Vivekanandar Illam, Ramakrishna Mutt

Vivekanandar Illam is the house where Swami Vivekananda stayed for 9 days during his visit to Chennai in 1897 after his historic participation in the ‘Parliament of Religions’ in Chicago. There is permanent Exhibition at Vivekanandar Illam, on Swami Vivekananda’s Life & Indian Culture.

Vivekanandar Illam
Vivekanandar Illam on Marina Beach, Chennai.

Biligiri Iyengar, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda and the owner of the building invited Swami to come and stay here for a while, after Swami’s return from the West. Swami Vivekananda agreed and stayed at Vivekanandar Illam from 6th February 1897 to 14th February 1897. Swamiji also agreed to set up a permanent center at this building and asked his direct disciple Swami Ramakrishnananda to take charge of that work .

Ramakrishna Math

Ramakrishna mutt or Ramakrishna Math or Ramakrishna mission, was founded by Swami Ramakrishnananda, on Swami Vivekananda’s orders. (Mutt or Math means monetary.) From 1897 to 1906, during its first 10 years, Ramakrishna Math was functioning from this house. Then it moved to its current location at Mylapore, Chennai. Later on, in 1914, the house was acquired by Government of Madras and later on the house landed up with its current owner, Government of Tamilnadu. The house is currently leased to Ramakrishna Math, till 2020.

43 paintings detailing the evolution of Indian culture is displayed here. 120 photographs of the Swami Vivekanandar is also displayed for public view. The second Floor room where Swamiji stayed is a meditation room now. There are Books and photographs of Swamiji for sale here. As part of second phase of expansion in connection with 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji, Vivekanandar Illam is now having digital screening on Indian culture, thoughts of swami Vivekananda, swami Vivekananda teachings, etc. Ramakrishna mission undertakes various charity works. Meditation classes, Yoga classes, computer classes, etc, are conducted here.

Other Names of Vivekanandar House or Illam

Vivekanandar Illam or Vivekanandar House was earlier known as “Ice House” (because the building was used for Ice business to store Ice blocks from Great Lakes in North America by the British) and “Castle Kernan” (named after Justice Kernan, of Madras High Court).

Swami Ramakrishnananda and Swami Vivekananda, Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Swami Ramakrishnananda was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and later on took charge of his Ashram after Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa‘s death in 1886. Swami Vivekananda (alias Narendranath, his original name), was also a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Swami Ramakrishnananda preached the messages of Both Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa & Swami Vivekananda for 14 years. Swami Ramakrishnananda breathed his last in 1911.

How Do I Go to Vivekanandar Illam?

Vivekanandar House or Illam (Tamil word for house) is situated on the Kamarajar Salai, on the Marina Beach front and is easily accessible by public transport, hired cabs, etc. Nearest MRTS railway station is Chepak station. MRTS is the ‘Mass Rapid Transport Service’ or the suburban train service in Chennai city.

Hussain Sagar Lake, Goutam Buddha Statue, Heart of the World

Hussain Sagar Lake is a 5.7 square kilometer lake, which separates the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. A 18-meter high white granite monolithic statue of Gautama Buddha, weighing 350 tons was installed on the Gibraltar Rock in the middle of the Lake in 1992.

Gautama Buddha statue in Hussain Sagar Lake
Gautama Buddha statue in Hussain Sagar Lake.

Hussain Sagar Lake was built in 1563 by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. ruler of the kingdom of Golconda from 1550 to 1580. The lake was designed by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali and hence got its name. The lake gets its waters through a canal from river Musi.

UNWTO, World Tourism Organization, has declared this heritage lake as the ‘Heart of the World’ in 2012 on the occasion of the World Tourism day. UNWTO described the lake as “World’s largest heart mark, the world’s wonderful heart mark & the world’s heritage heart mark”. (Please click the link in the fist sentence of this para, to see the declaration.)

Birla Mandir at Hyderabad near Hussain Sagar Lake
Birla Mandir at Hyderabad near Hussain Sagar Lake.

The Tank Bund road along the shores of the lake is a major tourist spot with many landmarks like Birla Mandir, Lumbini Park, Sanjeevaiah Park, NTR Gardens, Tomb of Saidani Maa Sahebaa, Patton Tank (one among the war trophies of India ), etc.

