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Places of Interest

Madurai Kodaikanal Rameswaram Kanyakumari Thiruvananthapuram Bangalore
Thekkady Munnar Palani Ooty Mysore Tirupathi

Places of Interest

Madurai:

 Madurai pronunciation  is the second largest city and a municipal corporation situated on the banks of the River Vaigai in Madurai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is also known as Madura or the "Temple City" (It has a few hundred temples of many Hindu Gods). The city of Madurai, with a population of 922,913 according to the 2001 census, is the administrative capital of Madurai district.

Madurai was the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center since as early as 550 C.E.

In legend, the original town of Madurai was destroyed by a tsunami in ancient Lemuria (continent). The new city was home to the last Tamil Sangam in the early part of last Century. The great national poet Subramanya Bharathi worked as a Tamil language pandit / teacher in Sethupathy High School during the early 20th century. There is a village town in the neighbouring district of Dindigul called Vada Madurai, and another in the neighbouring district of Sivagangai called Mana Madurai

Landmarks in the City

Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple

Madurai's Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple, which stands today as one of the India's greatest cultural and architectural landmarks, was originally built by the early Pandya King Kulasekara. The ancient city of Madurai supposedly was laid out in a lotus-like formation, with the temple at the center and streets and main thoroughfares layered one after the other concentrically, outward from the center. One legend says that on the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva blessed the land and its people while divine nectar showered on the city from his matted locks. The city hence came to be known as Madhurapuri meaning The City of Divine Nectar. The legend is likely a late tale attempting to Sanskritise the otherwise-Dravidian derivative of Madurai. This the place where Lord Natarajar performed the dance raising his right leg . (Kal maariya Aadiya natarajar). Lord shiva was very happy with the temple constuction and performed a different dance. This is the temple which survived after Kannagi burnt the complete city.

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

This palace complex was constructed in the Indo-Saracen style by Thirumalai Nayakar in 1636. It is a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.

The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. It was divided into two parts, Swarga-vilasa and Ranga-vilasa. In each of these there are royal residences, theater, shrines, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings showing Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes.

The portico known as Swarga Vilasam is an arcaded octagon wholly constructed of bricks and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder. The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent architectural mastery. The courtyard and the dancing hall are central attractions for visitors. There are 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter.

Furniture and utensils used by the kings is on exhibit inside the palace. The palace is equipped to perform light and sound shows depicting the story of Silappathikaram, in both Tamil and English languages.

The palace has been featured in many films, such as Bombay, Iruvar, Guru and Jodi.

Azhagar Temple

Kallazhagar idol

Azhagar Kovil, located about 25 km from the city, is a vishnu shrine. The location is surrounded by hills. The principal idol of the shrine is that of Lord Kallazhagar. The Tamil new year festival called Chittirai Thiruvizha has been celebrated for centuries in this temple. In the entrance of the Azhagar kovil one can view the Badhri Narayanan temple, built similar to Badrinath near Mount Kailash in northern India: the principal idol in this shrine represents Vishnu in a meditative posture, flanked by Nara-Narayan.

The Lord Kallalagar is said to visit the temple on the eve of the Chittirai festival, one of the famous festivals in Tamil Nadu. He starts the journey from the Alagar Koil, crossing the Badri Narayanan Shrine.[1] During this time, he visits Vandiyur, near the Vaigai River, on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is believed that he realizes he is too late for his sister's wedding, so refuses to cross the river, and returns disappointed to Alagar Koil.

On the top of the hills, is a shrine of Lord Muruga, popularly known as Pazhamudircholai. This is the last of Murugan's arupadai veedu and he is seen along with his consorts, Deivanai and Valli

Gandhi Museum

The museum displays information about Mahatma Gandhi, and most importantly it showcases the original blood-stained garment of Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. The other piece of the garment is kept at the Gandhi Museum in Delhi.

Kazimar Big Mosque (Periya Pallivasal)

This famous mosque (masjid) is located at the heart of Madurai city, within 500 metres of the Periyar(Central)bus stand and within 1 kilometre South East of the Madurai railway junction. Hazrat Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who came from Oman during late 12th century, received this land from the king, Koon Pandiyan, and constructed the mosque which is the earliest Muslim place of worship in Madurai. All of his descendants (Huqdars - shareholders of that mosque are called Syeds) have lived in the same locality for 700 years, and have managed the mosque since then. Syed Tajuddin was appointed as Kazi of the sultans, and still his descendants who live at Kazimar street, Madurai, are appointed as Kazis to the Government of Tamil Nadu. All Syeds belong to the Sunni sect of Islam, its Hanafi school. Most of the descendants of Kazi Syed Tajuddin are shadhilis (shazuli) and follow the Sufi order Fassiyatush Shadhiliya.

Thiruparankundram

Thiruparakundram temple has become a symbol of the religious harmony as of the people of Madurai. The traditional legend is that Lord Murugan married Deivanai at Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple, which also is the first among the Six Holy Abodes of Murugan (Arupadai Veedu, literally "Six Battle Camps").[8][9]

A famous Islamic Durgah (shrine) also is located at the top of the hill, where the grave of an Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu, who came from Jeddah during the mid 9th century, is found. Irrespective of religion, people from all parts of Tamil Nadu and from Kerala visit this durgah -- people who visit Ervadi Durgah in Ramnad district, particularly, are supposed to visit this durgah. Many poems were written in praise of Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha, by Syed Abdussalam Ibrahim Saalim Hazrat, the third in the list of Madurai Hazrats. It is believed that people who come here with a wish see it answered in a very short time, and so he is also called Mustajab ad Du'aa Sikandhar Badhushah.

St. Mary's Cathedral

St. Mary's Cathedral in Madurai is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai. One of the oldest Roman Catholic church situated at 2 km South East of Madurai Railway station and only 200 meters from the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal.

Kudal Azhagar Koil

A beautiful vishnu temple which has Navagraham also(Usually Navagraham is found only in shivan temple).There is a hayagrivar temple close to this temple where hayagrivar (kurma avataram) is the main deity. Most of the students do their regular prayer here as hayagrivar is the one who brought the epic fallen into water back to the earth.

Transport

Madurai is well-connected by air, rail and road. The railway station is one of the busiest in the country and has computerized reservation counters. Madurai division repeatedly has received the award for being the best-maintained station in the Southern Railway.[10] The railway station code for Madurai junction is MDU. It is connected to major indian cities like Chennai,Coimbatore,Trichy,Bangalore (by Mysore express),Trivandrum,Mumbai (by mumbai CST express),Pune (by lokmanya tt express),Delhi (by sampark kranti express),and Kolkata(by cape howrah express) [1].

Madurai has several major bus stands: Central Bus terminus at Maattuthavani (North), Palanganatham (South), Arapalayam (West), Periyar (Central) and Anna Bus stand (East). The major bus stand for the city is at Maattuthavani called as Madurai Integrated Bus Terminus(MIBT), from where many buses to locations all over the south India operate round the clock.

