Sun Temple Konark, UNESCO Heritage Site

Sun Temple at Konark is a famous and gigantic chariot shaped 13th century temple dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. Konark Sun Temple was built by the Eastern Ganga Dynasty king Narasimhadeva I.

Sun TempleKonark Sun Temple.
Photo Source : Creative commons.

Konark is a city on the Bay of Bengal Coast in the Puri district of Odisha state, India. Sun temple at Konark is also known as “Black Pagoda”, as the temple is built of black granite from ‘Khondalite’ rocks. (Jagannath temple at Puri is known as White Pagoda). Sun Temple Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage site and much of the 12 th century temple is in a ruined state now.

Konark Sun Temple’s pillars, walls and the chariot wheels are all carved extensively and the temple was featured as one of the “seven wonders of India”, by the leading Indian News / TV Channel networks of NDTV and Times of India. 12 pairs of the chariot wheels of the temple are of 3 meters in width and is pulled by 7 pairs of horses (one pair of horses is ruined now). Sun Temple Konark is a great example of ‘Kalinga’ architecture. The architecture of the temple is in such a way that first sunrise rays falls on the principal entrance of the Sun Temple, Konark.

Sun Temple KonarkAnother view of Sun Temple Konark. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Due to the heavy weight of the 70 meter tall structure and the nature of the loose soil on the coastal area, the main original sanctum sanctorum fell in 1837. Thirty meter tall audience hall is still intact and is the principal structure now. The dance hall and dining hall also have survived the test of time.

Two ruined temples were also discovered close to the main temple. ‘Mayadevi Temple’, situated on the south-western side of the main temple is one among them. This temple is dedicated to Mayadevi, wife of Sun God. This temple is believed to be constructed in the 11th century. Existence of older Mayadevi temple along with other evidence suggests that another Sun temple may have existed at the current site (which may have been damaged). The second ruined temple is close to the main Konark Sun temple and is dedicated to an unknown ‘Vaishnava’ deity.

There is a museum at Konark, which houses some of the sculptures and other ruins of the temple.

Konark is also famous for the annual Indian classical dance festival called “Konark Dance Festival”, held during the month of December.

How do I go to Konark Sun Temple?

Sun Temple at Konark is situated at a distance of 65 kilo meters from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Ohidha state.

Hundru Falls, Jharkhand

Hundru Falls is situated in Jharkhand state of India. Hundru Falls is on the river Swarnarekha. This fall has a height of 320 feet. This makes the Falls at Hundru one of the best natural sceneries in the state.

Hundru FallsHundru Falls. Photo Source : Creative commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Photo by Skmishraindia.

There is a pool at the fall base, which can be used to take bath in summer. In monsoon season, the fall waters are very formidable and bathing is not advisable. Hundru Falls is situated in a forest area and the spectacular sight of the falls is a sight to behold. This fall mesmerizes any tourist and is a great weekend get-away place for Ranchi residents. The different rock shapes in this falls also is a great attraction here.

Hundru Falls and surrounding areas are also a popular trekking destination for adventure lovers. “Suvarna Rekha Hydal Project”, which is situated downstream, is also a nearby tourist place.

How do I go to Hundru Falls?

Hundru Falls is at around 45 kilo meters distance from the waterfall city of Ranchi. The falls is 21 kilo meters off Ranchi-Purulia Road. Alternatively, you may travel to the fall on the Ormanjhi-Sikidiri route, which is shorter than the main route by 6 kilo meters.

Railway station code for the nearest major station ‘Ranchi’, is ‘RNC. “Birsa Munda Airport” at Ranchi is the nearest airport to Hundru Falls. Ranchi is well connected by roads to other parts of India. NH 23 and NH 33 connects Ranchi with the rest of India.

Which are the nearby cities to Waterfalls city, Ranchi?

