Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shivagange




Name : Shivagange Hill

Location : Shiva Ganga is a hill about 50 km from Bangalore, 20 km ahead of Tumkur. It’s a pretty tall hill with two Shiva temples, one very close to the foot of the hill and another, that’s possibly around 5 km uphill!

Deity : The deities are “Gangadhareshwara”, and his consort “Swarnambha”.

Description :

This place is also called as “Dakshina Kaashi” - Kaashi/Varanasi of South India. One strange happening here in Shivagange is, if you do an ‘abhishek’ of ‘ghee’ in the temple, the same ghee turns in to ‘butter’.

The place is just fantastic, with breathtaking views from the high altitudes. Brilliant are the views of the surrounding city, the nearby `pushkarini’ or pond, from the top of the hill. The unique feature of the hill is, that it looks like a bull (Nandi) from the East, a Ganesha from the West, a Linga from the South and a cobra from the North. A flight of steep steps leads to the shrines of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave temple and Honnadevi temple. The spring water found here is considered to be the sacred water of the 'Ganges'.

Most of the place is rocky, with railings to hold on to as you climb, and monkeys to make sure you don’t take any offerings to the deity on top.

Inside some of the rocks and even inside the temple and the deities and sannidhis, you could find some small fountains or water bodies, that never dry up throughout the year. But the most intriguing of all was a tunnel which supposedly led into the heart of Bangalore.

Other places one can visit in the same hill -

1.Gangadhareshwara Temple


As we go up the hill, we first see the Gangadhareshwara, ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a low roof and alight only with diyas. Pujas and abhisheka are performed here. It is believed that the Abhisheka in ghee turns into butter. There is a tunnel in the Garba Griha (inner sanctum) which is believed to be connecting to the Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple at Bangalore. Nobody has tried to enter the tunnel as it is closed from both the entrances for safety reasons.

2.Olakala Teertha

Further up on the hillock we come across the spring water, Olakala Teertha. One has to step down the narrow stairs between the rocks to find the spring. It is said that one who is pious and good can touch or feel the water.

3.Nandi Statue

At the top of the hill is the Nandi Statue, is a monolith placed on a huge rock .The view around the area atop the hill is mesmerizing. This is the peak of Shivagange. After this is the visit to Patala Gange.



4.Patala Gange

Patala Gange is a temple built in the mountain. Here has underground spring seeping at entrance of the temple. Sometimes the water level is up to the knee length and very cold. Passing this we arrive at the Garba Griha where in we can crawl into a tunnel to make the Pradakshina to the Lord. They say the water flows here is connected at Antargange.

5.Shantala drop

Queen Shantala, wife of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana committed suicide here. The drop is more than 500 ft.

It takes about 2-2.5 hours to go up and around 2 hrs to get down the hill. There is a lot of crowd on Sundays and on Maha Shivarathri. Overall, it appears to be a great place for a quick weekend trip.

Traveling Tips

* You need to carry plenty of water and a food packet as the hill is a good 2 km(approx) trek.
* Beware of menace of monkeys. Please do not take carry bags and do not litter.
* Wear a cap or umbrella to avoid the scorching sun.
* There are not many hotels or eat-out, so pack your lunch if you plan to stay longer.
* You start early from Bangalore and cover Shivagange, Namada Chilume and Devarayana Durga in one day. There is a Kamat Outlet and many more hotels on Tumkur road for food and refreshments.

Website : I have used the material from http://www.karnataka.com/tourism/bangalore/shivagange.html for this post. All the credit for this post goes to them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Toong Wah Tong



Name : Toong Wah Tong cave

Location : Toong Wah Tong is located about 500m away from Lost World of Tambun on the way to Tanjong Rambutan in Kinta district, Perak, Malaysia.


Description :

The 130 over years old cave temple which is located about 60 steps high or 100 feet above ground. Visitors will be fascinated by the beautiful cave temple.

Once you are at the temple, you can get a good view of the surrounding greenery including the lime stone hills. Founded by a famous tin miner Leong Sin Nam, the temple opens daily to the public from 9am to 5.30pm. Many tourists from around the world have come to visit this temple. Some came to offer prayers and some came to take a good view from the temple.