Madurai is connected by the following major National Highways

NH 7  : (North-south Corridor Expressway) Bangalore - Salem - Dindigul - Madurai - Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari

NH 45B  : Tiruchy - Madurai - Tuticorin

NH 49  : Madurai - Rameswaram

NH 49 Extn : Madurai - Theni - Bodi - Cochin

Bridges have been constructed across the Vaigai river to connect Madurai at various points. Flyovers have been constructed within the city to overcome traffic congestion. The Golden Quadrilateral and the four lane highway to Chennai make Madurai well-connected by road.

Madurai Airport is approximately 9 kilometers from the Madurai Railway station, and currently it offers flights to Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. Jet Airways, Air Deccan, Paramount Airways and Indian Airlines are the airlines available. International flights from Madurai to Colombo, Singapore and Gulf countries are planned to begin service this year. The nearest international airport is in Trichy , which is 130km from Madurai.

 

Entertainment

Apart from the fact that Madurai acts as a tourism hub of south Tamilnadu because of it's strategic location , the city houses the following weekend spots also.

  • Athisayam water theme park [2]:

The park situated on the outskirts of Madurai (20 km from the city) attracts people of all age groups and from different places in and around Madurai. Several high-tech entertainment games offer mind-blowing experience to the visitors. The park is scientifically designed and just perfect during the summer heat.

  • Eco park:

The park situated near city corporation building where the lighting and fountain arrangements are impressive and the illuminated optic fiber trees add luster to the beauty.

  • Rajaji children park


City hosts several radio stations like Radio mirchi ,Hello FM, Suryan FM,.

It also has places to shop like spencers daily,cafe day[3],etc. Now the city is going under a mass construction of shopping malls like Milenum mall, Vishal mall ,Reliance fresh hypermarkets and big bazaars.


 
Return to the list of our services Kodaikanal:
 Kodaikanal (Tamil: ???????????) is a city[2] and a Taluk division of Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

Kodaikanal is sometimes referred to as the "Princess of Hill stations" and is a popular tourist destination. Much of the local economy is Hospitality industry based on national and international tourism. Kodaikanal was established in 1845, as a refuge from the high temperatures and tropical diseases of the plains.

Places of Interest

Kodaikanal has several scenic natural attractions which are enjoyed by it's visitors and make it a popular romantic destination for newlyweds. These are described in order of distance from the bus-stand.

Kodaikanal lake View showing: Mount Perumal, Boat house, Carlton Hotel, Kodaikanal International School, Fish hatchery, Lake Road.

Kodaikanal Lake, .5 km (0.3 mi) from the bus stand, is an artificial, roughly star-shaped 45 ha (60 acres) lake built in 1863. It is recognized as Kodaikanal's most popular geographic landmark and tourist attraction. Rowboats and pedalos can be hired at the Kodaikanal Boat Club with its main entrance near the 5-Star Carlton Hotel. Horses and bicycles can be hired beside the lake for short periods. The 5 kilometers (3 mi) path that skirts the periphery of this lovely lake is a favorite walk for the locals and tourists alike. Kodaikanal is

Bryant Park, Just east of the lake and .5 km (0.3 mi) from the bus stand, is a wonderfully maintained 20.5 acres (8.3 ha) botanical garden. The park was planned and built in 1908 by a forest officer from Madurai, Mr. H.D. Bryant, and named after him. With 325 species of trees, shrubs and cactuses, the park is a rainbow of stunning flowers during the peak season. A large section is dedicated to nearly 740 varieties of roses. There is an 1857 Eucalyptus tree and a Bodhi tree which adds religious significance to the park. Ornamental plants are cultivated in a nursery for sale. The park organizes horticultural exhibits and flower shows every summer. Entrance fee to the park is nominal and it is open all year.[29]

View from Coaker's Walk

Coaker's Walk, .5 km (0.3 mi) from the bus-stand, constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, is a 1 kilometers (0.62 mi) paved pedestrian path running along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai. The walk winding around Mount Nebo, starts just before Van Allen hospital, runs parallel to the Van Allen Hospital Road joins the main road above Saint Peter's Church, providing a panoramic view of the plains. On a clear day one can view as far as Dolphin's Nose in south, the valley of the Pambar River in the southeast, Periyakulam town and even the city of Madurai. A fascinating rare phenomenon called Brocken spectre, when a person can see his shadow on the clouds with a rainbow halo, can be witnessed. This occurs when the sun is behind the viewer and clouds and mist are to the front. There is an observatory with a telescope halfway along the walk.[30]

Bear Shola Falls

Bear Shola Falls, is a tall waterfall 3 kilometers (2 mi) from the bus-stand in a Reserve forest. The final approach to this quiet area is a rugged hill path.


Solar Tunnel Telescope at
IIA-Kodaikanal Solar Observatory

The Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History, 6 kilometers (4 mi) from the bus-stand, founded in 1895, is open to the public for viewing their outstanding taxidermy collection of more than 500 species of animals, birds and insects and a living collection of over 300 exotic orchid species. The museum exhibits artifacts of the ancient Paliyan tribes people whose descendants still live in these hills.[31]


Kodaikanal Solar Observatory 6 kilometers (4 mi) from the bus-stand}} on Observatory Road, at [[M to ft|2343}}. is the highest location near Kodai. Former Director John Evershed, discovered the phenomenon of radial motion in sunspots, now known as the Evershed effect. The Kodaikanal Terrestrial Telescope can view a grand panorama including: Sothupparai dam, Vaigai Dam, Periyakulam and Varaha river. This Indian Institute of Astrophysics facility has a comprehensive Astronomy Science Museum, public tours of the facility, public access to the astronomy library, public night time telescopic sky viewing, It is open daily to the public during peak season, and a few hours each Friday the rest of the year.[32]

Green Valley View (formerly called Suicide Point) near the golf course 5.5 kilometers (3 mi) from the bus-stand, has an excellent panoramic view of the plains. This area is highly commercialized and lined with rows of shops to tempt tourists.

Pillar Rocks

Nearby the Pillar Rocks has an equally exhilarating view.

Pillar Rocks, 8 kilometers (5 mi) from the bus-stand, is a set of 3 giant rock pillars which stand 122 meters (400 ft) meters high.[33] Managed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, it can be crowded but is not commercialized.

The Guna caves (made popular by the Tamil movie Guna) also called Devil's Kitchen are deep bat-infested chambers between the three gigantic boulders that are the Pillar Rocks. The deep narrow ravines of the caves are now closed to public due to the trajic deaths of 12 youths there..[citation needed] These dangerous caves are highly protected now, and tourists can see part of them from afar.[34]

Silver Cascade

Silver Cascade, a 180 feet (55 m) waterfall formed from the outflow of Kodaikanal Lake, is situated 8 kilometers (5 mi) from Kodaikanal at a wide bend in the long and winding Laws Ghat Road. At altitude 1,800 meters (5,906 ft), [35] this impressive waterfall is a popular stop for first-time visitors.

