage halls and bears the name of saindy queen
  • Mudali Pillai Mandapam or Iruttu Mandapam (Dark hall) is a wide and long hall built by Muthu Pillai during 1613
  • The Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam (“Hall of 100 pillars”) has two rows of pillars carved with images of yali (mythological beast with body of lion and head of an elephant), commonly used as the symbol of Nayak power. It is situated to the north of Sundareswarar flag staff hall.
  • Thousand Pillar Hall was built in 1569 with a excellence of the engineering and artistic skill. The pillars in the hall are carved in the Dravidian style, there are 985 halls instead of 1000 pillars.

The most important festival associated with the temple is the “Meenakshi Thirukalyanam” (The divine marriage of Meenakshi) that is celebrated in April every year.

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple is one of the famous Hindu temple of South India. Lord Venkateshwara (a form of Lord Vishnu) also known as Balaji, Govinda and Srinivasa is worshiped in this temple. Balaji Temple is located on the seventh peak of Venkatadri hill also known as Venkatachala or Venkata Hill, hence it is also called as the “Temple of Seven Hills”. The Tirumala Hill comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha (king of serpent) hence the place is known as Seshachalam. The names of the seven peaks are as follows Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The temple lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. The main deity of the lord Srinivasa is in the main sanctum (Garbha Gruha) beneath a gold plated dome Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimanam also known as Vimana Gopuram.

gold plated vimana gopuram

  1. UshaKala — worship should start and finish before sunrise
  2. Prathakala — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
  3. Madhyanika — worship should start and finish at noon
  4. Aparahana — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
  5. SandhyaKala — worship should start and finish around the sunset
  6. Ardharatri — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark

venkateshwara

The temple is the most-visited place of worship in the world and the richest pilgrimage center, after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The reason for this is devotees offer money and gold to Venkateshwara Hundi (Donation Pot) as a token of their love towards lord and also to relieve the lord from the commitment of paying back the loan taken by him from Kubera. As per legend it is believed as Srinivasa had taken loan from Kubera for his marriage with Padmavathi.

Temple offers world famous Tirupati Laddu as prasadam to all devotees and the Trust has taken Geographical Indication of Laddu prasaddam, hence, no one can prepare the same Laddu.

Tirumala, Tiru means ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’ and mala means hills/mountain. Tirumala hills are located in Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is around 600 km (370 mi) from Hyderabad, 138 km (86 mi) from Chennai and 291 km (181 mi) from Bangalore.

durga parameshwari devi

Kateel town in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka is famous for Goddess Durga Parameshwari temple located on the bank of river Nandini. Goddess Sri Durga parameshwari Devi emerged in the form of ‘Linga’ in the center of river Nandini. To know about the history of the temple visit our Temple of South India Blog

kateel temple

Kateel is about 360 kilometers from Bangalore and about 26 km from Mangalore. Nearest airport is the airport at Bajpe, just 16 kms from Mangalore city and you can also reach the place by train through the Konkan Railways. Kateel is well connected to other places by road by NH 48 and NH 17.

Kateel Temple Address:

KATEEL SHREE DURGAPARAMESHWARI TEMPLE
Kateel Post, Mangalore,
Dakshina Kannada District.
Pin Code-574 148, Karnataka State, INDIA
Phone: +91 824 2200361 / 2200591
Fax : +91 824 2200561

Kurudumale Ganesha Temple, Mulbagal

Posted: February 18, 2013 by kkhatwar in Karnataka Temples
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Kurudumale Ganesha
Kurudumale near Mulbagal is famous for lord Ganesha and Someshwara Temples. These temples are believed to be have been built by legendary sculptors Jakanachari and his son Dankanachari. To know more about these temples and to view the photos of the temples visit our blog.

Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple, Horanadu

Posted: February 14, 2013 by kkhatwar in Karnataka Temples
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annapoorneshwari temple horanadu
Adhishakthyathmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari Ammanavara Temple popularly known as  Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple is in Sri Kshetra Horanadu, chikamaglur dist., Karnataka. The temple is situated on the banks of river Bhadra, surrounded by the natural vegetation, forest, green lands, and natural beauty of the western Ghats.

Annapoorna Devi is also known as goddess of food. For traveling and more information about the temple visit our blog.

Southern part of India is rich with culture and heritage and is famous for its architectural beauty and beautiful temples. The architecture of South Indian Temples are based on various temple-building schools like the Dravidian, Hoysala, Chola, Pallava, Pandya and the Chalukyan styles and are constructed according to Agama and Shilpa Shastras.

