Monthly Archives for August 2016

5 Places to Warm up this Winter Touring Rajasthan

Blog, Destinations - GoroadTrip - August 25, 2016

As the temperatures dip, Indians get bitten by the travel bug and how! Long vacations, short trips or adventure trails are all chalked out. There are plenty of places to mark your vacation spot this winter but the first one that springs to mind is the princely state of Rajasthan.

Showing its best side in winter Rajasthan charms with its royal attractions, Mughlai food and soft silks. A few among the best are:

Jaipur: As the capital city, Jaipur draws more crowds. You can have a brush with royalty at the royal Amer Fort and City Palace, gorge on some local delicacies and binge on shopping. Add some elephant rides at the fort and the Jaipur Literary festival held in winter and Jaipur becomes a sought out destination; one you definitely won’t want to miss.

Udaipur: It is love at first sight for this lake city of Rajasthan. The reflection of the Lake Palace on the waters of Lake Pichola is perhaps the most romantic sight in the world. The City Palace and the Jain Temple are spectacular. You will not want to miss the evening shows at the Bagore-ki-Haveli and the vintage car collection of the Maharaja of Udaipur when in the town.

Jodhpur: The blue city of Rajasthan with the backdrop of Mehrangarh Fort is best viewed from the turrets of the city’s imposing fortress. Have gem stone shopping on your agenda and you are sure to come back pleased. You will not want to miss out on tasting some of Jodhpur’s delicious kachoris and samosas.

Jaisalmer: At Jaisalmer you are at the threshold of the Thar Desert. Get the authentic desert experience with camel rides, ethnic havelis and the sand coloured Jaisalmer Fort. A camping trip in the desert at winter is a magical experience with the bright and starry night skies, invigorating desert air and cosy bonfires.

Ajmer and Pushkar: The tour of Rajasthan will be incomplete without seeking blessings of the Almighty at the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer and the Pushkar temple with the Pushkar Lake. History says that Akbar would walk from Agra to the Durgah in Ajmer to pray. Mythology reveals that the Pushkar temple is the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma and was created when Brahma dropped a lotus on earth.

The winter season is magical in India. Add to the magic by a visit to Rajasthan.

Please read it, if you have not!! Caves in Andhra Pradesh

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6 abodes of Muruga, the Tamizh Deity

Blog, Destinations, Festivals/Events, Heritage & Culture, Pilgrimage - GoroadTrip - August 13, 2016

Lord Muruga (Subrahmanya/Karthikeya), son of Shiva and Parvathi and brother of Lord Ganesha (elephant-headed god) is worshiped in Tamil Nadu as the patron deity of Tamizh language. He has six special temples dedicated to him called Aaru Padai Veedu.Thse temples are six camps associated with Muruga’s role as Commander-in-chief of the army of the gods.

The Aaru PadaiVeedus, the Six Holy Abodes (literally: ‘battle camps’) are very important for Muruga or Karthikeya’s devotees. The six temples of Karthikeya are in Tirupparamkundram, Tiruchendur, Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Tiruverakam (Swamimalai), Tiruttani and Pazhamudircholai.

References to these temples are found in many ancient Tamizh literatures like Silapathikaram. Thirumurugatupadai – sung by the Tamizh saint poet Nakkeerar in 1st century CE – gives prominence to each temple. It also reveal that all these temples were well established even during the Sangam age from 1st to 3rd century CE. It has also been praised by Saint Arunagirinathar in his Thiruppugazh and in Kandar Alankaram.


The first among the six temples of Lord Muruga, Subramaniam Temple at Tirupparunkunram situated 9.5 kms south of Madurai is an ancient shrine dating back to the 2nd century BCE. Legend says that Lord Muruga wed Deyvayanai, daughter of Indra in this temple. This was after Karthikeya’s victory over the demon Soorapadman and the asuras.

The temple is built on the northern side of the hill at an elevation of about 300 feet from the foot of the hill. It has a 150 foot tall gopuram of seven tiers over the entrance. The main sanctum carved into the rock enshrines a well chiseled form of the Lord. Hollowed within the rock, you can find many mandapams with carved pillars, platforms, and other shrines with decorative relief and carvings on all surfaces. All abishekams are performed to the Vel in the main sanctum.

In this temple, unlike the other five, the deity is shown sitting in the kalyanakolam (auspicious/wedding form) with his consort Deivanai.


ArulmiguSubrahmanya Swami Tirukkoil or Thiruchendur Murugan Kovil (temple) is a popular pilgrimage destination situated in the Gulf of Mannar.Second abode in importance among the six homes and unlikethe other five temples situated on hilltops, this abode is on the seashore towards the tip of South India. Thiruchendur, is the Tamil name given to this place due to the abundance of sandalwood paste used in this temple.

It is said that Lord Muruga had set up his army camp in this place during his war against the demon Surapadman.‘Tiruchentil’ means the House of Victory and this is the ‘ooru’ or town in which Muruga’s victory is celebrated! Thiruchendur, the place of ‘chen’—sandalwood paste,is also known as Thirucheeralaivai, Jayanthipuram, ThirubhuvanaMadevi and SathurvediMangalam. The deity is called by different names like Senthilandavan, Senthilkumar in this temple.