Dolphins Nose

Dolphin's Nose, 8 kilometers (5 mi) from the bus stand, is flat rock projecting over a breathtaking chasm 6,600 feet (2,000 m) deep. It is an undisturbed area 1 kilometers (1 mi) down a steep rocky trail beginning soon after Pambar Bridge. Beautiful views of plains and steep rocky escarpments can be seen. The old village of vellagavi can be reached through a rugged bridle path here.[36]

The Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple, 4 kilometers (2 mi) from the bus-stand, is famous for its Kurinji flower which blossoms in the area only once every 12 years. The deity here is called Sri Kurinji Easware. He is in fact Lord Murugan. This temple was built in 1936 by an European Lady, who on coming to India, converted to Hinduism and started following it. She changed her name to Leelavathi and married a Mr. Ramanathan. She is also known as Lady Ramanathan. This temple is under the management of Arulmighu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thiru Kovil, Palani.[37]

[edit] Transport

Road sign at Perumal junction

Almost all distances from Kodaikanal are calculated with the lake as the central point of reference. The nearest airports are Madurai (135 kilometers (84 mi)), Trichy (200 kilometers (124 mi)) and Coimbatore (170 kilometers (106 mi)). The nearest Railway stations are Palani Railway Station (64 kilometers (40 mi)) north, Kodai Road Station (80 kilometers (50 mi)) south east and Dindigul Railway Junction (100 kilometers (62 mi)) east.[38]

The 2 - 3 hours drive to Kodai via the steep and winding Ghat roads from Batlagundu or Palani is a memorable experience. Travelers may stop at turnouts on the road and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Palani hills.[39] There is a 28 km shortcut from Periyakulam to Kodaikanal via Kumbakarai under construction. Bicycle rentals, taxis, vans and limited city buses are available.[40] Rickshaws are not available.[41]


 
Return to the list of our services Rameswaram:
 Rameswaram (Tamil:??????????) is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on an island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is less than 40 kilometers from the Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka. Together with Kashi, it is considered to be one of the holiest places in India to Hindus. Hence, it is a bustling pilgrim centre.

It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. According to legends, this is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge Ram Setu(also known as Adam's Bridge) across the sea to Lanka to rescue his consort Sita, from her abductor, Ravana. This is also the place where Rama worshipped Shiva to be absolved of the sin of killing Ravana, hence the name of Shiva, which became the name of the town - Rameswara ("lord of Rama"). Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage centre which is known as the Varanasi of the south.

Ex-president of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, hails from a fishing hamlet called Dhanushkodi situated on the island.

Hindu holy city

View Of the East Gopuram of Rameswaram temple in the morning
View Of the East Gopuram of Rameswaram temple in the morning

Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. The presiding deity here is in the form of a Linga with the name Sri Ramanatha Swamy, it also happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

View Of the West Gopuram of Rameswaram temple
View Of the West Gopuram of Rameswaram temple

The masterpiece of South Indian architecture boasts of the largest temple corridor in India. Different rulers built the Ramanatha Swamy Temple over a period of time starting from the 12th century. The temple comprises twenty two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other.

The grandest part of the temple is the 1219 m pillared corridor consisting of 3.6 m high granite pillars, richly carved and well proportioned. The perspective presented by these pillars run uninterruptedly to a length of nearly 230 m.

According to the Puranas, upon the advice of Rishis (sages), Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the Sivalinga here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya (killing of a Brahmin) (Ravana was a Brahmin the great grandson of Brahma).[citation needed] Rama fixed an auspicious time for the installation and sent Anjaneya to Mount Kailas to bring a lingam. As Anjaneya could not return in time, Sita herself made a linga of sand. When Anjaneya returned with a linga from Mount Kailas the rituals had been over.

Inside view of Rameswaram temple
Inside view of Rameswaram temple

To comfort the disappointed Anjaneya, Rama had Anjaneya's lingam (Visvalingam) also installed by the side of Ramalinga, and ordained that rituals be performed first to the Visvalingam.

In Rameshwaram Temple, a spiritual "Mani Darshan" happens in early morning everyday. This "Mani" is made of "sphatik"[a precious stone] and in form of "Holy shivling". according to ved this is "Mani" of "sheshnag".

Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameshwaram from where God Ram built a Floating Stone Bridge "Ramasethu" till Rameshwaram that further continued from Dhanushkodi in Rameshwaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka as mentioned in the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The ruins of the Ramasethu are submerged under the sea as shot from Gemini 1 satellite of NASA in 2004.

Places to see


 
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Kanyakumari:
 Kanyakumari pronunciation  (Tamil: ????????????) is a town in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu state, India. Located at the southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, it is also called Cape Comorin. The closest major cities are Nagercoil, the administrative headquarters of Kanyakumari district, (22 km) and Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala (85 km).

A popular tourist place in India, the town and the district, Kanyakumari District, in which it is located, is a place of great natural beauty - from the blue seas of Kanyakumari town to the blue hills of the Western Ghats in the interior.

History

Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman or Kanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water-bodies - Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. According to local lore, Kanya Devi, an avatar of Parvati, was to marry Shiva, but as he failed to show up on his wedding day, the rice and other grains meant for the wedding feast remained uncooked and remain unused thereafter. As the local lore goes, the uncooked grains turned into stones as time went by. Some believe that the small stones which look like rice on the shore today, are indeed grains of the wedding that was never solemnized. Kanya Devi is now considered a virgin goddess who blesses pilgrims and tourists who flock the town.

According to another local myth, Lord Hanuman dropped a piece of earth as he was carrying a mountain with his life-saving herb, Mrita Sanjivani from the Himalayas to Lanka (Sri Lanka) during the Rama-Ravana war. This chunk of earth is called Marunthuvazh Malai, which is literally translated to "hills where medicine is found".This is said to be the reason for the abundance of unique native medicinal plants in the area. Marunthuvazh Malai is located near Swamithope about 7 km from Kanyakumari town on the Kanyakumari-Nagercoil highway.

The sage Agasthya, who was himself an expert in medicinal herbs, is believed to have lived around this site in ancient days. The reason why, some believe, so many medicinal herbs are to be found on these hills near Kanyakumari. There is even a village by the name Agastheeswaram close to the town, named after the sage. Today, there is a small Ashram on the middle of the Maruthuvazh Malai hill, which tourists visit (after a short trek from the base of the hill), both to visit the Ashram and also to take a glimpse of the sea near Kanyakumari a few kilometres away, and the greenery below.

