Kailash Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Ellora, Maharashtra
Built in: 8th century
Built by: Rashtrakuta king Krishna
Also known as: Kailasanatha Temple
Best time to visit: October to February
STD Code: 02432

Kailash Temple , also Kailasanatha Temple is one of the 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, that were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora, Maharashtra Ellora that lies just 30 kms from Aurangabad. It was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna.

At Ellora, 34 cave temples were carved out of the hillside with hand tools. Only 12 of these 34 caves in the centre are the most impressive. The massive Kailash Temple (cave 16) is nearly one a half time taller than the Parthnon and occupies almost twice its area. It is believed that it was constructed by excavating approx. 200,000 tones of rock and is possible the world’s largest monolithic structure. Representing Shiva’s Himalayan home, the temple is exquisitely sculpted with scenes from Hindus mythology, each pulsing with drama, energy and passion.

Kailash Temple at cave 16, were a big Shiva-linga (form of Lord Shiva) is worshiped. It is the biggest building carved in a stone in the whole world. Is a part of Ellora Cave Complex. Beautiful sculptures from Ramayana and Mahabharata are carved on the walls of this cave temple.

History:
The depiction of the demon Ravana shaking Mount Kailash is a masterpiece contain the scenes of semi-mythological history, the royal court and popular life of the ancient times, as told in romances and plays. Some pictures recall the Greek and Roman compositions and proportions, few late resemble to Chinese manners to some extent. But majority belongs to a phase which is purely Indian as they are found no where else. These monuments were constructed during two different periods of time separated by a long interval of four centuries. The older ones were the product of last to centuries before Christ and belong to Himalaya period of Buddhism in later part of 2nd century AD when Buddhism was divided into two sections, after the conduct of the fourth general council under another great king, Kanishka.

Architecture:
The scheme of the Kailash temple is basically divided into four main parts: the body of the temple itself, the entrance gateway, an intermediate nandi shrine and the cloisters surrounding the courtyard. One cannot help but be aware of the spiritual energy that went into its creation – a jewel hewn out of the rock itself. One of the India’s greatest architectural treasures was hewn out of the solid rock of the hillside to form a free-standing temple consisting of a gateway, two-storied halls and the main shrine within. The most majestic creation is the Kailash Temple, a full-sized freestanding temple flanked by huge elephants all carved from solid rock, pillars and podiums, as the workers dug away some 200,000 tons of rock. The result is an awe-inspiring representation of Shiva’s Himalayan abode. Nearby caves are alive with stone murals depicting divine struggles and victories. With these caves before us, it is clear that India far surpasses the rest of the world in the glory of its rock-cut architecture.

Festival:
Every December, the Ellora festival of music and dance at the Kailasha Temple, which is attended by large number of people.

How to reach:
by Air: Aurangabad airport is situated the closest to the magnificent caves of Ellora. Approximately 15 km away, the airport is connected with the Delhi and Mumbai international airport, by public as well as private airlines.
by Rail: The rail head that lies nearest to the Ellora Caves comprises of the Aurangabad railway station. It falls on the South Central Railway Line and is situated about 30 km from Ellora. There are direct trains linking this station with most of the key cities in India.
by Road: Aurangabad city is located closest to Ellora Caves and is well connected with them by road. One can easily find taxis as well as buses plying between the two destinations. From Aurangabad, one can also find buses and taxis to Mumbai,

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Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple, Kannur, Kerala, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva (Muthappan)
Location: Kannur, Kerala
Main Attraction: Theyyam ritual that is performed daily
Best time to visit: April to August
STD Code: 0497

Situated 20 km away from Kannur, in North Kerala, the Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple is located on the banks of the Valapatnam River and attracts people from all parts and sections of the society. Irrespective of religion and caste, thousands of devotees throng the place. This temple truly signifies the essence of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam- the whole world is one family.”

