Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 20th December 2016, 11:39   #1
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Arrow Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Preface:

I have always loved visiting old temples. At Least one trip a year covering old temples is what we have been doing in the family for sometime. More often than not, we end up visiting the same place. Last few years due to various reasons we have not been able to do such drives and things are now back in forte this 2016.

Planning

December 3 to 18 was my annual vacation. I was badly in need for a drive and was off to the Nilgiris for couple of days (Ooty Drive). Dad didn't have his vacations yet, but said he could manage few days and after a lot of deliberations we decided the dates for the drive as Dec 13 to 16.

Next was on deciding on where to go? From Kotagiri to Meghamalai, options were considered, and finally we thought of making this into a temple drive which all of us love any day.

Dad needed to be back to work latest by noon on 16th, so had to squeeze the plan accordingly.

The places:

I had always wanted to visit the 3 greatest Ganesha temples (Trichy, Pilliyarpatti, Uppur) in the state in a single trip. Though I have visited all these three places separately on different occasions, I still wanted to try and cover them in a single trip.

Mom chipped in with her wishlist of Velankani & Alangudi whilst dad wanted to cover Sikkal.

The list was growing and I was only happy. Quick look onto the maps and we find Thiruvarur and Kundrakudi as en-route temples so we add them into the plan as well.

Next was the route plan on where to start and end and of course places to stay. Most of these are closer to each other and hence was little tricky. Night drives is a strict no for my parents and so that had to be considered as well.

After some thought, the below route was finalized.

Coimbatore - Dindigul - Pilliyarpatti - Kundrakudi - Kaanadukathan (stay over) - Uppur - Velankani(stayover) - Sikkal - Thiruvarur - Alangudi - Trichy (stayover)

Next was booking the accommodation. Being weekday the offers on travel sites weren't exciting enough. So shortlisted some places and called them directly only to find them offering me prices lower than the popular travel sites. So went ahead with the 'traditional' booking process.

The Route:

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-tripmap.jpg

The Machine:

It was decided to rest my Linea and take my dad's Linea for the trip as it has mostly been confined to inter-city runs at the max. I was tempted to take mine and possibly hit the 1L mark soon, but decided to give dad's car a much deserved highway run.

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161129_070450_1_p_1.jpg

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 12:35.
h14 is offline   (14) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st December 2016, 11:39   #2
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Day 1: Coimbatore to Kanadukathan

Started from Coimbatore at 6:45 am.

Route: Palladam-Dharapuram-Ottanchathiram-Dindigul-Natham-Pilliyarpatti-Kanadukathan.

As always the Coimbatore-Dharapuram stretch roads were in good condition and covered ground quickly. First stop of the drive was at Dharapuram for breakfast. Hotel Apoorva it was.

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_082433_1_p.jpg

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_083018_1_p.jpg

The place is well kept, nice and clean. Food was good too. They even have Paleo diet in the menu! So Paleo folks driving this side have something to rejoice.

Post breakfast it was non-stop to Kanadukathan. The roads from Ottanchathiram to Dindigul is thankfully getting attended to. Last time there were too many pot-holes, now majority has been fixed.

Getting into Dindigul and then onto Natham road was a little tricky. Haven't driven inside Dindigul town for almost a decade and hence was following GMaps. Some new one-way diversions to control traffic was obviously not updated in the maps and had to navigate asking cops. But except for that one place, all other junctions had sign boards to get onto the desired exit.

I had huge expectations on the Dindigul-Natham roads, but it was a disappointment. Too many speed humps and deteriorating road surface was annoying. Maybe this part of the district is devoid of development/maintenance since 'Natham' Viswanathan was sacked! That was the only reason I could see as for this stretch was always being praised by friends. The roads upto Kottampatti ranged from average to some really good bits.

Entering kottampatti, lost track and had to take a small detour-tour to get back onto the right way. Roads were now better and thankfully no more speed breakers. Reached Pilliyarpatti quicker than anticipated. The temple visit was anyway planned for late evening and hence proceeded towards the place of stay.

Kanadukathan - The Heritage town

Entered Kanadukathan and it was like a whole new world on its own. Heritage town nevertheless. My expectations were not that high and so I was overjoyed on seeing this literally empty town!

Enter the town and a huge school campus welcomes you. The surroundings were neat and clean and the school board boasted of an ISO 9001 certification too! The school was closed due to the State mourning, so the locality was devoid of people.

Checked into the "Chettinadu Narayana Vilas". Ordered our lunch during check-in and it was ready in a jiffy. Had our lunch and when my parents decided to get some rest, I wandered out in the hot afternoon sun to see what this town had.

Our place of stay:
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_121447_1_p.jpg

View from the Balcony:
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_121915_1_p.jpg
Yes, people are living there. Just see the amount of open the houses here have!

This too seemed like a palace, but no idea on its name.
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_121919_1_p.jpg

The Lunch:
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_125710_1_p.jpg

I could hardly see people out there. It was scarily deserted for the afternoon time. All I could see was huge houses and palaces with security guards in place. Went around the locality and clicked some pictures and came back for a short afternoon nap with heart filled with thoughts on the life of the people in the good old days!