The 133 ft tall Thiruvalluvar Statue
The 133 ft tall Thiruvalluvar Statue

Kanyakumari has been a great centre for art and religion for centuries. It was also an area of great trade and commerce. It was ruled by the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks. The architectural beauty of the temples in the area are the works of these rulers. Later Kanyakumari became part of the Venad kingdom with its capital at Padmanabhapuram. The king of Venad, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, established Travancore by extending his domain further north up to Azhva, during his reign from 1729 to 1758. By this, the present Kanyakumari District came to be known as Southern Travancore. In 1741, Maharaja Marthanda Varma defeated the Dutch East India Company at the famous Battle of Colachel.

Kanyakumari was under the rule of the Kings of Travancore under the overall suzerainty of the British until 1947, when India became independent. Travancore joined the independent Indian Union in 1947. The reign of the Travancore royals came to an end.

Under the Travancore state, the town, and the modern administrative district that bears its name, Kanyakumari District, gained both socially and economically.

In 1949, Kanyakumari became part of the reconstituted Travancore-Cochin State. Around this time, a popular agitation for the amalgamation of Kanyakumari District with Tamil Nadu by the Tamil-speaking majority of the district intensified, under the leadership of Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai Eventually, in 1956, Kanyakumari was integrated with Tamil Nadu (then known as Madras State) as per the language-based reorganisation of States.

Christianity arrived in South India around AD 52 through St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. However, European missionaries, who arrived in the 16th century, propagated Christianity in the area. St. Francis Xavier (April 7, 1506 - December 2, 1552) was the pioneer in preaching Christianity in the present day Kanyakumari district. Islam is believed to have entered the southern part of India through Kanyakumari during the early part of the eighth century AD through traders and missionaries who came through sea-routes. Islam, Christianity and Jainism have also contributed to the architectural wealth and literary heritage of the region.


 
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Thiruvananthapuram:
Thiruvananthapuram [t?iru??n??n?t??pur?m]  (Malayalam: ????????????? Tiruvanantapura? ), also known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys. With almost 745,000 inhabitants per the 2001 census, it is the largest and most populous city in Kerala; the wider urban agglomeration having a population of about one million.

The city is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the University of Kerala, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Technopark and IIST.

Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BC.[1][2] It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram in 1036 BC.[3] The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory.[4] However, the ancient political and cultural history of the city was almost entirely independent from that of the rest of Kerala. The early rulers of the city were the Ays. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the rulers of Venad.[5]

The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor in the local vernacular). Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital of Travancore in 1745. The city developed into a major intellectual and artistic centre during this period. The golden age in the city's history was during the mid 19th century under the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal. This era saw the establishment of the first English school (1834), the Observatory (1837), the General Hospital (1839), the Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library and the University College (1873). The first Lunatic Asylum in the state was also started during the same period. Sanskrit College, Ayurveda College, Law College and a second grade college for women were started by Moolam Thirunal (1885-1924).

The early 19th century was an age of tremendous political and social changes in the city. The Sree Moolam Assembly, established in 1904 was the first democratically elected legislative council in any Indian state. Despite not being under direct control of the British Empire at any time, the city however featured prominently in India's freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress had a very active presence in the city. A meeting of the Indian National Congress presided by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was held here in 1938.

The period of Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma, who took over in 1931, witnessed many-sided progress. The promulgation of "Temple Entry Proclamation" (1936) was an act that underlined social emancipation. This era also saw the establishment of the University of Travancore in 1937, which later became the Kerala University.

With the end of the British rule in 1947, Travancore chose to join the Indian union. The first popular ministry headed by Pattom Thanu Pillai was installed in office on 24 March 1948. In 1949, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Thiru-Kochi, the state formed by the integration of Travancore with its northern neighbour Kochi. The king of Travancore, Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma became the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from July 1, 1949 until October 31, 1956. When the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new state.

With the establishment of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1962, Thiruvananthapuram became the cradle of India's ambitious space programme. The first Indian space rocket was developed and launched from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) located in the outskirts of the city in 1963. Several establishments of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were later established in Thiruvananthapuram.[6]

A major milestone in the city's recent history was the establishment of Technopark-India's first IT park-in 1995.[7] Technopark has developed into the largest IT Park in India and third largest in Asia and is home to IT giants like UST Global, Infosys, TCS, etc; employing around 20,000 people in close to 150 companies. [8] This placed Thiruvananthapuram on the IT map of India and it is today one of the most promising in the country in terms of competitiveness and capability


 
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Thekkady:

Thekkady (Idukki district) is the location of the Periyar National Park, which is an important tourist attraction in the Kerala state of India.

Overview

Situated close to the Kerala -Tamil Nadu border town of Kumily, it is located about 257 km (160 miles) from Trivandrum, 114 km from Madurai Airport, 185 km from Cochin International Airport and 114 km from Kottayam railway station. The sanctuary is famous for its dense evergreen, semi-evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, tigers, gaur, lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs.

The Periyar Wildlife sanctuary is spread across 777 kmē (300 sq. miles), of which 360 kmē (139 sq. miles) is thick evergreen forest. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. The greatest attraction of Periyar are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake.

Thekkady is considered a heaven for natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove.

Image:DSC02057.JPG


 
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Munnar:

Munnar (Malayalam: ????????? , Tamil: ??????) is a town located in Kerala state in the southern Western Ghats in South India. The name is often used to refer to the whole tourist area of Idukki District of which the town forms a part. Munnar panchayat of Devikulam block is the largest in the district with an area of 557 kmē. The name of Munnar is believed to be derived from the Tamil words Munu (three) and aaru (river), referring to the town's strategic location at the confluence of the Muthirappuzha, Chandavurai and Kundaly rivers. The area is surrounded by vast jungles and remains wet and cold during most of the year. The Mattupetty Dam is nearby. The people of Munnar share the culture and traditions of Kerala and their Tamil neighbours.

The territory of Munnar was previously almost entirely occupied by the Tata Tea company, one of the Tata Group of companies, who had obtained it on lease from the Travancore royal family.following TATA's withdrawal from the plantation sector the plantations have been handed over to a consortium that goes by the name of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Corporation Ltd.Today TATA is concerned only with marketing of the tea produced under the brand name Kannan Devan.

Many residents are employed in the tourism business. In 2000, the Government of Kerala declared Munnar as a tourist spot. This has helped in attracting more tourists to this beautiful hill resort. Several protected wildlife areas in the area attract many tourists who support the many hotels, restaurants and transport businesses in Munnar.

Munnar tea gardens.
Munnar tea gardens.

[edit] Tourism

Until the early 1990s, Munnar, despite its enchanting natural beauty and salubrious climate, was a sleepy plantation town. Its tourism potential had been realised only by the Sterling Group and Mahindra Holidays who had set up Time Share Resorts there. However, the promotion of Kerala globally as God's Own Country and the increasing spending capacity of middle class Indians resulted in a virtual explosion of tourism activities in Munnar. Resorts, big and small, started springing up all around the town and Munnar overnight became a bustling tourist destination. Many of the developments were done by unprincipled investors who had no concern for the environment and whose only objective was to make a fast buck.

