Monday, 8 September 2014

Kutralam Falls


I have been attending Tirunelveli Book Fair from Last Year. Last year it was surprise grand success. Most publishers did not attended the event as it was organised after a gap of few years. Further when the book fair was organized few years back it did not went well. So last year I reached Tirunelveli with not much expectations. My only ambition during that time was to visit Nellaiyappar temple, Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, and visit Nava Thirupathi Temples and Visit Kutralam. Above all to taste the Halwa. During that time I could only visit Nellaiyappar temple on the first day, and Tiruchendur a few days before the close of the fair. Even though I have tasted halwa from all major shops, I could not able to taste the Iruttu Kadai Halwa. Mainly because I could not go there to buy as I was alone. Visiting Kutralam was only in drams last year.

This year My father accompanied me. But still there is not much change. The Book Sales was drastically down, due to very many factors. Similarly this year also I could visit the Nellaiyappar temple and Tiruchendur Murugan Temple only. Visit to Nava Thirupathi was elusive this year also. But to my satisfaction I purchased Halwa from Iruttukadai and tasted it to my pleasure. To my disappointment, this year also I could not able to visit Kutralam. To satisfay myself, I am furnishing some facts about Kutralam Falls below.

Courtallam or Kutralam, Spa of South India, is situated at a mean elevation of 160 m (520 ft) on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, India. Many seasonal and few perennial rivers such as the Chittar River, the Manimuthar River, the Pachaiyar River and the Tambaraparani River originate in this region. 

Courtallam has nine waterfalls.

1. Peraruvi (main falls) the biggest falls in Courtallam, is about 60m high. The flow of water is interrupted by the Pongumakadal, a 19m deep crater and comes down with greatly reduced impact, making a bath safe.

2. In Chitraruvi (small falls), the flow is thin. Here naturally separate places for men and women are there to bathe. Chitraruvi leads to other waterfalls such as Shenbagadevi and Thenaruvi and the herbal farm.

3. At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. There is also a temple there, dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman.

4. About 3 km from this is Thenaruvi (honey falls), 40m high and cascading between two large stones. The Thenaruvi is difficult to reach. The falls are so called due to the large number of beehives in the area.

5. Aintharuvi (five falls) is one where one thoroughly enjoys being in a crowd of bathers. Five separate cascades of water form this waterfalls. This waterfalls is located 4km from the Kutralam town. The waterfalls is situated 6km away from the bus stand in the western side of the hills. There is a Ayyanar temple and Lord Muruga temple in front of these falls.

6. Pazhathotta Aruvi, (Orchard Falls) is located above Aintharuvi. This was usually visited only by politicians and bureaucrats to experience the luxury of bathing, hence also referred as VIP Falls.

7. The Pazhaya Courtalla Aruvi (Old Courtallam falls) used to fall into a valley from between two rocks. The valley was closed and the rocks were broken to change the course of water and make bathing easier. It was reopened later.

8. The artificial Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls) has a moderate flow of water which collects in a lake and is diverted for irrigation,sometimes tigers visit this place for water. This waterfalls is located 2km away from Kutralam bus stand. This waterfall is very small that is suitable for the kids and the old people to enjoy.

9. Palaruvi (Milky Falls) is located around 4km away from the mountain pass and state border at Aryankavu. This 300-feet waterfall, also called as Aryankavu Falls is located close to Kerala border with Tamil Nadu.

The three major waterfalls reachable by road are the Main Falls, Five Falls, and Old Courtallam Falls. Other waterfalls like Shenbaga Devi Falls and Honey Falls are reachable only by trekking on the mountain.

There are two popular temples located here - Thiru Kutralanathar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and another temple dedicated to Lord Muruga. About few kilometers away, there lies Chitra Sabha, a temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja

The closest towns to Courtallam are Sengottai and Tenkasi at 5 km (3.1 mi) respectively. The closest airport is Tuticorin Airport (TCR) approximately 90 km (56 mi) away and the nearest railway station is Tenkasi, 5 km (3.1 mi) away.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple



On 23rd July 2014 during the Tirunelveli Book fair I visited Thiruchendur Murugan Temple along with my father. We started around 5 AM in morning from Palayamkottai and reached the Temple around 6.30 AM. As it was a week day there was not much devotees in the temple and we had a peaceful darshan of the Lord Muruga. 