Local people will normally come to pray and at the same time climb the hill to keep themselves healthy. Visitors will be welcome by the writings on the wall that read: "If you can climb up the hill, it is fated and when you descend, its your good fortune".

Website : http://eat-n-sleep.blogspot.com/2009/09/toong-wah-tong-cave-temple.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Areopagus or Mars Hill



Name : The Areopagus or Mars Hill or Hill of Ares; Areios Pagos

Location : Athens, Attica State, Greece

Features : Footsteps of Paul

Myth and Mystery :

According to Greek mythology, Ares was tried in a court of the gods on this hill for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios. Another legend says that the hill was the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his stepmother and her lover, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

History :

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, like the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership derived from those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions except that of a murder tribunal.

In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens. At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers could find sanctuary.
In the Bible

The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was then that the Apostle Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of "the Unknown God." According to the biblical account (Acts 17):

A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean. (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you."

...When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." At that, Paul left the Council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.




What to See ;

The Areopagus is a bare marble hill across from the entrance to the Acropolis. Its ancient marble steps can be slippery, especially in the rain. Wear appropriate shoes. Near the base of the stairs is a bronze plaque with the Greek text of Paul's sermon. At the top there are nice views of the Acropolis.

Website : http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-areopagus-mars-hill

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talacauvery - Karnataka



Name : Talacauvery

Location : Located in the Brahmagiri hill, in the Kodagu district near Bhagmandala.

Description :

Talacauvery is presumed to be the origin of the Cauvery River. A tank had been built here and it is supposed that the Talacauvery received water from here. Talacauvery is an important religious place, as a holy kundike is believed to have been emerged from a small permanent spring. Today, however, the source has dried up. Cauvery continues to flow and is considered a holy river by most of the South Indians. A small temple had been built to mark this place.

This temple in Talacauvery is frequented by the local worshippers. During special occasions people take a dip in the holy river. A lot of religious and historical significance is associated with this place. Talacauvery in Karnataka is situated at 1276 meters above sea level. People from all over the world come to this holy place to witness the origin of Cauvery. This river is the lifeline of South India. As a traveler one can check out the temple located near Talacauvery. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Agastheeswara. The temple establishes a link between Cauvery and Agasthya muni (hermit).

Legend :

As is the case with many of the religious places throughout India, Talacauvery too has many popular legends associated with it. According to the legend Agasthya had Kavery in his kamandalam. Ganesha took the form of a crow and toppled the water. He then quickly reverted back to a small boy. The sage thought it was some naughty kid who was playing a prank on him. In his rage he tried to strike Lord Ganesha. When the lord showed himself the sage was bewildered. As penitence, he knocked his own head.

Lord Ganesha is also related to Banavasi in establishing the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangam. As a result these temples are dedicated to him.

Festivals :

Numerous pilgrims from across the country visit Banavasi in Karnataka on Tulasankramana day. They come here to see the miraculous spring active again. The water too gushes out at a fixed moment. It is also considered that the tula snanam will be quite holy during this time. As a result is this bath is performed by several people throughout the pilgrim town by the banks of the river Cauvery. Idols of Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and Ganesha are also to be found here.

Other attractions :

From Mysore, this could be done as a 2 day trip. First day ,one can visit Tibetan monastery / Cauvery Nishadharma Followed by a halt at Madikeri (Mercara, also known as Scotland of India ). From Madikeri it's 62 kms Via Bhagamandala(Yet another Temple with religious importance)and in this Stretch road is Good and so scenic.

Website :

http://www.indianetzone.com/21/talacauvery_religious_site_karnataka.htm

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Valli Malai



Name : Valli Malai

Location :

Valli Malai is situated in North Arcot district near the town Walaja. There is a Murugan temple for Lord Muruga along with Valli and Devayanai.