This temple is supposed to have been built by the people of this town who felt the divine presence of Lord Shiva amongst them in the form of a small child. After various miraculous incidents, they built a temple that came to be known as Sri Muthappan temple. The incidents up to the point of his disappearance later made the denizens feel the divine presence of Muthappan (Shiva) who immediately erected a place of worship, which today is popularly known as the Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple.

The temple is also a popular destination for travellers and pilgrims to savour the charm of Theyyam, a ritual that is performed here on a daily basis. Men adorning masks and costumes with a riot of colours perform this temple art form and it represents conflict between good and evil, with good ultimately emerging victorious.

This centre of worship and faith has in store many unique practices and rituals, and the temple architecture itself stands testimony to this aspect. Along with spiritual satisfaction, one also gets to relax in the serene surroundings of the temple.

The Snake Park is the only one of its kind in the State and perhaps the whole of India. There are three snake pits, fifteen glass cases for snakes and two large glass houses for King Cobras in the park. Snake demonstrations conducted every hour draw large crowds of visitors. Parassinikadavu is 16 km from Kannur town.

Other Attraction:
Thodikkulam Temple
Trichambaram Temple
Shree Ramaswami Temple
Thiruvangad
Thodeekulam Shiva Temple
Kottiyoor
Kunhimangalam
Cherukunnu
Arakkal Kettu

How to reach:
by Air: The Karipur airport is located at a distance of 93 kilometers from this temple.
by Rail: The Kannur railway station is located at a distance of 20 kilometers from this temple.
by Road: This temple can be easily reached from anywhere in Kerala as Kannur is well connected by a wide network of roads.

Visit www.etirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Naguesh Temple, Goa, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Bandode, Goa, INDIA
Best time to visit: October to February
STD Code: 0832

One of the ancient Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Courtesy a stone plaque found near the temple, the origins of Sri Naguesh temple can be traced back to 1413, when the region was under the rule of Veer Pratap Devraya of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated in the village of Bandode, about 4 kms to the east of Ponda, Goa.

Unlike most of the Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh Temple was spared the threat of persecution by the Portuguese and the temple has been in existence in its original location for centuries. The present structure of temple is the culmination of an extensive renovation process undertaken in 1880.

The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains intricate wood carvings depicting the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other. . In the inner shrine is a “Lingam” a symbol of Lord Siva. In front of the shrine is an image of Nandi bull, in black stone. There are stone idols of Shiv-Paravati and Ganesh inside the temple which actually date back to the seventh and eighth century which has led to the conjecture of the temple being in existence since that time. Worth noting at the temple, are the colorful images of gods and goddesses around the base of the deepstambha (lamp tower). The temple also has a centuries old water tank. Shri Naguesh Temple is a “Swayambhu” shrine of Lord Shankar known for its miraculous myths.

The history is not available at present, except a reference in the folk songs. As the legend goes a cow-boy noticed that a cow from his herd used to visit the place regularly and showered milk. This led to the discovery of Shivlinga.

The temple has a magnificent ancient tali (water reservoir) surrounded by palms. The reservoir is built in such a way that standing at a certain location around the tali; a person can view the reflection of the idol of Lord Naguesh and the lighted lamps in the inner sanctum.

Festival:
The most important festival that is commemorated here during the month of November is the Anguish Satrap. The Mahajans of the temple are of Kaushiks, Vatsa and Bharadwaja Gotras.

Other Pilgrimage in Goa:
Shri Damodar Temple
Shri Datta Mandir
Shri Devkikrishna-Ravalnath
Shri Kalikadevi Temple
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple
Shri Mallikarjun Temple
Shri Navdurga Temple
Shri Ramnath Temple
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple
Shri Vitthal Mandir.

How to reach:
by Air: The Dabolim airport is the nearest airport to Ponda.
by Rail: The Margao (17 km) railway station is the nearest railhead to Ponda.
by Road: Ponda is connected to state capital Panaji (28 km) by the National Highway 4A. The NH 4A also connects Ponda to the neighboring state of Karnataka.