Most of the land around Munnar had been earlier leased out to planters and the only activity permitted was plantation of cardamom. Ownership continued with the Government and even cutting of trees was prohibited. However, the resort developers resorted to large scale deforestation in order to build resorts.

At around the same time, the District Tourism Promotion Council persuaded the Kerala State Electricity Board to permit boating in the reservoirs of the Mattupatty and Gundala dams. Mountain trekking was also promoted.

All these activities soon led to Munnar becoming the choice destination for foreign as well as domestic tourists. People from the nearby districts in Kerala and Tamil Nadu began thronging the town during weekends in buses and cars and soon the infrastructure of the town was stretched to its limits.

The Indo-Swiss Project, the cattlefarm run by the Kerala Livestock Development Board at Mattupatty, 15 kms from Munnar, placed restrictions on vehicles entering their campus due to the persistent vandalism from the tourists. Tata Tea Ltd closed down the private road from Gundala to Top Station through the beautiful Gundala club.

In 2007, the Government sprung into action to demolish illegal resort constructions and tourism in Munnar suffered a major setback.

[edit] Flora and Fauna

Most native flora and fauna of Munnar has disappeared due to severe habitat fragmentation by plantations. However, most of the species survive in several protected areas nearby, including the new Kurinjimala Sanctuary to the east, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Manjampatti Valley in Amaravati reserve forest of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary to the north east, Eravikulam National Park and Anaimudi Shola National Park to the north, Pampadum Shola National Park to the south and the proposed Palani Hills National Park to the east. These protected areas are especially known for several threatened and endemic species including Nilgiri Thar, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Elephant, Gaur, Sambar, and Neelakurinji. [7], [8]


 
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Palani:

Palani is a city and a municipality in Dindigul district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Palani is pronounced using the special 'L' used in Tamil and is also spelt as "Pazhani" in English. It is located about 60km from the city of Dindigul. It is a famous pilgrimage town and every year more than 7 million devotees visit the Palani Murugan Temple and offer their prayers to the Lord Muruga. This temple draws the largest number of devotees in Tamil Nadu.

History

Unfortunately, not much is known about the earliest history of the area. References exist to the place in ancient Tamil devotional texts. A local tradition holds that a tribal chieftain named Bayhun (?????-??? ??? ??????????? ??????), once came upon a peacock in the forests shivering in the cold and chose to cover it using his own upper garment and face the cold, rather than let it die. Although the legend may be apocryphal, it reveals some interesting facts - that the people of the area were numerous enough to have a chieftain of some standing, that peacocks were as plentiful as, if not more than, they are today, that the people venerated peacocks and held them to be sacred to Lord Subrahmanyan as they do today and lastly, that the weather was cold enough to justify a warm upper garment, a circumstance encountered primarily higher up in the hills today.

The area seems to have been under the influence of the rulers of Madurai and Coimbatore, at various points of time. The temple of the Goddess Periyanayaki Amman within the town, serves as the point of reference. The Pandyan motif of two fishes is repeatedly to be encountered in its interior, in relief, which leads one to believe that the area was under the domination of the Pandyan kings of Madurai in the first millennium A.D. However, the mandapam (pavilion) right in front of the temple is more in keeping with the architecture of the Nayaka kings of Madurai, who were appointed to the administration of that city by the Kings of Vijayanagar by the 14th and 15th centuries. It is therefore logical to presume that the area came under the sway of the Nayakas in their heyday. A tradition in the surrounding area asserts that their kings remained proudly independent and did not become vassals of the Pandyas or the various rulers of Coimbatore. This, when read with historic accounts of the wars of those kings, may lend credence to the fact that certain vassals of the Pandya kings at times turned refractory and at others remained staunch allies of theirs in the numerous wars they prosecuted.

Our source of information for the next period of history comes from the records of Hyder Ali and his son, Tippoo Sultaun, which were handed over to the British on the surrender of the Dindigul district after the Third Anglo-Mysore War. Herefrom, it is learnt that Palani was then under the rule of the poligars or palayakarars (literally, town-keepers) of Balasamudram, who retained control of its brick-fort in return for a nominal tribute to the Sultaun's administrator and representative at Coimbatore. Considering the fact that there are numerous people of the Nayakar caste (the same as the Nayaka kings of Madurai), who claim descent from what is modern-day Andhra Pradesh and who retain some vestiges of the Telugu tongue, in Balasamudram, it is more than probable that their forebears were given charge of the fort of that place by the kings of Madurai, and retained its control long after their sovereigns had been displaced.

Another interesting fact is the existence of a Saurashtra Street in Palani. Since 'Saurashtra' is the term commonly used in Tamil to refer to the numerous people who emigrated to the South in the wake of the Mahratta rulers of Tanjore and Madurai, it seems to be likely that Palani came under the dominance of either the Serfojis of Tanjore or their counterparts of Madurai, in the period between the fall of the Nayaka Kings of Madurai and Hyder Ali's ascent to power in the 18th century.

We have numerous references to Palani, and its famous temple, in British Gazetteers and land survey documents of the late 18th and early 19th century. The first known painting of Palani and its surroundings was made by a captain of the English East India Company's Madras Army in September, 1792, who was presumably sent to the area to assist in the investiture of the nearby fortress of Dindigul during the Third Anglo-Mysore War and who may have been one of a party sent to ensure the lack of resistance from the numerous small hill-forts that lay between Dindigul and Coimbatore after the fall of the former's fortress. The painting clearly shows the Sivagiri with the temple atop it and a wall at its base, besides a large tank, presumably the Vaiyyapuri Kolam, against a background of the Palni Hills as seen from the direction of Coimbatore. Palani is also named as being one of the most prosperous towns of the Dindigul district in a gazetteer from 1821.

Although it is known that the Dindigul District experienced a cholera outbreak of epidemic proportions in 1811, leading to a 70% decrease in population of the district, its effects as particularly applicable to Palani are not known.

The laying of a railway line may have brought an additional spurt of growth to the town since one of its chief roads is named the Railway Feeder Road, presumably because it links the highway to the District Headquarter Dindigul with the railway line.

The highway that runs from Palani to the nearby town of Dharapuram is remarkably straight and level, without the numerous windings and turns that characterise old roads. It is known that the area experienced a sudden surge in unempoyment during, or immediately after, the Second World War necessitating the development of schemes to provide employment. The road was a product of one such project floated by the administration.

The area experienced a severe famine in the early 1950s, an occurrence that is still remembered with fear by the inhabitants of the area, considering the privations they underwent. More recently, the Shanmughanadi river was subjected to annual floods in the early 1990s, which cut off links with other towns nearby, and caused some inconvenience.