The Lakshmi Palace also known as the Raja Palace (The street was called 'Raja Sir Street'). A very popular one in the movies, it was maintained beautifully. Looked brand new! It was such a wonderful sight. Pictures just don't do justice to wonderful marvel!


Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133112_1_p.jpg

The palace extends upto the next street. It was long!
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133810_1_p.jpg

Hard to believe? See this.
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133831_1_p.jpg

Still not convinced? How about this?
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133840_1_p.jpg

Linea overlooking the now post office
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133537_1_p.jpg

The other side was the temple
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133553_p.jpg

This again seemed to be palace. At-least it was huge. And these windows are on the compound wall! The main building was hardly visible from outside.
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_133639_1_p.jpg

Looked like a set from one of our horror movies! But the house was massive and ]build to last for ever. Did look spooky!

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_134125_p.jpg

How about another? They were twins I suppose!

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161213_134157_1_p.jpg

Except a few, many were devoid of maintenance. Some still stood high whilst some had started to falter. It was a sad sight and thoughts go out to those families who couldn't take care of these massive houses. Many seemed locked for years while some had caretakers in place. Can't blame them, imagine the cost to paint these massive houses in the present day!

Trip Stats for Coimbatore to Kanadukathan
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-20161221_231104.jpg

I had hardly explored 10% of this town. Was short on time and was already planning on a few days trip back to this place for a heritage walk. This region has plenty to offer and I had hardly seen any. The architecture was really fascinating and the sight of these building are yet to sink in.

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 12:41.
h14 is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st December 2016, 23:01   #3
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Late Evening we started off to the temples. First was Kundrakudi Murugan Temple followed by Pilliyarpatti. Both are close to each other but chose Kundrakudi as you need to climb up a few hundred steps and hence decided to do it before dark.

Kunnakudi Shanmuganathan Temple

Not difficult to find. It's a small detour from the state highway. The hillock is visible from quite far off, but sort of hides when you approach the town. Getting in was a breeze but the area surrounding the hillock was in complete mess. Probably it was the Tuesday market that was in full swing. Shops setup everywhere on the road. We anyways parked the car a little far off and found the market once we started walking towards the entrance.

Sorry to be blunt, but it was stinking and dirty all around. Definitely not the way you would want to enter a temple. There was no control or authority for the temple I suppose or they are least bothered. I sincerely hope the authorities step up and act upon. The temple tank was another disaster. The water was badly polluted and it was a sad sight.

With all these getting into the mind, we step in and the sight of the mischievous temple elephant makes you forget everything that was outside. It was a young one with a very naughty face! We watch his activities for a short while and start climbing.

About the Temple:

Age: 1000 - 2000 years old

Quote:
The hill has a height of 40m (130 ft) and occupies an area of 6.5 acres. The temple has a five tiered rajagopuram, the gateway tower raising to a height of 16.5 m (54 ft), which pierces the granite wall surrounding the temple. The sanctum faces East and the image of the presiding deity Murugan is sported with the images of his consort Valli and Deivasana, each of whom are seen sitting on a peacock.

There are three caves in the western side of the lower hill, with rock-cut images dedicated to Shiva in each of them. The first two caves have intricate rock-cut sculptures and Dvarapalas on either side of the sanctum, while the third one is plain. There are various sculpted images of Vishnu, Durga, Lingodbhava, Harihara. The image of Dvarapalas in the caves, on either sides of the sanctum, with each leaning in the direction facing the sanctum, are found to be the earliest representation of the images. These are not found in Pallava architecture, which precedes the Pandyas. The caves are considered one of the major specimens of rock-cut architecture of the Pandyas
We weren't aware of the caves when we visited and hence didn't have a look.

Temple History:

Quote:
Demon Sura and his men, intending to revenge the Devas, told peacock that Garuda of Lord Vishnu and the Swan (Annam) were boasting that they could fly faster than the peacock. Believing this, the peacock swallowed the Gadura and Swan in anger. Lord Vishnu and Indira appealed to Muruga to get back their vehicles who then cursed the peacock to become a hill. Realizing its mistake, the peacock came to this hill Kundrakudi-Arasavanam and performed penance for relief. Lord Muruga pardoned the peacock
Was unable to click any pictures of the hill, hence some pics from the web. Some claim the hill looks like a peacock in certain angles, unfortunately I couldn't find any similarity to that.



Name:  kundrakudi.jpg
Views: 12393
Size:  35.9 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]
Name:  kundrakudi2.jpg
Views: 12333
Size:  50.0 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Karpaga Vinayagar Temple:

Again, this is an easy find which is on the main road. The village has evolved around this temple. Once you enter the arch to the temple from the main road, there are shops on either side of the road which are kept neat and clean. Heavy vehicles are diverted off into a separate parking and cars are allowed further into close proximity of the temple. It was around 7pm when we entered.

