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Old 6th October 2009, 12:22   #16
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Originally Posted by GSMINC View Post
There are hundreds of unique temples in India & hence I try to cover as much as possible
GSMINC, pls share some good temples you have visited and can be covered in weekend trip from Chennai.
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Old 6th October 2009, 15:36   #17
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Yes it is a great circuit. I had done this circuit from Bangalore last year in three days comfortably. Like GSMINC mentioned there are numerous other nice temples that are worth a look provided they are properly planned for.
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Old 6th October 2009, 20:57   #18
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GSMINC, pls share some good temples you have visited and can be covered in weekend trip from Chennai.
There are literally 1000s of temples within a radius of few hundred kms from madras, In the city itself you have Vadapalani, Tiruvallikeni Parthesarathy temple, Tirunindravur bhaktavatsala perumal temple (both are divya desams) & the Kapaleeswarar shiva temple
You are a stone throw away from Kanchi. Kanchipuram also called as "City of 1000 Temples" has 15 Vishnu temples(all divya desams) including the massive Varadaraja perumal temple(more commonly known as the Kanchi Varadar koil housing a huge precious stone gifted by Robert Clive of East India Company), 2 shiva temples-Kailasanathar temple & Ekambareshwarar temple & ofcourse the temple of Kanchi Kamakshi, the presiding diety of the city.
Near Cuddalore you find the Tiruvahindrapuram temple housing the Deva raja perumal & the unique Horse faced vishnu- Hayagreeva Perumal temple. Hayagreeva is considered the Lord of Knowledge & education, infact he was the Guru of Saraswati
Around 275kms from Madras the Kumbakonam belt has the largest concerntration of temples, maybe due to the Mahamagam tank effect (hope you know the story). Around Kumbakonam you will find a temple which claims to solve any problem you face:Visit Tirumanjeri-if you are yet to be married,Tirukarugavoor & Manargudi-for barren couples yearning fore a child ,Garbarakshambikai temple-for smooth child birth(suga prasavam), Patteeswaram-for victory in court cases/legal troubles,Tirucherai Runa Mukteshwarar- for clearing of debts,Tirunageshwaram & keelperumballam- for sarpa dosha,Tirukadayur- for health & long life, Ayyavadi-relief from black magic/vasheekaranam etc, Sem pon sei koil & Padi kaasu naathar- for gold & wealth, Thilla mariamman koil- for Rajayogam/Power & prestige, Hayagreeva temple, Tiruvahindrapuram & Sarawati temple, Koothanur(poon thottam)- for knowledge/sucess in education
And the list goes on & on...,
If you are a very busy person who cant visit each & every temple & would prefer a temple which would solve all problems/doshas, then
Just visit the Tiruvarur Thyagarajaswamy temple, which is the sarva dosha nivarana sthalam.
Infact there are hundreds of temples around Kumbakonam, all more than 1500-2000 years.
I personally have set myself two conditions befor visiting any temple.
The temple should be atleast 1500 years old & there should not be any electricity/light bulbs/tube light inside the Garba gruham/sanctum sanctorum. Believe me, a lifetime is not enough to cover all temples which are 1500 years old, I generally avoid brand new temples because I feel that any temple & the god inside, if has been worshipped (abhishekam, archana, tirumanjanam, nityas harathi etc) continously for centuries, the idol gets its own aura, power, positive energy, vibrations(whatever one may call it), one canot get the same thing in a new temple/idol.
Infact I hated/felt sick visiting the Golden temple, Vellore, it is more of a tourist spot than a temple, with due apologies to Sripuram devotees, no offense meant, just my personal opinion

Infact, right now I am covering the 3000 years old 108 Divya Desam temples of Lord Vishnu. I have covered around 75 temples & counting.
For more details visit:
Divya Desams - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
or
108 Divyadesams, Temples of India, Indian Hindu Temples, Divya desams

After that I shall start 274 Shiva temples called padal petrs sthalams.
For more details visit:
Padal petra stalam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After that, let's see what sort of Divine Intervention, one gets
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Old 6th October 2009, 21:11   #19
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GSMINC, you must write about your experiences in visiting these temples.....along with route info, of course.