History of the temples built in South India goes as early as 5th century AD. In Karnataka during the Vijayanagar dynasty temples like Aihole, Badami and Pattadakkal were built by Chalukyas. Hampi has been acclaimed for its wonderful temple designs. The state is also famous for other temples, palaces and spectacle. Other famous temples in Karnataka are Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy Temple, Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple, Murdeshwara Temple, and Chennakesava Temple in Belur.

During the 7th century, the Pallava rulers were said to be the pioneers and have built many temples in Tamil Nadu.  Some of the famous shrines in Tamil Nadu are Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur district built by Cholas during (9th to 13th century) and Madurai Meenakshi temple in Madurai built in Dravidian style, Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchipuram, Palani Murugan Temple – Palani, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple – Srirangam, Ramanathaswamy Temple – Rameswaram. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are more than 10,000 temples, so if you are planning for a South Indian Tour, tour to temples in Tamil Nadu is a must.

In Andhra Pradesh we can see a mix of culture of the Cholas, Chalukyas and Gangas along with an influence of Oriyan art as well. Some of the famous temples in AP are Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Sri Kalahasti, Srisailam, Simhachalam, Amaravati temples.

Kerala also known as God’s own land is rich with rituals and festivals. Architecture of the temples here and in the costal part of Karnataka is completely different than other parts of southern India as they are primarily made of wooden structures. Some of the famous temples of Kerala are Guruvayur temple, Sabarimala temple, Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvanathapuram.

In this blog I am trying to provide detailed information, legend, and history of the famous temples along with festivals and rituals of the temple.

Kukke Temple

Kukke Subrahmanya Temple is located in the village of Subramanya in the Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka.  The temple is built on the bank of river Dhara.

As per legends, Taraka a powerful demon threatened to conquer the world. Fearing to his powers all the gods went to Lord Shiva for help. Lord Shiva created Kumaraswamy/Karttikeya to combat the demon. Kumaraswamy had battle with demon Taraka, Shoorpadmasura & his followers and killed them all. After the battle, Lord Kumaraswamy came to the top of Kumaraparvatha along with his brothers Lord Ganesha, Veerabahu. It is believed as, he washed his Shakthi Ayudha (battle-axe) in the Dhara River and hence the river is known as Kumaradhara from then onwards. When lord came to Kumaraparvatha, he was received by Lord Indra along with other Gods. Pleased by the success of the war, Indra requested the Lord to marry his daughter Devasena. Lord agreed to Indra’s request and got married to Devasen on the banks of Kumaradhara on Shashti of Margasira Masa (Margasira Masa is the ninth month in a traditional Hindu calendar).

Vasuki the serpent king was performing penance for many years in the Biladwara caves of Kukke Subramanya to avoid attack from Garuda. Vasuki prayed Lord Shanmuka to give a boon of permanently staying with him in this place and the lord blessed Vasuki with the boon. From that time it a believed that the Lord has made his spiritual presence in this shrine along with Vasuki. Hence Vasuki (king of serpents) is worshiped here along Lord Subramanya

Every year a famous car festival is being held here along with special pooja to the lord on Shashti of Margasira Masa also known as ‘Champa Shashti’.

Subrahmanya_Main_Idol

The main deity in the temple is placed in 3 dais, in the upper dais there is the idol of Shree Lord Subrahmanya and then the idol of Vasuki and in the lower dais is the idol of Shesha. The main entrance to the temple lies to the east. The devotees will have to enter courtyard from behind and go before the idol. The sanctuary of Sri Subrahmanya Swamy lies opposite to the main entrance facing Kumara parvatha.

Two important Poojas performed in the temple are Ashlesha Bali Pooja & Sarpa Samskara. Ashlesha Bali Puja is one of the important Kaalasarpa dosha puja performed in the temple it is performed on Aslesha nakshatra every month. Another important pooja is Sarpa Samskara it is performed to get rid of the sarpa dosha (serpent curse) according to belief, a person, either in this birth or in any of his previous births, could be afflicted by the serpent either knowingly or unknowingly. Persons who are afflicted are advised to perform this pooja for their own wellbeing.

Sarpasamskara_Yagashale

Other sacred places in Subramanya are Adi Subrahmanya, Kukke Linga, Samputa NarasimhaDevaru, Kala Bairava Devaru, Umamaheshwara devaru, Hosoligamma, Sri Subrahmanya Mutt, Sringeri Mutt, Kashikatte Ganapathi and Darpana Theertha.

