Vadakkumnathan Temple – A Manifestation of Lord Shiva

The state of Kerala is one of the top tourist destinations in India. It is known for its unique music, vibrant dances, magnificent temples, distinct festivals, snake-boat races, sandy beaches, delicious food and serene backwaters. More than 50 percent of its total population follows Hinduism, with Shiva and Vishnu being the two most revered deities. There are many amazing Hindu temples, which Kerala tour packages may be utilised to visit. Vadakkumnathan, Guruvayur, Sabarimala, Shree Poornathrayesa, Padmanabhaswamy, Kodungallur Bhagavathy, Chottanikkara and Rajarajeswara are some of the famous Hindu shrines in this South Indian state.

Vadakkumnathan Temple

 

Vadakkumnathan Temple

Vadakkumnathan Temple

The Vadakkumnathan Temple is in the city of Thrissur and is dedicated to Shiva – the transformer. A particular theory about its construction dates it back to around 7th century AD. Studies done by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) establish that the shrine is about 350 years old. However, locals believe that it is quite an ancient place and its origin is of mythical nature. The most popular legend described in the Brahmanda Purana says that it was built by Parashurama – an incarnation of Vishnu. He annihilated the warrior clan many times and to expiate for his sins, he prayed and donated all his land to sages. Another says that Varuna, the lord of the oceans, asked him to throw his winnow into the sea and as he did, a land appeared from the waters. To have it consecrated, Parashurama went to Kailash and asked Lord Shiva to come and live there. While on their way, the lord, his wife and Ganesha stopped at Thrissur. They then disappeared and all that was left was a shining Shiva Linga below a banyan tree. The emperor of the Cochin kingdom decided to shift the idol to a proper shrine, and so was it done by establishing this temple.

Structure

Occupying an area of about 9 acres, the temple complex stands on a hill in the centre of the city. Enclosed inside a high wall of stone are pyramidal towers or gopurams, facing the four cardinal directions. These towers are above the entrance gates, walking through which devotees enter a large compound. Its roof has three tiers and the structure is shaped like a pagoda. This perhaps reflects the influence of Buddhism in the state in those times. There are many shrines inside the complex and the biggest of them has the Shiva Linga. The linga is not visible as it is covered by a mound of ghee, poured during worships over the years. This 16 feet high mass of clarified butter is decorated with golden moons and serpent hoods. According to a local belief, it represent Mount Kailash, covered perpetually by snow.

Other deities worshipped here are the cowherd aspect of Krishna, Parashurama, Adi Shankaracharya, Nandi, Simhodara, Ayyappan and the hunter aspect of the main deity. The attraction is famous for painted walls, depicting the chief god performing the dance of death. Also located inside the premises is a museum housing ancient wall paintings, art pieces and woodcarvings. A theatre known as Koothambalam, where various plays and dances are performed, is also inside the complex. Visitors coming here may attend various festivals, such as Aaanayoottu, Shivaratri and the musical event during Thrissur Pooram.

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Explore the Tropical Rainforests of Kerala

Kerala, located between the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the east, is one of the most stunning states in South India. Listed as one of the ten paradises on the Earth – by the National Geographic Traveller – it is rightly known as Gods Own Country. This small terrain holds diverse geographical features that make it a destination to be visited in a lifetime. The various tour packages to this place focus on eco-tourism so as to save its pristine beauty. From the palm-fringed beaches of Kovalam to the majestic hills of Munnar, Kerala has a lot to offer to visitors. The serenity of backwaters of Kumarakom and the enchanting forests of Thekkady are equally enticing.

The thick tropical rainforests of Kerala are home to a variety of rare and common fauna and flora. The Western Ghats – a UNESCO World Heritage Centre – is among the best biodiversity spots in the world and the forests of Kerala has about 90% of fauna. The fauna wealth of the state comprises mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes and insects. The State Government has taken several measures to conserve and preserve the rapidly vanishing animal and insect species. A large number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been established here, which has earned fame not only among domestic travellers but foreign tourists as well.