Visit www.etirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.kathavarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Mallikarjun Temple, Goa, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Shristhal village, Goa
Built in: 16th century
Built by: Kshatriya Samaj
Significance: Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva
Best time to visit: October & February

The ancient temple of Shri Mallikarjun is located near the small village of Sristhal, in the southernmost taluka of Canacona. Sristhal is about 5 km drive away from the taluka headquarters of Chaudi which is about 75 kms from Panaji.

The temple lies in an enchanting location in a valley, completely surrounded by blue mountains and greenery. The temple itself is at least 200 years old, as per the writing on a plaque near the temple dome. The temple is believed to have been constructed during the Middle of the 16th century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. It was renovated in the year 1778.

There are some extremely beautiful carved wooden pillars inside the temple building the likes of which are not found in any other temple in Goa. The carving has been done by skilled craftsmen who were brought here from the southern Indian states.

The six pillars in the mandap (hall) have scenes from the Puranas and Mahabharat carved on them. There are beautifully carved profiles of dwarpal (doorkeeper) on either side of the door leading to the inner sanctum.

The temple is dedicated to Shri Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga, who is yet another incarnation of Lord Shiva and he is also known as Adavat Sinhasanadhishwar Mahapati Canacona among the locals.

Legend:
As the legend goes, Vrishabha, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva performed penance here. Shiva and Parvati apeared in the form of Mallikharjuna and Bhramaramba. A massive fort, with six meter high walls encloses the temple. A cluster of minor shrines within the temple compound include the Sahasra Linga, Panchapandava temples and Vatavriksha.

Hiranyakashipu of Kretayuga is believed to have conducted pujas here. It is said that Srirama and Sita visited the shrine and installed Sahasra Lingas (thousand lingas). The place is also associated with Pandavas who installed idols of Shiva. Several devotees have attained salvation by performing pujas here while several saints have sanctified the place by doing penance. The greatness of the place has been described in “Srisaila Kandam” of Skanda Puranam.

Festival:
Annual Jatra, Veeramel festival held during the month of April. The annual festival or Jatra held at the temple is quite unique among the temple festivals of Goa. Early morning on the day of the festival, the idol of the deity is taken out in a procession which travels for almost 2-3 hours to reach the nearby Kindle bag beach. A number of rituals including a special bath for the deity are held at the beach, after which the deity returns to the temple. Hundreds of devotees have a holy bath at the same time on the seashore.

Besides the annual Jatra, the temple is also famous for some unique occasions on which some special rituals are held.

How to reach:
The Mallikarjun Temple is located 5 km from Chaudi, the headquarters of Canacona taluka. You can hire taxis or autos to reach the temple.

Visit www.etirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.kathavarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.yatrakhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Mannarasala Temple, Alleppeym Kerala, IN

Deities: Nagaraja
Location: Alleppey, Kerala
Importance: 30,000 images of snake-Gods.
Best time to visit: August to March
STD Code: 0477

Mannarasala Shree Nagaraja Temple is a very ancient and internationally-known centre of pilgrimage for the devotees of serpent gods. One of the rarest temples in the world where serpent deities are worshipped, particularly by woman priests. A fine example of eco-friendly existence. The Mannarasala temple is located about three kilometres to the south-east of the bus station in N.H.47 at Haripad, in Alleppey district of Kerala. Haripad, a culturally renowned ancient town with prominent role in the history of Central.

The sacred temple of Mannarasala is located amidst the shade of ancient trees entangled by many kinds of creepers, foliage and thick growth of cane and groves, exclusively dedicated as the habitat of divine serpents. The presiding deity at Mannarasala is Nagaraja. He is Anantha (Vishnu) and Sarparaja is Vasuki (Shiva). It is believed that Nagaraja, as the installed deity, is endowed with the form of Vishnu and the spirit of Siva. (From the phenomena observed at the time of the installation the power of Vasuki was manifested and that of Anantha interiorized. Taking into account the power of Vasuki which was manifest; the Saivite form of worship was followed. (This may be reason for the magnificent procession taken out here on Mahasivaratri day). Anantha represents the ‘Vaishnava Sankalpa’ and Siva represents the ‘Shaivaite Sankalpa’.

