Thursday, June 30, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM DISTRICT-Part 1

Thiruvananthapuram/Trivandrum District was formed on 1949 July 1 with Thiruvananthapuram  as the Head Quarters.Rivers Karamana,Neyyar and Vamanapuram flows through this district.Idava,,katinamkulam,Anchuthengu and veli are the lakes here.Nedumangadu,Chirayinkeezhu Neyyattinkara and Thiruvananthapuram are the Taluks.
The place name derived from the famous and ancient temple 'Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple' of Thiruvananthapuram.The  deity of this temple is Lord Mahavishnu who reclines on a great serpent
'Ananthan'.The posture of Mahavishnu who lie down on Ananthan is known as 'Anantha sayanam' in Malayalam.The word 'thiru' is used for respect and 'puram' means city.The city of 'Ananthan' is the literal meaning of the place name.
Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city which had trading relation with other parts of the world.The place Poovar is believed to be an ancient port.Spices,Sandalwood and Ivory was exported from here.
When Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma Maharajah accessed the nearby states and extended his Kingdom to form 'Travancore' he shifted the capital of earlier 'Venad'  which was at 'Padmanabhapuram'( which is in Kanyakumari district now) to 'Thiruvananthapuram in 1745.During the reign of Swathi Thirunal Maharajah,Ayilyam Thirunal Maharajah and Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharajah establishments like Observatory,General Hospital,Oriental research Institute and Manuscript Library,University College and Womens College,Ayurveda college,Mental Hospital,Sanskit College, etc were started.When Kerala State was formed, the Capital of Kerala State naturally became Thiruvananthapuram.Even though it has developed in to a modern city still it keeps the fame as 'The Evergreen City of India'.
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is the main and major attraction of Thirivanathapuram City.
The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is Lord Mahavishnu in 'Anantha Sayanam' posture which is bigger than any other temple in Kerala.The devotee can not see the full idol but can be seen  through three different doors of the Sanctum.The head part and chest through one door,middle part of the idol through the next door and feet through the last door.The idol is made up of a mixture of  precious and rare materials known as 'Kadusarkara yogam' including  12000 'salagramas' which are special type of small stones collected from 'Gandaki' river of Nepal. Other rare ingredients are from different parts of India.The  temple and idol  is more than 2000 years old. The idol is covered with gold..It is adorned with precious ornaments also.'Abhishekam' (Pouring materials in liquid form like water,scented oils,coconut water,milk etc) which is a common ritual in other temples is not done for the main idol here but  it is mostly cleaned using peacock feathers only.The temple with a multi storeyed
pinnacle( Gopuram) with sculptures is very beautiful.This temple is one among the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu in India.
This magnificent temple was renovated by Marthanda Varma Maharajah.The temple complex is existing in a vast area.The temple pond is also very large.
Kuthira Malika which is an ancient Palace near this temple attract tourists which contains ancient sculptures and art works.
Zoo of Trivandrum is very attractive to all tourists.It is situated near the 'City Corporation Office' near Palayam.Many species of animals and birds are kept in this spacious and beautiful area where trees and herbs of many varieties are also grown and protected. Napier Museum is also in this compound where articles of historical importance are displayed.There is Sree Chitra art gallery in the same compound where originals of 'Raja Ravi Varma's'
paintings are kept.Paintings of other artists are also displayed there.
Kanakakkunnu Palace is a beautiful historical palace near the zoo situated on a hillock.The landscape is very beautiful and greenish.Opposite to Kanakakkunnu palace is the 'Observatory' hills.'Jawahar Balabhavan '
where children are trained in different art forms are nearby.
Kowdiar Palace which is the residential Palace of Maharajah of Travancore is situated near Kowdiar junction.
Palayam is an important part of the city.Kerala University Office building is at Palayam.Chandrasekharan Nair stadium and University Stadium exists here.St.Josephs Cathedral,Palayam Juma Masjid,Palayam Ganapathy temple and Palayam Hanuman Temple are very famous.M,L.A quarters and Kerala Government Legislative Assebly building stands here.' Priyadarshini Planetarium' and Science museum are also here.Victoria Jubilee Memorial Hall,'Kannimera Market'  etc are also in Palayam.University College and Sanskrit College exists here. Near Palayam is Statue junction where Government Secretariat is situated.Accountant General Office,General Post Office,Central Stadum,General Hospital etc are here.Ayurveda College is also here.
Thampanoor is the place where K,S.R.T.C Bus Station and Railway Station are situated.