Silent Valley National Park

Sprawling over 237 sq km of total area, Silent Valley National Park is located in the Palakkad district. Robert Wight, a Scottish botanist, discovered  the area for the first time in AD 1847. A part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, this unique evergreen rainforest reserve is replete with rich biodiversity. Abode to a variety of fauna like tigers, leopards, elephants, wild bears, sambar deer and the Malabar squirrel, this area is among the most visited tourist destinations in Kerala. It also houses lion-tailed macaques and langurs that are critically endangered species.

 

The sight of several species of butterflies, moths and birds, including Ceylon frogmouth, Great Indian hornbill and laughing thrush, make this place a paradise for birdwatchers. Rarely can anyone find such a wide variety of flowering plants, including around 110 species of orchids. The park is drained by the Kunthi River that descends from the Nilgiri hills, from a height of 2000 metres. Passing through the entire length of the national park, this perennial river serves as a water source to the residing animals and birds. With these many natural marvels, this place is a boon for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, field biologists and students of life sciences.

 

For a memorable trip to this breathtaking attraction, look for Kerala tour packagesthat include accommodation, transportation and meals. Visitors can undertake a trek from Mukkali to Sairandhri to explore the wilderness of this place. Alternatively, can opt for a Jeep safari and capture the serenity of this park.

Go For a Retreat at Iringal Village during Kerala Holidays

Kerala is considered to be amongst the most famous travel destinations in Asia. Major attractions in this land are its virgin beaches, silent valleys, aromatic spice plantations, calm stretches of backwaters, lush green hill stations and exotic flora and fauna. Therefore, Kerala holidays are bound to leave travelers with delightful memories courtesy its scenic beauty and vibrant culture reflected in the rich performing art performances. Marking its cultural heritage are its traditional art forms, delicious cuisine, ayurveda rejuvenation sessions and colourful festivals. It offers a wide range of options for both leisure travellers who come to this region for a family holiday and for those who have opted for a romantic trip.

Wonderful experiences

If you are on your honeymoon, this area provides a wide variety of unique experiences to leave you spellbound. For instance, this land of ayurveda provides restorative and curative packages that are applied into healing systems. This rejuvenation therapy provides treatment for body immunisation, body sudation, slimming, beauty care, physical and mental well-being and overall fitness (Panchkarma Treatment). Another way to relax can be houseboat cruising on calm backwaters amidst beautiful surroundings of coconut groves and mangrove forests. Houseboats are the exotic barges that offer a relaxing trip with comforts of a hotel. A unique feature of this state is its backwaters. To facilitate inland water navigation, these backwaters are connected to lakes through canals, thus, increasing tourist movement in the area.

Village Tour

Untouched by industrialisation, the rural life in the state is equally enchanting as a tour to these quaint hamlets is enough to fill every visitor with peace and contentment. The inland waterways, swaying palm fringes and soothing paddy fields add to a memorable village trip. For example, the rural life in coastal hamlets of Kovalam is vibrant with activities like coconut leaf weaving, coir manufacturing and fish markets.

Iringal Craft Village

Unlike other coastal villages in the area, there is an exotic craft hamlet set up by the concerned authorities of the state to promote tourism. Here, native artisans exhibit their skills and products that are sold at reasonable prices and a visitor can also pick up few lessons on crafts-making. Located along the shoreline of Chaliyar River in Kozhikode, this village is just a kilometre away from the national highway. Set up on a land of 20 acres, there are 60 stalls for display and sale of handicrafts. The idea for its set up was introduced following a huge demand from foreign travellers who were keen on witnessing skills of native artisans as well as the nuances of craftsmanship in person. Blending an art form with business, the village offers a platform for crafts-making, exhibition and sale of craft-works, creating a better market and ensuring brand protection for the native artisans. The art lovers may find various hand-made products of coir, bamboo, sand, banana fibre, coconut shells, husk and palm leaves and many more.

