Fujiyama, Japan
Showing posts with label Religious. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Kyoto

Google Maps: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Known for the shrines and imperial palace, Kyoto is the spiritual capital of Japan.

Kinkakuji Shrine

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Devprayag

Google Maps: Devaprayag, Uttarakhand, India
  • Devprayag is a half day trip from Rishikesh although to be fair, it needs a full day to appreciate the drive and the point. 
  • Roads are in perfect condition and well managed. There are very few good restaurants and no petrol pump before Devprayag so plan accordingly. 
  • The river Ganges flow to your right all the way to Devprayag which throws multiple viewpoints to saviour. Take a break now and then and appreciate the work of mother nature on these hills.
Devprayag is one of those gems that are not hidden but surrounded by bigger gems and hence ignored. In itself it is worthy of a day trip as we figured while standing at the merging point of two distinctly coloured rivers. The holy incantations and energetic crowd only help create a captivating zone around this point which is in a shape of cake slice.

View of Devprayag from top

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Namchi

Google Maps: Namchi, Sikkim, India
  • Take a cab to cover Samdruptse and Char Dham. They are in opposite directions so it will take couple hours each to cover them. We paid 10$ for this.
  • Stay in Namchi although its a small city. A better plan is to move to Darjeeling or Gangtok and spend the evening there. Both are three hours away from Namchi.
  • Start early if you are not staying at Namchi. Late in the evening the availability of transport options to move out of the city simply dry up.
Namchi came up on tripadvisor as one of the top five destinations within Sikkim. It was roughly on our way from Gangtok to Darjeeling so we went for it. How wrong we were. Not that Namchi disappointed us, but the road from Namchi to Darjeeling is so much in tatters that we were jittery all the way.

Shiva Statue, Namchi

Friday, 8 January 2016

Patna Sahib

Google Maps: Gurudwara Sahib, Bihar, India
  • The road from Patna to Patna Sahib is congested and busy with limited parking facility. Start early or take a train to Patna City and from there take an auto-rickshaw.
  • A walk to holy Ganges through Kangan Ghat is a good idea but takes some time as the river has receded further.
  • Visit Agam Kuan and Kumharar en route, famous for events related to Emperor Ashoka who used to run his vast empire from Patliputra.

It may sound strange that I was born and brought up in Patna and yet I never visited Patna Sahib before. The birth place of the Tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh is something I was not keen to keep out of my blog for long. Hence the visit this winter was a relief.

Inside Patna Sahib

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mathura

Google Maps: Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India
Trip: Delhi > AgraVrindavan > Mathura > Delhi

Mathura was calm and bustling at the same time, as expected. The birthplace of Lord Krishna is one of the oldest cities and hence narrow lanes were crowded when we hit the city on a Monday. We parked our car near Holi Gate and entered the realm. Our first destination was Dwarkadheesh Temple. It is on the bank of river Yamuna and draws hundreds of worshippers every morning. We sat there for some time and admired the old structure.

Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Vrindavan

Google Maps: Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India
Trip: Delhi > Agra > Vrindavan > Mathura > Delhi

Vrindavan is the city of temples. While Mathura is birth place of Lord Krishna, it is Vrindavan which has the mythological advantage of hosting the childhood of Vishnu avatar. We reached the city through Yamuna Expressway and quickly settled in a subsidized Jain dharamshala (a religious establishment). Since it was early noon, we decided to first visit something little far and chose Pagal Baba Temple.

Pagal Baba Temple, Vrindavan

Monday, 29 December 2014

Rameswaram

Google Maps: Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Kanyakumari > Kovalam > Trivandrum > Rameswaram > Bangalore

Rameswaram was long awaited and frankly it didn't disappoint us. In fact the trip that started from Kanyakumari to this pilgrimage via Kovalam had an almost perfect ending in Dhanushkoti. We arrived at this island by train early morning. Crossing Pamban bridge created enough excitement in fellow travellers that we woke up with the noise.

Main Entrance @ Rameswaram Pilgrimage

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Padmanabhswamy Temple, Trivandrum

Google Maps: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Trip: Bangalore > Kanyakumari > Kovalam > Trivandrum > Rameswaram > Bangalore

  • Padmanabhswamy temple is the star attraction of Trivandrum. Dress code is sstrict so be prepared - full clothes and no western attire permitted inside the temple.
  • India Coffee House near railway station is a landmark and serves amazing dosas. The shape itself is uniquely spiral.
  • Kovalam is an hour drive from here. One should plan stay at Kovalam and visit Trivandrum on the way back. Kanyakumari is only sixty miles away. 

Trivandrum was a halt on way to Kovalam. There are not many things to visit but one that has come up as a superstar attraction is the Padmanabhswamy Temple. Few years ago, government became aware of gold worth $20 Bn lying in the basement of this temple all collected from devotees over hundreds of years.

$20 Bn Padmanabhswamy Temple @ Trivandrum

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Kanyakumari

Google Maps: Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Kanyakumari > Kovalam > Trivandrum > RameswaramBangalore

Kanyakumari is like one of those beautiful Russian spies. Allow them to nudge you and you will bleed dry. Stay game and you will be allowed to play a little. Fate let us arrive at this southern most tip of peninsular India on a Christmas morning.

Vivekananda Rock & Thiruvalluvar Statue

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ajmer Sharif

Google Maps: Ajmer, Rajasthan, India
Trip: Bangalore > Pune > Lonavala > Mumbai > Gandhinagar > Udaipur > Ranakpur > Chittorgarh > Ajmer > Jaipur > Delhi

It was a whirlwind drive that took us out of the labyrinthine roads of Udaipur to the expansive hill fort of Chittorgarh, to the crowded Ajmer Sharif and finally halted at a modest accommodation in Jaipur all in one day. We drove close to 200 miles, spent decent time in each of the four cities and still managed a breakfast and a dinner.