Jamshedpur city is nearly 128 kilo meters away from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state. Raurkela is at 130 kilo meters away and Bhubaneswar is at 350 kilo meters from Ranchi. Patna is at 250 km distance from Ranchi. Buddhist Temple town of Gaya is at 163 km distance from Ranchi. Korba is at 287 kilo meters and Muzaffarpur city at 308 kilo meters distance from Ranchi. Dhanbad is at 122 kilo meters from the waster fall city of Ranchi.

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, Chennai

Parthasarathy Temple is a famous 8th century Vaishnavite temple situated at Triplicane (Tiruvallikeni), very close to the Marina Beach in Chennai. Parthasarathy Temple is the oldest temple in Chennai. Parthasarathy Temple is dedicated to Lord Parthasarathy (Lord Krishna), who was the charioteer of Arjuna (Arjuna’s mother was the sister of Krishna’s father), in the Great Hindu epic of “Mahabaratha”. There are 5 incarnations (i.e. Krishna, Narasimha, Ranganathar, Ramar and Varadaraja) of Lord Vishnu in Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane.

Parthasarathy Temple, TriplicaneCarving of Lord Parthasarathy (Lord Krishna as charioteer) discoursing the “Bhagavad Gita” to Arjuna, at the outer walls of Chennai Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane. [ Photo Source : Creative commons. ]

The Proper name of Parthasarathy Temple at Triplicane, Chennai is “Parathasarathy Swamy Thirukoil”. This temple is also known by other names like “Sri Parthasarathy Perumal”, “Thiruallikeni Thiru Parthasarathy Kovil”, etc. There are 2 “Gopurams” for this temple; one on Eastern side and on the Western side. The Eastern side Gopuram entrance of the Triplicane Parathasarathy Swamy Thirukoil is on the Beach road. Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple was originally built by the Great Pallava King, Narasimhavarman I, in the 8th century A.D.. The temple was expanded by Chola Kings later and then by Vijayanagara kings. The medieval 4000 verse Tamil language literature, “Nalayira Divya Prabandham “, composed around the 6th-8th centuries and compiled in its present form by Nathamuni during the 9th–10th centuries, talks of this temple. The temple still recites these 4000 hymns of the Azhwars, the tradition preserved by generations in this temple.

The temple inscriptions in Tamil and Telungu languages dates back to 8th century. One such inscription is about the Pallava king, Nandivarman. Some other inscriptions dates back to the Chola period. These stone inscriptions at Parthasarathy Temple talks of the contributions made by the Great Chola kings Raja Raja Chola and Kulottunga III, Pandya King Maravarman alias Tribuvana Chakravarthi Kulasekhara Deva and Vijayanagar Kings Ramaraja Venkatapathi Raja and Vira Venkatapathy Maharaja, etc.

The “Gopurams” (dome at the entrance) and the “Mandapas” (pillars) are famous for its excellent carvings.

Note : There is another famous Parthasarathy temple at Aranmula, Kerala.

How do I go to Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane?

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane is at the heart of Chennai city, very close to Marina Beach. “Chennai Central” and “Chennai Egmore” railway stations are 2 nearby major railway stations which has trains to outstation cities of India. Chennai is well connected to other parts of south India by buses from C.M.B.T. Bus terminus (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus). Chennai International airport is the nearest airport to the Parthasaraty temple at Triplicane.

Chennai Triplicane railway station on the MRTS suburban railway line connects this temple with other parts of city.

Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram

Dampa Tiger Reserve is situated in the North-Eastern Indian state of Mizoram.

Dampa Tiger ReserveDampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Photo by Coolcolney.

Dampa Tiger Reserve was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1976 and re-notified later in 1985. Dampa Tiger Reserve was notified as ‘Tiger Reserve’ in 1994 and is part of ‘Project Tiger’. Tiger Reserve at Dampa is situated on the India-Bangladesh border. Dampa Tiger Reserve border with Bangladesh is being fended and a patrol road is being constructed. Tiger Reserve of Dampa covers an area of approximately 500 square kilo meters in size and is the largest wild life sanctuary in the state of Mizoram.

