Shringeri Sharadamba Temple

The Sharadamba Temple at Shringeri in Chickmagalur district of Karnataka state in India, is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya.

Shringeri Sharadamba TempleShringeri Sharadamba Temple

Sri Sharadamba is the presiding deity at the Shringeri Temple. The temple has a magnificent history to tell. Original Sharada idol was made of Sandalwood over the ‘Sri Chakra’ installed on a rock carved by the great saint Sri Adi Shankara. Presently the idol is a golden idol which was installed by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha in the 14th century. Temple was also made in Kerala style with titled roof and timber by him and Sri Vidyaranya. The original sandalwood idol is now installed at the Sri Vidyashankara temple in Sringeri. Other improvement works were done to the temple walls and pillars also.

A golden chariot was dedicated by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal to the temple in 1999. Golden doors were also installed at the temple in connection with Jagadguru’s golden Jubilee. The golden door covering has “Ashta Lakshmi” figures which is a beautiful piece of work.

Sringeri Sri Sharada Peetham is the First Math established by the Great Sri Adi Shankaracharya, considered as one of the most revered Hindu Philosopher and Theologian who established this Math in the 8th century.

“Navaratri” is the main temple festival which is celebrated every year for 11 days.

How do I go to Shringeri Sharadamba Temple?

Mangalore is the nearest airport to Shringeri Sharadamba Temple at around 71 kilometers distance. Mysore is at around 200 kilometers distance. Udupi (UD) and Barkur (BKJ) railway stations are at around 55 kilo meters distance from the temple at Shringeri. Bangaluru (earlier known as Bangalore), the capital of Karnataka state, is at around 330 kilo meters from the famous temple town of Shringeri.

Shringeri Sharadamba Temple Timings

Shringeri Sharadamba Temple is open to devotees from 6 am to 2 pm and also from 5 pm to 9 pm.

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest on the Bay of Bengal coast in Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu state, India, is the second largest mangrove forest in the world.

Eastern Great Egrets in Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

The Pichavaram Mangrove Forests, spread over an area of around 1100 Hectares, has mangrove trees which are rooted, all through the year in feet(s) of water. The forests of Pichavaram are separated from the Bay of Bengal waters by sand bars. There are many islands inside the Pichavaram Mangrove Forests.

Situated in between the Vellar estuary in the north and Coleroon estuary in the south, Pichavaram Mangrove Forest on the Killai backwaters, offers one of the best experience for a tourist. You can go for boating in the backwaters or deep inside the forests. You may also go for canoeing, kayaking or rowing. Tourists can also go to the viewing tower and enjoy the beauty of the forest.

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest and its surrounding areas have resisted the devastating Tsunami in 2004. These forests are very helpful in maintaining the shell, finfish and many other species and are home to many birds including migratory birds. 177 species of birds were found in the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. November to January are the months when maximum migratory birds visits Pichavaram Mangrove Forests.

How do I go to Pichavaram Mangrove Forest?

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is at a distance of around 15 kilo-meters from Chidambaram town. Chidambaram railway station with station code “CDM”, is the nearest railway station to Pichavaram forest.

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest is at a distance of around 220 kilo-meters from Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu state. Pondichery town is at around 70 kilo meters from Pichavaram forests. Trichy city is at around 160 kilo meters distance from Pichavaram Mangrove Forests.

Bir Ecoturism, Paragliding

Bir village in Kangra district of Himachal Predesh state of India is famous for its Community based Ecotourism, Aero-tourism and Spiritual activities.

Eco-Tourism activities at Bir and surrounding areas are intended to preserve the ecology of the area and to support the livelihood of local people. Ecotourism Society of Himachal Pradesh, EcoSoC, is a Government supported agency working on this task.

International Paragliding Pre World Cup is held yearly at Bir-Billing for more than a decade. The nearby towns of Bir and Billang (at 14 kilo meters distance) are said to be one of the finest Para Gliding and Aero sports sites in the world. Take off starts at Billing and landing at Bir.

Paragliding World Cup 2015 is to be held from October 24-31, 2015 at Bir-Billing, at a height of 2290 meters. The capacity of the Bir-Billing Para-gliding site is planned to be increased to 100 simultaneous para gliders from the present 30-40.

Fields and mountains near Bir Tibetan colonyFields and mountains near Bir Tibetan colony

Bir town is a Buddhist town and is well known for its spiritual and meditation activities. There is also a Buddhist stupa at Bir. Dharamshala, Central Tibetan Administration HQ is at around 50 kilo-meters from Bir town. Chowgan is the place where a Tibetan colony was established in 1966, on the outskirts of Bir town. There are several Buddhist monasteries at the south-western part of Bir Town at Chowgan.

How do I go to Bir Hill station and Bir-Billing Paragliding site?

Gaggal airport in Himachal Pradesh is the nearest airport to Bir at around 150 kilo meters distance. Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), the nearest International airport to Bir Town, is at around 550 kilo meters distance form Bir town. Billing is at a distance of 14 kilo meters from Bir town on your way to Thamsar Pass..

Ahju, a narrow gauge railway station on the “Kangra Valley Railway route” (on the 164 kilometer Pathankot – Joginder Nagar Narrow Guage Railway Line) is the nearest railway station to Bir town. “Pathankot Junction” with station code ‘PTK’, is the nearest railway station to Bir town, which is well connected to other parts of the country.

There are regular bus services from New Delhi to Baijnath, a town at around 30 kilometers distacce from Bir town. You may hire a taxi or go by local buses to Bir from Baijnath.

