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South india sprint motorcycle ride.

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Travel

Yana Caves

The gigantic crystalline-like rock formations of Yana stand proud and tall among the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in Uttara Kannada District. Yana is an ideal destination for pilgrims, trekkers, and nature-lovers alike. A 16km trek through the cool and breezy hills brings you to the foot of the mountain where the rock formations begin. At the top, a stunning sight awaits you: the awesome Bhairaveshwara and Jaganmohini shikharas (or peaks). A cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva lies below these shikharas. The vagaries of time have caused these limestone structures to turn blackish brown and lots of beehives dot the rock surface.
A popular legend associated with Yana holds that Bhasmasura, an evil demon, performed penance to Lord Shiva and obtained the power of reducing to ashes anybody on whose head he placed his hand. An ungrateful Bhasmasura, however, soon decided to test the boon on his benefactor. To escape from him, Lord Shiva came to earth and hid in this place. Lord Vishnu taking the form of a beautiful woman Mohini, challenged the demon to dance and made him touch his own head and thereby reducing him to ashes.

Yana rocks are an adventure seeker’s ultimate destination. Yana in Uttara Kannada district attracts trekkers and climbers from all over the world.

Why Visit Yana:

  • Hike up to the rocks: Yana attracts hikers because of its two massive rock formations, known as Bhairaveshwara hill and Mohini hill (90 meters) in height.
  • Temples: At the bottom of Bhairaveshwara hill, a Shiva temple, believed to be self emerged exists. Water drips on the Shiva Linga from the top of rocks.
  • Bird Watching: Probability of bird spotting is very high at this rocks and nearby areas.
  • Waterfalls: Trek to visit Vibhooti waterfalls will be an excellent adventure activity in Yana (9.7 kms by trek from Yana, longer road access available but 70 kms by road)

There is a Kannada saying “Sokku iddare Yana, Rokka iddare Gokarna”-  If you have lots of money to spend, go to Rona (Gokarna), if you are feeling over enthusiastic, visit Yana. This saying was due to extreme difficulty one had to face in the past to reach Yana. Now well paved roads take you till the bottom of the rocks. 

Mythology:
The names of the majestic rocks at Yana are linked to an interesting section in Hindu mythology. A demon named Bhasmasura manages to get a unique gift that anything on which he keeps his palm burns into ashes (bhasma). With this unique skill Bhasmasura wrecks havoc and attempts to try his skill on the very person who granted the gift- Lord Shiva. Fearing his life, Lord Shiva seeks help from Lord Vishnu, who takes the shape of a beautiful woman named Mohini and appears in front of Bhasmasura. Trying to win over Mohini, Bhasmasura accepts her challenge to dance with her and perform the same steps as she does. As the dance progresses, Mohini keeps her hand over her head. Bhasmasura performs the same act and burns into ashes.

How to reach Yana:
Plan about half a day to explore Yana. A visit to Yana rocks can also be clubbed with a visit to Murudeshwara (76 kms), Gokarna (48 kms) and Karwar (90 kms) along the coastline would be a wonderful option especially for those looking to enjoy some vitamin sea.

By Train: Kumta is the nearest railway station to Yana from KSR, Bengaluru Station. You can hop on to Karwar Express which is usually scheduled for 5:30 AM from the departing destination. There are trains available from Mangaluru Railway Station to Kumta as well. Karwar Express transits via Mysuru Railway Station to Bengaluru with the station of arrival being Kumta, totally close to 470 kms away from Yana.

By Road: Travelers can either take their own vehicles and drive through the smooth NH 48 from Bengaluru to Yana which is approximately 470 kms and close to 9 hours by road. 

There is bus connectivity such as KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) and private buses as well up to Kumta from Bengaluru. 

The closest city to Yana, Sirsi, is about 30 kms and takes about 1 hour to reach the destination.

The next closest town to Yana is Hubli-Dharwad, which is about 104 kms give or take and takes close to 3 hours of travel by road. 

By Air: The closest airport to Kumta is Debolim Airport, Goa to reach Kumta and the rest that follow are closer based on distance from the coast and connectivity. You may either hire taxis or hop on to the public transport to reach Yana or your accommodation in Kumta or the surrounding locations.

Places to stay near Yana: Multitude of hotel options are available in Kumta.

Travel

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple – Timings, Sevas and History.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is the most popular Vaishnavite temple in the world. It is located in Tirumala in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The presiding deity, Lord Venkateshwara, is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is believed to have appeared to save humankind from Kaliyuga effects.

