Tirunelveli

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#1 Feb 11th, 2012, 20:51
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#1
Each district in Tamil Nadu has its distinct signature. Some have a subtle flavour while some have pretty strong ones.. If you ask me to describe Tirunelveli in a word, it would be 'Rich'. This is something, considering that the district is in the leeward side of the Western Ghats. Situated in the heartland of the South Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli has a rich landscape, rich culture and a thick Tamil accent.


Travel:

Tirunelveli has its own airport, albeit a smaller one. I would suggest overnight Train travel from Chennai would be perfect. Traveling by bus from Chennai might be a tad too long.

Our plan:

Ours was a family trip - my mother, my grand dad and I started from Chennai via Ananthapuri Express.

The train reached Kovilpatti at dawn.



Curiously, many cities in TN have been associated with their unique preparation of a particular food or beverage. In Kovilpatti, do not miss out the Groundnut Candy (Kadala mittai). We got a couple of bars from the vendor at the railway station.


We reached Tirunelveli at around 7 AM and we had 12 hours to return back to the station; wherever we go from here on. Having done a bit of homework, we were clear on the places we planned to go.



It was 26th January, our Republic day, the day the Indian Constitution came into force, the day India was declared a democratic, secular, socialist Republic. Apart from the temples in our itinerary, we decided to visit the places of significance during the Indian Freedom Struggle.

On a lighter note, I wish to challenge Synonymous' not-so-Kolaveri-Di theme with a hardcore Kolaveri stuff!

This 26 Jan 2012 happened to be my most patriotic Republic day in my life. Having watched Files and Ranks of Indian Armed Forces march at Rajpath, with all those Agnis, Prithvis, Arjun MBTs, T 90 Bhishmas, Sukhoi-30 MKIs, President's cavalries in the TV every year, this year my R-day experience teleported to another level!

We hired an all-day cab and we got this arranged from a reliable source. Tirunelveli is not a tourist hot-spot. We got a bargain package of All day -150 KM - INR 1200. Still, it felt a little bit weird when the cab arrived for the railway station pick-up. Have never experienced that before...



P.S.
It took three attempts, before I gathered enough nerves to start this thread. This is my first ever attempt at travel write-up.
I found Synonymous' choice of Font and its size, most reader-friendly. I have adopted one that is similar.
Apologies in case of delays between subsequent posts.
No Photoshop edits have been done in any of my pics here.
Be Bold, Be Confident, Be Happy, for you are on the right path..

Temples of Chola Empire
Tirunelveli
Konkan
Trek - Western Ghats
Last edited by prasannasankar; Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:32..
#2 Feb 12th, 2012, 00:02
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#2

Krishnapuram

KRISHNAPURAM TEMPLE






The Entrance



The Madhil




The Pillars








Thanks to our good friend and neighbour, a PWD engineer, we got a Govt. guest house where we had a 'Pit Stop' and started our day.

Krishnapuram is a village in the outskirts of Tirunelveli. It houses the Venkatachalapathy temple.

All Vishnu temples fall in either of these categories - Southerns or Northerns. This, apparently, helps us identify who among the two sub-sects of Vaishnavites built the temple. The two sub-sects have different ideologies and have different schools of learning.

The major difference between the two being, where the consort(s) of Vishnu are located in the temple - The Northerns do not have an exclusive sannidhi for Thayyar (a generalization - this is how Vaishnavites prefer to call the consorts of Vishnu), whereas Southerns do. Also, in the Northerns, Vishnu sports a 'U' mark on his forehead, whereas in the Southerns, he sports a 'Y'.

Krishnapuram Temple is administered by the Southerns.



The main Gopuram (Tower)


Our Driver - Das


Thayaar Gopuram






Reputation of the pillars and the sculptures precedes the temple and that drew us to the temple. We were in for a treat. Many of the sculptures were oiled and well maintained.

We found out that the temples in Tirunelveli, including the one at Krishnapuram, have a liking for the heroes of the epic Mahabharatha - Karna and Arjun. Arjun is distinctly identifiable with his long, pointed beard, while Karna has a generous, frightening mustache.

Then there was a story that was sculpted into history, where the citizens, in an act of valour of highest order, rescued their heir-apparent prince when the city was under siege.



The Sculptures





















#3 Feb 12th, 2012, 00:48
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#3
Prasanna, interesting travel diary. Please keep on writing. I am curious about the Pandavas sculptures. The facial features especially are unlike anything Dravidian, isnt it?

What is the "Sthalapuranam" for the temple?
#4 Feb 12th, 2012, 08:15
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#4
Excellent write-up!!! Eagerly waiting for further posts....
#5 Feb 12th, 2012, 12:59
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#5
Thank you Siva
The temple has a 300 years' history and is built by the Naickers.. I'm afraid my knowledge on the Sthala Puranam here is limited.

You can find more insight into the Pandavas sculptures here. I've got this link for you - it has six pages in total. Their description is detailed and animated.
Cheers!


Balaji,
thank you for your encouragement!
Last edited by prasannasankar; Feb 12th, 2012 at 14:11..
#6 Feb 13th, 2012, 18:13
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#6
Prasanna, please don't doubt your writing skills. May you write many a travelogue for us here.
#7 Feb 13th, 2012, 21:51
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#7
@prasannasankar, That's a neat report with beautiful photos! I usually don't surf thru Tamilnadu forum, but good that I did today. Now, I will be following this thread closely .