Description :

Behind the temple there is a kulam Saravana Poikai. Near the kulam there is a Valli temple also. On the top of the hillock there is another temple for Lord Muruga. One has to climb 444 steps to reach this temple that is carved in a single rock. On the steps there are a number of resting mandapams. Out of the many canopies one of them is still not renovated. When they tried to renovate it, Mr. Arunachalam, Mr. Apathurai and Kripananda Variar tried to remove the stone. When they had smoke incense smell coming from the chamber below the stone they had the vision of siddhas and rishis seated in yoga posture. All the three had a shock and became unconscious. From that time the stones were closed and this particular canopy has been left as it is without renovation. There are a number of stories about this.

Valli Malai Shakti Peetam (Iccha Shakti) :

Here Valli Devi has importance from very ancient time many siddhas lived on this hill. In fact one may call it a Siddha Bhumi. On top of Valli Malai near the ashram there is a place where Valli made a paste of turmeric for taking bath. Nearby is the place where Murugan took the form of a tree. Valli Malai Swamigal removed what remained of the tree and made it into a water pool.

Ganesa Giri :

There is a natural rock formation like an elephant and Lord Ganesa has helped in the Valli Tirumanam. Lord Ganesa is in the form of a natural rock formation the Ganesa Giri and protects all the bhaktas.

Tiruppukazh Asramam

Near the Valli Malai rock temple the asramam is situated. Swami Satchidananda accepted Tiruppukazh as the Veda Mantra and taught all with music. In 1950 he attained samadhi. This samadhi is made of a single rock. Presently this asramam is administered by Sri Balananda Swami.

Siva-Visnu
On the top of the hillock there is a Siva lingam called Tirumal Gireeswara. Here Vaisnavism and Saivism commingle. After the puja the priest blesses the devotees with sadari proving that this is a Vaisnava site.



Kumari Teertham
On the west of the asramam, there is a spring which is called Suriyan Kanaa Cunnai, meaning the pond that does not see the sun, i.e. the sun's rays never touch it. The story goes that Lord Murugan came as an old man and asked Valli to give honey and tinai maha (millet flour) to eat. On eating the same he had hiccups and asked for water from a pond which does not get either sun rays or moon rays. The water is perennial and is considered as Ganges water. There are references about this spring on palmyra leaf sources. Young women sprinkle this water on their head and pray to Valli for a good husband.

Valli and Devasena and temple history

Maha Visnu's daughters were Valli and Devayanai. They wanted to have a husband who will never get angry. They performed penance and Lord Muruga appeared before them. Both of them wanted to get married to them. He said that Devayanai will be married as daughter of Indra and Valli to Veddas and then he will marry them.

After destroying Surapadma, Lord Muruga restored the Indra Loka to Indra As a gift Indra gave his daughter Devayanai to Lord Murugan in wedlock. Valli was born on Valli Malai and brought up by Vedda king Nambi Raj. Valli and Lord Muruga played a lot of leelas for nearly twelve years and ultimately married. This hillock where Valli was born therefore gets the name Valli Malai.

Website : http://murugan.org/centers/vallimalai.htm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Servarayan temple



Name : Servarayan temple

Location : Servarayan hill, Yercaud, Tamilnadu, India

Description :

On top of the Servarayan hill stands the Servarayan temple in which Lord Servarayan resides with his consort Kaveri. This deity, the local people believe, is the guardian angel for the 67 villages in and around Yercaud. This temple is inside a cave and one has to bend and go in. People go inside in batches of three.

The cave extends beyond the temple and the locals say it extends all the way to the Kaveri in Karnataka, a distance of 480 km. Very few have explored the full cave.
After 3 km. it is pitch dark inside the cave; no ventilation; snakes all over. it is believed some saints, in the days gone by, had travelled the full length. Tippu Sultan was supposed to have hidden in this cave during a war.



To the south east of the temple is a very old well and it is a wishing well!
The locals believe if they are able to throw at least one stone, from three picked up from the temple, inside the well, with their backs to the well, they will succeed in whatever they plan to do.

Other Attractions :

If one walks down from the Temple, one reaches Killiyur falls. Water, falls from a height of 300 m. During the rainy seasons, the locals say, these falls are very dangerous. Next to the Servarayan temple is the Raja Rajeswari Amman temple. There is also the Jothi Samadhi ashram. The massive Rajarajeswari idol is installed in a sitting posture, and 4.5 feet tall. One can buy prasad, gem stones and lucky stones. There is also a hall for meditation. One can get a full view of Namakkal and Salem from the "Ladies Seat". The Anna Park is a quiet place to relax.

