Photo Gallery of India - India through the lens
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Waterfalls, close to verdant woods,perched atop tall mountains, relatively free from bustling crowds, will surely exhilarate you with its high negative ions and the natural fragrance of the myriad trees.
Chalakudi,a small town near Trichur, less than 100 km from Palakhad in Kerala,is famous for its religious (divine) center in Murignoor, where weekly retreats are held by the charismatic prayer group (Roman Catholic ). You cross into the mountainous Idukki region, about 35 km from this town, where you come to Athiraipalli falls.
Coimbatore, which is popularly called as Kovai, and Textile city amongst other names, is an affluent city, credited to be the Manchester of India, for its temperate climate and its industrial ambience. Coimbatore :410 m above msl \1345 ft above mean sea level. Average Rainfall: about 60 cms.Distances from Cities: About 500 kms from Madras. About 98 Kms from Ootacamund.
Nestling at the foot of the sylvan Nilgiris, a part of Western Ghat mountain range, is fortunate to have many picturesque tourist spots like Ooty, Siruvani, Athiraipalli falls, Kodiveri, Topslip and plenty of nearby dams to nourish the entire southern plains.Its industrious, multi-linguistic, and vibrant population is probably the reason behind the city 's overall affluence.
The name Kovai is derived from the name of an ancient tribal chief - Kovan. Besides, a clearly defined region comprising parts of the present Coimbatore and adjoining regions were called as kongu nadu.
This little town, once a part of the great Chola kingdom has the name of a Chola king "Karikal Valavan " who had constructed Kallanai (a dam constructed out of rocks and mud) near Thanjavur, the ancient capital of the Chola kingdom.
South India was divided into small regions and ruled by Chola,Chera and Pandian kings in the past. Chera kings ruled over parts of western Tamilnadu and Kerala whilst the Pandians ruled over the southern Tamilnadu, centered around Madurai.
Karikal along with Mahe, Yenam and Pondicherry formed the French territories during the colonial times. This picture shows the Karikal Church which had all the materials imported from France except the stones.
The idols and the stained glass,not to mention the unique bells which peal at different timbre one after the other,all portray their origin and time. This predominantly agricultural town, has found new vigour in turning towards Industrialization with predictable consequence.
The main reason why we chose this part of the eastern coast of India for part of our photo gallery is this coastal plains nurtured,nourished and was home to a magnificent ancient Tamil civilization which spread its routes across the south India which had trade links with the Greeks and the Romans long before Christ.
One of the tributaries of the river Kaveri is Arasalaru,which nourishes this fertile region. Ancient lore states that one of the 63 Nayanmars,who sang paeans to the Shiva Deity, Karikal Ammayar lived in this town ages ago,before she was transformed into her skeletal remains to reach the abode of Shiva for eventual salvation.
This event is still celebrated as "Mangani festival " (Mango festival ) every year during the month of July. This colourful event is always marked by much pomp and pageantry. Be that as it may, you will find several old temples in this district. Nearby in Porayar, a temple has been dedicated to Sanisvaran ( PlanetSaturn) which attracts thousands of devotees from all over India.
Later with the arrival of several European powers, this region became the hotbed of intense rivalry amongst the colonial powers. The Dutch who arrived first built a fort against the marauding foes,near Tranquebar,only a few km away from Karikal.
As you can see in the inset, this fort was originally built by cve.Cepde, a commander in the Royal Danish navy in 1620. It is a pleasant surprise to see that this fort is mostly intact despite the onslaught of the elements.
You will see that what once housed the brave soldiers of the Europeans, now provides shelter to the local shepherds from the glaring sun.Eventually the French dominated the place and caused integration of French/European traditions,customs and values with the native region. Most of the street names still cling on to the French names and even corporation schools teach French as the first language.
This small village near Nagapattinum,an old port town not far from where we started - Karikal, boasts of a Basilica. This shrine is in honour of our Lady of Health and was built originally hundreds of years ago.
The flag mast was taken from a Portuguese ship which came close to floundering in a storm ( of which Bay of Bengal has got plenty,especially during the torrential monsoon period ),yet was saved by the intervention of our Lady of Health.
The grateful captain and the crew built a small church at the place of their landing and erected the flag mast and installed their shrine.
Long after the pious pilgrims from afar left this shore,the locals too benefited from the graces showered from heaven which resulted in the expansion of the little church to this vast pilgrimage shrine of today, over a period of several years.This church offers prayers in all the tongues of India, apart from English.
Originally the ancient power center of the Chola kingdom, Tanjore remains the district headquarters for a vast fertile territory, appropriately known as the granary of the South India.
Brahadeswarer's Temple or more popularly called as the Big temple in Tanjore (Thanjavur)is a classical example of the magnificent architecture of the Chola kingdom. It is the grandest creation of king Raja Raja Chola I (985-1012 AD). It was consecrated on the 275th day of the 25th year of the King's reign (1010 AD).
The top dome - Sikara or Vimana at a height of 63.40 meter (and the basal slab) weighs about 80 tons and is octagonal in shape. This structure is called as the Dakshinameru (rock of the south).
It is said that the shadows of this imposing dome never casts on the ground at any point of time. Architecturally, this temple is one of the ambitious temple structures of India.
The vacant inner courtyard before the edifice measures 241x122 meters and is surrounded by a cloister wall punctuated by two large medieval temple style Gopuram structures (as the one pictured left below the Big temple).
A colossal monolith calf - Nandhi can also be seen on its own platform in this temple. Inscriptions in granthic Tamil found almost everywhere in this temple refer to the noble deeds and organizational events of the Chola dynasty.
It is a pity that the Chola kings who could build temples and dams to last for several centuries did not leave behind their palaces. We could see only the remnants of forts and palaces of the comparatively recent Saraboji king.