Was a little crowded at that time. We were happy to note that they have abolished all the ticketing entries to the deity. Everyone gets into a single queue and all are treated equal in terms of till where they allow you to get a glimpse of Ganesha. I hope all other temples too follow in these lines and do away with the paid entrance system! We had wonderful darshan and even got back into the queue for a second time when the crowd reduced.

About the Temple:

Age: Greater than 2000 years old

Quote:
This is an ancient cave temple built during Mahendra Pallava period 1600 years ago. The Agama texts found on stones in the temple help date the temple between the years 1091 and 1238. A unique Tamil image of Pillaiyar found in the temple helps to verify this dating. This temple is most famous for the rock cut Vinayagar (Ganesha) sitting majestically inside a cave.
Temple History / Specialty

Quote:
The temple is carved out in a cave of Pillaiyarpatti Hillocks. Lord Vinayagar is 6 feet tall and is carved out from the rock of the cave. The temple was built under patronisation of Pandyas. The age of the cave temple is 2500 years or more. There are 14 stone Sculptures in the cave (dated from 500 BC to 1284 AD ). These stone Sculptures state the ancient names of Pillaiyarpatti such as Ekkattoor, Thiruveenkaikkudi, Maruthangudi, and Rajanarayanapuram.

Temple was built after the hillock was seen by the early Great Pandiya kings. The image of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar and that of a Siva Lingam were carved out of a stone by a sculptor named Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan who put his signature on a stone inscription, in Tamil Language used between the 2nd and 5th century which is found even today in the sanctum based on which it can be concluded that the icon of Pillaiyarpatti Pillaiyar must have been carved around the 4th century AD.

This temple is the only one in Tamil Nadu which contains a 6 feet rock-cut Pillaiyar deity. The Thumbikai (trunk) of Lord Pillaiyar is curled towards his right side and so the God is also known as Valampuri Pillaiyar. There is one Pilliyar painting, in which the Pillayar's eyes will look at us wherever we stand.
Again, no pictures from me, hence sharing some from the web.

Name:  KarpagaVinayagarTemplePillayarpatti.jpg
Views: 12370
Size:  167.9 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 12:47.
h14 is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st December 2016, 23:05   #4
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Day 2: Kanadukathan to Uppur

Started off from Kanadukathan after breakfast around 8am. Next destination was Uppur which was around 75kms. Roads were decent and could cover the distance in under one and a half hours.

Veyyil Ugantha Vinayagar Temple:

This small coastal town is famous for the temple which has stories linked to the Ramayan era!

About the Temple:

Quote:
Sun performed penance here, attained powers and was relieved of some adverse aspects on him. As Lord Vinayaka accepted Sun’s rays on him (sun rays – veyil in Tamil) He is named Veyil Ugantha Vinayaka.

When Sri Rama came to know about the place of captivity of Sita through Anjaneya, He set out from Prachravana hills with His monkey army to Vanni forests through the eastern coast. He worshiped Veyil Ugantha Vinayaka in a serene environment and sought his blessings for victory in his efforts and proceeded towards Sethukarai.
History / Specialty of the Temple:

Quote:
Though stories differ, it is believed that the temple was built by King Bhaskara Sethupathi in the year 1905. The story also goes that Lord Vinayaka appeared in the dream of a priest asked him to build a temple without roof on the Sanctum Sanctorum so that He can enjoy sunlight for ever. Because of this design, Sunrays fall on the deity on the southern side during the Dakshinayana period and on the northern side during the Utharayana period.
Sadly it was yet another temple lacking maintenance.

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161214_100838_1_p.jpg

Trip log for Kanadukathan to Uppur

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-20161221_231211.jpg

Uppur to Velankani

The temple is just off the ECR road, so no hassles on latching onto the ECR towards our next destination, which was Velankani.

I was extremely wary and skeptical of the ECR condition. Had never driven in this section of the ECR and was expecting the roads to be mediocre. But oh boy I was so happy to be proven wrong! The road was fantastic all along from Uppur to Velankani. Easily the best section of roads on this entire trip.

Beautifully laid wide 2 lanes with varying scenery on either sides. From houses to farms and the coastline, there was everything. The climate was hot and sultry, never felt like December.

We wanted a tea break, unfortunately no shops on the highway. Though there were numerous ones in every village we cross, they were all crowded and busy and hence thought to stop if at all we find anything isolated from the busy areas.

After sometime we see continuous ads for a coffee hut, so decided to stop there. It was a new shop with works fully not completed, but that didn't stop them serving us yummy samosa's and some excellent tea. It was ages since we had tea with such strong flavor and aroma at a highway outlet. Coffee yes we have many places, good tea on the highway? This was the first.

So again, those travelling this side can mark this outlet for a break. It is on the highway near Muthupettai.

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161214_120030_1_p.jpg

Post the break it was direct to Velankani. I had booked at MGM. Again it was easy to reach and bang on the ECR. Checked in there at lunch time.