Way to Ajmer Sharif

Friday, 20 June 2014

Jain Temple, Ranakpur

Google Maps: Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India
  • Ranakpur is 50 miles from Udaipur. A private vehicle will be handy to cover nearby Kumbhalgarh Fort as well in a single day. Start early.
  • The Jain Temple does not allow entry in shorts or half pants hence dress fully. The campus also offers delicious thali at bare minimum charges.
  • Do take an SLR to capture the intricate marble work. You need to pay nominal camera charges along with entry fee, all of which goes to maintain this magnificent structure.

The next morning we started for Ranakpur. It's 90 km from Udaipur through a tortuous but smooth road mostly into hills. The place is famous for Ranakpur Jain Temple which has exquisite carvings on marble. Whatever we had heard about this place was going to be dwarved by what we were going to witness.

Elaborate ceiling carvings @ Ranakpur

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Baijnath

Google Maps: Baijnath, Uttarakhand, India
Trip: Delhi > Nainital > Kausani > Baijnath > Delhi

We reached Baijnath at around 10 from Kausani. Breakfast on the way was complimented with a breathtaking morning view of Nanda Devi range from our table and that made our day. Baijnath was the bonus.

Fishes in the flowing river @ Baijnath Temple


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Madurai

Google Maps: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > MaduraiKodaikanal > Bangalore

We started for Madurai early morning at 7 and as has been the ritual, we broke our fast at McDonalds Krishnagiri. Road from Bangalore to Krishnagiri is under construction. The slow pace was covered up by the fantastic stretch from Salem to Madurai. The 300 miles were covered in 7 hours. Heritage Madurai proved to be an excellent choice for hotel, thanks to Manish who booked in on cleartrip. The stay was royal. We unpacked and refreshed ourselves.

Highway to Madurai

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Khajuraho

Google Maps: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

  • Khajuraho can be planned as a weekend getaway from Delhi. Overnight trains at convenient time run but travel need to be planned at least a month given limited seats.
  • Temples should be visited early morning or in evening. Noon is hot unless its winter. Be ready for couple of miles walk around the complex.
  • Raneh Waterfalls and Pandav Cave are nearby attractions that one may cover. Hotels are aplenty and affordable. There is an airport also under construction.


Khajuraho happened to us so quickly that we were neither ready with appropriate duration nor with a camera fitting for the occasion. One fine morning we were just there. We reached this legendary temple city by train one morning. Hotels are in abundance near main temple complex. We settled in Ramada Khajuraho and freshened up quickly. Plan was to have a brunch near main temple and then start off.

Poses, Khajuraho

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Kanchipuram

Google Maps: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Tiruvannamalai > Pondicherry > Mahabalipuram > KanchipuramBangalore

Kanchipuram was a bonus and a surprise on our way to Mahabalipuram.  We decided to cover it on our way back. It was a decision I rue since the architectural richness of this city begs for more than a day to spare - not to forget the market of famous silk sarees which has developed its own brand.

Sri Ekambereswarar Temple @ Kanchipuram

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Murudeshwara

Google Maps: Murudeshwara, Karnataka, India

We checked out of our Gokarna Hotel at 10 and started for Murudeshwara. We had to change at Kumta but given the frequency of buses, we were able to get them back to back and were staring at the massive complex before 1.

Murudeshwara temple complex

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Sri Arunachaleshwerar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Google Maps: Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India
Trip: Bangalore > Tiruvannamalai > Pondicherry > Mahabalipuram > Kanchipuram > Bangalore

Tiruvannamalai was a stopover on way to Pondicherry from Bangalore. We would not have stopped had we not been surprised by colossal high temples appearing out of nowhere. Nobody had told us it was there and looking at the crowd, we were sure not many know about Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple.

South Gate@ Sri Arunachaleshwarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Halebidu

Google Maps: Halebeedu, Karnataka, India
Trip: Bangalore > Shravanbelgola > Chikmagalur > Belur > Halebidu > Bangalore

Halebidu is in the middle of Belur and Hassan although through an alternate route. The Shiva temple at Halebidu is inspired by the Vishnu temple at Belur. What adds to the charm is a flowing river by the side - and seclusion.



Chennakesava Temple, Belur

Google Maps: Belur, Karnataka, India
Trip: Bangalore > Shravanbelgola > Chikmagalur > Belur > Halebidu > Bangalore

The Chennakesava Temple, in Belur on our way to Chikmagalur, was ancient and marvellous. We stayed in the premises of this extensive work of art for almost three hours but were still not able to fathom the intricacies that were sculpted all over.

Backside of Chennakesava Temple

Belur was capital to art-loving Hoysalas. Approximately thousand years ago they started the construction for this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. A similar construction started some hundred years later nearly 10 miles away at Halebidu but this one was for Lord Shiva. This twin set-up has been put up for UNESCO World Heritage Site waiting list and by the look of it, deserves it.

Mandapam, Belur

The most striking feature of the temple complex is the ceiling of central chamber. One can spend hours. We moved to one of carved pillars and took extensive photographs. Each pillar was different and beautiful.

Sanctum Sanctorum, Chennakesava Temple

We moved out and were dumbfounded to see that the entire outer wall was an extension of artwork that we had admired inside the temple. Elephants and horses were abundant. There were stories of war and important events carved on stone.

Intricate rock carvings, Belur

We had to reach Bangalore by evening and so we left. Halebidu was next and if it was anything closed to this one, we had another couple hours to look after.

Trip details