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Friday, December 18, 2009

Historical Sites near Chennai -Palar & Voyalur

An Island Temple on dry Palar river bed-Parameshwarimangalam Kailasanatha temple
Closeup view of the Kailasanatha Temple A small Vishnu temple on the banks of the river palar
An open well being inspected
Relics & artefacts preserved on the river bank
The sanctum of Mahavishnu with his consorts Bhoodevi & Dreedevi
Stone idols and artefacts
Temple at voyalur under under administration of the Archaeological Survey of India
Voyalur Temple - dates to Vijayanagara Empire
Sub shrine inside Voyalur Temple above and stone image of Anjaneya below
Niche images around the semi circular sanctum of the Tirupuleeswarar Temple at Voyalur
Sanctum of Muruga with consorts Valli & Devyani - the lord with 6 faces & 12 hands seated on peacock
A stone mandapam with beautifully carved pillars
Close up of the bas reliefs on stone
The Ponniyin Selvam Group
A hand pump above and a group of village children below

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Historical Sites near Chennai - Alhambra Fort

Our next destination on this historical tour was the Al Hambra Fort. Enroute we briefly stopped at the Marakkanam Salt pans to witness how salt is produced. Al Hambra or Alambarai lies on the East coast, also called the Coramandel Coast, served as Fort as well as sea port in ancient Tamilnadu. This fort was built by the Mughals by the end of the 17th Century. During 1735 AD it was ruled by Nawab Doste Ali Khan. In 1750 the services rendered by the famous French Commander Dupleix to Subedar Muzaffarzang, the Fort was gifted to the French. When the French were defeated by the British, the Fort was captured and partly destroyed in 1760 AD. Now only the remains of the ruined portions of the Fort can be seen. The square shaped fort with towers at angles was built of bricks and lime mortar. It occupies an area of nearly 15 acres and the length of the dockyard is nearly 100 metres. Zari clothes, salt and ghee were exported from Alamparai port. Alamparai kasu(coins) were produced at the Alamparai mint.










Monday, December 7, 2009

Historical Sites near Chennai - Marakkanam

17 August'2009: A small group of around 20 "Ponniyin Selvan" enthusiasts had planned a visit to little known but significant historical sites near Chennai on the Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry route also known as East Coast Road. The group met and boarded a mini bus at Tiruvanmiyur at the Maruntheeswarar Temple(A ancient Siva Temple). From there we drove straight to Mahabalipuram, around 50 Kms from Chennai, where we stopped over at the outskirts for breakfast of piping hot idli/dosa/vada/pongal/coffee at Anandas. Next we drove to Marakkanam on the Pondicherry road and visited the Bhoomiswarar Temple. This is an ancient Siva temple belonging to the Chola period -which means around 1000 years old. This is evident from the stone epigraphs on the temple walls which contains references to Raja Raja Chola.
In Hinduism Shiva is considered The Destroyer and is one of the Trimurtis - the other two being Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Protector. Raja Raja Chola was one the greatest Tamil Kings to rule over South India and his sphere of influence spread across the sea to Srilanka as well as to many South East Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia,Cambodia, etc.
Incidentally Ponniyin Selvan is a historical fiction written about 60 years ago by the celebrated Tamil writer Kalki. The story revolves around characters durring the period when Raja Raja Chola was a young man and had not yet ascended the trone.

The colorful richly embellished Maruntheeswarar Temple entrance gopuram The sanctum of valmiki at Tiruvanmiyur
The Ponniyin Selvan Group alighting for breakfast at Anandas
View of Pallava quarry & unfinished rathas as seen from highway at Mahabalipuram
The view of the Bhumiswarar temple on entry

The base of the dwaja sthambam or flagstaff
Nandi the bull - the celestial vehicle of the Hindu God Siva Epigraphs on stone walls of the temple or KalvettuMore Epigraphs on stone walls & Buddhist faces above
Stone Idol of Dakshinamoorthy - the South facing God destroying the evil muyalavan. In every Siva temple the stone image of Dakshinamurthy is installed, on the southern circumambulatory path around the sanctum sanctorum. Dakshinamurthy is an aspect of Shiva as a guru (teacher) . - his personification as the supreme of awareness, understanding and knowledge.Stone epigraphs in Tamil Script on temple wall
Stone idol of the three headed Hindu God Brahma - the Creator of the Universe
Evidence of Buddhist Influence in the temple Architecture
Stone idol of Bhairavar the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation. He is one of the most important deities of Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike.
He is depicted ornamented with a range of twisted serpents, which serve as earrings, bracelets, anklets, and sacred thread (yajnopavita). He wears a tiger skin and a ritual apron composed of human bones.Bhairava has a dog as his divine vahana (vehicle).