Trip Stats for Uppur to Velankani

Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-20161221_231312.jpg

Sikkal Singaravelan Temple:

An afternoon nap post lunch and off we went on to Sikkal. Started around 5pm to Sikkal which is around 12 kms from MGM. Plan was to visit the Sikkar Singaravelan Temple / Navaneetheswarar Temple and then come back to Velankani and visit the church late evening. As mentioned above, the ECR being fabulous, we reached Sikkal in no time. It was the Nagapattinam to Sikkal 5 kms stretch that took some time as the road was in average condition and a little narrow. GMaps points to a different place when searched for Singaravelan temple, but we accidentally found the correct temple, thanks to the huge arch that is visible on the road. Sikkal Navaneetheswarar Temple is the main temple. The Singaravelan temple is found in the premises of Sikkal Navaneetheswarar Temple.

Couple of pics from the web. These pictures seem very old, though the arch still stands tall, there are a lot of changes around it. The tank too remains neat and clean!


Name:  sikkal_kulam.jpg
Views: 12131
Size:  8.2 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Name:  sikkal_gate.jpg
Views: 12328
Size:  16.2 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

About the Temple:

Quote:
It is one of the rare traditional Hindu temples that has both Shiva and Vishnu deities in the same complex. Infact, the four deities Lord Siva, Perumal, Murugan and Hanuman offering benedictions is a significant aspect of this temple. This is one of the 72 canopied temples built by Kochenkat Cholan.

It is also said that Lord Murugan had got his Vel (weapon) from his divine mother at Sikkal, to kill the asura, Soorapadman in Sri Lanka. He performed Soora Samharam (literal meaning: killing Soorapadman) by setting up the base camp in Thiruchendur.

The most important festival is Soora Samharam associated with Lord Muruga getting the weapon Vel from his divine mother, Parvathi to destroy the demon king, Soorapadman. During this time, it is believed by the devotees that the idol sweats and a major event is conducted.
Temple History:

Quote:
Legend says that during a famine, the divine Kamadhenu of the heavenly abode had consumed meat and Lord Siva knowing this cursed the cow to become a tiger. The sorrow-stricken tiger asked pardon to the Lord. The kind-hearted Lord told the tiger, “Take bath in the holy place Mallikaaranyam on the earth, offer your prayers to the Lord there and then you will be relieved of your curse.”

Accordingly, Kamadhenu came to this place, built a pond and when she took bath, milk from her udders flowed and the whole pond became a milk-pond. From this milk-pond gathered butter. As per the direction of Lord Siva, Sage Vasishta came to this sacred place, created a Lingam from the butter and worshiped. Later, it was a problem to remove this Lingam from this place. So, the place came to be known as ‘Sikkal’. (Sikkal in Tamil means Problem)
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

We came back to the room from Sikkal and had decided to visit the church post 7-7:30 PM. It was hardly 2 kms from there. Started off from the hotel around 7pm and the road leading to the church was little congested. There wasn't much crowd, but the way in which the shops were put up and vehicles were parked made the road cramped. But reached there without any difficulties.

The first sight of the church was amazing. It stood tall and shiny amidst the dark background. It was yet another engineering marvel from the bygone era. The entire area was neat and clean. The parking area was huge. Cleanliness was topnotch!

Would have loved to click a picture of the Linea with the church as the background, but there were barricades put up and movement was organized for pedestrians and vehicles. Though there wasn't much crowd, didn't want to park the car there. Spent close to an hour in there and it was back to the room for the day well spent.


Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-vailankanni_basilica1.jpg
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

About the Church:

Quote:
The Roman Catholic Latin Rite Basilica is devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Devotion to Our Lady of Good Health of Velankanni can be traced to the mid-16th century and is attributed to three miracles at sites around where the Basilica stands: the apparition of Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a violent sea storm.

The chapel was finally built by Portuguese sailors. More than 500 years later, the nine-day festival and celebration is still observed and draws nearly 2 million pilgrims each year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni, also known as the "Lourdes of the East," is one of the most-frequented religious sites in India.

There are no historical documents or records about the apparitions of Mary at Vailankanni. Oral tradition is the source for the two apparitions of the Blessed Mother of Vailankanni in the 16th century and the saving of the Portuguese sailors from a tempest in the Bay of Bengal in the later 17th century.

The first apparition is said to have occurred in May 1570, when a local shepherd boy was delivering milk to a nearby house. Along the way he met a beautiful woman holding a child, who asked for some milk for the little one. After giving her the milk, he continued on his way, and upon making the delivery discovered that the jug was now completely full of fresh, cool milk. A small shrine was built near the site where the boy encountered the woman, a location that came to be called Matha Kulam, which means Our Lady’s Pool.

