Sunday, 6 May 2012

Jagannatha Gutta Temple, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

Jagannatha Gutta Temple is a very old temple of Lord Shiva on top of a Hill called Jagannatha Gutta. It is about 3 km on the outskirts of Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India towards Anantapur High way.

Gnana Saraswati Temple, Basar, Andhra Pradesh

Gnana Saraswati Temple is a Hindu temple of Goddess Saraswati located on the banks of Godavari River at Basar, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the two famous Saraswati temples in India, the other being in Jammu & Kashmir. Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of knowledge and learning. Children are brought to the temple for the learning ceremony called as Akshara abyasam. 

Basar is a census town in the Adilabad district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is about 30 km (19 mi) from Bhainsa, 50 km (31 mi) from Nizamabad, 70 km (43 mi) from Nirmal, and 205 km (127 mi) from Hyderabad.

According to legend, Maharishi Vyasa and his disciples and sage Śuka decided to settle down in a cool and serene atmosphere after the Kurukshetra War. In the quest for a peaceful abode, he came to Dandaka forest and, pleased with serenity of the region, selected this place. After his ablutions in the Godavari, Maharishi Vyasa used to bring three fistful of sand and place it in three small heaps and made images of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali with his mystic power and later conducted prayers. This idol made of sand has its face smeared with turmeric. Eating a little bit of this turmeric paste, it is believed, will enhance one's wisdom and knowledge. Since Maharishi Vyasa spent considerable time in prayers, the place was then called "Vasara" and turned into Basara due to the influence of the Marathi language in the region. 

Bhimesvara Swamy Temple/Draksharama, Andhra Pradesh

Draksharama is a temple in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh in South India. 

The Siva deity is known as Bhimesvara Swamy. The temple is situated on the eastern bank of Godavari River. The consort of Lord Bhimesvara is Manikyamba. According to local belief the Siva linga at the temple was installed and established by the god Surya. Maha Shivaratri, Devi Navaratrulu, Karthika Masam, and Dhanurmasam are the main festivals celebrated at this temple. 

According to local legend, the temple was built by angels in one night. The construction of the perimeter wall could not be completed before sunrise and still stands incomplete. Several attempts have been made to construct the uncompleted part of the wall but all those efforts have failed with the constructed wall collapsing within a few months. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Devipuram Temples, Vizag, Andhra Pradesh

Devipuram is a Hindu temple complex located near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Belonging primarily to the Shakta school of Hinduism, it is dedicated to the goddess Sahasrakshi (lit., "she who has a thousand [infinite] eyes", a form of Lalita Tripurasundari or Parvati), and her consort Kameshwara (a form of Shiva).

Devipuram's primary focus is the Sahasrakshi Meru Temple, a unique three-story structure built in the shape of a Sri Meru Yantra; i.e., a three-dimensional projection of the sacred Hindu diagram known as Sri Chakra, which is central to Srividya upasana (an ancient and intricate form of Tantric Shakta worship). Measuring 108 feet (33 m) square at its base and rising 54 feet (16 m) high, the temple has become an increasingly popular pilgrimage destination over the past decade. Two other shrines, the Kamakhya Peetham and Sivalayam, are located on hills adjacent to the main temple. 

The sanctum sanctorum of the Sahasrakshi Meru Temple is reached by circumambulating inward and upward, past more than 100 life-sized murthis of various shaktis or yoginis (deities expressing essential aspects of the Devi) who are, in Srividya cosmology, said to inhabit and energize the Sri Chakra. Their exact locations are "mapped" in an elaborate ritual called the Navavarana Puja ("Worship of the Nine Enclosures"), which was in turn condensed into a mantric composition called the Sri Devi Khadgamala Stotram ("Hymn to the Auspicious Goddess's Garland of Swords"), forming the basis of the temple's layout. 

Visa Balaji Temple, Chilkur, Andhra Pradesh

Visa Balaji Temple or Visa God is an ancient Hindu temple of Lord Balaji on the banks of Osman Sagar Lake near Hyderabad, India. It is 33 km from Mehedipatnam. It is one of the oldest temples in the Telangana region built during the time of Madanna and Akkanna, the uncles of Bhakta Ramadas the shrine is instrumental for the temple's popularity as Visa God. 

It is also the only temple in India that does not accept any money, does not have a hundi, from the devotees, no green channel or privileges for VVIPs, and it fought and won the right to stay out of government control except for the temple "Ramanuj Kot", a temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

From the style, structure and appearance, it can be inferred that the temple was built half a millennium ago. Set in sylvan surroundings, Chilkur Balaji Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every year and is an ideal place for sequestered retreat and meditation. It enjoyed in the past, great days of pomp and glory. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Gangamma Temple, Boyakonda

Gangamma is the incarnation of Shakti. Located at Chowdepalli, Chittoor District, near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, her temple is dedicated to the sister of Venkateswara.

Centuries ago the tribals Boyas and Yelikas lived in the forest area around the hillock. They stood up and resented the repressive and automatic rule of the Nawabs. They retaliated against the Muslim soldiers and chased them. The Golconda Nawab rushed additional troops to crush the revolt. Boya tribals could not withstand the onslaught of the Muslim army and fled into the forest and prostrated near the hillock and prayed Almighty to save them. The spirit of the Goddess Shakti descended from the hillock, shielded the tribals and crushed the Nawab's army. Local people say that the Shakti has tied the heads of soldiers to banyan tree branches. 