Swathy Thirunal Musical College and Women and Children Hospital are functioning at Thycadu near  Thampanoor.East Fort is near Thampanoor where City Transport Bus station is functioning.The M.G.Road from Statue junction to East Fort, inside the Fort and nearby areas and Chalai are where thousands of retail shops, big and small are functioning.Chalai is the busiest area than all other parts.
Government Medical College is situated 8km from the city.Dental college,Sree Chitra Institute of Medical Science,Regional Cancer Center, and S.A.T. Hospital etc are functioning in the same premises.Vellayani is a beatiful place where Agricultural College is situated.A fresh water lake is also here.
Ponmudi which is 85 km from the city is a tourist spot which is blessed with serene beauty and cool climate.
It is situated at an altitude of 1066 m.Tea estates are abundant  in this hill resort.
Neyyar Dam which is 32km from the city is a tourist attration.There is a wild life sanctuary here which extends up to 128 sq.km.A lion safari park is situated in an island nearby at 'Marakkunnam'
 and a crocodile sanctuary is also functioning here.
Aruvikkara Dam and nearby areas are very attractive.The drinking water of Thiruvananthapuram city comes from Aruvikkara dam reservoir.There is a devi temple near to the dam.The devotees coming to the devi temple feeds the fishes in the river near to the temple.Large fishes in groups come to eat food  even from our hands also without fear.Catching fishes is prohibited here.
Peypara dam and nearby areas are tourist spots.This is a wild life sanctuary.This is situated 50km from the city.
Kovalam Beach which is internationally famous is one of the main attraction of Kerala which is situated 18km from the city.Tourists from all parts of India and from different countries around the globe visit Kovalam every year.A lighthouse is existed here.The season starts at Kovalam from October every year and continues for a period of six or seven months.
Vizhinjam is a fishing harbour near Kovalam.An ancient cave temple  can be seen here.Marine aquarium is also an attraction here.The 'Vizhinjam Container Transhipment Project' is in full swing and will function within few years which when access by sea will be possible.
Balaramapuram is a place reputed for' hand loom' fabrics.High quality'hand- loom' fabrics are made at several cottage industry units situated here.
Chempazhanthi is the birth place of 'Sreenarayana Guru' who was a Hindu Saint and reformer.His house is still maintained as a monument.
Kattakkada is a beautiful place where Pankaja Kasthuri Ayurveda Medical College is situated.
Vembayam which is 20km from the city is famous for the 'Happy Land' water theme park.
Kudappanakkunnu is where the Door Darshan T.V.Center and Civil Station exists.
Beema Palli is a very famous Muslim Pilgrim center.This Juma Masjid is visited by people from far and near.
It is believed that by praying here many diseases will be cured.The water in the well there is also believed to have medicinal power.Thousands of devotees gather for the 'Uroos' festival every year.










Attukal Bhagawathi temple is an important and famous temple  of South India.It has carved reputation as the 'Women's Sabarimala'.On the main festival day in February millions of women gather to perform 'Ponkala'.This ponkala festival has got entry in the Gueinness Book of World Records.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI DEVI



Loving  'Amma' For All
India is a land of Spiritual Wisdom where so many Holy Men and Saints lived.They all selected that style
of life themselves sacrificing all worldly pleasures and worked for the betterment of the society.All of them preached that for solving all problems Love and Peace is needed rather than conflict and violence.The life of Holy men and Saints  in detail from
Aadi Sankaracharya is known to us.Sree Rama Krishna Parama Hamsa Swamikal, Sarada Devi,Shirdi Sai Baba,Swamy Vivekananda,Sathya Sai Baba,Ramana Maharshi,Chinmayanda swamy,Chattambi Swamikal, Parama Hamsa Theerthapada Swamikal,Sree Narayana Guru,Chit Swaroopa Theerthapada Swamikal etc were all Saints, spiritual leaders,teachers and reformers.
Today Mata Amritanandamayi Devi kindles the light of universal love and spiritual wisdom in the minds of millions of people across the globe.
Born on September 27, 1953 at Vallikkavu, a small fishing village of Alappad Panchayat in Kollam District (which is 36kms from Kollam City)
in Kerala as 'Sudhamony' in an ordinary family,  she has been transformed as 'Amma'(Mother) to millions of devotees in all parts of the world.She studied in school up to 4th standard only.She had to stop studies due to the illness of her mother and had to look after house hold duties from there on.She had the habit of chanting God's prayers always while engaged in other works.She enjoyed singing devotional songs.She was very kind hearted and helped the poor people in neighbourhood with food and clothing and her parents scolded her several times for being so generous since they were also not rich.