So, those newly-weds who are looking for a low-budget trip can look for cheap honeymoon packages for Kerala that include this village in their itinerary.

Relax at the Chavakkad Beach during Kerala holidays

Lying down south, Kerala happens to be the most sought-after tourist destination in India. A peaceful and close to nature region, this state is often called as the land of coconuts. It attracts millions of tourists from all across the globe, especially between the months of November to February. Regarded as an agricultural state, this part of the nation is abundant with scenic beauty, plenty of flora and fauna, natural vegetation, national parks, scenic backwaters and forests. The state has a number of temples to its credit owing to which it welcomes a number of pilgrims, who arrive here to pay respect to their deities. The state also boasts of sandy beaches, rejuvenating spas, rich culture and lip-smacking cuisine. There are a few hill stations in this destination that makes it a perfect place for honeymooners. All those who wish to spend quality time with their loved ones can look for various packages in Kerala holidays category provided by travel websites that can be selected as per travel schedule and budget.

Chavakkad Beach

The Chavakkad Beach is located in Thrissur, in Kerala and a prominent beach in the state. It lies about 5 km from the Guruvayoor town and is situated on the coast of Arabian Sea. This beach serves as the meeting point of the sea and river (technically termed as estuary) and is referred to as Azhimokam in local language. It is a delightful place for people wanting to indulge in fishing or spending peaceful moments with their partners. Picnic-goers and travellers looking to soothe their senses can visit this exquisite location at anytime of the year. Vacationers interested in a beach holiday can plan a visit to the Chavakkad beach. Most Kerala vacation packages offered by leading travel portals include a visit to this exotic location, situated in the lap of nature.

Kerala Holidays: Full of Fun and Food

Admired for its scenic beauty and pleasant weather, the state of Kerala is bestowed with the goodness of nature. The blend of cultures in the state is evident in its cuisine, which is as diverse as the state itself. The food culture of this region also has influences of Syrian Christian and Malabar cuisine. Owing to its proximity to the sea, it also boasts of sea foods made of shrimps, cuttlefish, tuna fish and squids. If you want to savor the sumptuous delicacies of Kerala, then plan a visit to this state soon. A number of Indian tour packages on the Internet will assist you with this task.

Special Food Delights of the Fabulous State

Although Kerala is an eclectic mix of traditions that affect its rich food culture, its local cuisine is something unique. The food here is cooked with mild flavours of its exotic state-grown spices. Coconut milk and grated coconut are major ingredients that can be found in most of the dishes. Puttu is the most popular breakfast delicacy of this state, which is prepared by adding coconut to a steamed powder of rice and mixing stews or curries for added taste. Lunch preparations usually include steamed rice served with a pulse gravy and coconut-flavoured vegetables. The non-vegetarian delights of the region include Kozhi curry and fish delicacies, which are served with Pathiri, a flat bread made of rice. Payasam, a dessert made of milk, coconut and dry fruits, is widely savoured in this state. Avial, Sadhya, Kalan and Thoran are other signature dishes of Kerala, most of which comprise rice as the main ingredient.

Kerala holidays are incomplete without tasting the delectable food delights of the state, which would surprise your taste buds. The mouth-watering cuisines for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians make this place a must-visit for foodies. Pack your bags and get on a trip to this place, which is sure to be full of delicious delicacies.

Top 7 destinations to visit this summer

The most awaited time of the year, the summers, is here. As the kids have their summer breaks now, it is very imperative to go on a vacation which could rejuvenate their mind, body and souls. Here I bring to you the 7 most sought after destinations spread across India.

Shimla           Image

The summer capital of British India, located at 2200 meters at the foothill of the Himalayas lies the capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla.  It is the most sought-after destinations during the summers to beat the heat and make the most of this city covered in snow. There are numerous tourist attractions. The snow-capped mountains, the extensive green belt, the climate and the winter sports make this city the most visited during the summers.

