Tirth Yātra: Temples of Tāmil Nādu

Even as a child, I enjoyed visiting temples. The prasad was certainly a big draw. I’d stop by random SatyaNarayana Pujas, just to receive of the nectarine prasad. Aarti bhajans were equally soothing. At annual Wadala GSB Ganapati celebrations, while we were enticed by stalls selling bhajiyas and bondas, we first paid our respects to… Continue Reading →

Agniteertham in Rāmeshwaram

Just in time for Ram Navami Visiting the island of Rameshwaram is considered a most auspicious pilgrimage; here Hindus pay their respects to Ramnathaswamy (Shiva) and it is one of 12 sacred Jyotirlingams.

Aśṭa Vināyak – Pilgrimage to Eight Gaṇeśa Temples – A Photo Essay

In the Indian state of Maharashtra, a tīrth yātra (pilgrimage) to visit eight ancient temples to Gaṇeśa (Aśṭa Vināyak) is mentioned in the puranas and considered very sacred. These eight temples, each with exquisitely beautiful Gaṇeśa murtīs, are in tiny villages, scattered around the mountainous terrain between Mumbai and Pune. After much procrastination, last February… Continue Reading →

Great Penance: Descent of the Ganga

Mamallapuram, about an hour south of Chennai along the East coast, hosts India’s largest and most dramatic relief-sculpture. It represents the celebrated myth of the descent of the river Ganga from heaven to earth. The Great Penance, is carved on a giant granite rock wall 27 meters wide and 9 meters tall, and was believed… Continue Reading →

Krishna Mandap @ Mamallāpuram

Earlier you saw the Varāha Gudi (Varāha Mandap) from early in the reign of Pallavā, Mahendravarman (571-630 ce). In addition to other fabulous caves, he commissioned carvings into the side of mountains, combining creativity and artistic excellence. In this Krishna Mandap, devotionally carved reliefs pays tribute to Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan. The shallow cave-like slot… Continue Reading →

Varaha Mandap at Mamallāpuram

Mandapas or Cave shrines of Mamallapuram. The Pallavas (4th – 9th century ce) were the first dynasty to rule over large tracts of present day Tamil Nadu. Their capital at Kanchipuram was at the cross-roads of the North-South trade in spices, gems and silks. Their thriving port at Mamallapuram was the export nexus for trade… Continue Reading →

Kānchi Kāmākshi

Kanchi is verily the City of Temples. Poems composed in the 2nd century ce refer to a shrine dedicated to the love goddess (Kamakshi – eyes of love). The current Kamakshi temple (Sri Kanchi Kamakshi Peetham Sri Kamakshi Ambal) was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century.

Varadaraja Vaikuntha Perumal, Kanchipuram

(click image for larger version) After immersing ourselves in Shaiva philosophy at the Kapaleeshwara Temple in Chennai, we journeyed for darshan to the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. This temple was commissioned by the Pallava King Nandivarman II and built circa 770 ce. Then Kanchipuram was the capital city of the Pallava dynasty and at… Continue Reading →

Kailash Parikrama: A Trek Around Kailash

Kailash Parikrama: Hiking Around Kailash, Day 11, 12 and 13 Approximate Elevation: 4,560 m (~ 15,000 ft) The arduous journey across the Tibetan plateau had taken its toll on most of us. While the fabulous vistas and the serene landscape of Manasarovar instantly lifted our spirits, our bodies looked forward to a few days of… Continue Reading →

From Manasarovar, a Glimpse of Kailash

From Lake Manasarovar: A glimpse of Kailash, Day 11 and 12 Approximate Elevation: 4,560 m (~ 15,000 ft) Reaching Manasarovar was only the first stage of our tirth yatra (pilgrimage). The plan was to rest for a couple of days in Manasarovar, and then perform a parikrama (to go around) of Mount Kailash. Tibetans also… Continue Reading →

Tirupati: A Walk Enlightens

It was a dream of mine to walk up the mountains to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthan. When I shared this with M, the 14 km hike up more than 4000 steps did not dissuade her. My dream became her’s too!

Peigutso Lake towards Saga

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, Day 6: Peigutso Lake (4,400 m; 14,436 ft) on the Tibetan Plateau (noticed this in my private posts; edited and posted in Dec 2014) After lunch and pics of local kids, we headed west along a ravine and climbed a pass. There before us was the serenely beautiful Peigutso Lake. Overcast skies… Continue Reading →

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