Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thiruvanvandur Mahavishnu Temple

Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple is situated in 'Thiruvanvandur' in Chengannur Taluk which is approximately
5 km from Chengannur Town and about the same distance from Thiruvalla Town.The devotees can stay either
at Chengannur or Thiruvalla.
Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu temple is one of the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu and one among the 11 temples in this category in Kerala.This place is also known as 'Divya Desam' and praised by 'Nammalwar'.
The temple is situated in a serene village and there is a large temple compound.It is believed that the fourth
Thiruvanvandur Gajamela
Pandava Prince 'Nakula' established this temple during  their exile period.The elder brother Yudhishtira consecrated his temple at Mundancavu in Chengannur town,Bhima started his Mahavishnu temple at Puliyoor
in Chengannur, Arjuna started his temple at Aranmula and Nakula consecrated Mahavishnu temple at Thiruvanvandur in Chengannur Taluk.This temple can be reached from Kallisseri at Chengannur or from Kuttoor Pravincoodu Junction (diversion from M.C.Road.)
Thiruvanvandur is surrounded on three sides by river Pampa and so the deity of this temple is referred as
Pambanaiappan  which is Pamba+Anai+Appan and simply means The Lord on the banks of River Pampa.
There is a belief that Narada Rishi got vision of Lord Maha Vishnu in this temple compound and he explained to Narada that both Vaishnava and Shaiva are one and the same and also we should treat all humans alike.
Suresh Gopi and Thilakan participated in Gajamela
It is also believed that 'Markandeya Rishi' also got darshan of Lord Maha Vishnu in this temple compound.
The temple deity Mahavishnu of this temple is believed as 'Annadana Prabhu' and offering feast to the devotees  
is liked very much by him.During the festival periods 'Annadanam' is offered to the devotees  as an offering by
many people.
The deity of this temple is Lord Mahavishnu in standing Posture and Thursdays and Sundays are more important.'Paalpayasam(Sweetened rice with milk) and 'Aravana payasam'(Sweetened rice with jaggery) as well as Anna Danam are important offerings here.
There happened a miracle in this temple during the early 60's.A  School Master who  later got
fame as 'Vanavathukkara Bhakthan'  had a dream that there  lies a 'SreeKrishna' Idol underneath the soil at the back side of Thiruvanvandur Temple and he should take initiative to dig it out.The exact location of the place was also shown as a vision in his mind.The poor man neglected it as a common meaningless dream but it repeated
next week  and again the next week and was asking why he was not taking any action regarding it.So he visited the place and found that it was exactly the same spot  as shown in the dream.It was on the right side back
of the temple compound.He informed about his dream to the natives and pleaded to dig that place.The natives agreed and during the digging they got several pooja articles like 'Pooja vessels,conch,bells, etc which were of centuries old.They got  some Idols of Gods also.Another miracle was that water filled the pit where they were digging and several pumps working day and night  could not flush out the water which was rushing in as fast than the water which was pumped out.People were praying all the time day and night and an  'Yagna' was conducted  for getting the Krishna Idol and  the process continued for 51 days.The searching for the pooja articles,idols, etc were done in the water by swimming  experts.On the 51st day
the idol of 'Gosala Krishna' was got in the basket of a diver but skipped out  of the basket when he was
about to bring it up.Suddenly a 'Sanyasi'(Monk) by name 'Kesava Swamiji' from Uttarpradesh who was 
Chengannur Thrichittattu Mahavishnu Temple 
present at the site jumped in to the water and came up with that idol in his hand.Kesava Swamiji continued to stay in Thiruvanvandoor Temple and other Pandava Temples till his death.He was a highly learned man
and had several disciples in and around Chengannur.He was the author of several books in English and Hindi.
The 'Gosala Krishna Swamy Idol' which was excavated  was consecrated in the Thiruvanvandur Mahavishnu  temple compound and a beautiful shrine was made. Every year 51 days 'Yagna' is conducted to commemorate that  event.On the 51st day a procession from Chengannur Thrichittattu Temple is held  to Thiruvanvandoor Temple in which more than 35 Elephants participates.The number of elephants




may in some year rise above 40.Initially the number of elephants were 51 in that procession and now this event is known as 'Thiruvanvandur Gajamela'.On the day prior to the  Gaja Mela a feast for several thousands devotees is served in the temple compound in which '101 Para' (Para is a large measure which is approximately  more than 12 kg) of rice is used.
Transport Facilities
Chengannur is the nearby Railway station and Bus Station and access to all places in Kerala and other States in India are available from there.Trivandrum International Airport is 120 km from Chengannur.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple




Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is situated at Aranmula, in Pathanamthitta District and is 10km from Chengannur.This temple belongs to the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu  which are famous as 'Divya Desams'
and the third temple of the five Pandava temples established by the Pandava princes.Initially this temple was established
by Arjuna at 'Nilakkal' but later the temple was built at Aranmula and the idol was brought here on a  raft made
by six bamboo  pieces and the place name derived as 'Aranmula'(six bamboo).
The idol here is Lord Mahavishnu in standing posture with four hands and in a pleasant state.Like that of Guruvayoor even though the idol is of Lord Mahavishnu's it is considered and revered as 'Lord Krishna'.
This temple is one of the most  important Krishna temples in Kerala like Guruvayoor,Thrichambaram,Ambalapuzha etc.
The rituals followed in this temple differs in certain aspects than the other temples of Kerala.
During the Kurukshetra war between Kauravas and Pandavas Krishna controlled the chariot of Arjuna and had
taken a vow that he would not handle any weapon and not directly participate in the war.But once Bheeshmacharya was sending arrows continuously to Arjuna like as if  raining  of arrows that Arjuna was about
to accept defeat.Krishna in that condition forgot his vow and thought of 'Sudarsana Disc' in his mind that it
suddenly appeared in his hand.He was about to send it to  Bheeshmacharya when  Arjuna reminded Krishna about his vow and Bheeshma also surrendered to Krishna and pleaded guilty that he was just testing Krishna.
Krishna said that his action in this regard was "just human" and he was pleased  about Bheeshma's action and
offered any boon to Bheeshma also.Bheeshma requested Krishna to show his Origianal "Viswa Roopa",
 as the 'Lord Mahavishnu'.Krishna agreed happily and showed the original 'Viswa Roopa' as Lord Vishnu to
Bheeshmacharya.This scene is depicted as the idol at Aranmula.(Krishna revealing his Viswaroopa as Lord
Vishnu).
The Lord at Aranmula is very fond of Children.There is an Offering in this temple known as 'Aranmula Oottu'
by which for a certain number of children are given oil and accessories for an oil bath and afterwards a big
feast is served for them.The devotee who performs this 'offering' will get favors from the Lord.
As an old tradition children collects the leaves of areca trees and put them in the fire in front of the temple
on the day before Makara Samkrama day(mid Jan) is a special custom here.
Feast is an important offering of this temple.In the temple compound offering feast for the public is being held on most of the days round the year.The Parthasarathy Krishna of this temple understands the hunger of the devotee.The Lord is pleased when the devotees are served with good food.Food with many type of dishes including   sweets are served.On the 'Thiru Onam" festival day in Chingam month the feast held here in this
temple is attended by several thousand people.It is believed that God will also participate in these feasts.
The snake boat race held in the Pampa river in Aranmula during Onam days have direct relation to the temple.The oars men of the  snake boats are also served feast from the temple which is known as 'Valla Sadya'.
There are towers which are known as 'Gopurams' on all the four sides of this temple.On the eastern part
there are 18 steps as at Sabarimala temple.On the northern part if we descend 57 steps we reach 'Pampa
River'.
The world renowned Snake boat race is held at Pampa River in Aranmula on 'Uthrittathi' Star day of
Chingam Month.(Aug-Sept).But three four days prior to that day   'Regatta' starts here.There are so many snake boat races in Kerala during Onam period every year but the most elegant, and beautiful one is at Aranmula.
(because it is divine in all sense).

Saturday, April 7, 2012

St.Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral,Thiruvananthapuram

The St.Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral situated at Palayam, Trivandrum is a majestic landmark of Trivandrum
City.
The Church was initially started as a small Parish Church in 1873 to look after the needs of a few Catholic military men
and a few Catholic families.