I am sure snonymous will be commenting here shortly. She never misses good reports!
#8 Feb 14th, 2012, 00:40
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#8
Thank you Sarbani!

Naveena, I'm equally guilty of not surfing enough of Northern states. I must do away with the 'Chat n Chai' forum and probably spend more time there Thanks you!
Last edited by prasannasankar; Feb 14th, 2012 at 01:51..
#9 Feb 14th, 2012, 01:47
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#9

Kurukkuthurai Murugan

KURUKKUTHURAI MURUGAN




Thamiraparani is the lifeline for Tirunelveli farmers, and, is liquid history for the city.

Etymology - the river got it's name because of the traces of copper in the water.

Since time immemorial, the river has been associated with the clarity. It's a folklore that the river bed will be visible from above, notwithstanding the river flow. Times have changed....




The River













Kurukkuthurai Murugan temple is one of the temples of Geographic significance. Situated right on the edge of the river, the temple is connected via a sort-of stone bridge.

A captivating feature is the 'labyrinth' of scattered, semi-submerged steps and mini-pillars all along the side of the outer 'Prahaaram' (where we go round in Clock-wise direction)facing the river.

This unique, beautiful landscape has provided a fertile field for the novelists to tread on.

Every year during the monsoon, the flooding of the river submerges the temple.



A must-visit in Tirunelveli, for its Uniqueness.


The Goupram



The Stone Bridge & the Temple:



Temple:







#10 Feb 14th, 2012, 13:31
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#10
Great photos! This is a good start to your report, Prasanna.
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#11 Feb 14th, 2012, 13:51
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by prasannasankar View Post


On a lighter note, I wish to challenge Synonymous' not-so-Kolaveri-Di theme with a hardcore Kolaveri stuff!


Excellent beginning to a great thread Prasannasankar.

There is no challenge or competition or Kolaveri in my eyes. In my opinion, the more trip reports on this site, the better. Everyone has their own unique style and presentation and we are more than happy to read the entries, so keep them coming, there is room for all.

I have a particularly keen interest in Tirunelveli as some of my long deceased ancestors are from there. Hope to go there some day, and your thread will surely be informative. Do post about the famous Iritta Kadai as well!



Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenamohanrao View Post
I am sure snonymous will be commenting here shortly. She never misses good reports!
Surprisingly even though I make it a point to peruse the TN forum, I missed this thread till just now.
Travelpod / Flickr


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#12 Feb 14th, 2012, 15:25
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by prasannasankar View Post
Naveena, I'm equally guilty of not surfing enough of Northern states.
Even I don't go thru any other forum apart from Maharashtra & Karnataka. It was by chance I was in TN forum and saw your thread. BTW, is a type of 'Prasadam' famous in Tirunelveli? It is made of jaggery and ghee, I think. I don't know it's name but it's too yummy to forget. I am confused whether it is from Tirunelveli or some other place. Even those who visit Shabarimalai, get that prasadam, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snonymous View Post Surprisingly even though I make it a point to peruse the TN forum, I missed this thread till just now.
, it's only 3 days since prasanna has posted, so you aren't late.
#13 Feb 14th, 2012, 19:12
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenamohanrao View Post Even I don't go thru any other forum apart from Maharashtra & Karnataka. It was by chance I was in TN forum and saw your thread. BTW, is a type of 'Prasadam' famous in Tirunelveli? It is made of jaggery and ghee, I think. I don't know it's name but it's too yummy to forget. I am confused whether it is from Tirunelveli or some other place. Even those who visit Shabarimalai, get that prasadam, I think.



, it's only 3 days since prasanna has posted, so you aren't late.
That is called Halwa. It is not prasadam. It is a type of Sweet prepared with Wheat, Jaggery and Ghee. Tirunelveli is famous for that. That place is called Iruttu Kadai near the Nellayappar Temple. They are all preparing this Halwa for a very long time. BTW, The shop remains closed on Sundays. Now lot of outlets started selling this Halwa at Tirunelveli. I heard apart from Iruttukadai, Shanthi Sweets is also a better choice.

The prasadam given at Sabarimala is Aravana Payasam. It is a type of Payasam prepared with Rice and Jaggery.

You can get the similar type of Halwa in Madurai opposite to Railway Station in a shop called Prema vilas (very small shop). You will get very hot Halwa in the afternoon. The Iruttukadai in Tirunelveli and the Prema Vilas in Madurai are my favourites. I never miss these whenever I visit these places.
#14 Feb 14th, 2012, 19:21
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#14
It could well be "Panchamritham" as well. Its given out at Palani and Sabarimala popularly.
#15 Feb 14th, 2012, 21:14
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#15
Panchamirtham is famous in all Murugan Temples. It is exclusively so famous in Palani as it is prepared with a special type of Banana.

I don't think Panchamirtham is given as Prasadam in Sabarimala. Only Aravana Payasam is given as Prasadam in the can.

I think the thread is going off-topic. Sorry Prasanna.
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