Bir Road, off NH 20 which connects Pathankot in Punjab state to Mandi in Himachal Pradesh state is nearest National Highway to Bir town.

Manikaran, Hot Water Springs

Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh state of India is famous for its Hot Water Springs and the pilgrimage centres for Hindus and Sikhs. It is believed that a visit to Kashi (Varanasi) is not required if one visits Manikaran. The hot spring waters of Manikaran is so hot that rice and potatoes can be cooked by immersing them in the spring waters! The water is also believed to have powers to cure diseases.

Hindus believe that Manu recreated human life in Manikaran after the Great floods during the times of Vaivasvata alias Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata, king of Dravida. Dravida King along with family and seven sages escaped the flood in a boat as per the warnings given by Matsya, an avatar (form) of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver. (As per Hinduism, God Brahma is the ‘creator’ of Universe, Lord Vishnu is the ‘preserver’ and Lord Shiva is the ‘destroyer or transformer’. These Trimurti (three forms of God) is considered as different forms or manifestation of one single Supreme God.)

Manikaran is thus considered as a sacred place for Hindus. Pilgrims to Manikaran take bath in the holy hot spring waters here. It is also believed that Lord Shiva and Goddesses Parvati stayed at Manikaran and Parvathi dropped her earring in the stream waters accidentally. Goddesses Parvati asked Lord Shiva to retrieve the earrings. Lord Shiva asked his attendant to find it out and the attendant failed to find out the earring. On hearing this, Lord Shiva became very angry and Lord Shiva opened his third eye, which disturbed the whole universe. To pacify Lord Shiva, The Serpent God “Sheshnag”, hissed. This resulted in boiling waters to flow and precious stones emerged from these hot waters, likes of which Goddesses Parvati possessed.

Manikaran, Hot Water SpringsA Hot Water Spring in the Gurudwara Complex, Manikaran.

Manikaran is sacred for Sikhs as Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), the founder of Sikhism came to Manikaran with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and there was not food. Guru Nanak sent Bhai Mardana to the community kitchen and he came back with flour to make Roti (Chappahi). But there was no fire to cook and Guru Nanak asked his disciple to lift a stone and a hot spring appeared. Guru Nanak asked his disciple to put the rolled raw Chappthis into the hot spring. But the Chappathis sank in the water. Guru Nanak asked his disciple Mardana to pray to God that he will donate one Chapatti, if it floats back. After his disciple prayed, The Chapatis floated in water, fully baked.

How do I go to Manikaran Hot Springs?

Manikaran is at a distance of around 45 km from Kullu hill station. Delhi is at around 535 kilo meters distance and it may take around 14 to 15 hours to cover this distance. Chandigarh is at around 280 kilo meters distance from Manikaran.

Pathankot railway station is the nearest railway station, which is well connected to other parts of the country, at around 190 kilo-meters distance from Manikaran.

“Joginder Nagar” station on the narrow gauge line is the nearest railway station at around 130 kilometers away. Being a narrow gauge station, there is no direct connectivity to other parts of India.

The Picturesque ‘Bhuntar Kullu Airport’ alias ‘Bhuntar Airport’ or ‘Kullu Manali Airport’ with IATA Code ‘KUU’, on the banks of Beas river in the Kullu valley, is the nearest airport to Manikaran.

Se Cathedral Goa

Se Cathedral, Goa is one the most ancient and celebrated churches in India, situated to the west of the great square, ‘Terreiro de Sabaio’, in Old Goa, India.

Se Cathedral Goa
Se Cathedral Goa.

Se Cathedral alias St. Catherine’s Cathedral at Goa was named after Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It was on her feast day anniversary in 1510 that Alfonso Albuquerque, took possession of the city of Goa from the enemy. To commemorate this emphatic victory, the Portuguese constructed this church at Goa.

In 1919, it is said that a vision of Jesus Christ appeared at the “Cross of Miracles”, one of the eight chapels at Sé Cathedral Goa, There are four chapels each, on both sides of the Se Cathedral.

The construction work for the Church began in 1562 and the main church (except the main alter which is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria) was completed by 1619. St. Catherine’s Cathedral Church at Goa was consecrated in 1940; even though the main alter dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, was completed only in 1652.

The Portuguese-Gothic style architecture of the church, with its Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior, is 250 feet in length (76 meters) and 181 feet (55 m) in breadth. There were two Bell towers to the church; one of the southern side collapsed in 1776. “Golden Bell”, the church bell at the Se Cathedral in Goa, is considered as one of the best bells in the world for its rich tone. You can hear the soothing church bell thrice a day.

There are many old paints on either wall sides of the main Alter, which are dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. There is a beautiful courtyard in the Se Church compound.

There is an Archaeological Museum housed in the adjoining oldconvent building. The ‘Saint Franciscan church’ or ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’ alias ‘Borea Jezuchi Bajilika’, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, stands to the west of Se Cathedral, Goa. Saint Francis died on December 2, 1552 and his mortal remains were brought back to Goa after keeping it at Portuguese Malacca for around two years. Public viewing of body of Saint Francis is allowed once in every ten years and the last viewing was allowed in 2004.

How do I go to Se Cathedral Goa?

Grand and impressive of all churches in Goa, Se Cathedral Goa, is in old Goa. Old Goa is at around 10 kilometers distance from Panaji Goa, the capital city of Goa.

What are Se Cathedral Goa Timings for regular Mass Services?

Masses are held at 7.15 a.m., 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m on sundays and at 7.30 a.m. and 6.00 p.m on Weekdays.