The Church had the final construction works finished in 1927  Extension works were finished and the Goethic style imposing front and the bell tower was constructed.At that time the initial white color of the building   was changed to brick red and that color was remained for the church building till 2010.but it was decided to change the color
of the building structure to the original white and it was carried out along with other renovation works.
The floor of the church was changed  with new marble,the old ceilings replaced with new teak wood ceilings,
the old furniture in the church were also changed to new.
The church was made to 'St.Joseph's Cathedral' in 1937 when the 'New Trivandrum Diocese' was formed.In
2004 St.Joseph's Cathedral was raised to St.Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral.
There are three Holy Masses on week days and 6 Holy masses on Sundays.There are Novenas to
St.Antony, St.Joseph, St.Jude and perpetual succor on Tuesday, Wednesday,Thursday and Saturday
respectively.The Parish Office is open from  8.30A.M to 12 Noon and 4P.M. to 5.30 P.M on all days except
Sundays and days of obligations.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

INFANT JESUS CHURCH,BANGALORE

We all say that infants  are like God since they are pure  at heart.They does not know the crookedness of
this cunning world.When a child is depicted as God the strength of belief increases and our love and affection
also will increase.This is true in the case of Krishna and Jesus.Millions of Hindus revere  the 'Unnikrishnan'(Krishna  in his Childform)
and approaches  him to get solve their problems.Like that 'Unni Yesu' or 'Infant Jesus' is loved and prayed
by millions to get his blessings.
At Vivek Nagar in Bangalore there is a very famous Church of 'Infant Jesus' which is visited by thousands of
devotees from far and near on all days.Not only Christians but people from all faiths visit this shrine to get the
blessings of Mother Mary and Infant Jesus.People irrespective of cast and creed come with dedication and devotion to
pray to  the 'Almighty Infant Jesus'  to get the  blessings  and get sanctioned  their requests.The requests of the devotees varies such as
to get relieve from chronic diseases,to get the blessings to have a child,to get blessings to have an own house,to get a job or promotion,young girls whose marriage is delayed due to several reasons visit here to get married soon,widows who needs help to live their own, accident victims to get cured quickly  etc etc.It is said that when prayed in this Shrine to 'Unni Yesu' the devotees  suddenly




feels  that their  mind becomes calm and relieved from the tension and sufferings.The devotee experience a soothing feeling and
a protective sensation.
We can see people of all religions and of different states in India and people from abroad in this Church praying to Infant Jesus according to their
style and  practice.The God will bless all of them without any discrimination.The humble requests and prayers are
always answered and there are thousands who are grateful to the 'Infant Jesus ' for favors  granted to them.Many people used to submit  presents  to the church as a token of love and gratitude to 'Infant Jesus; for  getting fulfilled
their prayers.On the first floor of the Church a museum is made from the articles which were submitted to
the Church by the devotees for 'Unni Yesu'.This collection of articles includes ornaments made out of Gold and Silver,Idols of Infant Jesus in Gold and Silver,Crowns adorned with the Holy Cross,Models of Buildings and
several other  fancy articles including children's toys also.
On all Thursdays there will be heavy rush in this Shrine.That is the day of Novena.There will be Nine Holy Masses on Thursdays in different languages in this Church in which  thousands  of devotees participates.
The annual festival of the Church will be in January from  4 to 14 th.The flag hoisting will be on 4th January.
From January 5 to 13 there will be Nine Novena Masses held.On 14 January  there will be huge rush in and
around the church.'Unni Yesu' will bless all the devotees who participates in the Novenas of this Church and
those who participates in the annual festival.
This church was established in 1979 after buying the necessary plot from 'Rose Gardens'.Before construction of the buildings the church functioned for several years in a tent and was known as 'tent church'
at that time.Now in India this  Church has earned reputation  as the most famous 'Infant Jesus Church'.
The Address of this Church is 'Infant Jesus Shrine', Vivek Nagar, Post Box.4712,Bangalore-560047.
Vivek Nagar is near to ' Koramangala'  on old Airport Road.