The couple should come to the temple and pray to the God for his blessings. Receipts for the offering have to be taken from the administration office. Offering includes a bronze Uruli that can be used to cook at least a score of rice, a Nilavilakku (bronze lamp), garland etc. In the presence of the temple authorities, the couples should offer the Uruli with its mouth upwards in front of the Nagaraja shrine after three rounds to the mannarasala temple with due prayers. An offering have to be given to Sarpayakshi as well. After Pooja, Valiamma will take the Uruli to Nilavara and it will be kept there with its mouth downward, which will be opened only after the couples get a child. Expenses for this offering are charted in a way to offer at least two Kadali fruits every day to Nagaraja, for about one year.

Legend:
Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarasala temple as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods is associated with Parasurama, the creator of Kerala.

The history of Mannarasala has been mentioned in the ‘Mandara Salodayam’ Sanskrit poem written by Mannarasala M.G.Narayanan Nampoodiri of the sacred family, who wrote it on the basis of reliable accounts and legends traditionally handed down and in the light of old books available with the Mannarasala temple. Since the poem was incomplete, the history narrated here is from the book ‘The Serpent Temple Mannarasala’, published by Mr.N.Jayadevan of Manasa Publications (Translated to English by the renowned scholar Dr.Ayyappa Panikker). This book is also based on the advice and instructions received from the former Great Mother, and in accordance with the other members of the family as well as the old records examined for the purpose.

Legends say that when Kerala became habitable, a large number of Brahmins came as followers of Parasurama. He proposed his chief disciple to be in charge of worship to the serpent god and instructed him to follow various Pooja patterns to maintain the sanctity of the place. Thousands of people come here to carry out this sacred and rare offering to Nagaraja.

Festival:
The most celebrated festival at Mannarasala is the Ayilyam of Thulam. In the beginning, the Ayilyam of Thulam had no speciality or importance. It was a regular custom for the Maharaja of Travancore to visit this temple on Ayilyam day in Kanni. On one occasion, the Maharaja could not reach the temple as usual and had to postpone the visit to the Ayilyam day in Thulam. The royal palace met all the expenses for the celebrations of that Ayilyam. Several landed properties were given away to the temple free of land tax in order to make the festival more attractive, as an expression of repentance. Thus the Ayilyam of Thulam came to secure a royal splendor and official glamour without difficulty. The Ayilyam days of Kanni and Kumbham are still celebrated with befitting grandeur.

How to reach:
by Air: The nearest airport is Cochin, 64 km to the north; Trivandrum International Airport is 159 km to the south.
by Rail: Alleppey has recently been linked to Cochin by rail. Some trains link alleppey to cities like Chennai and Bokaro. The Alleppey Railway Station is 5 km from the central bus stand and the boat jetty.
by Road: Alleppey is on the NH 47 highway and is connected to all important towns in south India by public state transport buses. The most celebrated festival at Mannarasala is the Ayilyam of Thulam. In the beginning, the Ayilyam of Thulam had no speciality or importance. It was a regular custom for the Maharaja of Travancore to visit this temple on Ayilyam day in Kanni. On one occasion, the Maharaja could not reach the temple as usual and had to postpone the visit to the Ayilyam day in Thulam. The royal palace met all the expenses for the celebrations of that Ayilyam. Several landed properties were given away to the temple free of land tax in order to make the festival more attractive, as an expression of repentance. Thus the Ayilyam of Thulam came to secure a royal splendor and official glamour without difficulty. The Ayilyam days of Kanni and Kumbham are still celebrated with befitting grandeur.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi, Karnataka, India

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Banavasi, Karnataka
Significance: Presiding deity is a honey colour lingam
Best time to visit: October to March
STD Code: 08384

Banvasi was the capital of the Kadambas, the first kingdom of ancient Karnataka. This is where the eminent poet Pampa wrote his poems.