One of the important places in Yercaud is the Pagoda point. The Pagoda Point, is so known because a number of pyramid-like structures abound here. The Anjaneya temple is believed, by the locals, to be very powerful. One can get a full view of Salem from here. The one kilometre lake is surrounded by trees all round. It is a pleasurable experience to go boating in this lake.

Websites :

1. http://usandeep.com/trekking/yercaud.html

2. http://archives.chennaionline.com/toursntravel/placesofinterest/yercaud.asp

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maruthuva Malai


Name : Maruthuva Malai or Marunthuvazh Malai

Location : It is about 2 km from Swamithoppe and 11 km from Nagercoil.

Legend :

According to tradition, the Maruthuva Malai is a fragment of the Sanjeevani Mountain, a piece of which fell down here, and it was carried by Lord Hanuman from Mahendragiri to Srilanka for healing the fatal wounds of Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama.

Description :

The Maruthuva Malai also known as the Marunthu Vazhum Malai – the abode of medicinal herbs, forms from part of the western ghats.

This hill is also believed to be noted in Ayyavazhi mythology as Parvatha Ucchi Malai. Apart from the Mythology, this hill is historically related to the life of Vaikundar. So few theologians consider this hill as sacred and consider it one among the Ayyavazhi holy sites. Backing some quotes from Arul Nool and Akilam some even argue that Marunthuvazh Malai is one among the Pathis. It was nearly 2 kms. walk from the bus stop. It stretches for more than a km, reaching a height of 800 feet at the highest point.

After climbing for a while there were no stairs, simply bushes. When we were about to reach to the top again there were stairs.



Then there is a Temple at the Top.



But this wasn’t the top of the hill there was a path on the right side to go up. We continued on that path and we found carvings on the hill.

Website : http://admirableindia.com/tamil-nadu/trip-to-kanyakumari-chapter-12-maruthuva-malai-or-marunthuvazh-malai-part-1

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lord Arthanareeswarar - Tiruchengode



Name : Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple (also known as "Thirukodi mada chengundroor " in vedic times)

Location : Tiruchengode taluk is located in Namakkal district, south of Salem district and east of Erode district.

No of Steps : 1206

Sthala Vruksham : Eluppai Tree stands as the Sthala Vruksham the tree of the temple on the north side.

Legend :

1. Adi Kesava Perumal, enshrined here, instructed Gowri on the Kedara Gowri Vratam which she performed to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar. One of the 64 manifestations of Shiva - the man-woman form with Parvati constituting the left half of Shiva.

2. A battle of strength between Adi Seshan and Vayu, saw the former clinging tightly to Mount Meru and Vayu using his might to blow it away. The latter succeeded in blowing it away to Tiruchengode and the blood spilled by Adiseshan colored it red. Kamadhenu is said to have obtained 5 hills from Shiva, of which this was one; hence this hill with 2 stories of its origin,with rocks colored both red and yellow represents the masculine and feminine aspects of the Ardhanareeswara manifestation of Shiva.

One is Thiruvannamalai,the next Srilanka and the other is Nagamalai in Thiruchengode.

Period : This ancient hill temple according to the inscriptions on the walls must have been built about 2000 years ago. Many renovation works and additions were done by the kings and chieftains ruled over Tamilnadu in the past.

Description :
The hill, which is about 650 ft. height . The hill is referred in many names like Chemmalai, Nagamalai, Nandhimalai and many more. Ardhanareeswarar - one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, acessible by a motorable road; this is an ancient temple mentioned in the Tamil work Silappadikaram as Neduvelkunru. The red color of the hill caused the name Chengode. The image above, shows the view of the surrounding area from the top of the Tiruchengode hill. This temple  is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamilnadu.

Lord Arthanareeswarar is giving salvation to all souls, from the hill top temple. Lord Sengottuvelavar and Lord Adhikesava Perumal in separate shrines as presiding deities.