Temples

Palani is home to one of the most sacred shrines of the God Subrahmanyan, as worshipped in the Hindu cult of Koumaram. The Dhandayudhapani Temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, and regarded one of his Arupadai Veedu (Six Battle Camps), is situated here. The temple situated atop the Sivagiri is small but attracts a flood of devotees from all over the country. The architecture of the temple appears to be of the Pandya school. The Garbagriham is surmounted by a gold gopuram, most admirably worked. Steps are hewn into the rock, besides a wide path meant for the ascent of elephants, up the hill. In addition, a funicular railway with three tracks and a rope-way have been provided more recently for the comfort of the pilgrims.

In keeping with the traditions of all temples of the God Subrahmanyan, another temple is dedicated to his worship near the foot of the Sivagiri. It goes by the name of Thiru Avinankudi, and is remarkable for the exquisite appearance of the chief deity besides other sculptures.

Besides this, right at the foot of the Sivagiri is a small shrine dedicated to the god Ganapathi, where he goes by the name Pada Vinayakar. It is common amongst the pilgrims to pay their obeisances at this shrine before commencing their ascent of the hill to worship the Lord Subrahmanyan. A particular offering here is the breaking of coconuts, by flinging them against an enclosed stone before the shrine, of which many hundreds are broken by the devotees in the course of a day.

Within the town is another temple dedicated to the Goddess Parvathi as Periyanayaki Amman. It popularly goes by the name of the Oorkovil - the town's chief temple. A particularly intriguing aspect of the temple is that, although it is referred to as the temple of Periyanayaki Amman, the central sanctum, the sanctum of supreme honour in Hindu temple architecture, is accorded to the Lord Subrahmanyan. The temple is large in expanse and displays an interesting blend of Pandya and Nayaka architecture. A tradition associated with the temple is that, formerly, a subterranean passage connected it with the Periya Avudaiyar temple some distance from the town, and was used to convey the idols under a peculiar circumstance of duress - when a Nawab attacked; however, beyond the fact, obvious from his title, that he was a Muslim, nothing is known of the Nawab or of his attack. Some evidence may be said to exist of an attack since some of the sculptures in the Nayaka mandapam in front of the temple have their limbs missing.

A short distance from the town is a temple dedicated to Shiva as Periya Avudaiyar. This temple, located right on the banks of the Shanmugha Nadi, is situated in particularly peaceful environs far-removed from the bustle of the town.

Near the Periya Nayaki Amman temple are two others - the Mariyamman Temple and the Perumal Temple. The former is particularly resorted to in times of epidemics, the goddess there being regarded as the protectress against illnesses.

The Kannadi Perumal Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, is a small temple situated on a hillock 9 km south of Palani, a short distance from the highway to Kodaikanal. The name of the temple is derived from its tradition that the presiding deity of the temple wards off the effects of dhrishti, a Sanskritic term which may be held to mean 'casting an evil eye'. One of the practices of the devotees of the temple is to bring the first-born calves of their cows to the temple seeking the deity's blessing, as the protector of cattle. On account of its secluded location it is not resorted to by many.

 


 
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Ooty:
Ooty pronunciation , short for Ootacamund pronunciation  (officially, Udhagamandalam (Tamil: ??????????,Kannada:???????) sometimes abbreviated to Udhagai Tamil: ????), is a city, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. The origin of the name Ootacamund is obscure, but "mund" is the Badaga word for a Toda village, and it is probably a corruption of the Badaga name for the central region of the Nilgiri Plateau.[1] Another likely origin of the stem of the name ("Ootaca") comes from the local language Tamil where "Otta-Cal" literally means "Single Stone". This is perhaps a reference to a sacred stone revered by the local Toda people. Udhagamandalam is a more recent official Tamil name for the town. Ooty stands at an approximate height of 7,440 feet (2,268 m) above sea level.

Places of natural beauty and protected natural areas

Note: Ooty is situated in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Many of the forested areas and water bodies are off limits to most visitors in order to protect this fragile ecosystem. Some areas of the Biosphere Reserve have been earmarked for Tourism Development, and steps are being undertaken to open these areas to visitors whilst conserving the area. Generally tourists are encouraged to observe any local signage and not to enter reserved forests and protected areas. Much of Ooty has already been damaged by rampant commercialisation as a result of tourism. Some steps are being introduced to limit the impact of pollution by tourists in the biosphere reserve such as making the area a plastic-free zone. This largely applies to plastic bags.

The highest point in the Nilgiri Hills, offering spectacular views over the town and district. There is road access to the summit. There is a reserved forest area around the peak.

There is a view point called "Valley View" on the main Ooty to Coonoor road.

A forested and grassy area, partially home to a golf course

The most accessible of all the nearby lakes. A boathouse and picnic area has been developed to provide access to this area. Most of the remainder of the lake is within a reserved forest and off limits to visitors.

This is a grassland area typical of the original bioscape of the Nilgiris. It has gently undulating hills, and is often compared with areas in the British isles such as the Yorkshire Dales. This is a popular film shooting area, particularly two areas sitauted approximately six and nine miles (14 km) out of Ooty on the main Ooty to Pykara road (also known as Mysore Road). These locations are accordingly named "Sixth Mile" and "Ninth Mile".

On the way to Pykara. A nearby lake bordered by pine forests.

Situated at a lower altitude and easily accessible to visitors. It borders the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka

A large protected area generally not accessible to visitors. It also contains a lake and peak of the same name.

taking a bus from ooty bus stand to thalakunda or any bus to mysore will take you to this place called pine forest. this place was featured once in the Tamil movie song "deena". its a small downhill like region where pine trees are arranged in an orderly fashion. its a very beautiful sight to look at. when we get down the trees a beautiful green lake opens up. its really a very exciting scene to look at.

usually the tourist vehicles cover pykara surely. so its not a great deal to mention here about that place. after pykara a road leads to mysore. in the way before the forest comes a small place called gudalaur. between gudalaur and pykara comes a hidden spot named needle hill view point. in midst of eculuptus forests comes this place. a walk of nearly 5min will take us to a big barren rock. its easy to climb the rock. after climbing it come to the tip of the rock. there you can see a sight that you cant see anywhere in your life. all the clouds below your feet. and villages below the clouds. this s really an exciting place to look at.

This is the primary water source for the town and is mainly in a reserved forest and is thus largely off-limits to visitors.

Near the town of the same name. There is a view point near the dam. The rest of the are is mainly in a reserved forest and is largely off-limits to visitors

Adjacent to the Emerald lake. This is mainly in a reserved forest and is largely off-limits to visitors

This is mainly in a reserved forest and is largely off-limits to visitors

Most of this is within the Mukurthi National Park (and also largely off limits to visitors)


 
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Mysore:

Mysore (pronounced /ma?'s??/ in English (listen); renamed to Mysuru|??????) (Kannada: ??????) is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. It is the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division and lies about 146 km (91 mi) southwest of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishuru, which means the abode of Mahisha. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a demon from the Hindu mythology. The city is spread across an area of 128.42 km2 (50 sq mi) and is situated at the base of the Chamundi Hills.

