Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life and Landscapes

Photography Credit: Swaminathan Natarajan. He is a Techie with a passion for photography especially the rich heritage of India which has taken him to many places. He also captures beautiful landscapes during his travels. He believes photography is more about the moment & passion than aboutechniques. To know more about him and his photography you can log on to :

Source of Life
Circle of Life
Dew 0f Life
Web of Life

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy

The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy & Chikitsalayam (hospital) was started in the year 1957 in the heart of Coimbatore City.This is one of the first Ayurvedic hospitals to achieve ISO 9001: 2000 certification for its compliance with international quality standards. The hospital provides classical Panchakarma and traditional Kerala & classical ayurvedic treatments for a wide range ailments. It also offers a range of relaxation & rejuvenation therapies.
There is a beautiful Dhanwantari Temple inside this campus. Dhanwantari is an Avatar (reincarnation) of Vishnu in Hindu tradition. He appears in the Vedas & Puranas as the Physician of the Gods & is also considered as the God of Ayurvedic medicine. In Hinduism people pray to Dhanwantari for good health. We visited this temple on Pongal day to offer special prayers and could take a few pictures:
1.Statue of Dhanwantari at the entrance of the New Block:
2.Deluxe cottages for the patients/families to stay
3.Entrance to the Dhanwantari Temple
4.View of the inner sanctum of the temple
5.View of the beautiful stone oil lamp at temple entrance
6.Lord Ganesa being worshipped at base of peepul tree7. Enclosure of the Nagas (serpent gods)
8.Shelter for visitors to relax in shade
9.Nice tree in the campus
10.Bamboo Grove
11.Money plant creeping up a big tree
12.Relaxation bay at the base of the tree

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pongal Day Celebration at Coimbatore

Pongal is one of the most popular harvest festival of South India, mainly Tamil Nadu. Pongal falls in the mid-January every year and marks the auspicious beginning of Uttarayan - sun's journey northwards. Pongal festival lasts for four days. Celebrations include drawing of Kolam, swinging & cooking of delicious Pongal in traditional mud pots.
I was driving through the busy flower market (poo market) on Pongal morning and couldn't resist stopping & taking a few pictures. Vendors obliged me by readily posing for photographs. After this we drove on to the Saradambal Temple to offer special pongal prayers. Here too we found ready volunteers for photo opportunities!
Mud Pots waiting to be bought.
Turmeric Plants
Little doggie relaxing in the shade
Poolai poo (poolai flower)
Sugarcane Displays Bananas a plenty Banana Vendor(his cart is hidden) Banana Vendors Sugarcane Vendors Sugarcane Buyers Flower Stall & Vendors Saradambal Temple entrance decorated for Pongal
Poo Kolam at Saradambal Temple(flower arrangement)
Sudents from Vedapatasala getting ready to chant mantras The priest distributing kumkum & vibhuti to devotees
The security guards distributing pongal prasadam to devotee

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kodanad in Kerala

We left Cbte around 5.30 am and stopped over at Aryas Vadakkancherry for breakfast. Then we continued onwards in our journey, turned left at Angamali into Kalady Rd. Just before Perumbav
oor we took a left turn via Koovapady (my grandfather hailed from here) passed the Ganapathy Temple and reached the Elephant Kraal at Kodanad, a beautiful and charming semi-rural village situated on the south bank of
river Periyar and popular for eco tourism. Kodanad is known for it famous 'Elephant Kraal', the mini zoo and its easy access to the seasonal pilgrimage centre Malayatoor St.Thomas Church,both placed opposite on the beautiful banks of the river Periyar. Kodanad was very famous for elephant capturing and training. Elephant capturing started in Malayatoor reserve forests in 1895 and a Kraal was erected during that time. Newly captured e
lephants were kept in the kraal till they are sufficiently trained & disciplined to carry out forestry works. The present 6 room kraal was constructed in 1965. This kraal is now only sparingly used and serves more as a monument of the good old days.We saw two cute baby elephants in the kraal perhaps a couple of months old. Behind the kraal in a separate enclosure we saw 6 elephants of varying ages. The
mini zoo had a good collection of animals like monkeys includ
ing a lion tailed macaque, a python, several Brahminy kit
es,Large groups of Sambhar & spotted deer, peacocks. A group of school children had arrived in a bus and were excitedly viewing the animals. I obliged them by taking a photograph of the group and promising to send the same by e mail

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tiruchengode Ardhanareeswarar Temple

This trip was made in July 2008. Left Coimbatore around 6.30 am and drove via Avinashi & Erode to reach Tiruchengode @9.00 am. Went straight to the Kodimaadachenkunrur temple which is atop a hill. This temple is considered the 4th among the seven Tevara Sthalams in Kongunadu.
The main deity is an amalgamation of Siva & Parvati in the form of Ardhanareeswarar (half man & half woman). While there is Dandayutham in Siva's hand , Parvati has her hands on her hips. Ambal is known as Baagampiriyaalammai.
Saint Sambandhar has sung here. There is a water spring at the foot of the image.
Skanda or Tiruchengotuvelavar shrine occupies an important position in this temple.Outside this sannithi are east facing subshrines of Arunagirinathar & Ganesha.
There is a Dwaja Sthambam & a Nandi on the western prakaram facing Ardhanareeswarar shrine. Likewise there is another Dwaja Sthambam & a Peacock on the east side facing Chengottuvelavar.
Legend: Adi Kesava Perumal instructed Gowri on the Kesava Gowri Vritam which she performed to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar. This is one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva.
A battle of strength between Vayu & Adi Seshan took place & the former was clinging tightly to Mt.Meru while Vayu was trying to blow it away. Vayu succeeded in blowing Adiseshan away to Tiruchengodu. The blood spilled by Adiseshan colored the hill as red & hence the name chengode. If you climb the hill by the steps you come across the image of a snake carved on the hill.
The Temple: Unique feature of the temple are the mandapams carrying exquisitely sculpted pillars which includes sculptures of Veerabhadran, Oordva tandavamurthy, Alangattu kali, Korathan & Koravi and a variety of other figures on stone. The sculptures are a supreme & sublime poetry on stone. There are stone inscriptions reportedly pertaining to the times of Parantaka Cholan, Gangaikonda Cholan, Vijyanagara & Mysore Kings & the Nayaks.
The view of Tiruchengodu town from atop the temple is magnificent. As you drive up or down you come close to the rock face and can clearly see the redness on the surface.
There is an elevated walkway on the South Prakaram from where you can clearly see the North Gopuram as well as well as the Vimanam of Ardhanareswarar. See pics below:

Tiruchengode Hill climb
Rock Surface - black & redTemple Entrance driveway
Sculptures on Temple wall
Exquisite Sculptures on Pillars
Rajagopuram (Entrance Tower)Dwaja Sthambam (Flag Staff) facing Ardhanareeswarar
The killing of a demon
A Man and his consort
Urthva Thandavar - a fierce dance form of Siva
A goddess
The King and his several wives
Sapth Mathas - Celestial Ladies
Lady paying obeisance to the Lord
A well attired male
Beautiful Lady carrying finely woven basket
Ardhanareeswarar Vimanam & Rajagopuram in backdrop
Ardhanareeswarar Vimanam - close up view
View of sub shrine vimanam
View of Tiruchengode town from Temple top
Return drive down the hill


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