Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vishu at Cherunniyoor!

We had our vishu celebrations in my native palce at cherunniyor, varkala. For you, I am just introducing this festival- this is celebrated extensively in the state of Kerala in South India. The festival marks the first day of Malayalam Year and falls in the month of Medam(April – May). Vishu follows the sidereal vernal equinox and generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian year. This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac - Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as per Indian astrological calculations. The word "Vishu" in Sanskrit means "equal". Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days. Vishu is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala and thus the importance of this day to all Malayalees. The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukkani. The offerings consist of a ritual arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed the previous night.
For us, kids, the most part is the vishukkaineettam and the vishukani. Vishukkaineetam is the money given by the elders to the kids. On the day of Vishu, the custom is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first sight of the new season but my Vishukani was my father and then only I saw the traditional Vishukani. All these years, I have been seeing the vishu kani in the home in my native place . It is really a wonderful experience. We went to the Varkala Janardhanswamy Temple. Also, we had sometime in the Papanasham Beach. During Vishu, its also celebration time for the media nd channels. They are trying their best to keep the viewers in front of the Television. Very interesting vishu related programmes and new films are broadcasted on this day. I, myself saw two films. Then it was time for us to go home. Most Probably, next trip will be to the Poovar Beach, then again to Cherunniyoor. By the way, I forgot to remind you that I have passed the exams. Hurray!

Friday, April 10, 2009

A visit to The Padmanabhapuram Palace

Atlast managed for a small trip with family...

We had a great time to Kanyakumari.

In Padmanabhapuram Palace...
We visited The Padmanabhapuram Palace in the capital of the historical country of Travancore. It is almost 450 years old. Its beautiful and extraordinary architecture with simplicity is the reason for its fame. It is difficult to express its beauty in words. It is a must-see place for tourists. The Dance Hall is the most beautiful in there. It clearly shows us the customs practices early in South India and Kerala's unique style of architecture. Another attraction is its glazing floor. It is made of natural ingredients which is not well known now. It remains as a unbreakable secret because those generations are gone now. There is also a museum showing the various archeological imprints, paintions, statues, early weapons and guns used by the Dutch. One who is visiting there will never forget their experience in this astonishing palace.

Exploring the divine wonders; in Suchindram Temple..

The next place we visited is the Suchindram Temple. It is the best example of Tamil architecture. Actually, a temple of wonders. The beautiful rock carvings is the most noticing. Most places in there is built in a single rock. This is a temple dedicated to a deity who is the representation of the combined forces of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. It is one of the few temples in the country where the Trinities are worshipped. The temple has a beautiful gopuram, musical pillars and an excellent statue of the Hanuman, apart from a valuable collection of art from different periods.

Visiting the Famous Vivekananda Rock...

At around 2 past noon, we visited the Vivekananda Rock. Most of us were a little afraid to boat in sea-water as the rock is situated only after a small distance from the coastof Kanyakumari. This memorial stands on one of two rocks separated by about some meters. It was built in 1970. This memorial is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, the greatest social reformer. Swamy Vivekananda was supposed to have meditated on the rock where the memorial stands today. A meditation hall is also attached with the memorial. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda. The divine foot print 'Pada Parai' of Devi is also seen here. Actually, we feel like flying in there. The seabreeze is breathtakingly strong. For me, that is the most wonderful experience.

Enjoying Beauty of Sea and... Statue!

The minor rock adjoining the Vivekananda rock memorial lies a Statue of Saint Thiruvalluvar, the author who gave us quintessential words of wisdom through his philosophical work 'Thirukkural', a treatise in Tamil on the Indian way of life. The statue, standing amid the dancing blue waves, creates a lasting impression as it rises high over the rock. We can stand more higher than on the Vivekananda Rock, that means, wind more than imagination.
However, we missed to visit the Gandhi Mandapam. It is said to have the urn containing the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept for public view before a portion of its contents was immersed in the three seas. According to my knowledge, it resembles an Oriyan temple and was designed so that on Gandhiji's birthday (2nd October), the sun's rays fall on the place where his ashes were kept .

Kanyakumari is still beautiful after the horror and destruction caused by the Tsunami in Dec 2005. The Tamilnadu government is trying its best to bring the monuments back as it was before the tsunami. But, now everything seems to be untouched by destruction and are having a peaceful existence. There was also my cousins and relatives with us, so the trip was just wonderful and enjoyed fully. The only thing is that we were not able to enjoy the beach. So, we decided for a trip to Poovar after Vishu. I am going to my native place after some days...