Tiger Reserve at Dampa is unique in many ways as this reserve has steep hills, deep valleys, rivulets, streams, natural salts licks, etc.

Dampa Tiger Reserve is rich in flora and fauna. Fauna in the Dampa Tiger Reserve includes Indian Bisons, Tigers, Leopards, Elephents, Sloth Bears, barking Deers, Hoolock Gibbons, Langurs, wild boars, etc. Dampa Tiger Reserve is home to a large species of birds.

How do I go to Dampa Tiger Reserve?

Dampa Tiger Reserve is at a distance of approximately 110 km from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state.

Aizawl airport is the nearest major airport to Dampa Tiger Reserve, which is connected to Kolkotta International airport. Lengpui Airport, a small airport, is the closest airport to Dampa Reserve Forests at around 70 kilo-meters distance. There is another airport at Silchar in Assam at 180 km distance. ‘Silchar’ railway station in the state of Assam with station code ‘SCL’, is the nearest railway station to Dampa Project Tiger Reserves, at 180 kilo meters distance.

You can hire a cab from any of the above mentioned airports or railway station. Bus services are also available from these places.

Is accommodation and food available at Dampa Tiger Reserve?

Yes; You can stay at the forest guest house rooms in Dampa There are only 2 rooms in the guest houseand you may need to book the rooms in advance. You may need to carry the provisions to cook the food, as cooked food is not served in the forest guest houses. Alternatively, you may carry packed foods or fruits.

Do Indian citizens need permit to enter Mizoram?

Yes; All Indian citizens who are not from this region and are not employed with the Indian government, need to get the Inner Line pass, which can be applied and collected at Silchar or Kolkata.

Note : ‘The Tropic of Cancer’ passes through the Dampa Tiger Reserve.

Belur Chennakesava Temple

Belur is a famous temple town in Hassan District of Karnataka state, India. The most famous temple in Belur city is the Chennakesava Temple. Belur is known as “Dakshina Varanasi”, which means “Varanasi of the South”.

Belur Chennakesava Temple title=Belur Chennakesava Temple. [ Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. By Pavithrah (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. ]

Belur city is situated on the banks of Yagachi river. Hoysala temple complex is the main tourist site in Belur. Chennakesava Temple was earlier known as Vijayanarayan Temple.

Chennakesava temple is the best example for Hoysala workmanship, which was constructed using soft soap-stone. The Dravidan style “Gopuram” (dome) was later added by the kings of Vijayanagar empire.

Belur was the capital of Hoysala Dynasty. Consecrated in the year 1116 A.D. by the then emperor Vishnuvardhana of Hoysala Dynasty to commemorate his victory over the Chola Kings (another version is to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism), Chennakesava temple construction took 103 years and was completed by Veera Ballala II, grandson of Vishnuvardhana. Lord Chennakeshava (Lord Vishnu) is the main deity here.

“Darpana Sundari”, i.e. Carved ‘Lady with the mirror’ is one of major attractions in Chennakesava temple. ‘Lady with the parrot’ is another excellent carving. There are lots of other carvings which includes scenes from the Hindu epics, dance scenes and animals like elephants (650 elephants in total; each one different!), horses, lions, etc. There are 42 Madanikas (dancing woman’s sculptures), all in different postures! This is just the tip of the ice-burg. Belur Chennakesava Temple is one of the best temples known for its carvings. You need to see the Chennakesava Temple to to appreciate its beauty.

How do I go to Belur Chennakesava Temple?

Hassan is at around 35 kilo meters distance from Belur. The nearest railway station is at Hassan. The railway station code for Hassan is “HAS”.

Hassan is well connected by roads. National Highways 48 (Mangalore to Bangalore) passes through Hassan.

Belur is at a distance of around 220 kilo meters from the state capital city, Bangaluru (Bangalore), which has the nearest airport to Belur.