Manali

Another tourist destination in the foothills of Himalayas located in the Beas River Valley in Himachal Pradesh is Manali. It is located 270 km north of Shimla. Some refer to it as ‘Valley of Gods’. It’s an amazing gateway to break the monotony from your work schedule and beat the sweltering heat as you enjoy the adventure sports amidst the snow capped mountains. Manali has a picturesque site-seeing spots. manali It is an amazing place for a holiday. A favorite place for trekkers. The lush green forest of pine and deodar trees and fruit orchids makes it an amazing hill station in summers. Just 40 kms away from Kullu district, it is a popular junction for all seasons and for all travelers.

Kashmir

Paradise on Earth as said by the Mughal Emperor, Jehangir, the more you talk about the beauty of this city the less it is. It is one of the most beautiful and most visited destinations around the world. It is the northernmost state of the India, a part of the Great Himalayas. The landscape is just breathtaking. In spite of the militant insurgency and political instability, the valley never saw the decline in tourism. It is reported that a million tourists visited Kashmir in 2011. Image It is famous for its beautiful mountain ranges and has one of the world’s tallest mountain peaks. It is a fantastic place for a holiday. Skiing, adventure sports, Buddhism temples, the Lakes, the snow-capped peaks, wildlife and nearby cities like Leh Ladakh are the major tourist destinations. Jhelum river is the only major river that flows through Kashmir Valley. The Valley  is known for its natural beauty and makes you wonder how amazing the nature is. Kashmir is a wonderland or dreamland as I say which is not to be missed at any cost.

Kerala

When the office feels mundane and the kids are pushing you to take them out, nothing defines a peaceful vacation like Kerala. It has the highest literacy rate, highest human Development Index, highest life expectancy and the highest sex ratio. The backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and the lush green city make it an important tourist destination. It is the cleanest and the least corrupted state in India. Kerala has a wet climate. It rains for almost 140 days a year, of course an awesome treat in summers.  Image According to National Geographic’s Traveler magazine it is one of the ten paradises in the world and 50 must see destinations of the life time. Kerala’s beaches, mountain ranges, wildlife are the major attractions. 10 million tourists visited Kerala in 2011. It is a must visit destination to beat the heat, take a break, soothe your body and soul and feel the heaven on earth. Indeed, The god’s own country.

Andaman

The Andaman Islands are a group of Islands in the Bay of Bengal with Port Blair as its capital. If you are looking for picturesque beaches and beautiful sunsets, Andaman is the place. Image The Flora and Fauna of Andaman are extremely rich. It is a very attractive tourist destination and attracts people from all over the world. Water sports, beautiful marine life, the lush deciduous forests, incredible corals, sea foods and near-deserted beaches are the major tourist attractions. Andaman islands are also very well known for prized shellfish. The beauty of these god’s islands (as called by an Italian traveler) is worth a penny.

Goa

The smallest state in India by area and the richest in terms of GDP, Goa is ranked on top for the best quality of life in India on 12 indicators. Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture is what Goa is known for. The beaches the one of the most visited ones in the world. Image Tourists from all over the world visit Goa for its beautiful beaches, Goan culture, architectural richness, flora and fauna and water sports. Goa is highly influenced by Portuguese culture. Goa attracts tourists in all the seasons and is one of the most visited destinations in the world. Excellent beaches and rich heritage make it a must visit junction.

Ladakh

Ladakh, famously known as the ‘land of high passes’ is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh is a high altitude desert where monsoons are rare. The landscape is just amazing and picturesque. The beautiful clear water lakes and the Himalayan range attract lots of tourists from all over the world. Ladakh also attracts astronomers because of high altitude and clear skies. ladakh It is a really beautiful place to visit. Mountaineers, adventurers and trekkers love this place and visit Ladakh from all over the world. It is not advisable to visit Ladakh in winters as the temperature drops down to -35 degree Celsius.  It is an attractive tourist place in summers.