The second apparition is said to have happened in 1597, not far from Matha Kulam. A beautiful woman with a young boy in her arms appeared to a young crippled boy selling buttermilk. The little boy asked for some buttermilk, and after he drank it, the woman asked the boy selling buttermilk to visit a gentleman in the next town and ask him to build a chapel in her honor at that location. The boy set out quickly and realized that he was no longer lame. A small thatched chapel was quickly built in honor of Our Lady of Health, called in Tamil “Arokia Matha.”

The third incident occurred when a Portuguese ship sailing from Macao to Sri Lanka was caught in a storm in the Bay of Bengal. They invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin under her title "Star of the Sea". The storm subsided and the 150 men on board were saved. It was September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. In thanksgiving, the sailors rebuilt the Shrine to Our Lady of Good Health, and continued to enhance it whenever their voyages brought them to the area.

The shrine that started as a thatched chapel in the mid-sixteenth century became a parish church in 1771 when Catholics in India were under persecution from the Dutch. Later in 1962 it was granted a Special status of a Minor Basilica by Pope John XIII.

The shrine of Vailankanni was elevated to the status of 'Minor Basilica' and merged with the Major Basilica of Mary (Mary majore) in Rome on 3 November 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 12:51.
h14 is offline   (12) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st December 2016, 23:07   #5
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Day 3: Velankani to Trichy via Thiruvarur & Alangudi

Thursday morning we start off from Velankani towards Thiruvarur. Route was Nagapatinam-Sikkal-Thiruvarur. Though sikkal was enroute, we did it the previous day due to want of time. Thiruvarur was a first time for us and we heard it was a huge temple and need minimum 3 hours for a complete view around, but then due to various factors we planned to complete it in an hour at the max as we wanted to reach Alangudi before they close at noon.

Now comes the worst sector of roads in the entire trip. We divert off from the ECR at Nagapatinam and from there on it is NH83 which is in pathetic shape. Nagapatinam to Thiruvarur is just 25kms which takes a sold 50-55 minutes. It was stressful to drive.

NHAI has started the widening process as well, but that is no way disturbing traffic, issue is with the road surface that has deteriorated very badly. They could have at-least patched some sections, but have happily ignored the same.

Thiruvarur Thiagaraja Temple:

The temple was away from the highway, so had to rely on maps which was not very successful. So some help from locals, we get there through some narrow streets. Reached the road where the temple cart was parked and the sheer size of the cart stand gives you an idea on how big the temple was going to be. I turn left from there and there was this massive and majestic temple! It looked intimidating and gave me goose bumps!

Stepped inside and again it was sad to see loads of construction materials dumped. There are some works going on, but maintenance could be better! The temple is huge. I thought even massive is an understatement! One could easily get lost on where to start and where to go.

Due to want of time, we sort of rushed through and completed the darshan. Have already planned another visit in future with loads of time dedicated only for this temple.

Age of Temple: 9th Century

About the Temple:

Quote:
The temple complex covers 30 acres, and is one of the largest in India. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The tallest is the eastern tower, with four stories and a height of 30 metres (98 ft). The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Thyagaragar and Neelothbalambal being the most prominent.

The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to Vijayanagar rulers of the Sangama Dynasty (1336–1485 CE), the Saluva Dynasty and the Tuluva Dynasty (1491–1570 CE)

Here all the 9 Navagrahams located towards south in straight line. This temple holds the record of having maximum number of shrines (called sannithis in Tamil) in India. The foot of Thyagaraja is shown twice a year and on other occasions it is covered with flowers. The left leg of the deity is displayed during "panguniuthram" festival and right leg on "thiruvathirai"

The chariot is the largest of its kind in Asia and India weighing 300 tonne with a height of 90 feet. The chariot comes around the four main streets surrounding the temple during the festival.
Temple History:
Quote:
Indira had to face a battle against the demons. He was able to win the war with the help of Emperor Mushukunda. As a token of his gratitude to the emperor, Indira wanted to present a gift and asked what he wanted. Mushukunda asked for the Shivalinga in Indira’s possession which was worshipped by Lord Vishnu keeping it on His chest. Indira did not want to part with the Linga. He made a trick with divine sculptor Mayan making six such Lingas and presented them to the emperor. Mushukunda found them fake. With no means to convince the emperor, Indira offered the Original Shivalinga along with the six new ones too making the total to 7. The original Shiva Linga is in Tiruvarur.

Other six are installed in other temples all collectively known as Saptha Vidanga Sthalas. Saptha in Sanskrit means seven. They are installed as 1) Veedhi Vidangar in Tiruvarur, 2) as Nagara Vidangar in Tirunallru, 3) as Sundara Vidangar in Nagapattinam, 4) as Avani Vidangar in Tirukuvalai, 5) as Neela Vidangar in Tiruvaimur, 6) as Bhuvani Vidangar in Vedaranyam and 7) as Adi Vidangar in Tirukaravasal. These Lingas are tiny in size and could be held in hand. These places are called Saptha Vidanga Sthalas where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Thiagarajar.
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-p_20161215_095134_1_p.jpg

Aabathsahayeswarar Temple, Alangudi

Thiruvarur to Alangudi was again closer on map which took ages to reach. 35 kms in 1 hour! The NH83 was only getting bad. Reaching this was easy with a diversion off the main road which was clearly marked. Being Thursday, it was auspicious here and we also came to know that they don't close the temple at noon on Thursdays. Had we known this earlier, we could have spent some more time in Thiruvarur.