Usually I dislike to visit the temples in auspicious days as there will be more crowd during that time. I wish to have a peaceful atmosphere in temples, which give more peace to our soul. Other details about the murugan temple is given below.

     Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple complex dedicated to Lord Muruga situated in Tamil Nadu, India. It is also one of the Arupadaiveedu (six major abodes) or Six sacred temple complexes of Lord Muruga.

     It is located in the eastern end of the town Thiruchendur in the district of Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India. It is 60 km south-east of Tirunelveli, 40 km from Tuticorin and 75 km north-east of Kanyakumari.The temple complex is on the shores of Bay of Bengal.

     It is the only one among the Six sacred temple complexes to be situated near the sea shore. Other five are situated in mountain region. The puranic name or historical name for this temple is jayanthipuram. This is the only temple where Raja gopura is situated in western gate. This temple is the fourth Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu to get ISO certification.

     This is the only temple in tamilnadu where sanctum sanctorium is below the ground level.The 133 feet Rajagopura,built in the shores of Bay of Bengal,very near to the sea,just within 200 meters is still a mystery and an outstanding example for the Dravidian temple architecture.

     Mela Gopuram has nine storeys and it is about 137 feet high above Yalimattam, 90 feet long north to south and 65 feet broad east to west. At the top of the Gopuram the width is 20 feet and the length is 49 feet. To indicate that the Gopuram consists of 9 storeys there are nine Kalasams (sacred copper pots) at the top of the Gopuram.

History

     An asura by name Surapadma was ruling Veera Mahendrapuri, an island fortress. He performed many austerities invoking Lord Shiva and the Lord granted him many boons. Later, the asura became arrogant and captured all the three worlds - the heaven, earth and the hell. He made the Devas, the heavenly immortals to do menial task. 

     The Devas were unable to bear his torture and complained to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva opened his third eye to create a son to kill Surapadma. Six sparks of fire emanated from the third eye. These divine sparks were received by River Ganges through Agni, the God of Fire and passed on to the Himalayan lake, Saravana Poigai. Here they were transformed into six babies.

     These babies were suckled by the six Kirithika nymphs. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi Devi came to Saravana Poigai, and when Goddess Uma fondly clasped the babies they joined together to become Lord Arumuga with six faces and twelve arms. 

     When child Arumuga grew up to become a young boy, Lord Shiva asked him to destroy Surapadma and free the Devas from their cruel bondage. Lord Muruga reached Tiruchendur with his huge army and camped. He sent his lieutenant, Veerabahu to the asuras as an emissary and asked Surapadma to release the Devas. Since Surapadma turned down the request, a war ensued.

     An intense battle was fought for a few days. During the first five days of the war, the brothers of Surapadma and all other asuras perished. On the sixth day, in the battle between Lord Muruga and Surapadma, the lance of Lord Muruga pierced the body of Surapadma, who got himself transformed into a frightful mango tree, and broke it into two. The broken pieces instantly transformed themselves into a mighty peacock and a cock. Lord Muruga took the peacock as his vahana or vehicle and the cock on his banner. This event is popularly known as Surasamharam, or the destruction of Surapadman.

     After Surasamharam, Lord Muruga desired to worship his father, Lord Shiva. Hence Mayan, the divine architect constructed this shrine at Tiruchendur. Even now Lord Subramaniyan is seen in the posture of worshiping Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum.

     The devotees take a holy dip in the sea and the Nali Kinaru (small well), the source of fresh salt free water before entering the temple for worship.

     In the sanctum, Lord Subramanya faces east, worshipping Siva. In one hand He holds a rosary of beads and in the other, flowers to be offered to Siva. Next to this shrine is another sanctum for Sri Arumuga with His consorts. On the outer prakaram, there are shrines for Valli and Deivayanai. There are also shrines for Vishnu (in Anantasayanam posture) and Gajalakshmi in a rock-cut niche.