Lord Arthanareeswarar has a unique form here, which combines half male and half female form. The lord is also known as Madhorubagan and Ammayappan. It is claimed that this rare posture of the Lord as prime deity can be found only in this temple in the whole of Asia. The hill top temple can be reached by climbing up 1206 steps, made of stone.

View of Mountain :

The hill which stands in the midst of Thirukodimada Sengundroor and also sung in Thevaram is Nagagiri, it is also called as Nagachalam, Panimalai, Uragaverpu, Siva-malai, Kodaimalai and Deivathirumalai. This divine mountain contains about 350 acres of land which is 2000 feet above sea level . It kindles imagination and appears different from different angles. This is actually formed by Nagamalai and Nandimalai .

North side view gives an illusion that as though, Snakes are spreading its hood. Eastern view supplants as Sivalingam and Western view suggests that a snake is ready to engulp, Southern view resembles Thirukayilai.

Nagar pallam



NandhiMalai and NagaMalai is split by a small valley called Nagar pallam. Nagarpallam is the first and foremost past of the huge mountainNagamalai. On either sides of the steps one can see a huge Snake with 5 heads spreading its hood carrying the father of the world as Sivalingam. Over the head of the Snake it is believed that rivers Gange, Yamuna and Saraswathiflow as holy water. People worship this carved stone Snake with Kumkum and camphre. They also make Pongal for the same.

Arubadam Padi / Sathya Vakku Padi :

Beyond Nagar pallam after crossing some Mandapas, one has to cross special steps called Arubadam Padi (60 steps) or Sathya Vakku Padi(steps of truth) by the saint ArunagiriNadhar. And among the 1200 steps these 60 steps are considered to be the most important ones. The 60 steps of Sathya Padi is of same order and so there footsteps stands as a good example for the architectural excellence of Tamilians.

In Olden days there 60 steps were used by the people to solve, unsolvable cases and to know the reality in cases relating credids and bargains. The respective men are told to promise their statements on the 60th step and it is belived that the people will only say the truth while standing on the 60th step. It is said that even the Supreme Court at chennai has accepted the statements that were declared by the people, standing on the 60th step.

Ucchi Pillaiar / Varadikal :



If one climbs further about 425 feet the renowned Pandeeshwara temple could be reached.
People fondly call it has Ucchi Pillaiar.Here one could see a Lingam and Pillaiar. On the west of it lies a stone Varadikal (Maladi kal) or Vandhya Paatana Sikara. The childless parents offer their worship to get the boon of a child by the grace of ucchi pillaiar and Ammai Appan Lord Arthanareeswara.

Girivalam :

One who thinks Arthanareswara and desire to start circling the Arthanarswara hill and forwarding one foot will get equal benefit of Yagam and for second foot he will achieve the benefit of Raja suya Yagam and with clear mind of third foot will achieve Aswameda Yagam and who continues further will get beneficial of all Yagams.
uring circling we can inspire the fragrance of mooligai which leads to good health.

How to make girivalam

* Everyone should circle the hill with barefoot.
* Mutter the name "Om Namashivaya"
* view the peak of the Arthanareeswara hill during the circling.
* Though there is no restriction to circle the hill with respect to time, it is better to circle during the night, ought to belief of formers and sidhas , at this time heavenly asters circle Arthanareeswara hill along with us.
circling path covers around 7 kms. It takes normally 1 1/2 hours to cover the distance.

Sthala Theertham :



AMMAIYAPPAR THEERTHAM (or Deva theertham) is the most important one as it is found at the feet of LORD ARTHANAREESWARA idol in the sanctum sanctorum. This spring of fresh water came into existence by God's grace and the power of Rishis and Siddhars.

Website : http://www.arthanareeswarar.com/English.asp

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mandalay Hill




Name : Mandalay Hill

Location : It is located to the northeast of the city centre of Mandalay in Burma. The city took its name from the hill.

Description : The 240 metre (790 ft) Mandalay Hill is known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries, and has been a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for nearly two centuries. At the top of the hill is the Sutaungpyei (literally wish-fulfilling) Pagoda.