The northern and eastern temple walls are washed by the dashing waves of the Gulf of Mannar. The origin of TiruchendurMurugan Temple is not known though the nucleus of the structure is said to have been here for more than 2,000 years as reported by the Tamil Classics. This temple is famous for the ‘Panneer-ilaiVibhuti’, the ash from a herbal leaf. Sri Adi Shankaracharyapraised it and said that just the sight of this sacred ash can cure many diseases.


The temple town of Palani features Karthikeya as a little lad. When the prize mango was given away to Ganesha, Murugabecame annoyed with his parents and came here to sit on top of this hill called TiruAvinankudi at the foot of the Sivagiri Hill. Siva pacified Subrahmanya saying that he was the fruit—pazham—of all wisdom and knowledge; and nee means you. Hence the place was called ‘Pazham Nee’ or Palani.

You had to originally climb many steps to reach the temple and old and infirm people had to be carried by ‘doli’s’ by two sets of porters changing midway at 225 feet height. Today winches carry pilgrims up and down simultaneously.


On the way to Tirupathi from Chennai, to the left of the road you can see Tiruttani (Thiruttani) perched on a rock with its atypical vibrant red and white stripes on the walls.

The word Tiruttani comes from Tirutanikai meaning place of propitiation. (Tamil: Thiru-lord; thanigai-propitiate/cooling down). Muruga’s righteous indignation for the cruelty of the asuras (demons) to all creatures set him against the evil forces in various battles. It is said that his anger cooled down at this place and so it is also known as Shantipuri (abode of peace).

This 2000 year oldtemple is perched on top of a single rock, 700 feet above sea level. Lord Muruga came to rest here after destroying the demon Surapadman. Here Lord Muruga married his second consort, the gypsy girl Valli. The temple can be accessed by a hill road or through a flight of 365 steps, representing the days of the year, that lead up to the shrine.


Swamimalai Temple

The son became his father’steacher in this temple near Kumbakonam. Swamimalai meaning ‘God’s hill’, is an artificially made hill temple called ‘Kattu(built) Malai’.Another very important feature is that there are sixty well-laid steps leading to the temple top. These sixty steps represent the sixty years that constitutes a century in the Hindu calendar.

The temple is on the banks of River Cauvery on the road connecting Kumbakonam to Thiruvaiyaru. In this shrine, Lord Muruga is also known as Swaminathan and ‘Thagappan Swami’ meaning Lord of Shiva, his father.

Swamimalai is world famous for its school that teaches the ancient craft of making bronze icons.



The last temple of the six, this Muruga temple is perched on top of a hill amidst dense forests about 16 kms north of Madurai.It is the only one where Muruga can be seen with both his consorts, Valli and Devayani. Lord Muruga at Pazhamudircholai has been praised in old Tamil literature like the Silappathikaram, Ettuthokai and Pattupattu.

Local tribes continue to lead their traditional lives on this fertile hill with its natural springs and herbs. Even today, the place is very fertile with many trees and different flora and fauna reflecting the vivid description of the place’s natural beauty found in Tirumurugattruppadai of Nakkeerar, the Tamil saint.


The great Tamil saint poetess, Avvaiyar, was given fruit by the little lad Muruga and taught an important lesson in the semantics of Tamizh language

There are 33 Murugan temples in Tamil Nadu. The Tirupporur temple, 45 Km from Chennai, is an ancient temple built during the reign of the Pallava rulers.

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6 British Monuments in Kolkata

Blog, Destinations, Heritage & Culture - GoroadTrip - August 4, 2016

The British always thought ahead. This fact comes across in the use of modern techniques and science in the architecture of all the buildings designed by them. They were rather extravagant too in the use of metals including gold and in the size of their adornments like statues, shields, swords and pillars. Some of the British monuments that have stood the test of time and continue to impress modern day Kolkata are:

Raj Bhavan:

With a majestic outlook, the Raj Bhavan is now the residence of the Governor of West Bengal. Constructed during the governance of Marquess Wellesley, the building has the distinction of having the very first elevator of Kolkata.

Kolkata Town Hall:

Constructed in the Roman Doric style, the Town Hall was built with funds raised through a lottery. It was used for social gatherings.

Howrah Station:

Constructed first in the British period, the Howrah Station housed the second railway line linking Calcutta with Bardhaman coal fields. The first track essentially built for transporting goods eventually evolved into many platforms. Howrah Station is now one of the largest railway terminals of our country.

Writers Building:

Built in a beautiful European style by the British, Writers Building is today the secretariat of the West Bengal State Government. It also incorporates various departments of the state government.

St. Paul’s Cathedral:

This church, built by Bishop Daniel Wilson, showcases the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The beautiful church with its pristine exterior, stained glass windows and murals makes it one of the important attractions of Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial:

Built in the memory of Queen Victoria, the Victoria Memorial is a fine example of both British and Mughal architecture. Conceived by Lord Curzon and designed by Sir William Emerson, the building is built with white Makrana marble. Best at night with its many lights giving it a fairy tale appearance the Victoria Memorial with its lovely gardens standing on the banks of the Hooghly River, is one of the most visited monuments of the British period.


Stamps of the colonial era are left everywhere in our country. Kolkata has a whole chapter to itself.

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