Sunday, October 17, 2010

Manmade marvel - Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai

Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai is one amongst the several wonders of India. Famous for its architecture, the temple is huge and each statue carved on it is one amongst itself.   The temple has four gates i.e. north gate, south gate, east gate and west gate. Entry is allowed only from north gate, which is considered as auspicious. Some glimpses of the temple built several centuries before.

One of the elephants guarding the shiva temple. Each elephant statue on each side. 

Gopuram at east gate, before the Meenakshi temple. There are four such corridors on each side having about 1000 pillars. 

1000 pillars hall at the temple. 

Natrajan at the hall. The statues on 1000 pillars poses  the steps of Bharatnatyam

One of the satute at the hall.

Dancing poses by the statues
Outside view of all the temples at each direction.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kanyakumari to Rameshwaram

From land’s end to lord’s land

Hues of orange, blue, green and grey throughout the landscape, emerging dark clouds from the hills of Anaimudi and white colored wind mills in the foreground following the tunes of wind was the most charming sight of my entire trip. As I was moving towards the last tip of the earth, the sky was getting vast and non-ending. 

It was a road journey from Madurai airport to kanyakumari and there were about 2000 windmills in and around that area. Purity and serenity of nature was exciting me to the core and this enthusiasm reached its height as we entered the small town of kanyakumari. Varied kinds of trees, wetlands, mangroves and rocky sea make it the most picturesque place I have ever seen.

Rocky beach at Kanyakumari

Green on hills, rocks in the sea, plains on the coast, and clouds in the sky is what makes this place so near to nature. Every bit of it looks as coming directly from the imaginative mind of a nature loving artist. Kanyakumari was our first stop on a four day long journey. Though we could not see the sunset due to cloudy sky  but we could witness the sea on its full swing. The high tides were thudding on the rocks and wind was almost making us fly.

The next morning had to be equally exciting as morning rays of the sun kissed the playful sea waves. It seemed the sunrays were painting the dark blue canvas of the sea with colors of gold and orange under the watchful eyes of standing statue of Tamil poet Tirvallavur and Swami Vivekananda standing firm inside the Vivekananda Memorial Rock.
Sunrise in Kanyakumari
As the sun was rising in a partly clouded sky  I could hear the sound of conk shell blowing and hymns being chanted at the Kanyakumari Amman temple. It is believed that sunrays first fall on the idol of the virgin goddess before touching the ground. The view was mystical and magical leaving me spellbound.
The Vivekananda Memorial Rock stands in the middle of the sea and one has to ride a ferry to reach there. It is believed that Swami Vivekananda achieved enlightenment on this rock in the sea after meditating here for three days. The memorial was built in 1970 in the honor of the saint.
It is from this point one can clearly see the three massive oceans of Indian subcontinent meeting. The sea at kanyakumari is the amalgamation of the waters of the Bay of Bengal, The Indian Ocean and The Arabian Sea. The wind here blows from all the sides making footsteps slightly unsteady.
Kanyakumari sea view from Vivekananda Rock Memorial
The mixed nature of the water and air makes it unhealthy and that’s why there are no beaches across the place. It can be proved from the fact that as I entered the rock memorial I developed allergy and was found scratching myself all over the place. In no sense at that time, now I realize why I suddenly attracted all the eyeballs destined for Saint Tirvallavur.
Still, I had fun clicking photographs and viewing the gigantic sea. As far my sight could go I only saw light blue, grey and dust brown water mixing together while waves gushing across the black rocks, making the view ethereal.
Leaving the sloppy kanyakumari, we headed for Rameshwaram, the religious island of Tamil Nadu. The coastal road route from Kanyakumari to Rameshwaram leaves you awestruck with beautiful coasts emerging after small intervals, a salt making factory wherein dunes of white salt can be seen and greens of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.
Holy dip at Rameshwaram
We reached Rameshwaram in the evening travelling across the Pamban Bridge which cuts the sea into two halves, Palk Straight in the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Gulf of Mannar in The Indian Ocean on the other. The sea here is calm with no waves unlike sea at Kankyakumari. The view from the bridge is quiet and peaceful. A railway line runs across the sea, parallel to the road bridge, to connect the island with the mainland. We were lucky to witness the train going from one side of the land to another. From Road Bridge  it appeared like a snail cutting it’s away through the blue waters.
Rameshwaram, believed as one amongst the four pilgrimages for Hindus, converted me from a tourist to pilgrim. The next morning was a visit to the Rameshwaram temple to worship the holy lingam. But before one can visit the main temple, pilgrims have to take bath in the sea and 22 wells.
Bathing in the clean restful sea was a spectacular experience. Falling sunrays on sea made it sparkle like tiny crystals shining all over. I felt like touching and holding the shining gems in my hand but that scene was only to be felt. After the divine bath in the sea, comes holy bathe in the wells. It is mystery for me that water from all the wells tasted differently coming from same waterbed. There may be some scientific reason behind it but when you are there it all seems to be the existing proofs of Lord Rama.
Sea view from Dhanushkodi
After worshiping the heavenly lingam, the next place was Dhanushkodi, a small village at southern tip of Rameshwaram. A drive along the coastal road is a pleasant experience. The clear sky, shallow water, virtually untouched beach and dark forest surrounds the road. It is believed that from this place, Hanuman built a bridge to reach Lanka. Standing on the shore, one can clearly see the Sri Lankan islands amidst the sky-blue water.
Nearby, one can pay a visit to the place from where Adam Bridge (Ramsethu) was built by Lord Rama to reach Lanka. Till 1964, before the island was stuck by huge tidal waves, one could see the glimpses of the bridge before it was drowned in the sea.
The Dhanushkodi experience left me and my mother discussing the entire Ramayana while returning back to Madurai. The divinity and mysticism of the place firmed our faith in Lord Rama and his story. We re-collected the stories of Ramayana and co-related the events with what we saw there. The relationship was strongly established and so was our faith.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Master Creation 2010 – Indian crafts under one roof

Commonwealth Games 2010 has not only brought with itself a series of sporting events but has also given a chance to India to showcase its vivid culture and traditions. While game events are on in the stadiums, Delhi is bubbling with life outside the four walls of gaming arena.

‘Master Creation 2010’, an exhibition-cum-sale of the finest collection of Handlooms and Handicrafts by artists and national awardees from all over India is on till 15h October, 2010 at Delhi Haat from 10:30 am to 10 pm.  The exhibition is a rich mix of hues and tones of varied creative art from from all over the country.

The product range available for sale includes Traditional crafts, dhokra castings, terracotta, leather, wood, carvings, dry flowers, traditional sarees – tussar, kanchipuram, banarasi, paithani and chicken work, paper mache articles, artistic shawls, carpets and durries, cane & bamboo, brassware, miniature/madhubani paintings, bidri work, hand embroidery, tie & dye, kantha, zari & zardozi worl and jewellery.  

Daily attractions include everyday competitions on crafts, paintings, kite making, matka painting, gift wrapping, clay modeling, mehndi and rangoli. 

Picture courtesy: Google Images

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unforgettable trip..

Yes...Yess!! i went to Tamil Nadu for a trip to Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari and Madurai for 4 days. It was all so unexpected.... papa was casually asking me to make a trip last week. I thought he was pulling my leg as in last 10 years we have never gone for a vacation..thats quite a long time! BUT MY FATHER WAS SERIOUS. 

Now when i am back i can only say that it was an experience of a lifetime,....Mom dad and beti on a vacation after a long time. We had an awesome trip ...Dreamy and maha-surprising!! 

Pictures will be pasted soon !!