     About 60 metres north of the temple alongside the seashore, there is Valli cave, cut inside natural sandstone rock facing east. There are two images, one dedicated to Valli and the other to Dattatreya.

     Adi Sankara had worshipped in this shrine and sung in praise of the Lord in his Subramanya Bhujangam.

     Tiruchendur temple which is situated nearer to the sea escaped from Tsunami with the blessings of Lord Muruga on December 26, 2004. The sea level opposite to the sanctum sanctorum was higher than the ground level at the sanctum sanctorum, even then the sea didn't enter the temple rather the sea went more away from temple, though the nearby areas were affected by the sea waves.

Travel

     Daily Train from Chennai ( TIRUCHENDUR EXP : # 16735 (now renamed 16105)-starts at 16.05 from Chennai Egmore )

     As there are more Train connectivity to Tirunelveli- One can travel up to Tirunelveli by Train and take a bus or car to Tiruchendur. Four Passenger Trains are there from Tirunelveli starting 7.00am, 9.35am,11.15am and 18.15pm.

     Nearest Airports are Tuticorin 30 km (45 Mins) Madurai 168 km ( 3 Hours ) Tiruchy 311 km ( 4.5 - 5 hours ) Thiruvanthapuram International Airport 175 km ( 3.5 hours )

Pooja Timings

     The poojas in this temple are performed as per the Kumara Thandiram Murai. Nine pooja kalams are observed daily. Temple will be opened from 5.00 am till 9.00 pm.

Period

Morning 5.10 : Subrapadam - Thirupalli Eluchi
Morning 5.30 : Viswaroopam Darshan
Morning 5.45 : Dwajasthamba Namaskaram
Morning 6.15 : Udaya Marthanda Abishegam
Morning 7.00 : Udaya Marthanda Deeparadhanai
Morning 8.00 to 8.30 : Kalasandhi Pooja
Morning 10.00 : Kalasha Pooja
Morning 10.30 :Uchikala Abishegam
Noon 12.00 : Uchikala Deeparadhanai
Evening 5.00 : Sayaratchai Pooja
Night 7.15 : Arthasama Abishegam
Night 8.15 : Arthasama Pooja
Night 8.30 : Ekanda Seva
Night 8.45 : Ragasia Deeparadhanai, Palliarai Pooja
Night 9.00 : Nadai Thirukappiduthal

Monthly Special Poojas

1. On the Visakam day Special Abishegam for Lord Shanmuga is performed and the procession of deity during night is conducted.

2. Special Pooja is performed on Sukla Sashti day in every Tamil month and the procession of deity during night takes place.

3. 108 Thiruvilakku pooja is performed on the Karthigai day every month. Special Abishegam is performed to Jayanthi Nathar and the Utsava idol is taken in the golden chariot in the night.

4. On the first day of every Tamil month, Ganapathy Homam and Special Pooja are performed. The Utsava idol is taken in procession during night.

5. On the last Friday of every Tamil month Special Pooja and procession of Utsava idol is conducted.

6. On the first day of Chithirai month Annabhishegam and Special Pooja are performed and a procession of Utsava idol is conducted during night.

7. During the Purattasi month Navarathiri festival is conducted for 9 days.

8. On the first day of the Iyppasi month Annabhishegam and Special Poojas are performed and the procession of Utsava idol is conducted.

9. On the Panguni Uthiram day the Thirukalayanam of Arulmigu Valli is celebrated.

Festivals

Vaikasi Visagam (May - June)

     A large number of devotees, numbering about two lakhs, participate in the festival. A procession of Sri Jayanthinathar with Valli and Deivanai is conducted in the night. Avani Festival (August - September)

     Devotees numbering about two lakh participate in this festival. On this Avani festival 7th, 8th and 10th day functions are more important.