Took longer than anticipated for the darshan even in the special entrance queue and it was around 12 noon when we left from there.


Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-alangudi.jpg
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

About the temple:

Quote:
Aabathsahayeswarar Temple, Alangudi or Guru Sthalam is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shiva is worshiped as Aabathsahayeswarar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Tribuvananayagi.

Legend is that Siva consumed deadly poison, giving rise to the name Alangudi and deity being termed Aabathsahayeswarar, indicating savior during hard times.

The temple is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas(Temples of Nine planets) located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Jupiter, called Dakshinamoorthy, the Guru. This is the only temple where Lord Dakshinamurthy is taken in car procession.
Temple History:

Quote:
While saint Sundarar was caught in the floods while coming to Alangudi, Lord Shiva Himself came to his rescue in a boat and Lord Vinayaka protected the boat from capsizing and therefore is called Kalangamal Katha Vinayaka (Vinayaka who protected from fear of boat capsize).

Sundarar idol is small and appears a little damaged. This was taken to Tiruvarur once by a king. However, the idol has been brought back to Alangudi by a priest. To escape the constables on the way, the priest told them that he was taking his child suffering from measles. Surprisingly, when the priest unfolded the idol after reaching the Alangudi temple, he found small-pox scars on the statue too which are visible even now.
Alangudi to Trichy

Alangudi to Trichy was 100 kms. The road continued to be bad, but thankfully the widening works are happening in fast pace. The roads improved on nearing Tanjore. To be precise, its good from Punnainallur temple onwards. From Tanjore outskirts, it was the NH that we in TN are more used to these days, 4 laned tolled roads. I was such a relived person on seeing the sign board which say "Toll road starts". For once I was so happy to enter a tolled highway.

Few kms onto the tolled road, we pull away to refuel. Tanked up at an IOCL outlet and continued towards Trichy. We decided to have late lunch post check-in rather than stopping mid-way.

Reached Trichy in super quick time and Gmaps was back on duty to take us to hotel RedFox. It took us almost to the gate only for us to find that it was one-way from there. So had to turn back and take a round trip around that road and get into the hotel. Checked in and settled at the restaurant for lunch.

Post lunch it was the customary nap! The heat was too much all through the journey. Never for once it felt like December. Trichy was super duper hot as always! Woke up and decided to leave the hotel by 6 to the rock fort temple. As always the case in Trichy, decided to leave the car behind and get a cab or auto as parking is a constraint in the fort premises.

Booked a cab and we got dropped off at the Fort Gateway which in itself is a monument as declared by the ASI. The 'bazaar' was in full flow and naturally it was next to impossible for cars to go in and hence the cab driver informed us prior to trip that he would drop us here.

It was a slightly long walk but we enjoyed it. The night time was cool and watching the busy shops was an experience in itself and we stroll through the shopping crowd to the pathway of the rockfort.

Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort



Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-rf1.jpg
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Name:  trichymalaikottai1.jpg
Views: 12090
Size:  38.6 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Name:  trichyrockfort.jpg
Views: 12482
Size:  43.4 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]


About the Fort:

Quote:
Tiruchirappalli Rockfort is a historic fort and temple complex built on an ancient rock. It is constructed on a 83 metres (272 ft) high rock that may date to over one billion years ago. There are two Hindu temples inside, the Ucchi Pillayar Temple and the Thayumanaswami Temple. Other local tourist attractions include the famous Pallava-era Ganesha temple and the Madurai Nayak-era fort. The fort complex has witnessed fierce battles between the Madurai Nayakas and Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, Carnatic region and Maratha Imperial forces. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic Wars, helping lay the foundations of the British Empire in India.

The rock is said to be one of the oldest formations in the world. It is 3.8 billion years old, making it as old as the rocks in Greenland and older than the Himalayas. Quartz, used in glass making, and feldspar, used in ceramics, are found in this rock formation.

As the name suggests, the Rock Fort Temple is situated on 83 metre-high outcrops. The Pallavas initially built this temple, but the Nayaks made use of its naturally fortified position and designed it again. It is a long climb up the 344 steps cut into the stone to the top
Ucchi Pillayar Temple

Step inside the temple from the bustling market and there is immediate peace! The temple entrance is neat and clean and there was this huge elephant standing quietly. Not often we witness the temple elephant to be calm and quite.

We start climbing the stairs. It was many years since I visited and was in complete awe when climbing up. The sheer manner in which the stairs were cut through the cave was astonishing. It was tedious to climb, one was since it was steep and other maybe I thought was due to the fact that it was through the cave with reduced oxygen levels.