World’s Tallest Monolith Statue of Gautam Buddha

World’s tallest monolith statue of Lord Buddha is inside the lake on the Hussain Sagar Island. Hussain sagar buddha statue accident, in which 10 people were killed, happened during transportation of the statue of Gautam Buddha to Gibraltar Rock in the island. The Goutam Buddha statue which fell into the lake. Bhagwan Buddha statue was salvaged after 2 years and was erected on a concrete platform measuring 15 feet in Hussain Sagar Island inside the lake. There are boat services to the the lake, to see this magnificent Statue of siddhartha buddha or Bhagwan Buddha or Lord Buddha. Boat ride takes around 15 minutes.

Yacht Club of Hyderabad

The Yacht Club is situated inside Sanjeevaiah Park, located north of the lake. The yacht club gives sailing and Kayaking training to youths. Sailing Boat and Sailing Gear of different types like Kayak, Lasers, Optimists (for children), Omegas, etc. are there in the Yacht Club of Hyderabad. The club has its own safety & rescue vessels.

How Do I Go to Hussain Sagar Lake?

The Lake is situated at the heart of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Hyderabad and Secunderabad railway stations are the nearest major railway stations to the lake. Hyderabad International airport is the nearest airport to the Lake. Ramoji Filmcity is at a distance of around 32 kilometers from this Lake.

Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is a Tiger reserve in Kanyakumari & Tirunelveli Districts of Tamilnadu, India. Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary and Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary were combined to form Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve in 1988. Agasthiyamalai, the core area of the Tiger reserve, has been proposed as a national park.

Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve to save  Bengal Tigers
Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is a ‘Project Tiger Reserve’ to save Bengal Tigers.

Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is rich in flora and fauna. 14 rivers and streams originate from these areas. Catchment areas of seven major dams are fed by the forests of this Tiger reserve. Agasthiyamalai forests of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserves is considered as one of the five centers of biodiversity in India. Around 150 endemic plant species are found here. 273 bird species, 81 reptile species and 77 mammal species are also there in this Tiger Reserve. Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve office is at Papanasam. PIN code of Papanasam is 627551.

Sengaltheri forest, near Kalakkad village in Tirunelveli district is famous for its natural beauty. Sengaltheri forest is part of the Kalakkad Wildlife sanctuary and is gaining popularity among trekking community. You need to get permission from the forest office check post at Kalakkad, by buying the entry tickets from there. This Tiger reserve is the second largest protected area in the state of Tamil Nadu after Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary.

How Do I Go to Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve?

Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve is at a distance of 45 kilometers west of Tirunelveli Town. Tirunelveli Railway station is the nearest major railway station.

Thoothukudi airport (or Tuticorin airport) is the nearest airport to the Tiger reserve. Madurai airport is a nearby comparatively major airport. Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai are the nearest major International airports to Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve, which are well connected to the rest of the world.

Birla Mandir, Birla Family Tree

Birla Mandirs are a group of temples constructed by the Birla family (Birlas) across India. Birla Mandirs exists at New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Kolkata, Kurushetra , Shahad, Bhopal, BITS Pilani,Jaipur, Patna, Akola, Varanasi (2 Birla Mandirs at Varanasi), Renukoot, Nagda, Brajrajnagar, Gaalior and Alibaug,

Birla Mandir construction is still going on at some places and the family believes in continuing the work.

Birla Mandirs at Delhi and Bhopal

Laxminarayan Temple alias Birla Mandir at New Delhi
Laxminarayan Temple alias Birla Mandir at New Delhi, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939

Birla Mandir at Bhopal
Birla Mandir at Bhopal

Birla Mandirs at Delhi and Bhopal were constructed to fill a void. i.e These cities had no big temples. Delhi temple confirms to Nagara style of architecture, even though it was built using modern technology.

Architecture of Birla Mandirs Other Than Delhi and Bhopal

Most of the other Birla temples are built using marble or sandstone, in either Chandela Style of Architecture or Solanki Style of Architecture, both of which existed in the 10th-12th centuries.

Birla Mandir at BITS Pilani

Birla Mandir at BITS Pilani campus is made of white marble and is a replica of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at Khajuraho. Gwalior Birla Mandir is a replica of the Konark Sun Temple.

Birla Group of Companies

Birla Mandirs across India are from Birla Family, who owns the Birla Group of companies. Birla family group is one of the leading business groups in India. Birla family members are the descendants of Seth Shobharam. Birlas belong to Pilani, a town in Rajasthan and are Marwari community, a community known for its business skills across India.