- 7th Sikappu sathi Festival
- 8th Pachai Sathi Festival
- 10th Car Festival (Big cars will not be available)

Skanda Sasti Festival - 7 days (October - November)

     Devotees numbering about five lakhs will participate in the above festival. On this festival occasion, devotees fast for all six days. On the 6th day Surasamharam is demonstrated. On the 7th day Thirukkalyanam to Deivanai is celebrated in a grand manner.

Masi Festival - 12 days (February - March)

     More than three lakh people participate in this festival.

- 7th day Sikappu Sathi
- 8th Pachai Sathi Festival
- 10th Car Festival (Big cars will not be available)
- 11th day Floating festival (yearly once)

Social Services

Karunai Illam

     An orphanage for children is run by the temple and free boarding, lodging and education facilities are provided to 125 children from the temple funds.

Nadaswara Training School

     About 10 students have been trained in this school and the expenses are met from the temple funds.

Devara Isai Training School

     10 students are learning in this school and their expenses are met by the temple funds.

Archahar Training Institutions

     Temple priests are trained in this institution and their expenses are met from the temple funds.

Free Marriage

     Free marriages are conducted for the poor and Adi Dravida people at an estimated expenditure of Rs. 3000/- per couple from the temple funds.

Religious Activities

1.Religious discourses are conducted every day evening.

2.Thirukkural classes are conducted every Sunday between 10.00 A.M. and 11.00 A.M.

3.Religious education classes are conducted every Sunday between 11.00 A.M. and 12 Noon.

Annadhanam

     Annadhanam is carried out sincerely providing not less than 100 people daily. Annadhanam Menu : Rice, Sambar, Rasam Buttermilk with Pickle. Annadhanam for 500 people (one day) Rs. 10000/- Fixed deposit Rs. 150000/- (one day in the year as per wish of the donor from the interest)

Administration

Joint Commissioner/Executive Officer
Arulmigu SubramaniaSwamy Temple,
Tiruchendur - 628 215.
Phone Numbers : 04639-242221, 04639-242270, 04639-242271

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My Visit To Thirparappu Falls



Recently I visited Thirparappu Falls during the stay at nagercoil for the Nagercoil Book fair. Even though the fair is grand failure for me financially, I could console my self with the trip of Thirparappu. I visited the falls on Monday 18th august 2014 with my publisher friends in a rented car. We started around 5'O Clock in Nagercoil and the Cab driver was a old man and he reached the spot only around 6.30 A.M. We have park the vehicle infront of the Sive Temple there and walk about 200 meters to the falls.

On the day we went, the water flow was perfect, and we immediately went for the enjoyment. We were under water for about an hour. The water falling from about 50 feet height, sprinkled on us, exciting us. It was an wonderful experience. All our tiredness due to setting up of stall on saturday was relieved and we felt relaxed.

After an hour of enjoyment in the falls, we returned to the cab and changed the dress and started for the nagercoil around 8.30. The cab driver has taken us to a road side restaurent about 5 km before nagercoil and we all had a good breakfast. Finally we reached nagercoil around 10.45. Other details of Thirparappu falls are given below.

Thirparappu is famous for its waterfalls and is located in Kanyakumari District of TamilNadu in the southern part of India. Also known as Kumari Kuttalam, Thirparappu Falls is located 42 km from Nagercoil (headquarters of Kanyakumari District), 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram (capital of Kerala) and a distance of 5 km from Kulasekaram (nearest town panchayat).

The falls is in the Kodayar (Kothai River).The Kodayar makes its descend at Thirparappu and the water fall at this place is about 13 km. from Pechiparai dam. The water falls from a height of nearly 50 feet and the water flows for about seven months in a year.

The Thirparappu weir has been built on the rocky mass that stretches far across the distance covering one fourth of a kilometer in the direction against the streams current. This weir supplies water to the fields that are used for irrigation.

Mahadever kovil located near this fall, is the third Shivalaya of the 12 Shivalayas of Kanyakumari. The Temple is built around A.D. 9th Century by Raja Raja Chola in traditional Kerala architechtural style.

Recently, the District Administration constructed a swimming pool especially for kids here.