WEAVER'S WORLD / MADURAI / PLACES TO VISIT -2
Thiruparankundram temple (Cave temple) is situated 8 km south from Madurai district, dedicated to the Lord Subramanya. The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock. A curious feature of this temple is that the Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, and this is a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples.There are five Theerthams, or divine water sources, in and around the temple. There are several architectural features of interest, especially the rock cut portions of this hill temple dating back to the Pandya period and the life sized sculptures in the mandapams of the Nayakar period. The Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam are situated at different levels. In the south-eastern part of Kambaththadi mandapam there has been found a 30 m long tunnel. Rock-cut temple contains also 41 inscriptions revealing the early history of the temple. The important festival in this Temple is Vaigasi visagam, which is celebrated as Lord Subramaniyar's birthday, and Surasamharam, which is celebrated in the month November or December every year.
This is the only Gandhi museum in the south of India. It is housed in an old palace and provides a very good historical account of India's fight for freedom and Gandhi's role in it. It is important to see the evolution of this great human beingand his non violence struggle for independance. Not a very large or modern museum but really give you a feel of history. Large driveway walk up to Gandhi statue at the front. The route around follows the history of India on pictures and words. Takes about 2 hours if you read a lot of the details. Small book shop next to it with interesting media. It also includes some artifacts from Gandhi's simple life. There is also a bookshop in the grounds with many English books written by Gandhi, and spiritual texts.
This is historical place with light show in the evening. You will the painting with different designs, you will feel how can they painted at that much height. This temple was constructed in 1523. There is an impressive audience hall - beautiful. There is a huge dome which considering when it was built it leaves you wondering how they managed it without going to any engineering school.
Idaikattur is a small village located near the Madurai-Manamadurai road about 30 km from Madurai on the route to Rameshwaram. Idaikattur is famous for the Church and Idaikattur Sittar. The Church architecture is excellent. One of the biggest churches in South Tamil Nadu, the church is beautiful from the inside and the outside. The glass stained windows inside the church are covered with a lot of details.
One of the most revered Sri Vaishnava 108 temple, situated about 25 km from Madurai (just 3 km off while you are about to join the Madurai-trichy highway). The temple is known for probably being the first Sudarshan Swamy temple in the world. Here lord Sudarshan (who is also a representation of lord Vishnu himself) is seen with 16 hands. Each of the 16 hands has a weapon (also known as Shoda-Ayudha from where the shloka Shoda-ayudha stotram also probably came). Pradakshina of the lord's temple removes all hurdles from one's life and HE bestows on you all success and answers your prayers.
Legend has it that when Lord Vishnu took Vishvaroopam in his Vamana avathar and raised His foot over, Lord Brahma performed Padapooja with the Ganga water in Heaven. Some of the water drops splashed over the anklet of Lord Vishnu, fell on the earth at Azhagar Hills and is still flowing as waterfalls. This is named as Noopura Gangai (Noopuram means anklet) and also as Silambaru. The devotees take bath in the Noopura Gangai Theertham to wash away their sins. This water tastes sweet and has medicinal values. There is a shrine for Rakayee amman here.
8 km from this temple is Lord Narasimha's temple in the "Yanamalai" hill (means elephant's hill in tamil). Lord Narasimha's idol is majestic and one should never miss going there as it takes just 10 min by auto/car from Tirumoghur.
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