Tirupati Balaji Temple – Facts

DeityLord Venkateshwara
LocationTirumala, Andhra Pradesh
SignificanceVaishnavite Temple
Best Time to VisitSeptember to March
Darshan Timings3 AM to 1 AM
Entry FeeFree
VIP DarshanRs.300 per person
Senior Citizen DarshanFree
Dress CodeIndian Traditional
FestivalsBrahmotsavam, Teppotsavam

The temple is located at the peak of Tirumala hill, also known as Venkatadri. The Venkatadri is one of the seven hills (Saptagiri) considered holy by the Hindus. These seven hills are – Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri, and Venkatadri.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple opens as early as 3 AM in the morning. The temple closes at 1:30 AM the next day although General Darshan stops after 1 AM.

Here are the different kind of Darshans and their respective timings:

  1. General Darshan (Sarva Darshanam) – This Darshan is open for the general public. The timings are different each day of the week.
    • Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday – The Darshan starts from 7:30 AM – 7 PM in the evening. It resumes from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
    • Wednesday and Friday – The Darshan starts from 9 AM till 7 PM in the evening and again from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
    • Thursday – The Darshan starts early from 8 AM till 7 PM and then again from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
  2. VIP Darshan (Sheeghra Darshan) – It is for immediate Darshan. The ticket cost is Rs. 300 per person. Pilgrims can also make an advance booking on the official website at www.ttdsevaonline.com. This Darshan starts from 9 AM daily till 3 PM.
  3. Tirumala Darshan by Walk (Divya Darshan)  This Darshan facility is only for those pilgrims who walk up the hill to reach the temple. Alipiri Mettu and Srivari Mettu are the two routes.
  4. Special Darshan for Senior Citizens – Pilgrims can have darshan in two-time slots of 10 AM and 3 PM daily. However, they must show proof of their age to the authorities.
  5. Special Darshan for Physically Challenged – Pilgrims can have darshan in two-time slots of 10 AM and 3 PM daily. However, they must show proof of their disability to the authorities.
  6. Infant Darshan: TTD has facilitated special darshan for parents carrying infants under one year of age.
  7. Newly Married Couple Darshan: There is also a special darshan for newly married couples through the Supadham entrance.
General Darshan
↳ Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday7:30 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM
↳ Wednesday and Friday9 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM
↳ Thursday8 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM
VIP Darshan9 AM to 3 PM
Special Darshan for Handicapped10 AM and 3 PM

Tirupati Balaji Darshan Procedure

  1. Pilgrims are can contact any one of the three counters present inside the temple premises.
    • Vaikuntha Queue Complex
    • Rambagicha Complex
    • Amenities Complex
  2. Here, pilgrims will receive their respective Sudarshan bands at a minimal cost. These bands will inform the pilgrims of the time at which they can have the Darshan of God.
  3. In this way, pilgrims do not have to wait in long queues. They can explore the Temple Complex area meanwhile. And they can report to the queue only when it is their turn to have the Darshan.

Tirumala Temple Dress Code

The Tirupati Balaji Temple Devasthanam administration introduced a dress code for men and women from 2013.

Men are required to wear traditional dhoti or pajama with a shirt or kurta. Women are required to wear either a saree or a Churidar pajama with a kurta.

Poojas and Sevas at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple

Here is a list of all Poojas and Sevas at Tirupati Balaji Temple. We can divide them into three types: The Daily Sevas, the Weekly Sevas, and the Periodical Sevas.

Tirumala Daily Sevas

  • Suprabhatam – This Seva is done at 2:30 AM in the morning to wake the Lord from his sleep. After that, the priests carry the idol from Sayana Mandapam (sleeping place) to the Ananda Nilayam (main shrine). The ticket costs Rs. 200 per person.
  • Thomala Seva – This Seva starts at 3:30 AM and lasts for 30 minutes. Priests decorate the idols with garlands made of Tulsi and various flowers. Pilgrims can watch this only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The ticket price is Rs. 220 per person.
  • Venkateshwara Sahasranama Archana – This Archana starts at 4:15 AM. In this Pooja, devotees recite the 1008 names of Lord Vishnu. Priests also call the blessings in the names and Gothra of the pilgrims taking part in the pooja. Pilgrims can perform the Seva on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The ticket price is Rs. 220 per person.
  • Ekantha Seva – It is the last Seva of the day and starts at 1:30 AM. The priests lay down the silver image on a golden cot in a sleeping position.