Subramanya is about 325 kilometers from Bangalore (via National Highway NH-48). There is frequent bus facility and direct train facility from Bangalore. Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport which is around 100 kilometers and Dharmasthala is around 50 kilometers away.

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Lepakshi is a small village located at around 15-km to the east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh.  Lepakshi village is famous for the Veerabhadra Temple, where lord Veerabhadra Swamy is worshiped as the main deity. The temple was built by the two brothers Viranna and Virupanna and is one of the masterpiece of the Vijayanagar Style of Architecture. It is famous for its sculptures and archaeological beauty created by the artisans of Vijayanagara empire.

 

Hanging Pillar

The hanging pillar is one of the 70 pillars which is hanging well almost on its edge speaking aloud the genius of Vijayanagar architects. There is a story about it – A British engineer who was keen on knowing how the temple was supported by the pillars and tried to displace one of the pillar and it caused the movement of as many as 10 pillars around to maintain the balance.

Hanging Pillar Lepakshi

As per the legend, it is believed as one of the important incident of Ramayana occurred in this place. Ravana while he was kidnapping Sita Devi and heading towards Lanka a bird called Jatayu had battle with Ravana, it could not fight for long and fell in this place. It is believed as the foot print in the below picture is of Sita Devi’s and the same can be seen in the temple premisis.

There are two red spots on the western wall of the inner enclosure and it is believed that Virupanna, the treasurer of the Vijayanagar empire was accused of using the funds without kings permission to build these monuments and build mantapam behind the temple.  When the construction was almost complete the king realized that he has used the treasure without his permission and ordered a punishment to be blinded.

The dark mar0on stains on the wall near the ‘Kalyana Mantapa’ is believed as marks from his bleeding eyes and hence the village is called “Lepa-akshi” i.e., a village of the blinded eye.

Blood marks of builder of this lepakshi temple

Hanuman temple at Lepakshi

Hanuman Temple lepakshi

Nandi statue at Lepakshi
A huge statue of a bull made out of a single granite stone is one of the biggest attractions in Lepakshi, located less than 1km from Veerabadhra Temple.

Dimentions :  4.5 m high and 8.23m long.

Nandi Statue

Some wonderful pictures in and around Lepakshi temple :

How to reach Lepakshi from Bangalore

By Road
From Bangalore there are two ways to reach Lekapshi, One is via Hindupur and other through Hyderabad highway.
Both involve NH7 (Hyderabad/ Ballary/ Yelahanka road, starting from Hebbal flyover in outer ring road) uptill Yelahanka.

  • via Hindupur: Head to Hindupur straight. From their take a diversion towards Kodikonda.Its just 15 Km from here.
  • via Chikballapur : Head towards Hyderabad till Kodikonda ( AP Border ) and then turn left and from their Lepakshi is just 16 KM.

KSRTC buses run so frequently between Bangalore and Hindupur.

By Train:
Nearest railway station : Hindupur.

Reference :

http://www.lepakshitemple.com/

http://www.anantapur.com/travel/lepakshi.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veerabhadra_Temple,_Lepakshi

http://images.worthview.com/travelogue/veerabhadra-temple-lepakshi/

Mookambika Temple

Kollur town is in the Kodachadri Peak of Western Ghats. Kollur is famous for Sri Mookambika Temple, where goddess Parvathi is worshiped as Sri Mookambika. As per the legend, there was a demon by name Kaumasura who obtained a boon from Lord Shiva and reigned over all the gods and divine beings. The terrified and helpless gods came to Kodachadri as a hiding place to take shelter from his harassment. Meanwhile, Shukracharya Guru of demons with his divine powers envisioned that his follower Kaumasura would be impending death in the hands of a woman. He advised Kaumasura to perform another penance to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva pleased with his penance appears before him and asks him to name the boon that he wishes. Lord Vagdevi, the Goddess of speech senses that this could lead to a greater devastation and makes him speechless. The dumb Kaumasura then becomes unable to verbalize his wish making his penance a waste and from that day onwards Kaumasura is called Mookasura.

This didn’t stop him from continuing his harassment over gods and divine beings. To put an end to his terror Kola Rishi requested the goddess to create a mystical power by bringing together the individual powers of all the gods. This Divine Power waged war on Mookasura and killed him, the place where Devi killed Mookasura is known as “Marana Katte” and the Goddess is known as Mookambika.