Every little work on the rock was fascinating. We take our own sweet time and visit all the temples en-route before meeting Uchi Pilliyar. The sight of the illuminated Srirangam temple from the top of the fort was mesmerizing! In-fact the entire Trichy and surroundings looked beautiful from top.

We had an excellent darshan post which we spent time looking around from the top and then started to descend.

Age of the Temple: 7th Century.



Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-rockfort.jpg
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Name:  RockfortUcchiPillayarKoilTempleTamilNadu.jpg
Views: 11986
Size:  157.3 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]

Name:  T_500_24.jpg
Views: 11980
Size:  52.9 KB
[Google Image. Copyright respective owners]


About the Temple:

Quote:
Ucchi Pillayar Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh located a top of Rockfort. Mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.

The Rock Fort temple stands 83m tall perched atop the rock. The smooth rock was first cut by the Pallavas but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples under the Vijayanagara empire.

The temple is situated at the top of the rock. The temple is mystic in its nature with an awe-inspiring rock architecture. The Ganesh temple is much smaller with an access through steep steps carved on the rock and provides a stunning view of Trichy, Srirangam and the rivers Kaveri and Kollidam. Due to its ancient and impressive architecture created by the Pallavas, the temple is maintained by the Archaeological department of India.
History of the Temple:

Quote:
When Lord Sri Rama returned to Ayodhya after rescuing Mother Sita from the captivity of Ravana, Sri Sugriva, Sri Hanuman and Sri Vibishana accompanied the Lord to participate in the coronation function of the Lord. While returning back with the gift of Sri Ranganatha idol from Sri Rama, Vibishana came south. Seeing the beauty of River Cauvery and the scenic environment, he wanted to relax for a while. Lord Vinayaka was there in the guise of a little boy. Vibishana asked the boy to take care of the gift idol of Lord Ranganatha. After waiting for Vibishana, the boy placed the idol on the ground and hid Himself in the hill.

Vibhishana was shocked to see the boy missing. He applied all his energy to move the idol but failed. Thus Lord Ranganatha, bound to Sri Lanka, cut short His journey and chose Sri Rangam as His abode. Seeing the boy at the top of hill, Vibishana hit Him on the head, the scar of which is still visible on the Vinayaka idol. Thus, Lord Vinayaka along with Lord Ranganatha nearby is ruling us gracefully.

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 12:59.
h14 is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st December 2016, 23:27   #6
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Day 4: Back to Base

Friday it was and we had to reach Coimbatore before noon due to dad's work commitments. We started from RedFox around 8:30 am. Luckily we didn't encounter much traffic as we had to cut across the town to reach the Karur road.

The Trichy - Coimbatore has been in good condition for the better part of the last decade. Though this is a 2 laned National Highway it is tolled as well. This section is known for the notorious sand trucks. But we didn't have any issues and reached Coimbatore safe and sound. This section was covered in a little under 3 and a half hours and the delays were on nearing Coimbatore. The highway was relatively free.

Stats for Trichy to Coimbatore
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-20161221_231439.jpg

Complete journey is as below. Just a little under 1000.
Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!-20161221_231558.jpg

All in all it was a wonderful trip spanning over 4 days. I for one leave the mobile behind in the room or in car when visiting temples and hence couldn't click pics of all the places we visited and hence had to resort to pictures from the web. The quoted sections of the thread are reproduced from Wiki and Dinamalar sites

Last edited by h14 : 27th December 2016 at 13:01.
h14 is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 27th December 2016, 16:55   #7
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 47,521
Thanked: 87,622 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th December 2016, 18:08   #8
BHPian
 
PrasannaDhana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Trichy
Posts: 734
Thanked: 2,293 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Nice travelogue!

From all directions, towards Trichy, the roads are brilliant. Take Trichy-Tanjore(east), Trichy-Perambalur(North), Trichy-Madurai(South) or Trichy-Karur(West), Trichy-Pudukottai, Trichy-Namakkal all these roads allow you to maintain highway speeds effortlessly.

Thank god that you did not take Thiruvarur - Tanjavur via Needamangalam roads. The roads are pathetic. Tanjore to Trichy is a matter of 30-35 minutes. I did it in 27 minutes in my CBR250R last week.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 27th December 2016 at 18:09.
PrasannaDhana is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2016, 07:14   #9
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,530
Thanked: 8,460 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
From all directions, towards Trichy, the roads are brilliant. Take Trichy-Tanjore(east), Trichy-Perambalur(North), Trichy-Madurai(South) or Trichy-Karur(West), Trichy-Pudukottai, Trichy-Namakkal all these roads allow you to maintain highway speeds effortlessly.
Agreed! State or national, the roads are fantastic around Trichy.


Quote:
Thank god that you did not take Thiruvarur - Tanjavur via Needamangalam roads. The roads are pathetic. Tanjore to Trichy is a matter of 30-35 minutes. I did it in 27 minutes in my CBR250R last week.
Did not quite get this. He must have had to go to Nidamangalam to go to Alangudi from Thiruvarur, unless he took the KMU road and came through some real internal roads?