The Madhukeshwara Temple, famed for its architecture, derives its name from the honey-coloured lingam in the inner sanctum of the temple. An imposing Nandi faces the lingam. Of special interest is the intricately carved stone cot, which was actually used by the kings Built around 1500 years ago.

Madhukeshwara temple is the major attraction of Banawasi. It is around this the village has grown. The temple provides the earliest evidence of the architectural splendor of the ancient times of the Kadamba dynasty. It is dedicated to the Lord Shiva was modified with additional structures by later dynasties. This unique feature of the temple illustrates how the architectural styles evolved from the 9th Century to present times.

The innermost sanctum sanctorum is built in a very plain style with minimal carving on the door and the lintel. The Sankalpa mantapa in front reveals the influence of the Chalukyan style. There is a seven foot huge Nandi idol made of a single stone. The Nritya mantapa or the dancing hall was added during the Hoysala period and has exquisite carving on the pillars and the ceiling. This is the spot where the legendary Shantala challenged the famed musician Allama Prabhu. She went on to become the wife of king Vishnuvardhana and inspired the renowned dancing sculptures of Belur and Halebid.

Legend has it that he was originally Mayura Sharma, a Brahmin studying in Kanchipuram. Humiliated by the Pallava princes, he vowed revenge. He took up the study of warfare or Kshathriya Vidya and became a warrior king who established the Kadamba dynasty in 345.A.D.

Festival:
The annual cultural festival “Kadambotsava” is held in the month of December. Now, centuries later, Banavasi is returning to its former glory as a cultural capital. Every December, folk dancers, classical musicians, drama troupes, Yakshagana artistes assemble for ‘Kadambothsav’, a huge cultural festival bringing together artistes and performers from all over south India. This big event, organized by the state government, is attended by dignitaries and eminent literary personalities.

How to reach:
by Air: Hubli Airway situated 102 kms from sirsi.
by Rail: Nearest rail head is Shimoga is 112 km away.
by Road: Sirsi is 18 km away

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Hayagriva Mahadeva Temple, Hajo, Assam, India

Deities: Lord Shiva, Vishnu
Location: Hajo, Assam
Built in: 1583
Built by: King Raghu Deva
Best time to visit: October to April
STD Code: 0361

Hayagriva Mahadeva temple of Hajo is about 30 miles to the west of Guwahati. It is situated on the Monikut hill near Hajo of Kamrup district.It is known that the temple was constructed by the King Raghu deva Narayan in 1583. According to some other historians. King of Pala dynasty constructed it in 6th century. It is a stone temple and it enshrines an image of Hayagriva Mahadeva.The rows of elephants are seen on the body of the temple and they are fine specimens of Assamese art.

This temple is important for both the Hindu and the Buddhist community. Within the temple is an image of Vishnu which quiet closely resembles the one at Jagannath Temple in Puri in Orissa. For the Buddhist of the region, the temple is important because they believe that it was here that the Buddha attained Nirvana. The temple suffered destruction at the hands of Kalapahar who was also responsible for destroying a number of other temples in India.

Quiet nearby is a small temple which was constructed by Ahom king Pramatta Singh The Hayagriva Mahadeva temple can be reached by ascending long stone stairway at the foot of which there is a pond. In this pond resides a huge turtle.

Festival:
Doul, Bihu and Janmashtami festivals are celebrated every year in the temple. Moreover this temple preaches both Hinduism and Buddhism, which attract Buddhist Monks from far flung places.

How to reach:
by Air: The airport at Guwahati is the closest one from Hajo.
by Rail: Guwahati also happens to be nearest railhead to reach Hajo. Trains from here link to New Delhi and Kolkata directly and provide connectivity to destinations.
by Road: Buses also connect Guwahati to various destinations one can be easily reached by road from here. Also, Hajo, itself is connected by road to various parts of Assam.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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