And a route plan for visiting the Navagraha circuit around Kumbaokonam in as short time as possible, bearing in mind the short temple timings, will be extremely useful for all those planning a trip, ex-Kumbakonam.
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Old 6th October 2009, 23:40   #20
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
GSMINC, you must write about your experiences in visiting these temples.....along with route info, of course.

And a route plan for visiting the Navagraha circuit around Kumbaokonam in as short time as possible, bearing in mind the short temple timings, will be extremely useful for all those planning a trip, ex-Kumbakonam.
Sure, will do, in a few days, am busy with lots of piled up work,


Or rather how about a Team-bhp meet with the celestial beings right on the navagraha circuit, what say guys?
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Old 7th October 2009, 00:41   #21
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Default Trip Update - 2

Srikalahasti - Kanchipuram (Element: Earth)
Route taken: Srikalahasti - Puttur - Arakkonam - Kanchi.
Total distance: 120Kms, Time taken: 2.5 hours
-----------------------------------------------
  • Srikalahasti to Tiruttani (NH205) : superb roads. Little narrower than one would expect a NH to be, but traffic is not much, so no major issues while travelling on this section
  • Tiruttani - Arakkonam - Kanchi (SH58) : Arakkonal to Kanchi route is free from traffic but the road is very narrow. It has railway track continuously on the right so there are occasional speed-breakers close to railway crossings.
The main drawback of this route is the passage through Tiruttani and Arakkonam. Both are little congested so this can cause unpredictable delay.

Visited three temples in Kanchipuram. One was the Ekambaranathar temple that represents the Earth. Legend is that the temple tree (mango tree from which the temple name is derived) gave four different kinds of mango flavors. This was considered to be representative of the four Vedas. I like the laid back temple feeling here. They allow camera inside the temple for Rs. 20 fee. Not much crowd here. A Rs 5 ticket takes you to inner Sanctum.

The other interesting temple was Kailasanathar temple (do not miss this one). This is very similar to the ones in Mahabalipuram built by Pallavas. It is not at all commercialized and is maintained by ASI. The lingam here is pretty big (around 6 feet high and massive girth). The interesting aspect is the pradakshanam (circumambulate) around the lingam. This priest told us that this temple is representative of birth-death cycle (punarapi maranam punarapi jananam). The metaphor's physical manifestation is that you have to crawl (lie-down) to do to circumambulation. This signifies you are helpless when you die and helpless when you are born. And this birth-death cycle is centered around Siva. Fascinating !!!

I stayed at GRT Regency who had some good discount going on for single occupancy. Could not resist the late evening tiffin at Saravana Bhavan (next to GRT). Though the crunchy Ghee Masala Roast was close to 100Rs, it was out of the world. This was complimented with Idiappam and the midly sweet Coconut milk. For a tired driver this was a heavenly dinner. Took rest for the evening and was looking forward to long drive for the next day.

In the photographs the first temple gopuram is that of Ekambaranathar Temple with 1008 lingams and massive pillared halls. The last few are from the Kailasanathar temple
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Old 12th December 2009, 10:26   #22
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Even I love visiting temples. I visited Chidambaram last week. The Gopurams and the temple precincts were massive.

Photography was not allowed inside, so no pics.
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Old 15th June 2010, 23:08   #23
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After almost 8 months of lying dormant, I am thinking of completing the rest of the road trip. I got a PM which motivated me to update the trip details.
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Old 15th June 2010, 23:15   #24
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Saw this thread just. Initially I thought, are we talking about one temple? Then I saw the answers themselves!

How is the Kalahasthy-Kanchi road status? On many of my NH46 drives, I used to see a diversion to Tirupathy, between Kanchi and Chennai.
If that is the route we are talking about, looked to me like a very good one.

Overall as HVK said the circuit looks very good!
One can also add the Pichavaram stretch (mangrove visit), as its very close to Chidambaram.