Until 1947, Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore which was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan took power. The Wodeyars were patrons of art and culture and have contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city, which has led to Mysore earning the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore is famous for the festivities that take place during the Dasara festival when the city receives a large number of tourists. Mysore also lends its name to the Mysore style of painting, the sweet dish Mysore Pak and the garment, Mysore silk saree.

While tourism is the major industry in Mysore, the growth of information technology related industry in the first decade of the 21st century, has resulted in the city emerging as the second largest software exporter in the state of Karnataka, next to Bangalore. Though lacking an airport, Mysore is connected to other parts of India by railways and road transport. Mysore is also the location of Mysore University, whose alumni include Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga, S. L. Bhyrappa, U. R. Ananthamurthy and N.R. Narayana Murthy. The All India Radio, the premier radio broadcasting arm of the Government of India had its beginnings here.

Tourism

The St. Philomena's Church

Mysore is a tourism hot spot within the state of Karnataka and also acts as a base for other tourist places in the vicinity of the city.[20] The city receives the maximum number of tourists during the period of the Dasara festival when festivities take place for a period of 10 days.[112] One of the most visited monuments in India, the Ambavilas Palace (also known as Mysore Palace) is the center of the Dasara festivities.[113]

Austin Railcar inside the Railway Museum, Mysore
Fountains at Brindavan Gardens at night

The Jaganmohana Palace, the Jayalakshmi Vilas and the Lalitha Mahal are some of the other palaces in the city.[114] Chamundeshwari Temple, atop the Chamundi Hills and St. Philomena's Church are popular religious places in Mysore.[20]

The Mysore Zoo, established in 1892, and the Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are also popular spots for tourists.[20][115] Museums in Mysore include the Regional Museum of Natural History, the Folk Lore Museum, the Railway Museum and the Oriental Research Institute. The city is also a centre for yoga-related health tourism that attracts lot of foreign visitors as well.[116]

A short distance from Mysore city is the Krishnarajasagar Dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens where a musical fountain show is held in the evening. Places of historic importance lying close to Mysore are Srirangapatna, Somanathapura and Talakad.[20] The hills, B R Hills and Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta and the hill stations of Ooty and Madikeri are all near Mysore. Popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts near Mysore include the National Parks at Bandipur and Nagarhole, the wildlife sanctuaries at Melkote and B R Hills and the bird sanctuaries at Ranganathittu and Kokrebellur.[117] Other tourist spots near Mysore include the religious locations of Nanjanagud and Bylakuppe and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra.


 
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Bangalore:

Bangalore (['bæ?g?lo??]), officially Bengaluru (Kannada: ????????, ['be?g??u??u]), is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and fifth-most populous urban agglomeration.

Though historical references to the city predate 900 CE, a modern written history of continuous settlement exists only from 1537, when Kempe Gowda I, who many regard as the architect of modern Bangalore, built a mud fort in the city and established it as a province of the imperial Vijayanagara Empire. During the British Raj, it became a centre of colonial rule in South India. The establishment of the Bangalore Cantonment brought in large numbers of migrants from other parts of the country.

Today, as a large and growing metropolis, Bangalore is home to some of the most well-recognized colleges and research institutions in India. Numerous public sector heavy industries, software companies, aerospace, telecommunications, and defense organisations are located in the city. Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India because of its pre-eminent position as the nation's leading IT employer and exporter.[3] A demographically diverse city, Bangalore has developed into one of India's major economic hubs and is the fastest growing major metropolis in India.

Attractions

[edit] Around Bangalore

White Tiger at Bannerghatta National Park
  • Bannerghatta National Park is situated 22 km south of Bangalore, Karnataka, India. . This hilly place is the home for one of the richest natural, zoological reserves. The 25,000 acre (101 kmē) zoological park makes this a major tourist attraction of Bangalore.
  • Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is a hill fortress of southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 3 to 5 KM from Chickballapur Taluq. It is 4851 ft (1478 m) above sea level. Nandidrug hill, known commonly as Nandi Hills, is the source of the Penner, Ponnaiyar and Palar rivers. Nandi Hills gets its name from an ancient Nandi temple situated on this hill. This temple has a thousand year old sculpture of Nandi. An ancient lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill.
  • Muthyalamaduvu :is a picnic spot near Anekal, 40 km from Bangalore, Karnataka, India.In the local Kannada language, Muthyalamaduvu means 'pearl valley' (muthu = pearl and maduvu = valley), apparently named for its 92 meter waterfall, whose falling water appears to look like drops of pearl.
  • Thottikallu is a place near Bangalore off the Kanakapura road which is famous for a falls called Thottikallu falls more popularly known as TK falls.
  • Savandurga is a hill 60 km west of Bangalore (Karnataka, India) off the Magadi road. The hill is famous for a temple and is also believed to be among the largest monolith hills in the world. The hill rises to 1226 m above mean sea level and forms a part of the Deccan plateau. It consists of peninsular gneiss, granites, basic dykes and laterites. The Arkavathi river passes nearby through the Thippagondanahalli Reservoir and on towards Manchanabele dam.
  • Devarayanadurga (Kannada: ??????? ?????) is a hill station near Tumkur in the state of Karnataka in India. It is 65 km from Bangalore. The rocky hills are surrounded by forest and the hilltops are dotted with several temples including the Yoganarasimha and the Bhoganarasimha temples and an altitude of 3,940 feet (1,200 m). It is also famous for Namada Chilume, a natural spring considered sacred and is also considered the origin of the Jayamangali river. Another famous temple in the area is the Mahalakshmi Temple at Goravanahalli.
Shivanasamudra Falls
  • Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary : a Bird Sanctuary in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It is a very small sanctuary, being only 0.67 kmē. in area, and comprises six islets on the banks of the Kaveri River. Ranganthittu is located near the historic town of Srirangapatna.
  • Shivanasamudra Falls (also called Sivasamudram or Bluff) is an island town dividing the Kaveri River into twin waterfalls, the Gaganachukki and the Barachukki, dropping 90 m. The town is located 120 km from Bangalore, 27 km from Somanathapura and 80 km from Mysore in the Mandya district of the state of Karnataka, India.
The Mysore Palace
  • Mysore (to be renamed Mysuru) (Kannada: ??????) is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka, India. It is the headquarters of the Mysore district and the Mysore division and lies about 140 km (87 mi) southwest of Bangalore.A short distance from Mysore city is the Krishnarajasagar Dam and the adjoining Brindavan Gardens where a musical fountain show is held in the evening. One of the most visited monuments in India, the Ambavilas Palace (also known as Mysore Palace) is the center of the Dasara festivities.
  • Melkote is on the way to Mysore from Bangalore. The place is famous for its Vyramudi Utsava. The main diety here is "Cheluvarayaswamy-The MahaVishnu". A sacred place for vaishnavites. Also its one of the favourite spots for kannada directors for shooting.
  • Mekedaatu is 110km away. Nearby Sangama also tourist attraction where two rivers join.

