Ahobilam is a set of 9 shrines of Lord Narasimha all spread in a 5 Km radius area covered with jungles, streams and hills. It is a magnificent pilgrimage as well as a trek. Each temple is located in a remote corner of the forest and the route is enchanting! The highlight of the trip to Ahobilam is the pillar perched on the top of the hill from which Lord Narasimha revelaed him self to Prahalad as per mythology.
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Udupi Krishna temple is one of the most magnificent temples in India. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Udupi Krishna temple is managed by the Krishna Matha established by Sri Madhvacharya in the 13th century. The idol of Krishna was found by Sri Madhvacharya in a ball of sandalwood! Located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Udupi Krishna temple has a mysterious window which is the only means of looking at the deity. The temple is managed by a group of 8 Krishna Mathas, namely Pejavara, Puttige, Palimaru, Adamaru, Sodhe, Kaniyooru, Shirur and Krishnapura. After satisfying the spiritual hunger, lunch can be had at Mitra Samaj, arguably the world's first Udupi restaurant.
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Nava Tirupathi is a set of 9 temples of Lord Vishnu located between Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur in the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu. Nava Tirupathi is part of the 108 Divya Desam temples revered by the Alvars, the 12 tamil poet saints who lived 2500 years ago. Located around the banks of the River Thamirabarani, the 9 temples of Nava Tirupathi are Thiruvaikundam, Thiruvaragunamangai, Thirupulinkudi, North & South temples of Thirutholaivillimangalam, Thirukkulanthai, Thiruperai, Thirukolur and Thirugurukoor. A popular gathering of pilgrims happens every year at Alwarthirunagari during month of May-June to honour Nammaalvar one of the greatest Hindu mystics. During this festival, an amazing ceremony happens where Perumals from all the 9 shrines upon Garuda, Nammalvar upon Anna and Madhurakavi Alvar upon Parangi Naarkali arrive in a procession.
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Guruvayur is a town in the south Indian state of Kerala housing the world famous temple of Lord Krishna which is a highlight of Kerala tourism. Often called the Dwarka of the South, Guruvayur temple is renowned for its healing powers. The main idol of Lord Krishna is supposed to be 5000 years old as per a legend! Guruvayur temple also has a unique sanctuary of more than 60 Elephants which is a big attraction for pilgrims. Kerala tourism is incomplete without a beach sojourn, so most visitors to Guruvayur Temple also visit the Chavakkad Beach nearby.
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Darasuram is home to Airavateswar Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Airavateswar Temple was built by Chola King Raja Raja II in the 12th century AD. This shiva temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam is a UNESCO world heritage site and a treasure trove of Art, Carvings and Architecture. The temple gets its name after Airavat the white elephant of Lord Indra who came here to worship. Along with Brihadeswarar Temple of Thanjavur & Gangaikondacholapuram, The Airavateswar Temple at Darasuram forms a triad of the Great Living Temples of Cholas and is a must visit.
Read more: Darasuram- Shiva Temple Kumbakonam
The Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur is one of the greatest architectural creations in India. Popularly called as Thanjavur Big Temple it is a sculptor's dream, a historian's mine, a dancer's vision and a sociologist's scoop!The Thanjavur Big temple which recently completed its 1000th birthday 2010 remains the finest specimen of Chola architecture, sculpture, bronze casting and painting. There are several interesting legends, mysteries and even a curse associated with this thousand year’s old temple!
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Madurai Meenakshi Temple is one of the largest Temples of the World and an Architectural marvel. Over the last 2500 years Madurai Meenakshi Temple has been the lifeline of the City of Madurai. Madurai Meenakshi Temple has played a crucial role in promoting Tamil Art, Music, Dance & Culture. In fact, Madurai Meenakshi Temple is supposed to have been the host of the third assembly of Tamil Sangam, the ancient Literature Meet. As many as 30000 sculptures can be found in the Madurai Meenakshi temple complex! No wonder it was in the list of top 30 nominees of “New Seven Wonders of the World”.
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Amarnath Yatra is a magical journey to the holy cave at 14000 feet above sea level on the Himalayas where Lord Shiva is in the form of a Lingam formed by a stalagmite. Nestled in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath Cave is 140 KMs from Srinagar in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and attracts thousand of Pilgrims every year despite the hostile conditions. Here is a Pilgrim's account of this unforgettable expedition along with some travelers tips.
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It all began with a message from Gman on Facebook sometime in May’12 asking me if I wanted to join him for a trek to Sathuragiri. My antlers went up after reading the “trek” part. I immediately said yes and started reading more about Sathuragiri. It turned out that Sathuragiri is the abode of the famous saints and devotees of Lord Shiva called Siddhars who were learned men of olden times and were saints, doctors, alchemists and mysticists. Siddhars like Agasthya are believed to control and transcend the barriers of time and space by meditation. A mountain to climb was good enough, but a mountain with a legend of magic and mystique got me all excited.
Read more: Sathuragiri trek-land of Siddhars & Siddha Yoga
Bodh Gaya in modern day Bihar is where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in 530 BC. You can actually visit an offshoot of the original sacred Fig tree under which Buddha attained Nirvana. The Mahabodhi Temple built originally by Ashoka the Maurya Emperor, is a key attraction. The most impressive structure here is the 80 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha, serenely meditating on a Lotus. A trip to Bodh Gaya is highly recommended for every Thirsty Traveler.