Last edited by ampere : 15th June 2010 at 23:20.
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Old 15th June 2010, 23:15   #25
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Default Pancha Bhoota Road Trip - Day 2

Kanchipuram - Tiruvannamalai (Element: Fire)
Route taken: Kanchi - Vandavasi - Chetpet - Avalurpet - Tiruvannamalai.
Total distance: 120Kms, Time taken: 2.5 hours
-----------------------------------------------

Oct 3, 2010 - After a good night's rest I was lazily looking forward to the whole day's drive. The plan was to visit Tiruvannamalai by mid morning, and then drive down to Chidambaram and after the darshan there, conclude the drive by reaching the hotel at Trichy. I wanted to start earlier but was little lazy after the drive and darshans of the previous day. I decided to have hearty breakfast since my lunch stop was planned at Neyveli (Enroute from Tiruvannamalai to Chidamabaram). So by the time I departed from Kanchipuram it was 8:25 AM – an hour later than I had planned initially. The route from Kanchi to Tiruvannamalai was all TN State Highways. Having driven in TN, I had high expectations from the state highways. And I was not disappointed.
The route taken was Kanchi - Vandavasi (45 KM) via SH 116, Vandavasi - Chetpet (30 KM) via SH 115 and then from Chetpet to Tiruvannamalai (45 KM). The entire stretch was 2-lane roads. The conditions were good for a long drive. The sky was clear azure and the weather was warm. On solo drives these things give you the additional zing to keep the boredom away. The drive through the small towns along the way was slower since it was a Saturday and the bazaars were in full flow. Overall I would have lost 30 minutes in navigating the car through the narrow roads in the towns. But the good quality of the roads (many of them recently re-laid) helped me catch up.

On the way to Vandavasi, I spotted this lovely temple complex. The architecture is a mix of Dravidian style gopuram and a Puri-Jagannath style main sanctum. This turned out to be the Panduranga Temple at Thennagur, about 7-8 KM before Vandavasi. Due to the paucity of time, I had to skip this inviting structure. The next picture that I took was of a structure on top of a hill.

Pancha Bhoota temple road trip-img_0830.jpg
Pancha Bhoota temple road trip-img_0832.jpg

The rest of the drive was smooth, traffic-free and event-free. As you near Tiruvannamalai, you can see the crimson Annamalai hill loom in front of you.

Pancha Bhoota temple road trip-img_0835.jpg

After that divine sight, the reality hits you as you enter the Tiruvannamalai town. Most of the time, I pass through this town on my way to Pondicherry. But this time I had to reach the temple and that too from the north side of the town. All the directions boards seemed to mis-direct and as a result I went around in circles (not inside the temple) couple of times before I found a decent parking spot close to the temple gate. I am always amazed at the volume of traffic around Tiruvannamalai. This place deserves a much better bypass.

In my opinion, the Lord Arunachaleswarar Temple is among the cleanest temple for its size. The queue system was clearly marked and with Rs. 50 special darshan ticket, I was quickly able to make it to the sanctum sanctorum. The temple’s puranic history is nicely captured on their website. On a scientific note, it is said that the ‘fire’ element refers to the volcanic activity which resulted in the formation of the Annamalai Hill.

By 12 noon I was out of Tiruvannamalai and on my way to Chidambaram.
Attached Thumbnails
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Pancha Bhoota temple road trip-img_0838.jpg  

Pancha Bhoota temple road trip-img_0841.jpg  

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Old 15th June 2010, 23:20   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Saw this thread just. Initially I thought, are we talking about one temple? Then I saw the answers themselves!

How is the Kalahasthy-Kanchi road status? On many of my NH46 drives, I used to see a diversion to Tirupathy, between Kanchi and Chennai. If that is the route we are talking about, looked to me like a very good one.
Not sure which diversion you are referring to. But I would guess that the diversion would point to Tirupathi since that is the main attraction in that area. Also the route is via Tiruttani and Arakkonam
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Old 15th June 2010, 23:24   #27
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Not sure which diversion you are referring to. But I would guess that the diversion would point to Tirupathi since that is the main attraction in that area. Also the route is via Tiruttani and Arakkonam
I think its the same route we are talking about.
Has anyone been through this off late?
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Old 14th June 2016, 15:47   #28
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Default Re: Pancha Bhoota temple road trip

Does the below seem doable or is too aggressive. Want to do it over the weekend vs. taking a day off

Car - Swift Dzire
People - 2 couples and 1 elderly lady

Travel Dates – 24th – 25th July (Sat & Sun)

Blr – Sri Kala Hasti – 282 kms - Start at 4/5 am, reach temple by 11am. Perform Kal Sarpa puja, have lunch and proceed