Tirumala Weekly Sevas

  • Vishesha Pooja on Mondays – This Pooja starts from 7:30 AM to 9 AM. Priests recite several stotras and perform an Abhisheka. Then, they place 14 Kalash in front of the deities. They consist of oil, milk, curd, rice, and holy water in them.
  • Ashtadala – Pada Padmaaradhana on Tuesdays – This Seva starts from 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM. Priests recite 108 names of the Lord Vishnu, each name accompanied by a Lotus flower. People also worship Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi and then a Ratha Aarti. The cost of the ticket is Rs. 2500 for 5 persons.
  • Sahasra Kalabhishekam on Wednesdays – The ritual starts from 6:30 AM till 8:30 AM. In this unique ritual, priests fill 1008 silver vessels, 8 Parivara vessels, and one gold vessel with various things. They place them in the main Mandapam. Devotees also recite various Pancha Suktas and Shanti Mantras. The ticket costs Rs. 5000 for 6 persons.
  • Tiruppuvada Seva on Thursdays – This Seva begins at 6:30 AM. Priests remove all the ornaments and flowers from the deity. Then, they dress the idol only in a Dhoti and an Uttareeyam. The cost is Rs. 5000 for 6 persons.
  • Srivari Abhishekam on Fridays – It starts at 4:30 AM – 6 AM. Priests give a bath to the deity in holy Ganga along with milk, ghee, sandal, and saffron. The ticket costs Rs. 750 per person.

The Periodical Sevas

  • Arjitha Kalyanotsavam Seva – The ritual signifies the marriage of Lord Venkateshwara with Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi. The ticket costs Rs. 1000 for 2 persons.
  • Arjitha Brahmotsavam – People worship Lord Venkateshwara with Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi. They also recite several stotrams in this ritual. The ticket costs Rs. 1000 for 5 persons.
  • Unjal Seva – The priests place the idols of the three deities on a swing against the backdrop of lamps. The ticket cost is Rs. 1000 for 5 persons.

Offerings and Donations at Tirupata Balaji

  1. Hair Tonsuring (Mundan) – Devotees shave their heads and give the hairs as an offering to God. It signifies the sacrifice for their Lord.
  2. Thula Bharam Seva – Under this Seva, a Thula (Weighing scale) is arranged. On one side, the devotee is seated whereas on the other side, an equivalent weight of offerings are made. It is ensured that both sides are at an equal level. The devotees then donate the offerings to the temple administration.
  3. Payback of Kubera’s Loan – As per the legend, Lord Venkateshwara took a loan from Kubera for his wedding arrangements with Padmavathi. A large Hundi is present inside the temple complex where devotees offer money and gold to God. Devotees donate with the belief that he can pay back the loan to Kubera.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Architecture.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Gopuram which is the top of the temple.

  • The temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple has three entrances leading to the main shrine (Ananda Nilayam).
    1. First entrance – Mahadwara Gopuram with a brass door.
    2. Second entrance – Nadimipadi Kavali with the silver entrance.
    3. Third entrance – Bangaru Vakili with a golden door.
  • The main idol of the Lord is in a standing position on a platform called “Brahmasthana.” Goddess Lakshmi is present on the right and Goddess Padmavathi on the left. The Gopuram (the entrance tower) over the main sanctum is covered with a golden vase. An idol of Vimana Venkateshwara is also present on the top of it.
  • Priests can never displace the main idol of the Lord. Hence, small idols of several Gods are present in the sanctum to worship. They are Bhoga Srinivasa, Ugra Srinivasa, Koluvu Srinivasa, Sri Malayappan, and Sri Chakrathalvar. Sri Krishna, Sri Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshmana, Sugreeva are also present.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Significance

  • The common belief is that the Lord appeared on the Venkatadri hill to save humankind from the ill effects of Kaliyuga. The idol here is worshipped since the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Therefore, people call this place as Kaliyuga Vaikuntam.
  • Most-Visited Place of Worship  Around 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually) visits this temple. On the day of the Brahmotsavam festival, the count increases to 500,000 pilgrims daily.
  • The Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras. The word Swayambhu means that Lord Vishnu himself has turned into a statue here rather than installed by someone.
  • Tirupati Balaji is also listed as 106th Divya Desam among the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu. It is the last earthly Desam of Lord Vishnu before he left earth for Vaikuntha.
  • It is believed that one can hear the sound of an ocean by pressing an ear at the idol of the Lord. Also, the temperature of the idol always remains too high even after bathing it with water and Chandan.

