I had an exciting opportunity to visit Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park last week after a few days of work related travel. My oh my, nothing could have prepared me for what i saw and experienced!! Many photographers have talked about their experiences with the great temple, but what is the old saying about a picture again? 🙂
On a side note, i just have to say that i had an amazing guide – Kamsan Sreng – i took the 1 Day Tour Package which worked very well for me as i traveled solo. We visited Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom & Banteay Srei. His energy and dedication to the job is second to none and his passion about his country’s history and culture is just wonderful. “San” as he likes to call himself, made it a superb private tour!! Being an Indian, i had a lot of fun discussing our common mythology and history! Kamsan can be reached here.
Click on images to enlarge!
Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom and Banteay Srei photos to follow very soon 😉
As promised in my previous post, here is one of (hopefully) several photo posts on the historical temples/places in and around Tamil Nadu. I don’t know if i can cover one place every week, but i hope to cover as much as possible in the coming months!
The temple in the pictures above is the Parthasarathy Temple in the Triplicane area in Chennai. The temple is a Hindu Vaishnavite temple and was built-in the 8th century (!!) by the Pallavas especially the Pallava King Narasimhavarman I (630 AD – 668 AD), who also completed the work in Mahabalipuram started by his father Mahendravarman. The temple was later developed/expanded by the Chola kings and Vijayanagara kings over the next 700 years.
Fun facts about the King:
Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is named after Narasimhavarman who was also called as Mamallan (great wrestler)
Narasimhavarman was a devotee of Shiva! (how about that huh? Shiva devotee building a Vishnu temple, hehe)
Hieun Tsang, the Chinese traveller visited Kanchipuram (Pallava capital) during his reign.
Coming back to the temple, the name Parthasarathy means ‘Charioteer of Arjuna’, which is not surprising as the main deity of the temple is shown to have battle scars, but sans weapons (as Krishna was the Charioteer of Arjuna during Mahabharatha and did not take up arms in the war). The other interesting aspect is that the temple houses 5 forms of Vishnu – Narasimhar, Ramar, Ranganathar, Varadarajar and ofcourse Krishna. Though the temple has been preserved using modern techniques, it still possesses the old world charm with its detailed carvings, many inscriptions of Pallava/Chola Kings and the overall architecture in itself. (Oh the temple is also ISO 9001:2008 certified!)
It is in the heart of my city, close to the Marina Beach and has stood the test of time since the foundation stone was laid. To walk in the corridors as many great Kings did, to pray in the sanctum sanctorum as many great saints did… that is just something else!
I recently realised that there are many interesting places to visit in my backyard, when otherwise i would be thinking about which cities/countries i should potentially travel to during my vacation. In that spirit, my goal in the years to come is to visit and experience the grandeur of the thousands of ancient temples/places in and around Tamil Nadu (well not all of them!)
To kickstart this ambitious goal, i present to you Adi Kesavaperumal Temple in Sri Perumbudur, Tamil Nadu (40km+ from Chennai). This temple is supposedly more than 500 years old and Sri Perumbudur is the birth place of Saint Ramanuja Acharya, an important proponent of the Vaishnavism movement in South India. He is also one of the presiding deities of the temple and the temple by itself holds great value to those who are aware of its history.
More about the Saint, he was born in 1017 CE and lived for 120 years! According to legend, it is said that he transferred his powers (no not Lord Voldemort style) to 3 idols made in his image, one of which is the vigraha in this temple. Among the many beliefs attached to the temple is the ability to cure skin related ailments and persistent health issues (faith is key ofcourse!)
You can read more about the temple’s Sthala Puranam (History) here.
Interesting right? I for one, am looking forward to the other fabulous places in Tamil Nadu that are probably the last surviving links to our ancient and glorious past!