Sri Kala hasti – Kanchipuram – 127 kms - Reach by 5pm , darshan and leave

Kanchipuram – Thiruvanamalai – 115 kms - Reach at night, do darshan and sleep or else just rest and do darshan next day morning

Thiruvanamalai – Chidambaram – 150 kms - Leave after darshan and do darshan at Chidambaram by noon

Chidambaram – Thiruvanakaval – 140 - Perform darshan in eve and leave for blr which is about 325 kms


While i can see lot of eating options on way to Tirupathi, can someone please help with

Place of stay at Thiruvanamalai / Chidambaram?
Any good eating place on these roads?
Anything in particular to avoid, be cautious of (roads, timings, puja rituals etc.)
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Old 14th June 2016, 17:35   #29
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Default Re: Pancha Bhoota temple road trip

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Does the below seem doable or is too aggressive. Want to do it over the weekend vs. taking a day off
Car - Swift Dzire
People - 2 couples and 1 elderly lady

Travel Dates – 24th – 25th July (Sat & Sun)
No way! Looks way too tough.

Quote:
Blr – Sri Kala Hasti – 282 kms - Start at 4/5 am, reach temple by 11am. Perform Kal Sarpa puja, have lunch and proceed
This is touch and go. What if the temple closes, by the time you reach. Thats a risk. One option is to start by say 3:30 or so to be there by 9 or 9:30.

Quote:
Sri Kala hasti – Kanchipuram – 127 kms - Reach by 5pm , darshan and leave
About 3 hours. With a 11 AM start, assume you reach by 4 including lunch. You can close on Darshan by an hour or two max. Assume you leave by 5/5:30. It would help if you carry a GPS. Difficult to get directions in the dark.

Quote:
Kanchipuram – Thiruvanamalai – 115 kms - Reach at night, do darshan and sleep or else just rest and do darshan next day morning
Just reach and sleep. No Darshan. Kanchi-Arcot-Kannamangalam-Polur-Tiruvannamalai. Good roads all the way.

Quote:
Thiruvanamalai – Chidambaram – 150 kms - Leave after darshan and do darshan at Chidambaram by noon
Chidambaram – Thiruvanakaval – 140 - Perform darshan in eve and leave for blr which is about 325 kms
Take it easy. Finish both Darshan. And stay at Chidambaram. Start next day.
Tiruvannamalai-Villipuram-Ulundurpet-Vridhchalam-Sethiyarthope-Chidambaram. Roads around Vridhachalam/Sethiyarthope/Chidambaram are not all that great. (Shortest is Thirukkoilure-Panruti-Sethiyarthope-Chidambaram. But I would prefer Ulundurpet)


For return:

Chidambaram-Vridhachalam-Ulundurpet-Salem-Bangalore.

Quote:
Place of stay at Thiruvanamalai / Chidambaram?
Any good eating place on these roads?
Dont remember anything specific. Carry eatables for the first leg of your journey as you need to reach Kalahasthi early. A 3/3:30 start means most breakfast joints will be closed. Chandragiri has a coffee day. Dont know about any other place around that region.


Kanchi-Arcot section of NH46 has quite some places like Mary Brown, Murgan Idly, Sai Sangeeth etc. Not many after you leave the 4-lane from Arcot. Check for something at Polur.

In general, plan is extremely tight. You definitely need one more day. Dont drive back on D2 from Chidambaram. Roads are way too bad.

Last edited by ampere : 14th June 2016 at 18:01.
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Old 14th June 2016, 17:56   #30
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Default Re: Pancha Bhoota temple road trip

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Originally Posted by KD007 View Post
.....Place of stay at Thiruvanamalai / Chidambaram?
Any good eating place on these roads?
Anything in particular to avoid, be cautious of (roads, timings, puja rituals etc.)
I was at Chidambaram last month. Stayed at Arudhra Residency near East entrance of the temple. Good place at reasonable cost (http://www.arudhraresidency.com/).
Sri Krishna Vilas on East Car Street is a fairly good and well-known (but small) pure-vegetarian restaurant at Chidambaram.

Agree with Ampere on the road quality on the Vridhachalam/Sethiyarthope/Chidambaram section. Roads were in very bad shape but construction/relaying work was on.

Last edited by srvm : 14th June 2016 at 17:59.
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