A panoramic view of Mandalay from the top of Mandalay Hill alone makes it worthwhile to attempt a climb up its stairways. There are four covered stairways called saungdan leading up the hill from the south, southeast, west and north, and convenient seats of masonry work line these stairways all the way up. A one-way motor road today saves time and also makes it accessible for those who are unable to climb up the stairs, leading to an escalator and a lift to the pagoda at the summit.

Two gigantic chinthes or leogryphs (stylised lion figures) stand guard at the southern and main approach at the foot of the hill, popularly known as the Chinthe hnakaung atet (two chinthes ascent).



It is a gentle climb and there are many stops along the way, most importantly the hermit U Khanti's dazaung (or) hall where the Peshawar Relics ( three fragments of bone of the Gautama Buddha) were kept from 1923 until after the Second World War when they were moved to a building at the foot of the hill and no longer on display. Leaving U Khanti's dazaung is by way of a tunnel lined by Hnakyeik shissu or the 28 Buddhas of the past and present worlds, or alternatively up a steep flight of steps next to the tunnel. Climbers will see plenty of stalls selling flowers, paper streamers, miniature pennants and umbrellas for the Buddha, and food and refreshment for visitors and pilgrims. All the dazaungs have frieze paintings, most of them from the late Konbaung dynasty period; there is one depicting 'Awizi ngayè (Avici Hell) in detail.

Farther up near the summit, a gigantic standing image of the Buddha called the Shweyattaw (literally standing) (or) Byadeippay (prophesying) Buddha with his right hand pointing towards the city.

Legend : It is said that Buddha once visited the place and prophesied that in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era a great city would be built at the foot of the hill where his teachings would flourish. One curiosity that belongs to the myth surrounding the ancient kingdom of Bagan is the so-called 'Kyanzittha's spear mark' near the top of the hill. He was supposed to have executed a miraculous pole vault using his spear across the Irrawaddy!

The last stop before the Sutaungpyei pagoda completes the legend of Mandalay. Here on the south terrace of a small stupa is the image of the ogress Sanda Muhki who, for want of something to offer the Buddha, made an offering of her own breasts! And for this extreme act of merit the Buddha made the prophesy that Sanda Muhki would be reborn as a great king who would built a city at the foot of the hill and become a great supporter of Buddhism in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era (1857 AD), the year King Mindon laid the foundations of Mandalay.



On each of the four corners of the terrace can be seen a king of the ogres with his army of miniature ogre images behind him paying obeisance to the Buddha. There are also images of various creatures, one at each level before a Buddha image, such as a rabbit, a cockerel or a lizard, representations of the Buddha's innumerable reincarnations during his cycle of Samsara (birth, suffering, death and rebirth).



At the summit

Once on the terrace of the Sutaungpyei Pagoda, a panoramic view of the Mandalay plain stretches far to the horizon, with the old city walls and moat, the Thudhamma Zayats (rest houses), various stupas around such as the Kuthodaw Pagoda and its 729 satellite stupas each housing a page inscribed in stone the world's largest book (the entire Pali Buddhist Canon), Kyautawgyi and Sandamuni Pagodas, the Irrawaddy to the west and the Minwun Hills on its opposite bank, the road to Madaya and Mogok to the north, and the Shan Yoma range of mountains to the east. There is yet a final stop down the northern slope immediately after the Sutaungpyei Pagoda called the Mwegyi hnakaung (Two Great Snakes) Pagoda. It has the images of two great cobras that were believed to frequent the hill to pay their obeisance to the Buddha and above these images seated are those of two Nats that they became when they died. Pilgrims stuff bank notes in the cobras' mouths and pray. The Champac, with its fragrant white blossoms on branches like candelabra, grows wild on the hill, along with the crimson red flowers over the feathery foliage of the Flame tree. Sunset over the river and the western hills as seen from Mandalay Hill can be a wonderful experience, and crowds of tourists may be encountered in the evenings enjoying it.

Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandalay_Hill

Friday, September 11, 2009

Malekal thirupathi - Lakshmi Venkataramana Temple



Name : Lakshmi Venkataramana Swamy Temple - ARASIKERE / ARSIKERE. Also known as Malekal thirupathi

Location : Arsikere is a town in Hassan district in the state of Karnataka. It is known for its coconut production and Malekallu Tirupathi hill. Arsikere is a major railway junction.