 

 


 
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Tirupathi:

Tirupati (Telugu: ???????) is the richest pilgrimage city (of any religious faith) in the world, located in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.

Tirupati is located at the foothills of Tirumala. The city owes its existence to the sacred temple situated on the Tirumala Hills. Tirumala is the abode of Lord Venkateshwara, one of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu, located atop Seshachala hills often called as "Yaedu Kondalu" (seven hills). The temple of Lord Venkateshwara was built by the Tamil king Thondaimaan, and reformed periodically by Cholas and later Telugu Kings. It is the richest and most visited temple (of any faith) in the world.[1]

Tirupati has been a city for many years though recognised as a major municipal Corporation (MCT) only recently. Although the district headquarters is 60 km from the city, major government establishments and operations take place in Tirupati alone. The Tirupati Urban Development Authority further expanded its horizon to about 400 kmē with a total population of about 8 lakhs. Tirupati is one of the fastest growing cities in India with IT, BPO and Health industries coming up. It is a major boom for real estate. Tirupati is also emerging into a major educational, entertainment, tourism and a commercial city. Near the bus stand, stands a statue of the great singer Bharatharatna M.S. Subbulakshmi.

[edit] Etymology

Garuda Statue on the way to Tirumala

The word Tirupati means the Lord of Lakshmi and the word Tirumalai means Mountain of Highness in Tamil. Tirumalai is called as Tirumala in Telugu. Tirumagal means Lakshmi, Pathi means husband or king, and Malai means hill. Another version of etymology goes like this. The word Thiru Venkatachalapathy is formed of few sub-words Thiru Vel Irrukkum Eedum or Thiruvenkadam and Thalapathy. In other words, the place of the lord holding the sacred Vel. Within Vaishnava tradition the temple is considered as one of the 108 most sacred temples throughout India, collectively known as 'Tirupatis'. Since Tirumalai and Tirupathi have been passed from the Tamil-majority Madras State to the majority-Telugu Andhra State, Tirumalai is now officially known as Tirumala.

[edit] History

The Tirumala hills are the world's second oldest rock mountains. The Sangam literature of Tamil such as Silapadikaram and Satanar's Manimekalai, dated between 500 BC to 300 AD, mentions Tiruvengadam (now named Tirupati) as the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms.

It is believed that it was "Aadi Varaha Kshetra" (the ancient site of Varaha) mentioned in Indian literature dating during the Mauryan and Gupta regimes. Lord Venkateswara is referred in Vedas, Tirupati is considered as Kaliyuga Vaikuntha (Heaven on the earth).

Front View of Tirumala Temple

The site was an established center by the 5th century A.D, and the Alvars (Vaishnava saints) belonging to the Bhakti movement in Dravidian land sung in praise of Venketeswara. Its significance in Southern Vaishnava tradition was at the time next only to Srirangam. The temple was richly endowed by the kings of various dynasties thus adding to its current reputation as the richest and most opulent pilgrimage centre in the world. It was supported by Cholas, later by Hoysalas, the Vijayanagaras. Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara led the temple to great popularity by donating gold and other ornaments for the temple and constructing extended shrines. The place of Chandragiri, presently a village near Tirupati, was used as the secondary capital of Vijayanagara kings.

Tirupati survived the Muslim invasions of South India, unlike other temples such as the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam. It is believed that during the invasions the deity of Sriranganatha from Srirangam was brought to Tirupati for safekeeping. To commemorate this event, a hall in Tirupati is still known as the Ranganatha mandapa.

In 1843, with the coming of the East India Company, the administration of the Sri Venkateshwara temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century until 1933, when the temple was under the administrative charge of the mahants. The Madras legislature passed a special act in 1933 whereby the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was invested with powers of administration and control through a commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. A Ryot Advisory Council was formed for the management of the estates of the TTD, and was assisted by a Religious Advisory Council with regard to religious matters.

[edit] Religious Attractions

KodhandaRamaSwamy Temple at Tirupathi

There are many temples in Tirupati and Tirumala. Some of them are:

  • Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu as 'Venkateswara' (or Srinivasa) and attracts followers from a wide range of Hindu traditions.
  • Alamelu Mangamma Shrine in Alamelumangapuram also called Thiruchanoor
  • Padmavati Temple
  • Govindaraja Swamy Temple
  • Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple: The temple is so beautiful in architecture. Lord Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana are present in a beautiful form in the temple. Lord Anjaneya Swamy is seen near the foot of Lord Rama. The temple is in the heart of the city. There is also another temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya Swamy opposite to Kodhanda Rama Swamy Temple. Prasadams are offered daily to pilgrims.
Kapila Theertham Temple Entrance at Tirupathi
  • Srinivasa Mangapuram
  • Kapila Theertham (Lord Shiva shrine, the only Shiva shrine in Tirupati): This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati. There is a beautiful waterfall near the temple.
ISKCON Temple at Tirupati
  • ISKCON Lord Krishna Temple - The temple has its own style of architecture with the towers coloured in gold and white. The carvings of Lord Narasimha Swamy, Lord Varaha Swamy and Krishna Leela are marvelous. Glass painting works on the windows depicting Lord Krishna's playful acts and the ceilings decorated like Tanjore art reveals the colourful masterpiece in art work. Each pillar is decorated with ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. The temple inside the sanctum has Lord Krishna with beautifully dressed Gopikas. There is a beautiful park surrounded with lot of flowers, ponds, fountains and with Krishna Leela idols. The temple is on the way to Tirumala Hills.
Akasha Ganga in Tirumala
  • Temple of Lord Shiva at Yogimallavaram, near to Tirupati is very old and is very famous.
  • Hanuman temple at Tirumala is where Hanuman's mother Anjana did penance.
Waterfall in Tirumala
  • Other small waterfalls and sight seeing is present.
Museum in Tirumala
  • Museum at Tirumala is one of the tourist attractions.
The water fall on the way down the hill
  • Avanakshamma temple - 42 km from Tirupati
  • Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple, Karvetinagaram, 40 km from Tirupati
  • Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple - Narayanavanam, 48 km from Tirupati
  • Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Swamy Temple - Appalayagunta, 20 km from Tirupati

There is also another small temple for Lord Vishnu. The place is on the foothills of Tirumala. Giant Nandikeshwara statue is seen at the entrance of the temple. There is a rock garden in Tirumala called as Shilatoranam.


 
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