Sudhamony started to meditate for long hours in lonely places like the shores of the sea.Her heart was filled with the love towards God and concentrating on that she would sit in deep meditation without knowing what was
happening around her.Her parents and villagers could not understand this peculiar attitude of that girl.While staying outside the house in meditation a black dog used to come and safe guarded her.A cow from somewhere used to come and lie beside her for giving her milk after long hours of meditation.A snake used to come and crawl over her body to bring her back to consciousness if the meditation extends too long.
An ordinary individual can be raised to the God consciousness level with the help of a knowledgeable master with continuous  practice of meditation.It is a higher state of mind in which self realization happens through enlightenment..In the Holy Book' Bhagavat Gita' it is stated that all humans should try to attain that level. But it can be attained by only a few people even if tried hard..Amma Amritanadamayi attained that state without the help of a
master or 'Sat Guru'.She attained self realization with her intense love towards God and deep meditation.
All the secrets of this universe was revealed to her.She started the Ashram there and soon devotees used to approach her with their sorrows.She listened to all with patience and consoled them.
It is a habit of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi to hug all devotees, men and women-old and young -alike.In her
eyes all devotees are her children and for them she is their 'Amma'(Mother).The word 'Mata' means mother.
The devotees confide their sorrows and griefs and other inner feelings to Amma.Some other burst out in to tears and reveals their confessions.She will console all with gentle pat and whisper one or two kind words to them.The devotees experience a soothing energy flowing through their body while she is hugging them.Their tensions will be relieved and feel much better and pleasant.
Mata Amritanandamayi has consoled millions of people all over India and in other foreign counties.After 1987 she used to travel every year to other parts of India and to foreign countries like Australia,Austria,France,
Germany,England,U.A.E,United States of America etc.
Shirdi Sai Baba
An incident is stated in the 'Mathrubhumi Supplement of Mata Amritandamayi 1998' that during a visit to Singapore one skin patient was feeling guilty to approach Amma.Meeting with Amma is known as 'Darshan' and Amma was visiting an old age home there.The old man with ulcers all over the body stood back in hesitation.Amma understood his feeling and she herself  went near him to console him and kindly hugged him.
The overjoyed person was full of tears and the spectators too were amazed to witness her kindness and love.
Amma is always very busy and during her Darshan session some times she has to sit for continuous 20 hours
Swamy Vivekananda
or  more without  rest and food and all the time will be engaged in hearing sorrows ,hugging and consoling all the devotees gathered there.It is an astonishing and real fact that for the past thirty years she was fully engaged in her services and did not take even one day leave.She never felt sick or tired during this long period.
She has received several awards from many countries she visited.She was the President of the Hindu faith for the Parliament of the world's religions 100th anniversary held at Chicago in 1993.She addressed the Millenium peace summit,UN General assembly,New York etc.
Shankaracharya
She started 17 Brahmasthana Temples in India and abroad.She allowed women priests in those temples.Under the Charitable Trust of the Ashram several educational institutions are functioning.They are running Hospitals also.Thousands of inmates are there in the Ashram including monks and nuns.Moreover thousands of devotees visit the Ashram every day.The Abode of Amma where  the Ashram stands and nearby area is known as Amritapuri now.Foreign devotees also are inmates of the Ashram.The daily routine of the Ashram starts at 4'O clock in the morning.There will be Vedanta class,meditation,Yoga class,Devotional Bhajans etc.Amma do not insist anybody to change their religious faith but to follow their own beliefs only.Believe in God and work for the welfare of mankind and society is insisted.Amma used to give speeches which contain advices and ideas to lead a happy life.Her advices and teachings are published by the publication division of the Ashram.Mathruvani, a magazine published monthly in different languages also includes her teachings as well as tour program of Amma.
Amma
Amritanandamayi Ashram is engaged in several  other charity services also.Pension for the widows,Houses for the poor and old aged people etc are some of them.
Ramana Maharshi
SreeNarayana Guru
Chattambi Swamikal

Thursday, June 2, 2011

KOLLAM DISTRICT

Kollam District(Quilon District) came in to being on July 1 1949.It is 2491Sq.km in area and comprises of Taluks Karunagapally,Kottarakkara,Kunnathur,Kollam Pathanapuram and Sasthamkotta.The lakes Astamudi kayal and Sasthamkotta kayal are in this district.
Kollam is an important business center in Kerala.Kollam established reputation as a good trading center from very ancient times itself and was able to sustain that reputation throughout till today.There are several industries in this district.Most of the cashew nut factories of Kerala are in this district.
Places of interest includes Model Park which is 3km away from City at Ashramam.Neendakara is a fishing harbour where the Arabian sea conjoins with Astramudi lake.