Description : The Malekallu Tirupathi hill has 1300 steps and its beleived that lord Rama had visited this place. Its the only place you can see a standing Venkateshwara idol other than famous Tirupati of Andhra Pradesh. There is a famous temple called Shri Lakshmi Venkataramana Swamy temple. One can also see a stone mantapa atop this hill. It is a central place for visit to places of tourist interest, like Belur (40 km), Halebidu (25 km) and Shravanabelagola (80 km).

It was an important town during Hoysala rule and the name Arsikere comes from one of the princesses of the Hoysala dynasty, who built a big pond (kere in Kannada). Arasi means queen in Kannada. Therefore, it is 'Arasiya+kere' which means 'princess-pond'.

Website : http://www.travel2karnataka.com/arasikere.htm

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shanti Ban - Nepal



Name : Shanti Ban

Location : Godavari, Nepal

Description : Shanti Ban is a complex with a distantly visible Image of Lord Buddha , a symbol of peace, as a focal point to provide easeness to anybody and to draw their attention toward it.

The Shantiban complex also includes a Library, Meditation Center, Child Education etc ultimately. First ever Shanti Ban is established at Godavari in Nepal, which is a milestone for the development of complexes all over the world.



Second Shanti Ban is already on progress at Lumbini, birth place of Lord Buddha , in Nepal again. This endavour of establishing Shanti Ban around the world will be continued for world peace.

Website : http://www.shantiban.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kailash Tekari



Name : Kailash Tekari

Location : Kailash Tekari is situated on the Ambaji-Khedbrahma Highway, just one and half km from Ambaji, in Banaskantha District, Gujarat

Description : On the top of Kailash Tekari is a beautiful Shivalaya, where one can go only by climbing the steps and walking on a wonderful hilly area of Kailash Tekari. Exploring Kailash tekari is always a pleasant experience for visitors, along with its beautiful Sunset Point. Moreover, The Temple Trust has recently constructed a big Artistic Stone Gate at the Temple of Mahadev on Kailash Tekari, which is also administered by Shri Arasuri Ambaji Mata Devasthan Trust.

Nestled atop a hillock Kailash tekri is Mangalya Van ( a unique garden that is of late drawing hordes of tourists ).

The van was developed by the forest department in 2007. The spot's USP is a unique Rashi Van' within and a garden of plants, which astrologers say have the same effect as stones on one's life. All those who come to Manglya Van invariably enquire about the effects of plants on sun signs and want to take back home a sapling that favours their zodiac sign. They grow it in their backyard or in the vicinity of their house. Each of the 12 zodiac signs have been given three plants and are planted in 18x18 metre in this garden

Other places to visit near the hill is Pushpanandji Yagashram which is opposite to Kailash Hill.

Website : http://www.onlineambaji.com/Kailashhill.htm

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Atago Shrine




Name : The Atago Shrine

Location : It is located in Minato, Tokyo, Japan.

Description : It is a Shinto shrine built in 1603 (the eighth year of the Keichō era) on the order of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The current shrine was rebuilt in 1958.

The shrine is located on Atago Hill, which is 26 meters above sea level. In old times, the shrine had an excellent view of Tokyo, now obscured by high rises. The very steep stairs leading to the shrine are also famous, as they represent success in life.



Legend : According to legend, a young samurai dared to ride his horse up the stairs to deliver plum blossoms to the shogun. It took his horse only one minute to get up, but 45 minutes to get down, and the horse was totally exhausted afterwards.

The shrine was erected to protect the residents from fire, since its formerly excellent view was well suited to watch for fires, and therefore the main Shinto god worshiped in this shrine is the fire god Homusubi no Mikoto. Other gods worshipped are also Mizuhanome no Mikoto (a god of water), Ōyamazumi no Mikoto (a god of mountains) and Yamato Takeru no Mikoto (a god of military).

The shrine is dedicated to the "God of Wishes" and is widely visited by people wanting a profitable future.

Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atago_Shrine_(Tokyo)

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