Birla Family Tree

Kumar Mangalam Birla, a fourth generation member of the Birla business family, currently heads the business after the demise of his father Aditya Vikram Birla in 1995. Aditya Vikram Birla is the son of Basant Kumar Birla ( Basant Kumar Birla is the grandfather of the current group head, Kumar Mangalam Birla and is currently the chairman of BITS Pilani) and grandson of Ghanshyam Das Birla. Ghanshyam Das Birla is the son of Baldeo Das Birla and grandson of Shiv Narayana Birla. Shiv Narayan Birla is the son of Seth Shobharam and grandson of Seth Bhudharmal.

Ramoji Film City, Worlds Largest Film Studio

Ramoji Film City is the Largest Integrated Film City spread over 1666 acres of Land on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India. Guinness Record for the worlds largest film studio is in the name of Ramoji Film City.
Ramoji Film City Entrance
Ramoji Film City Entrance

Ramoji Film City is famous among the tourists to Hyderabad. There are a lot of attractions including an amusement park inside the film city at Hyderabad.

There are different Ramoji film city tour package. Ramoji film city timings are from 9 am to 5.30 pm for most of the packages and up to 7 pm for certain package tours. Ramoji film city ticket price depends on the package you select. General Day Tour package costs INR 1000 for an adult and INR 900 for a Child, as on the date of writing. The prices are subject to change and you can get the updated Ramoji film city ticket price details from the website link given at the beginning of this paragraph. You can also book tickets online at the film city website.

Ramoji film city tour package may take you to the film shooting locations inside the film studio. You may come across Indian film stalwarts like Amitabh Batchen, Salman Khan, Sharukh Knan, Kabali Rajnikanth or his son-in-law and actor Dhanush, Kamal Hassan, Ajay Devgn, Kangana Ranaut, Vidya Balan, Chiranjeevi, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Mamooty, Mohanlal, etc, to name a few.

How Do I Go to Ramoji Film City?

Ramoji City is at Anaspur Village, on the Outer Ring Road (Phase 2). Hyderabad Film city is at a distance of 25 kilometers from Hyderabad city, via NH 65.

What About Accommodation Inside Ramoji Film City?

There is a Luxury hotel, Economy hotel and even group sharing accommodation available inside this Largest Integrated Film city in the World. Sitara hotel is a luxury hotel , whereas Tara hotel Ramoji is an Economy hotel. Vasundhara Villa is best suited for group travelers like Friends & Family. Shantiniketan is for those looking out for Economic accommodation inside the premises of the film city. strong>Sahara is an air-conditioned sharing accommodation with 12 beds in one room, mainly for the budget conscious group travelers and families. Individuals can go for a single bed accommodation at Sahara for low rates. Few good quality restaurants are also there inside the Ramoji Film City.

Kali Tiger Reserve, White Water River Rafting

Kali Tiger Reserve or Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve is in Uttara Kannada district, Karataka state, India. Kali River flows through Kali Tiger reserve and hence got its name. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary was formed in 1956. Anshi National Park was formed in 1987, to the west of the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. Final notification of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park was made in 1998 and 2003 respectively. In 2007, both were combined to form Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve or Kali Tiger Reserve as it is popularly called.

Kali Tiger Reserve or Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve
Kali Tiger Reserve or Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve

The park is rich in Flora and Fauna. Spread over an area of 1300 square kilometers, Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve is home to Bangal Tigers, Indian elephants, black panthers, Golden cat, Leopard cat, Leopard, Black Panther, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Elephant, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Lories, Langoor, Indian Giant Squirrel, Pangolin, etc. There are a total of 270 bird species, out of which 19 endemic birds exists here.

Kali tiger reserve is a “Project Tiger reserve” in India, a project by Indian government to save Bangal tigers.

Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve is famous for bird watching, white water river rafting, trekking, nature camps and Wilderness. White water rafting adventures are unique in India to Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve. Kavala Cave Kavaleshwar Temple is another attraction here in the Tiger Reserve forests.

How Do I Go To Kali Tiger Reserve?

Kali Tiger Reserve is accessible from Dandeli town. Alnavar is the nearest railway station to Dandeli town at around 32 kilometers away. Londa, , Dharwar and Hubli are other major nearby railway stations to Kali Tiger Reserve.

Karwar city, district headquarters, is at a distance of around 105 kilometers. Karwar railway station is on the Konkan railway line. Hubli Airport is the nearest airport to Kali Project Tiger reserve at 78 kilometers away.