Mookambika Temple is situated on the banks of river Saupaarnika, the river is named after (Garuda/Eagle) called Suparna attaining salvation by performing penance on the banks of the river. The Goddess Mookambika is in the form of Jyotir-Linga incorporating both Shiva and Shakthi. Adi Shankaracharya meditated in this place and Mookambika is said to have appeared before him. In the very place where goddess appeared before him, he consecrated a Panchaloha idol of the Goddess (the current idol we can see in the temple).

Kollur is regarded as one of the seven pilgrimage places in Karnataka created by Parashurama. Among all other places that were created by Parashurama only Moolambika temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvathi however rest all other places are dedicated to lord Shiva or his children’s Ganesh and Subramanya.

One of the other attractions of this temple is a large and beautiful Deepa Sthambha (a pillar to hold lamps) with 21 concentric just before the entrance of the sanctum. This beautiful Deepa Sthambha rests on a Koorma Peeta (seat with tortoise) and on this tortoise is a huge elephant upon which Lord Ganapathi idol can be seen which is facing Goddess Mookambika Devi. The lamps are lighted on special occasions like Navarathri and during the Rathotsava.

Navarathri/Dasara is considered as one of the most important festival of Mookambika Temple. Thousands of devotees visit the place during this period of 10 days. Durgashtami falls on eighth day when Maha Chandika Yaga is organized in the temple and on the ninth day, known as Mahanavami Pushparathothsava is conducted and on the last day which is known as Dasara/Vijaya Dashami lot of devotees come here with their children’s to get goddess blessing and for beginning their child’s education as it is considered as the most auspicious day for beginning education (Vidya Arambham).

Kollur is about 406 kms from Bangalore (via National Highway NH-69) and Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport which is around 135 kms. Distance between Udupi and Kollur is around 73 kms. There is frequent bus facility and accommodation facility in Kundapur which is around 40 kms away.

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Sri Varasidhi Vinayaka

Anegudde Sri Varasidhi Vinayaka Temple is situated in Kumbasi, Udupi District, Kundapura Taluk. Anegudde means Ane = elephant Gudde = hill, it is called as elephant hill. It is one of the seven pilgrimage places of created by ‘Parashurama’.

As per the legend, Gautam maharishi resided in this place and performed various religious rituals. But a demon named Kumbasura started interrupting and destroying the religious rituals. Tired of Kumbasura’s interruption Gautam Maharishi went to Dharmaraja head of Pandava’s to protect from the demon. Dharmaraja ordered to his younger brother Bheemasena to kill the demon. Even after a big war Bheemasena was not able to kill the demon. When Bheemasena was worried and stared thinking of ways to kill the demon, he heard a divine voice saying “Demon can be only killed by a sword from lord Vigneshwara”. Bheema prayed lord Ganesh and lord appeared before him in the form of elephant and gave him the sword. Kumbasura was killed with this sword by Bheem. Since the demon Kumbasur was killed here, this place was later was called as “Kumbasi”. Kumbasi was called as ‘Hari Hara Kshetra’ in Krita Yuga, ‘Madhu Kannana’ in Treta Yuga and ‘Gowtham Kshetra’ in Dwapara Yuga.

The place where lord Vigneshwara appeared before Bheemasena and gave the sword is known as Anegudde and lord Ganesh arose in that place in the form of elephant. Here, only the trunk portion of the lord Vinayaka is visible and worshiped with puja and abhishek, however the remaining portion of the body is bounded behind the wall and can’t be seen.

Temple is open from morning 6am to evening 9pm. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated grandly in Anegudde Mahaganapathi temple. Some of the sevas offered in this temple are Ganahoma, Ranga puja and Mudganapathi.

Kumbhasi is located at about 400 kms from Bengaluru, the nearest airport is in Mangalore which is located at a distance of 96 km and nearest railway station and major city is Kundapur which is located at around 9 Kms away from the temple. If you are travelling by road it is located on the NH 17 on the way to Kundapur from Mangalore and about 30 Kms from Udupi. Temple has 2 guesthouse for pilgrims ‘Amoda’ and ‘Pramoda’ and there are good accommodation facilities in Kundapur.

Other places to visit in Kumbashi are “Shree Harihara temple”, ” Shree Surynarayana temple” and “Shree Aiyappa swamy temple”. All the three temples are located in the vicinity of “Anegudde temple”.

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