During our stay in Tamil Nadu, we went to a plenty of great cities. We took a few days-trip around Tamil Nadu, with another family from Denmark, by van, and went to several towns, including Trichy, Madurai, Kanyakumari, followed by Rameshwaram.
Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, and is the meeting point of 3 oceans; the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Back in time Kanyakumari was referred as the Alexandria of East, known for great culture, art, civilization and pilgrimage, and was famous for both trade and commerce. It is belived that Christianity entered the town through St. Thomas in year 52 AD, and later Islam entered in the 8th century AD. Also Jainism made its way to the town. Kanyakumari has been ruled by all 3 tamil dynasties, the Cheras, the Cholas and the Pandyas.
Today Kanyakumari is known as the place of sunrises, and for the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar Statue. We went to the shore early morning, to experience the sunrise, but unfortunately it was too cloudy at that moment..
Thiru Ekambaranaathar Temple was the last Panchabootha Sthala to visit. It is located in the town of Kanchipuram, that is north of Thiruvannamalai, and east of Vellore, which was the town we visited after Thiruvannamalai – and before Kanchipuram – which I’ll be posting about later 😉
Kanchipuram is another very old town, and was the early capital of the Chola Dynasty. It later became the capital of the Pallava Dynasty, and the Cholas shifted to Tanjore. It has a rich history, going back to more than a millenium, and has been an important city for not only Hinduism, but also Jainism and Buddhism. The world-known Bodhidharma was in fact a Pallava Prince from this town. Kanchipuram is today known for its beautiful silk sarees (and of course this temple). After visiting the temple, we went to a smaller company that produces and sell handloom pure silk sarees. It was quite interesting to see them working. My mum bought some sarees too.
Talking about the Panchabootha Stalas, Thiruvannamalai is the place of the most important legend in Saivism. We were lucky to visit the temple at daytime, and had a lot of time to worship and do archanai, and to look around the temple. It is indeed one of the most beautiful temples I’ve visited so far. It’s known for its massive gopurams (temple towers), with a history going back to the 11th century, while the main temple is believed to be much older – more than 2000 years old, with mentions in Thevaaram and Thiruvasagam songs. Unfortunately, there’s not been done anything to protect the temple so far, but there is an appeal going on to UNESCO to make the temple a world heritage monument.
The town of Thiruvannamalai is located near the mountain with the same name, and with the temple at the mountain. This mountain plays a very important role in Saivism. It is also one of the 275 places that has been praised in Thevaaram and Thiruvasagam songs.
During our stay in Chennai, we actually stayed in Mylapore. Mylapore is famous for its Kapaleeshwarar Kovil, which we went to many times – BUT NO pictures at all. Weird.
However, we also went to another temple in Chennai, and that was Vadapalani Murugan Kovil, that is located in Vadapalani, that is next to Kodambakkam.
Vadapalani Murugan Kovil is where my parents got married back in 1987, so I guess it was quite nostalgic to my parents to revisit this place again, when we travelled to India in 2010.
This temple is quite “new” when compared to many other temples in Tamil Nadu, as it was approximately installed/built in 1865 by Rathisamy Chettiar after the wishes of Annasamy Naicker.
The temple tank.
You can find more info about the temple and its history here.
I went to Tamil Nadu, India back in 2010, which was a different experience. I’ve visited Sri Lanka, and I actually thought Tamil Nadu was similar, but it wasn’t really. Tamil Nadu (mainly the places we went to) is much more crowded than Sri Lanka, while I’d say Sri Lanka seems more peaceful and more beautiful.
During our stay in Tamil Nadu, we mostly stayed in Chennai, but went to lots of hindu temples all over the state. This was including the Pancha Bootha Stalas, where one of the 5 temples is located in Andhra Pradesh, and Aarupadai Veedu and then we went to Thirupathi, that is located in Andhra Pradesh too.