Thankasseri is 5km from the city where a light house which was erected in 1902 can be seen.It was a portuguese  Fort area.The ruins of the fort can be seen there.Anglo Indian society lives there in plenty.
Thirumullavaram beach which is 6km from the city is very beautiful.A famous Mahavishnu temple is situated there.Thirumullawaram is famous for the annual rituals done for the departed souls at the seashore every year.
Famous Devi temple 'Vishnathu Kavu' is nearby.
Palaruvi is a beautiful water fall which is on the route to Chenkotta.It is a famous tourist spot with excellent
scenic beauty.Palaruvi waterfall is 300 feet high.From Palaruvi Aryan Kavu is only 5km which is another very beautiful tourist spot.It is border of Tamil Nadu and a very ancient Ayyappa temple exists there.
Kundara is aplace which has earned fame in history by the 'kundara Proclamation' by Veluthampy Dalawa in
1809.This is an industrial area where several cashew nut factories are functioning.Kerala ceramics,Alind,Kerala Electrical and Allied Industries are here.
Kulathupuzha is famous for the famous Sastha temple.The place is very beautiful with stunning natural sights.
Chavara is a place famous for several industries.Kerala Minerals and metal factory,Indian rare earths and Titanium Complex are here.
Pullichirapally which is on the route to Mayyanad from Kottiyam is an importanf Christian divine center.
Kottarakkara is famous for the ancient  Ganapaty Temple situated there.'Ramanattam' which is the old form of Kathakali originated here.
Sasthamkotta Kayal is the largest fresh water lake in Kerala which is situated 29kms from Kollam.This lake is known as the queen of lakes.There is a famous Sastha Temple at Sasthamkotta.
Vallikkavu is a place which got fame because of 'Matha Amrithandamayi Devi' who is a Saint and spiritual
leader of Kerala.Her Ashram is at Vallikkavu and the whole area is known as 'Amrithapuri'.
Chentharuni is the only wild life sanctuary in Kollam District The reservoir of Thenmala Dam and nearby areas are included in this sanctuary.This is 60km from kollam City.
Manroethuruthu is a place noted for scenic beauty.This place is given this name  for the love and respect towards Col.Manroe.
Thenmala is a place which got fame as the first place to start eco tourism project in India.The first butterfly safari park in Asia is situated here.Kallada dam is situated nearby.
Anchukallum moodu is famous for the ancient Rameswaram Temple.Puthukkulangara Palace which was constructed by Velu Thampi Dalawa is here.Aanandavalleeswaram Temple which is very famous is nearby.
Panmana is the Samadhi place of 'Chattambi Swamikal' who was a Saint and Spiritual leader of Kerala.
Chadayamangalam is a place situated 51km from Trivandrum.It is believed that 'Jadayu' the giant bird, fought with Ravana on his way to Lanka after capturing Seetha.There is a huge rock here which is a tourist attraction.This rock is known as Jadayuppara.There is an ancient cave temple nearby at 'Kothukkal'.
Punalur is famous for the hanging bridge which was constructed during the reign of Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja.
Travancore plywood industries and Punalur Papermill are functioning here.
Ochira is famous for the Siva temple  existing there.It is known as Parabrahma Temple.Ochirakkali and 12 days light festival in November  are festivals there.
Kadappakkada is a commercial centre in Kollam.In olden days this place was famous for 'mats' of various
types which was purchased by sailors in large numbers.
St.Peter's Church,Moothakara,St.Mary's Church, Kundara,St.Casmir Church,Mathilil are important Christian Shrines.Thevalakkara Church which was founded by St.Thomas Apostle is very famous and historically
important also.
Valia Pally,Janakappuram,Juma-Ath-Pally Kolluvila,Juma-Ath-Masjid Thattamala,Muthiraparambu pally etc are famous and important Mosques.
K.CKesava Pillai,Sooranadu Kunjan Pillai,E.V.Krishna Pillai,C.V.Kunjiraman,Kumbalathu Sanku Pillai,
T.M.Varghese etc were famous personalities.R.Sankar the third Chief Minister of Kerala was from this district.Former Kerala Minister and political leader Baby John was from this district.
R.Balakrishna Pillai,K.B.Ganesh Kumar,Shibu Baby John,M.A.Baby etc are famous politicians.
Suresh Gopi,K.B.Ganesh Kumar and Mukesh are film personalities.
We can say that Kathakali Originated in Kollam District since Kottarakkara Thampuran, was responsible for developing Kathakali as we see it today.
Alumkadavu,Kollam
Kottarakkara Sree Maha Ganapathy Temple