History of Tirumala Temple

  • Tirupati Balaji Temple is believed to have been built by King Thondaiman at the end of 8th century AD. He was the ruler of the Tamil ancient kingdom called Thondaimandala.
  • The temple also received patronage from several dynasties like the Pallavas (9th century), the Cholas (10th century) and highly from the Vijayanagara kingdom in the 14th century.
  • Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara kingdom donated abundantly and renovated the temple periodically by adding new structures to it.

Legends of Tirumala Temple

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple and its legends are mentioned in various historical manuscripts and also in various Puranas.

Legend of Lord Varaha Swamy

The legend says that Venkateshwara took the land of Tirumala hill from Varaha Swami. In return, Venkateshwara gave him a promise that he would be paid the first darshan.

Legend of Adishesha

Lord Vishnu gave a boon to Adisesha. The boon was that he would join the Venkatadri hills and become an abode of Lord Vishnu. Adisesha accepted and became Venkatadri.

Legend of Lakshmi and Padmavati

Lord Vishnu, incarnated as Srinivasa, met Padmavati in the forests during a hunt. They fell in love with each other. Later, they married each other after Akasa Raja’s approval. After six months of the marriage, Lakshmi returned to Vishnu in disbelief.

Festivals celebrated at Tirumala

  1. Tirumala Brahmotsavam – This festival is celebrated for 9 days every year during the Tamil month of Purattasi (Sep/Oct). This festival attracts millions of pilgrims for nine days.
    • The deity is taken out in procession on different Vahanam every day like Shesha Vahanam and Singha Vahanam. By watching the parade, one gets the protection of Lord and Punya in life.
    • The last day is the Birth Star day of Lord Venkateshwara. The celebration ends with Dhvajavarohanam, lowering of the Garuda flag.
  2. Teppotsavam – This festival is celebrated for five days in the month of Chaitra (March). The deities of Tirumala temple are taken for a ride in the Swami Pushkarini Tank.
  3. Vasanthotsavam – This festival is celebrated for three days in March/April. King Achyutaraya introduced this festival to mark the beginning of the spring season.
  4. Pavithrotsavam – The festival is celebrated for three days in the month of Shravan (July/August). The priests seek forgiveness from Lord Venkateshwara for all the mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly while performing the daily rituals.
  5. Jyesthabhshekam – The festival is celebrated in the month of Jyestha (June). Lord Venkateshwara appeared with a protective armor to fight against evil in Kaliyuga. On this day, people do Abhisheka and Poojas to that armor.

How to reach Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple?

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Tirupati Airport, at a distance of 40 km from the temple. Chennai is the second nearest international airport.
  • By Rail – The nearest railway station is Tirupati, 26 km away from Tirumala. The AP Sampark Kranti Express connects to Bhopal, Gwalior, and New Delhi.
  • By Road – Several direct buses are available from cities like ChennaiBengaluru, and Vellore. Regular buses are available from Tirupati to Tirumala.

Where to stay nearby?

  • The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has constructed several cottages and guest houses for the benefit of the pilgrims. These are-
    1. Padmavathi Guest House
    2. Sri Venkateshwara Guest House
    3. Varaha Swamy Guest House
  • Besides the guest houses, they have also constructed several choultries for the free stay of pilgrims.

Explore Famous Places and Activities Near Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple

  1. Varaha Swamy Temple – It is located at the banks of Swami Pushkarini near the Tirumala Temple. According to legend, Lord Varaha Swamy granted land to Lord Venkateswara to stay in the hill. In return, Lord Venkateswara promised the privilege of first Darshan to Varah Swamy.
  2. Bedi Anjaneya Swamy Temple – This temple is located opposite to Tirupati Balaji Temple. As per the legend, young Lord Hanuman (Anjaneya) wanted to leave home in search of a camel. His mother Anjana Devi then tied his hands. The idol present here is also showing the hands of Hanuman tied.
  3. Padmavathi Devi Temple – This temple is located 5 km away from Tirumala Temple in the town of Tiruchanoor. The presiding deity is Goddess Padmavathi, the wife of Lord Srinivasa. People also call this temple as Alamelumangapuram.
  4. Prasanna Venkateshwara Swamy Temple – It is located 16 km from Tirupati. The uniqueness of the Temple is the presiding deity Venkateshwara who is in the “Abhaya Hasta” posture. This Temple is the marriage site of Srinivasa and Padmavathi.
  5. Govindaraja Swami Temple – The temple is also located in Tirupati and was built by Ramanujacharya. The presiding deity Govindaraja was the elder brother of Venkateshwara. It is believed that worshiping him can result in better management of one’s finances.
  6. Kapileswara Swamy Temple – This temple is also located in Tirupati. As per the legend, this is the place where Lord Shiva appeared before Maharishi Kapila. The Shiva Linga is believed to have been self-manifested here.
  7. Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple – The Chola dynasty and Vijayanagara Empire built this temple. The presiding deities are Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lord Lakshman.