Also on the way back to Tanjore, any other option other than Nidamangalam?

Last edited by ampere : 28th December 2016 at 07:30.
ampere is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2016, 08:42   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 32
Thanked: 4 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Your Linea looks absolutely gorgeous!
MissionAbler is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2016, 10:04   #11
BHPian
 
PrasannaDhana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Trichy
Posts: 734
Thanked: 2,293 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Did not quite get this. He must have had to go to Nidamangalam to go to Alangudi from Thiruvarur, unless he took the KMU road and came through some real internal roads?

Also on the way back to Tanjore, any other option other than Nidamangalam?
Thiruvarur - Kumbakonam - Alangudi is better I suppose.

Thiruvarur to Tanjore can also be done via Mannargudi. But I have not travelled on those roads to comment on their condition.
PrasannaDhana is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2016, 10:20   #12
BHPian
 
Arindam_Nayek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 129
Thanked: 84 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by h14 View Post
Preface:

I have always loved visiting old temples. At Least one trip a year covering old temples is what we have been doing in the family for sometime. More often than not, we end up visiting the same place. Last few years due to various reasons we have not been able to do such drives and things are now back in forte this 2016.
Beautiful Thread. Whenever i go through such threads in the travelogues i think how less we know about our own country. Thanks h14 for those references.

Linea is a vehicle which is very close to my heart. That too in the Magnesia Grey. Awesome !!
Arindam_Nayek is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 28th December 2016, 10:45   #13
Team-BHP Support
 
ampere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 15,530
Thanked: 8,460 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Thiruvarur to Tanjore can also be done via Mannargudi. But I have not travelled on those roads to comment on their condition.
Thanks! Kumbakonam will be a longish option. Forgot about the Mannargudi version totally! Thats a good one.
ampere is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2016, 21:54   #14
BANNED
 
sgmuser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mucat, Oman
Posts: 387
Thanked: 124 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Hi
I travelled frequently between Tiruvarur and Trichy for the last three years or so we always drive through Mannargudi Orathanadu Tanjore bypass then onto Trichy highway. Roads are better even though narrower. Due to works are on in the other stretch I recommend whoever planning to drive in this part to avoid this stretch between Tiruvarur and Tanjore. It's beyond driveable until they complete the work. Certain stretches are not even maneuver-able by something like Innova when last time I was forced to go through that due to the visit to Alangudi temple. Hope this helps.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Agreed! State or national, the roads are fantastic around Trichy.




Did not quite get this. He must have had to go to Nidamangalam to go to Alangudi from Thiruvarur, unless he took the KMU road and came through some real internal roads?

Also on the way back to Tanjore, any other option other than Nidamangalam?
sgmuser is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 2nd January 2017, 15:25   #15
h14
BHPian
 
h14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: CBE/BLR
Posts: 802
Thanked: 1,346 Times
Default Re: Temple Run: A triangular drive to the Greatest Ganesha Temples in Tamil Nadu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Nice travelogue!

Thank god that you did not take Thiruvarur - Tanjavur via Needamangalam roads. The roads are pathetic. Tanjore to Trichy is a matter of 30-35 minutes. I did it in 27 minutes in my CBR250R last week.
Thanks PrasannaDhana! Agree on the same. And thanks on the heads up of the Needamangalam route, after doing this stretch, was thinking whether we should have tried that. Glad we didn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionAbler View Post
Your Linea looks absolutely gorgeous!
Thank you MissionAbler

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arindam_Nayek View Post
Beautiful Thread. Whenever i go through such threads in the travelogues i think how less we know about our own country. Thanks h14 for those references.

Linea is a vehicle which is very close to my heart. That too in the Magnesia Grey. Awesome !!
Thanks Arindam_Nayek! Agree with you, there is so much to be seen in India!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgmuser View Post
Hi
I travelled frequently between Tiruvarur and Trichy for the last three years or so we always drive through Mannargudi Orathanadu Tanjore bypass then onto Trichy highway. Roads are better even though narrower. Due to works are on in the other stretch I recommend whoever planning to drive in this part to avoid this stretch between Tiruvarur and Tanjore. It's beyond driveable until they complete the work. Certain stretches are not even maneuver-able by something like Innova when last time I was forced to go through that due to the visit to Alangudi temple. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the heads up sgmuser!
h14 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A Drive to Kolli Hills (Tamil Nadu) Mr.Boss Travelogues 34 22nd September 2017 22:18
It's a jungle out there - A drive through the forests of Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu PatchyBoy Travelogues 14 29th December 2016 20:45
Tamil Nadu Temple Circuit ranjitp1 Route / Travel Queries 10 29th September 2014 18:30
Inspiration: Sign Board @ Silk Board. Drive to Tamil Nadu kaushik_ak Travelogues 17 3rd January 2014 20:37
Ganesha's new Mooshika - The Laura Ambition 2.0 TDI AT ganeshram Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 26 8th October 2012 18:34


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 18:19.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks