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Month: January 2018

Thai Poosam 2018 Palani Murugan Temple – Tamilnadu

Thai Poosam 2018 Palani Murugan Temple

Thai Poosam 2018 Palani Murugan Temple

Thai Poosam festival celebrated at Palani Murugan Temple is rooted in the Hindu Legend from time immemorial. Thai Poosam festival in 2018 falls on January 31st, the day with the Poosam star in the tamil month of Thai. Obviously, it is an auspicious day celebrated by people in Tamil Nadu and Palani Murugan temple deserves a special mention here.

Basically, Palani is a small town in Dindigul district where Lord Muruga abodes in the temple atop the hill called Sivagiri. Palani is one of the famous six abodes of Lord Muruga. Out of all the festivals celebrated throughout the year, Thai Poosam is very auspicious especially at Palani Murugan Temple.

You can witness lakhs and lakhs of devotees reaching Palani bare footed travelling across the different sections of the state and the country as well. After undergoing rigid rituals and fasting for 48 days the devotees are coming to Palani to offer their prayers to their beloved deity Lord Muruga. Here in Palani, he stands as Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy. He is in the form of an ascetic boy with only a loincloth and no other finery. He has a stick in his hand called Dhandam, the reason behind His name.

Significance of Thai Poosam 2018

Besides these, the devotees carry milk pots on their heads, wooden decks with beautiful decorations in their shoulders and the lances piercing their body. With this kind of dedication and devotion, the pilgrims reach the hill top climbing more than 650 steps.

As this festival correlates to the victory of the God over the demons, people believe that by worshipping Lord Muruga on this day will make victorious in their lives defeating all evils from within themselves and also from the materialistic world.

The general practice is that people observe rituals for 48 days before the festival. They are strictly away from smoking,drinking and other sinful activities. Most of them eat only once in a day for all the 48 days. Well ahead of the festival day, the devotees carrying the offerings to the Lord in long pageants from the different parts of the country start their journey to worship their Lord at Palani.

First of all, the journey to Palani will be with many hardships on the way. It is quite common to see limousines queuing behind the pageant where the owners are walking barefooted.

Kaavadi in Thai Poosam 2018

The main attraction of this festival is the Kaavadi. It is nothing but a wooden mount aesthetically decorated with flowers and peacock feathers. The devotees, as an offering to God, carries the Kaavadis on their shoulders, walking barefooted from very long distances to the temple and implore to God to solve their problems. Normally the number of Kaavadis reaching the shrine exceeds fifty thousand and the count is in the increasing trend year on year. The common forms of kaavadi are milk, sandalwood paste and rosewater. Apart from this, lakhs of people carry milk pots on their heads wearing ochre clothes. Tonnes of flowers in orange and yellow colors are offered to the Lord on this day.

We can witness and enjoy the devotees dancing to the tune of drums and tom-tom played on the way to the top of the hill with all the weight on their shoulders. They dance so vigorously as if they are hypnotized by the music.

Another form of offering to the God is existing that the ardent devotees torture their body by piercing their cheeks, tongue and skin with lances and even they draw chariots with metal hooks pierced into their skin. It will  be threatening to see a large mass of people walking like this but you will not find any words to admire the devotion and dedication of the devotees and their faith on the God.

Murugan in Tamil Culture

Murugan means beauty in Tamil. Somehow or other, Lord Muruga has been a part and parcel of the life of most of the Tamil families. You can see people named as kandhan, Murugan, Karthikeyan, Subramanian, Vadivelan, Dhandayudhpani, Velayudham in majority of the Tamil families because the culture and tradition of Tamil people lie majorly on Lord Murugan. The festival Thai Poosam inculcates the confidence in every Tamil’s mind and give him morale boost to face any hardships in life and overcome them with the benovelance and blessings of the God. As Lord Murugan is diasporic,the festival is celebrated in a very grand manner in Singapore, Malaysia and USA. More than two million people attend this festival in Batu Caves, Malaysia every year. Lord Murugan is believed to be such a powerful deity that whoever surrenders to his feet will be triumphant in all his endevours.

Let’s visit Palani where Lord Muruga is waiting to bestow his blessings on us.


Top 5 best places in South India to visit in February

best places in South India to visit in February month

February is the month of Valentine and you must go somewhere lovely, but are probably trying to figure out where? We have got a list of top 5 best places in South India to visit in February month. Take a look-

best places in South India to visit in February
Coorg Hills
  • Coorg

Are you a mountain lover? Then think no further, head to the Coorg Hills this February and it is guaranteed you will be well entertained. Thousands of acres of sprawling Coffee plantations adorn the hills and the pleasant cool climate all year round makes it a perfect getaway. Tadiandamol, the Namdroling Monastery, Talacauveri, the Abbey Falls and the Raja’s Seat are the major attractions at Coorg.

best places in South India to visit in February
Om Beach at Gokarna
  • Gokarna

You wish to go somewhere secluded or perhaps enjoy some peaceful time of your own? Hit the waves at the beaches of Gokarna. Relax at the Om shaped Om Beach, sunbath at the Paradise Beach or perhaps go for Beach Trekking starting from the Gokarna beach. Climb and descend the hills [literally trekking, not just walk your way] one by one and visit all the five beaches in Gokarna namely the Kudle Beach, the Gokarna Beach, the Paradise Beach, the Om Beach and the Half Moon Beach.

When you get tired, hang up your boots, hit a café, grab a beer and relax by the shoreline, witness the sunset, enjoy the waves, simply have a nice time of your own. Let February be interesting for you. So Go-Gokarna! Cheerio!

best places in South India to visit in February
White River Rafting at Dandelli
  • Dandelli

Are you an adventure lover? Is water sports your thing? Then you have got Dandelli to catch up. It is a complete playground for the adventure lovers. Surrounded by thick deciduous forest, Dandelli is located to the North of Karnataka state in South India.

Go River Rafting, Rappelling, Kayaking, trekking, Bird Watching and lot more at Dandelli. Do something crazy this February and add it to your travel diary.

best places in South India to visit in February
Houseboats at Alleppey backwaters
  • Alleppey

Who doesn’t know about Alleppey? This famous backwater destination in Kerala kills it when it comes to holidays. It is probably the most favourite spot for travellers visiting Kerala. If you have never been on a houseboat at the Alleppey backwaters, February is a great time to make it happen. Ask your trusted tour operator to book a houseboat for you.

Glide along the unique stretch of backwater at Alleppey, relish the sumptuous Kerala food prepared exclusively for you on board, take pleasure witnessing the day to day activities by the side of the lake, cruise through the lush green paddy fields and the palm-fringed countryside of Alleppey. Ready? Plan your houseboat tour now!

best places in South India to visit in February
The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram
  • Mahabalipuram

This UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site is a treat for history fanatics and ancient Indian architecture lovers. The Shore temples of Mahabalipuram are world famous for their intricate rock-cut architecture and explicit carvings. You will be literally dumbfounded thinking it out how those ancient artisans worked their sweat out to build this structural wonder. Let the month of February be something informative, at the same time, entertaining as well.  The Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance, the Five Rathas, the Tiger Cave, the Descent of the Ganges and the Krishna’s Butterball are some of the most popular sights at Mahabalipuram.

Now, do not get me wrong when I say Mahabalipuram is for the History and architecture lovers, it is in fact equally entertaining for all types of travellers. The Mahabalipuram Beach is a great spot to relax by the seaside, catch the waves, get wet and have a good time. If you love adventure or crave some excitement, you can go windsurfing or angling on the shimmering Bay of Bengal.

 

So, that was our list of the best places in South India to visit in February!

For more information or to book your perfect February tour, leave us a message below or @ South Tourism

Comment below on your favourite picks for the month of February.

Happy Travelling! Cheerio! 🙂


A weekend visit to Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh

Nagarjunakonda

Nagarjunakonda is one of the most noted Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. It was a fully developed metropolis and a renowned Buddhist learning centre for years. Students from all over India and from countries such as China, Sri Lanka and much more used to reside here and undertook their Buddhist studies. If you are a Buddha follower, you must not miss Nagarjunakonda at Andhra Pradesh. It was the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam which led to the discovery of various Buddhist artefacts and scriptures and thus it was concluded that the area was home to an ancient Buddhist civilization 1800 years ago. The collection was then transferred, reassembled and preserved on an island hill spanning 144 acres surrounded by the River Krishna.

Nagarjunakonda

History goes like, Nagarjuna, a famous scholar of Mahayana Buddhism lived here during the 2nd century AD and it was his influence which spread Buddhism in the Southern parts of India and South Eastern parts of the Asian continent. Thus, the place was named after him, Nagarjunakonda or Nagarjuna Hill [Konda in the Telugu language means hill]. Though I am a Hindu, I am very much interested in Buddhist principles as well. I decided to make a visit and see for myself what we have got to see at Nagarjunakonda.

I started early in the morning from Hyderabad to Nagarjunakonda. It is a 4-hour journey covering nearly 160 km. The roads are great which helped me reach Nagarjuna Sagar dam in 3.5 hours. This huge dam we all know is an Earth dam and is one of the largest of its kind.

Nagarjunakonda
Nagarjunasagar dam

The location is a beautiful, green and hilly area. The ferry launch station is again a 15-minute drive which involves few hairpin bends as well. I reached the ferry area and paid my entrance fees. For foreign nationals, it costs Rs. 200/head and for Indians, 20 Rs/head. Also, there are fixed ferry timings, 9:30 am and 1:30 pm every day. Ferry ride fee is Rs 120 for adults and 100 for children.

Nagarjunakonda
Nagarjunakonda Ferry Launch Station

The ferry timing for me was 1: 30 pm and it was only 12. I grabbed 2 Bhajjis [local snack] and tea from a local tea shop, fast forwarded 1 hour and I walked on to the boarding spot. I was amazed by the beauty of the surrounding landscape in front of me.  I hopped onto one of the three motorboats parked by the side. I was informed it would be a 45 minutes ferry ride to reach the Nagarjunakonda island museum. It is the only island museum in India and two of the same in the world. One is at Berlin, Germany and the other is at Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh.

Nagarjunakonda Ferry ride
Nagarjunakonda Ferry ride

There were nearly 20 passengers on board, all tourists from different parts of the country. As we moved, we enjoyed some gorgeous views of the island and the Krishna River. We could see locals rowing round country boats looking for a good catch. 35 mins gone and I could see the walls of the island museum. The museum is opened to visitors from morning 9 am to 4 pm every day except Friday. It is closed on Fridays.

Nagarjunakonda Island Museum
Nagarjunakonda Island Museum

I started walking my way to the museum. The Nagarjunakonda island museum is a near 500 m walk from the boat dropping point. I reached the museum. Cameras are not allowed inside. I went on to check out all the collections on display. The collection of the museum consists stone tools, coins, scriptures of Lord Buddha and of Mucalinda, the Naga [serpent], spears, hammers, carvings narrating the story of Buddha from his birth to his Mahaparinirvana and lot more of other antiquities. An earring and a tooth are also up for display here, which many believe is among the corporeal remains of Lord Buddha himself. I spent next half an hour at the museum.

Nagarjunakonda
A Buddha Statue at Nagarjunakonda

I followed the crowd to find what else there is to see. First, we came across the Maha Stupa, which is the oldest monument here at Nagarjunakonda. We reached a spot where I found a stupa and a broken statue of Lord Buddha standing tall, probably 10 feet tall. 100 meters to its right there is another Chaitya stupa belonging to 3rd century CE. Later I returned to the boarding point and left the island. I enjoyed the 45 minutes cruise back to the ferry launch station. For me, it was the highlight of the Nagarjunakonda tour.