Travel

meghamalai.

Meghamalai is a cool and misty mountain range situated in the Western Ghats in Theni district, Tamil Nadu. It is a place of natural beauty dotted with cardamom plantations and tea estates. The place is situated at an elevation of 1,500 m above sea level and it is rich in flora and fauna. This area, now mostly planted with tea, includes Cloudlands, Highwavys, Venniar and Manalar estates, the access to which is now largely restricted. It still includes large untouched remnants of evergreen forest. Meghamalai forest area hosts a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies. Resident and migratory elephants are common. Other animals sighted are tiger, leopard, Nilgiri tahr, gaur, spotted deer, barking deer, sambar deer, wild boar, porcupine, Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, common langur, bonnet macaque, sloth bear, grey junglefowl, smooth-coated otter and flying squirrel. Bird like red-whiskered bulbul, common iora, white-browed wagtail, grey wagtail, pied bush chat, Blyth’s reed warbler, barn swallow, spotted dove, Asian paradise flycatcher, brahminy kite, long-tailed shrike and over 100 species of birds have been identified. Highwavys is a view point that will afford a wonderful view of the entire mountains range of Varusanadu Hills. There few large private tea, spices and coffee plantations all around, notable include The Highwavys Estates owned by The Woodbriar Group, Ananda Plantations, Ponsiva Plantations and Feildmede Estate have the largest holdings of plantations in Meghamalai, an artificial lake and plenty of scope for making leisurely walks. Entire Meghamalai has very limited rooms to rent and therefore early reservation is a must.

Travel

Ramakkalmedu.

As the famous Hollywood superstar, Leonardo DiCaprio remarked about Ramakkalmedu, ‘If there is a paradise on Earth, it is here.’
Ramakkalmedu, a small abode in the hills of Idukki, is indeed a paradise on Earth. The visit to God’s Own Country of Kerala would remain incomplete without a visit to the beautiful destination of Ramakkalmedu. It is located at a height of 3500 feet above sea level and is 15 kilometers from Nedumkandam in Thekkady.

Ramakkalmedu also called as Kerala’s ‘cradle of wind’ is a famous hill station in Idukki District of Kerala which provides a panoramic view of Tamilnadu villages and towns.
Ramakkalmedu is not only a hill station but also a windy spot too.There are a lot of attractions but the main attraction in Ramakkalmedu is the Kuruvan and Kuruvatti statue, which is  located in one of the hills of Ramakaklmedu.
The myth behind the name “Ramakkalmedu” is Rama – kal – medu literally means “Land of Rama’s Stone” or “Land where Rama kept his leg”. The story behind this place says that Lord Rama kept his feet at the tip of Ramakkalmedu to search Ravana the King of Lanka, who abducted his wife Sita.

Travel

Ponmudi: Wonderful Hilly Retreat of Western Ghats.

health tourism in Kerala Biverah Hotels Suites places to visit in India 3

Ponmudi, is also called Golden peak and is a part of western ghats. It is a small hill station, only 3 hours drive and is the perfect choice. It is situated at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the drive to the hilly retreat is the most scenic. Natives in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram will always say that weekend drive to ponmudi is the best way to spend time. Families and Friends groups are known to go on long drive through winding road and through the thriving hills and sweepings valleys of the Western Ghats, leading up to Ponmudi from Trivandrum.

Most Flora and Fauna can be seen here including mountain flowers, wild orchids and exotic butterflies. The climate of the place is very pleasant and most part of the year this place is covered with thick mist. A large number of cottages and resorts have come up in the area, tourists can enjoy all essence of nature and its beauty while staying. The tree house view tower is another great place to visit here in Ponmudi.

A special attraction of the ponmudi is meenmuty-Kallar waterfall, One can always stopover at the breath-taking Kallar river on the way. This River flows parallel to the road in the opposite direction, and Meenmutty Waterfalls only a little distance ahead. A good part of this space is covered with dense forest and can be reached only after covering these forest. And the wildflowers growing on the banks of brooks just adds to the overall beauty. The waterfall cascade down and series of boulders to form a large pool. Then cold water flowing through rocks is a beautiful sight. Kallar is also a popular and favorite destination for bird watchers.

ponmudi-hill

Golden Valley doesn’t involve any trek to reach the place. The highlight here is the gushing water of Kallar River, which is perfect for a dip. Also, the place is strewn with golden-hued stones and pebbles which can be the reason behind the name of this place. Wildlife enthusiasts rejoice, because Ponmudi is home to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, rich in flora, fauna. The terrain of this sanctuary is hilly, with the beautiful Karamana river meandering through it. The most commonly spotted animals here are the elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, Nilgiri langur, and macaques.

ponmudi-hill-station

A special attraction of the ponmudi is meenmuty-Kallar waterfall, One can always stopover at the breath-taking Kallar river on the way. This River flows parallel to the road in the opposite direction, and Meenmutty Waterfalls only a little distance ahead. A good part of this space is covered with dense forest and can be reached only after covering these forest. And the wildflowers growing on the banks of brooks just adds to the overall beauty. The waterfall cascade down and series of boulders to form a large pool. Then cold water flowing through rocks is a beautiful sight. Kallar is also a popular and favorite destination for bird watchers.

PONMUDI OFFERS BEAUTIFUL TREKKING TRAILS

Varayadumotta

Ponmudi offer great trails to many wonders in nature. Varayamuttom is the most popular treking trails in ponmudi offers the panorasmic view of the hills along with Nilgiri Thar. Nilgiri Thar is known as Varayadu. It is a full day long treking program and climbing the mountain 1100m high. The base of the trek is the evergreen shola forest.

Seethatheertham

Trekking to the stream of Seethatheertham in Ponmudi is a 4 km trekking programme ponmudi. We can find the r uins of temples and can also see the footprints of Goddess Seetha, and once the goddess satiated her thirst in this river as it is believed by the locals. The herds of elephants and gaurs can be spotted here.

Manachala

Manachala is a 6 km trekking programme to the base camp of Varayadumotta Peak organized by Ponmudi Ecotourism. A guide will accompany You during trekking.

Maruthwamala

It is an offseason trekking programme which will be conducted by Ponmudi Eco-tourism to the interior of forests of the Western Ghats region of Ponmudi.

Ponmudi is the ultimate destination for all those who wish to experience nature at its best. There are 22 hairpin bends to route the hill station. The authorities of the forest department had placed a board welcoming tourists to the hill station. They had also issued special instructions in the interest of those who love the the forests as well and requested the visitors to be responsible.

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Chamundi Hills- Mysore.

Visitor Information

  • Famous For: Tourism, Temple, Nature, Panorama and Photography
  • Entrance Fee: The entry is free.
  • Visiting Time: (i) 7:30 am to 2:00 (ii) 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm (iii) 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm – The Chamundi hills houses the Sri Chamundeswari Temple which is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm every day, while it closes during lunch time and at twilight.
  • Visit Duration: The visit duration is estimated to be an hour or two.

Mysore is one of the largest cities in the state of Karnataka and is a major factor that adds to the state’s tourism industry. Mysore, the city of palaces, has a rich history and has several tourist attractions. The Chamundi hills in Mysore, is a top tourist magnet that draws in photographers, nature lovers and Hindu devotees, every day of the year.

Traveller Tips

  • The Chamundi hills is a splendid viewpoint that covers a wide angle of the Mysore city. Take your camera and binoculars with you to admire the panorama to the fullest.
  • Maintain silence within the temples, located on the hill.
  • Be prepared to wait in queue, to visit the temple. The hills get overly crowded sometimes, especially during Dussehra which falls sometime in September or October.
  • The place might get windy at times. Ensure you wear comfortable and cozy clothing.
  • If you are planning to reach the summit of the hill, by the stone stairway, ensure that you wear proper footwear. Carry your water bottle with you.

Things to Do

  • The Chamundi hill top provides a breathtaking view of the Mysore city and one can very well identify the Mysore Maharaja Palace and the Karanji Lake, from the hill top.
  • The picturesque landscape surrounding the hills, deserves to make its way to your photo album. Click the most scenic shots with friends and family, right at the summit of the hills.
  • The hill summit can be reached via road or by taking the stairs. If you are adventurous, prefer taking the stone stairs. It might be tedious but once you reach the hill’s summit, you realize how much worth the sweat was.
  • Devotees and tourists can spend some time in the temples located on the hill, to feel the divinity.

Availability of Guides

Local guides are available for assistance.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Chamundi hills is dawn and dusk. In the late hours of the day, during the Dussehra festival, a view of Mysore from the top of Chamundi hills is like a dream that makes you wonder at the immense beauty of the fully lit up city.

How to Reach

The nearest airport to Mysore is the Bangalore International Airport. Bangalore is one of the most prominent Indian cities which is well connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air. It is easy to reach Mysore from Bangalore and takes only 3 hours. Mysore is connected by buses and trains to all prominent cities in South India. After reaching Mysore, one can take a taxi or local bus to the foot of the Chamundi hills.

Interesting Facts and Trivia About Chamundi Hills

  • Chamundi hills is located thirteen kilometers off the city of Mysore.
  • The hills are elevated about a kilometer from the sea level.
  • The Chamundeswari temple is located at the hill top. As legends say, goddess Chamundi Devi (Chamundeswari) killed a demon in this place and that is how the place got its name.
  • The very ancient Mahabaleshvara temple is also present in the Chamundi hills and is a pilgrimage site,
  • Mahabalachala is the real name of the Chamundi hills, according to mythology.
  • A statue of demon Mahishasura, is present in the Chamundeswari temple.
  • The sanctum of the temple houses the uniquely posed sculpture of goddess Chamundi Devi.
  • The old stone stairway that leads to the summit of the hill, has one thousand and eight steps.
  • The statue of bull Nandi is present about halfway to the hill top. This bull is considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. This statue is carved from a single stone of black granite. The statue is 490 centimeters in height and has a length of 760 centimeters.

Nearby Attractions

  • Mysore Palace
  • Philomena’s Cathedral
  • Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum
  • Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery
  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Mysore Zoo
  • Jaganmohan Palace
  • Karanji Lake

Nearby Restaurants

  • Vinayaka Mylari
  • Kamat Madhuvan
  • Durga Restaurant
  • Olive Garden
  • Café D
  • Gufha
  • Om Shanthi
  • The Foodie Restaurant
  • RRR Restaurant
  • The Old House
  • Spring

The Chamundi Hills is a must visit if you are travelling to Mysore. The serene hills are a nature lover’s delight, and the temple located on the hills beckons all devotees to its peaceful abode. So, ensure you check out this fabulous spot, the next time you make your way to Mysore.

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Dhanushkodi is the place where you can see the origin of the Ram Setu.

While on one side there’s a wide variety of landscapes, right from the seas to the mountains, on the other, there’s a plethora of languages, cultures and a rich history.

Dhanushkodi, located in the Rameshwaram district of Tamil Nadu, is the place where the wonders of nature and man become one. A place shrouded in mystery, this is a place that’s easy to miss by the regular tourist. Not only because it’s not really a part of the tourist map, but also because this place is hard to reach.

Nonetheless, Dhanushkodi is a place an exploring traveller would love to visit and know more about. For reaching this place one needs to cross over to the Pamban Island from the mainland. The best way to do this is by train, through the famous Pamban Bridge.

It’s here that the journey to Dhanushkodi begins through several fishing villages, accompanied by the mesmerising views of the Palk Strait on both sides. The Palk Strait is the one that stretches between India and Sri Lanka.

After a rather bumpy ride, which is only possible on 4×4 vehicles, thanks to some large sandy stretches on the way, the ‘ghost town’ of Dhanushkodi will welcome you. A long time ago, especially during the British Raj, Dhanushkodi was a small yet prosperous town. It had everything you expect a town full of residents to have–railway station, a church, a temple, a post office, and houses, among other things.

Bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi once used to serve as an important port for both traders and pilgrims. Ferry services were available between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, a town in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). These ferries used to transport both goods and travellers across the sea, from one country to the other. The town of Dhanushkodi was home to all kinds of facilities a traveller would need–hotels, dharamshalas, and textile shops catering to pilgrims, travellers, and traders. And believe it or not, Sri Lanka is located at a distance of just 31 km from this town.

When everything came to an end

But all of these things is no more than history now, thanks to a cyclone that took place in the year 1964. It destroyed everything, and what remains now is a sandy shoreline with ruins dating back to those days.

Although with the stunning views of the two oceans and a beautiful shoreline, Dhanushkodi is a picturesque place to be, there’s an eeriness to the fact that what once used to be a town so significant, is nothing more than a ruin now. The only residents of this island now are the 500 fishermen folk who stay here for the sake of their livelihood in about 50 hutments that are spread across the place.

Ram Setu
Apart from the coastal charm and the mysteries attached to the place, there’s one more thing that makes Dhanushkodi a really unique place to visit. And it dates back to none other than our mythological history, Ramayana.

The town of Dhanushkodi is believed to be the place where Lord Rama had ordered Lord Hanumana to build a bridge which could carry his army across to Sri Lanka, where Demon King Ravana had kept Sita captive. As ordered, Lord Hanuman had obliged and it was here that the Ram Setu was built by the Vanara Sena.

If myths are to be believed, a particularly beautiful stretch of sandy shore you see from Dhanushkodi is the place from where the Ram Setu starts. This is also believed to be the end of the bridge which Lord Rama had broken using his bow and arrow.

Also known as the Adam’s Bridge globally, no one really knows if this is the Ram Setu, but satellite pictures taken over time, and a recent image released by NASA have confirmed that the a stretch of land formation visible between Dhanushkodi and the Sri Lankan mainland is certainly man-made.

We don’t know what the real truth is–research is being done over it for years now. But what we can say about this place with absolute certainty is the fact that as a traveller, Dhanushkodi will never cease to charm and surprise you with its unique mix of history, myth, mystery and unparalleled natural beauty. While sea lovers will love this place to the core, it will prove to be a paradise for birders for its population of migratory birds who fly to this place from places as far as Australia, and those having a hobby of collecting shells for this place is home to the rarest of them.

Uncategorized

Sringeri – Of Temples.

Sringeri is a town located in the Chikkamangaluru district in the state of Karnataka. The hill town is situated on the banks of the River Tunga and is located at a distance of 107 km from Mangalore and 336 km from Bangalore. It can be easily reached from Mangalore through Karkala.

Sringeri holds significance in Karnataka due to the first matha, which was established by Adi Shankaracharya. The first of the four peetha was established here. Located amidst the Western Ghats, the name of Sringeri is derived from Rishyashringa-giri which is a nearby hill and is believed to have contained the rich heritage of Rishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyashringa.

Sringeri Sharda Peetham

The town is also known as Sringeri Sharda Peetham and it has a 1200 year- old temple located there. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya chose the site to stay and teach his disciples and impressed with his place, he stayed here for twelve years. He then also established mathas in North India, East India, and West India. Adi Shankaracharya has constructed four temples in all the four directions – these include Kere Anjaneya Temple in the West, Kala Bhairava Temple in the East, Durgamba Temple in the South and Kalikamba Temple in the North.

Must-visit Temples 

There are a large number of temples with historic importance in Sringeri. Sri Sharadamba Temple, Sri Vidyashankara Temple as well as the Parshwanath Jain Temple are very important. At the entrance of the temple, one can sight the beautiful Vidyashankara Temple, which has a blend of the Dravidian, Viyayanagar and Hoyala style of architecture.

Sringeri is well known as a learning center due to the many temples and maths. Many students come down here to learn Vedic philosophy. A variety of options for accommodation are available at Sringeri.

Sightseeing in and around Sringeri

Shardamba Temple: Sharada Devi sits as a deity in Shardamba temple. She is seen seated on a Chakra Peetham and a parrot is seen perched on the top of her hand along side holding a Japa mala. This matha is in charge of the Yadur Veda, which is very prominent in South India. The first image made of sandalwood was installed by Adi Shankaracharya and it was later replaced by a golden image during the 14th century. The Sharada Navrathri festival is celebrated here for 11 days. Friday holds a special importance here because of a procession.

Vidyashankara Temple: It has the famous vidyathirta linga and it is a temple which was built for the memory of the Guru Vidyashankara. The temple was built during the 14th century with the help of the Vijayanagar rulers. This temple has twelve pillars which are called Rashistambhas (zodiacal pillars). The symbols of all of the twelve zodiac signs are engraved over the pillars. They believed that its design had some astronomical concepts and Sankara Jayanti is widely celebrated here.

Sirimane Falls: The falls are located at a distance of 12 kms from the town. Once can easily hire vehicles from Sringeri to the falls.

Hanumanagundi Falls: The Hanumanagundi Falls are well known as Soothanabbi falls and they lie between Sringeri and Horanadu. The falls are at a distance of 36 kms from the town. The falls are located in a National Forest which is famous for the Shola forests.

The best time to visit Sringeri is from October to March.

How to Reach Sringeri

By Air

The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport at a distance of 105 kms.

By Rail

The city Shimoga which is at a distance of 95 kms from Sringeri is well connected to Bangalore through the rail route. Sringeri is at a distance of 86 kms from Chikkamagaluru which is connected to Bangalore through a rail line via Kadur.

By Road

The town can be reached from Mangalore or Chikkamagaluru by a well-connected road network. Udupi is also at a distance of 80 kms. Various private and KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore as well as Sringeri to Shimoga.