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The 1000 pillar Jain Temple of Moodabidri is an uncrowned world heritage site in the outskirts of Mangalore. Located in Moodabidri which is also called Jain Kashi, the 1000 Pillar Jain Temple, is a 2 storied structure built on Granite and is a splendid specimen of the famed Vijayanagar style of architecture. The fine carvings on the Pillars are about the life and times of the Theertankaras as well as Lord Rama and Krishna.
Moodabidri is 37 Kms northeast from the port city of Mangalore. It is situated on National Highway 13 in Mangalore-Karkala road. Mangalore can be reached by both Air and Rail. Taxis are the best way to explore Moodabidri.
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Durga Parameswari Temple at Kateel near Mangalore is a very beautiful temple built over the River Nandini. During the rainy season, the temple looks magnificent as Nandini flows below her with full gusto. Kateel Durga Parameswari Temple is also a patron of Yakshagan form of dance. The Kateel temple trust encourages this dance form and manages few troupes who perform every year.
Darshan at Keteel Durga Parameswari Temple is from 6am to 930pm every day. The day begins with Prathabisheka and Darshan at 6 am. The Maha Pooja in the afternoon happens between 1230 and 1pm, while at night it is scheduled between 730 and 8 pm.Special and Major sevas like, Ranga Pooja, Chandika Homa, Belli Rathothsava, and Durga Homa can be done by booking at the temple office.
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The Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas mentioned in the ancient Indian scripts. Legend says that Karveer or modern day Kolhapur is the permanent abode of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Mahalakshmi. Shri Dattatreya the incarnation of the holy trinity of Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, is supposed to visit every afternoon for alms.
Darshan at Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple begins at 430 am with Kakadarti. Morning Pooja is at 8am while the Holy food of Nevaidya is at 930 am. The afternoon Pooja is at 1130 am. Alankar Pooja is performed at 130 pm. Dhuparti is done at 8pm. The day closes at 10pm with the Shejarti.
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Jyotiba Temple, Kolhapur is situated over 3000 feet above sea level in the Panhala hills of Maharashtra. Jyotiba Temple, Kolhapur is a Jyotirlinga and very popular among devotees from all over India. The Jyotiba Temple is a sight to behold during the full moon days of Vaishakh and Chaitra when hundreds of thousands of devotees visit to participate in the annual temple festival. The whole Jyotiba Temple complex in Kolhapur turns pink from vermillion and the devotees perform a mesmerizing dance using Sasankathi bamboo sticks.
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Sri Gokulam Goshala is a unique Goshala near the town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Built to protect Cows, Sri Gokulam Goshala lies inside the Premises of Vittal Rukmini Samsthan. What is unique here is that the Cows are from Brindavan, Dwarka and Govardhan. Hence these cows are the descendants of the Cows grazed by Lord Krishna himself!
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Sri Ranganatha Temple of Srirangapatna is one of the most famous Vishnu temples of South India. Part of the famed Pancharanga Shetrams, the Sri Ranganatha Temple is located on the banks of the river Cauvery in the historical town of Srirangapatna. A remarkable fact about this temple is that Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, two of the great Muslim kings of India were Lord Ranganatha’s devotees. This temple looks magnificent during the festival of Makar Sankranti, lit up with a hundred thousand lamps.
Darshan timings are Sri Ranganatha Temple are 07.30 am to 01.00 pm and 04.00 pm to 08.00 pm
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It is an old Hindu saying that everyone must visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime. Among the 400 temples around Pushkar in Rajasthan, the one devoted to Brahma is the only one of its kind in the world. The charm of this sleepy, lakeside settlement so captivated the great Indian poet, Kalidas, that Pushkar found a place in his classic, Abhigyan Sakuntalam. You don’t need to be a devout Hindu to enjoy Pushkar. You can plan a visit just for the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, one of the most colorful fairs on the planet. Some of the events featured here are a beauty pageant, flat race and musical chairs by Camels!
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One day in the 12th century AD, Sri Ramanuja, the great Philosopher and Saint, had a dream where the Lord asks him to go to a mountain and unearth an idol. Ramanuja indeed found an idol of the Lord and named it Thirunarayanan. The place became Thirunarayanapura, aka Melkote and can be found 51 kms from Mysore. Legend has it that the idol was stolen during the Muslim invasion of South and the princess of Delhi made it as her doll. Ramanuja went to Delhi and when he endearingly called 'Come on, my dear child, the idol miraculously came to his lap! Melkote us a must visit destination among tourist places in Karnataka.
Cheluva Narayanaswamy temple 730am-1pm, 4pm-6pm and 7pm-830p. On weekends, the morning timing is 8.30am to 1.30pm.
Puja (Nithyakatle)at Yoganarasimha Temple is from 9-10 am. Abhisheka is from 10-11am. Darshan is from 11am-1pm and 530-8pm. On weekends, the darshan timing is 11.00am to 2.00pm and 5.00pm to 8.00pm.
Read more: Melkote- Temple near Mysore