Bhadrakali Temple, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh

Bhadrakali Temple in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh is known to be one of the oldest temples for Goddess Bhadrakali in India. This temple is located on the banks of the Bhadrakali lake, a picturesque location between Hanamkonda and Warangal. This temple is believed to be constructed by the King Pulakesi II of Chalukya dynasty around 625 A.D to commemorate his victory over Vengi region of Andhra Desham. This can be observed from the square pillars used in the temple structure which were different from the circular pillars commonly used in temples constructed by Kakatiyas. 

The Kakatiya kings of "Orugallu empire" which is the present Warangal city have adopted Goddess Bhadrakali as their "Kula Devatha" giving her preference over other gods. The lake was built later by Ganapathi Deva, a minister in Kakatiya Dynasty. A road leading to the temple was also added during that period. 

Due to the fall of Kakatiya Dynasty to the Muslim ruler of Delhi Ala-ud-din Khilji, his general Malik Kafur and later to Ghias-ud-Din Tughlak, and during the rule of Bahamani Sultans and Golkonda rulers, the temple lost its prominence over the period and the place has become dilapidated.

Before the temple was renovated in 1950 there were Animal Sacrifices at the temple (an old custom at Kali temples in India). This practice was stopped from 1950 onwards after the renovation of the temple. During the renovation, Chandi yantra was installed in the temple and amrutha beejaksharas (holy shlokas) were written on the deity's hanging tongue and modified the deity's fierce looking eyes and tongue to a pleasant looking face. Since then everyday poojas, Sharannavaratras, Vasantha navarathras are being conducted regularly as per the Vedic rites. 

Bhadrachalam Temple, Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh

Lord Sree Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Badrachalam is a Hindu temple of Lord Rama located in Andhra Pradesh, India. The area is called as Bhadrachalam and is the venue of grand celebrations on Rama Navami day, when the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and his consort Sita takes place with much fanfare.

The temple in Bhadrachalam is closely connected with the life of the 17th century saint composer Kancharla Gopanna who was known as Bhakta Ramadas. Gopanna was the Tahasildar of Bhadrachalam (second half of the 17th century), is said to have used money from the government treasury to build this temple, and was imprisoned in a dungeon at Golconda. Lord Rama is said to have miraculously given the Sultan the money spent by Gopanna, after which he was released. Gopanna then became Bhadrachala Ramadasa and went on to compose innumerable number of songs in Telugu in praise of Rama. 

Bhadrachalam and Vijayanagara are sites said to have been closely associated with the Ramayana. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are said to have stayed at Parnasala, 35 km away from Bhadrachalam. Rama is said to have crossed the river Godavari on his way to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita, at the spot where the Bhadrachalam temple stands, on the northern bank of the river. Legend has it that the son of Meru and Menaka, Bhadra, performed penances towards Rama here. Kabirdas, a Muslim by birth is also closely associated with this temple. It is believed that the images of the deities miraculously disappeared when Kabir was refused entry into the temple and that they reappeared miraculously upon his being permitted to enter. 

Ayappaswami Temple, Sabarimala, Kerala

Sabarimala is believed to be the place where the Hindu God Ayyappan meditated after killing the powerful demoness, Mahishi. Ayyappan's temple is situated here amidst 18 hills. The temple is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 468 m (1535 ft) above mean sea level, and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. Temples exist in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional and intact temples exist at many places in the surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala, remnants of old temples survive to this day on remaining hills. 

Sabarimala is linked to Hindu pilgrimage, predominantly for men of all ages. Women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not allowed to enter the temple, since the story attributed to Ayyappa prohibits the entry of the women in the menstrual age group. This is because Ayyappan is a Bramachari (Celibate). The temple is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja (approximately November 15 to December 26), Makaravilakku (January 14- "Makara Sankranti") and Vishu (April 14), and the first six days of each Malayalam month.

The devotees are expected to follow a vratham (41-day penance) prior to the pilgrimage. This begins with wearing of a special Mala (a garland made of Rudraksha or Tulasi beads). In general from then they are to refrain from non-vegetarian food of any kind (except dairy) alcohol, and tobacco, engaging in sex, using foul language, hair-cuts and shaving. They are expected to bath twice and visit the local temples regularly and only wear plain black, blue or saffron coloured traditional clothing. The visit to Sabarimala is thought for settling the shani-dasha to make the planet give better life and lifespan. This is according to astrological principles of controlling shani-dosha. 

Hundreds of devotees still follow the traditional mountainous forest path (approximately 52 km) from Erumely, believed to be taken by Ayyappa himself. The part starts from Erumely to Aludha river, then crosses the Aludha mountain to reach Karivilam thodu. Now comes the sacred Karimala crossing, from there to Cheriyanavattom, Valliyanavattom and finally Pamba River. Then have claim neeleemala and we enter into the ganesh bettam, shreeram betta padam. Aranmula kottaram is one of the halt place of holy journey 'thiruvabharana khosayatra'. But many people use vehicular traffic which can go till the Holy Pamba River by an alternate road. Thereafter, all the pilgrims have to follow a mountainous forest trekking path approximately nine kilometers up a steep hill (Neeli Mala) to Sabarimala. This path, now developed, with shops and medical aid by the sides, used to be a mere trail through dense forest.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ashtalakshmi Temple, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Ashtalakshmi Temple is a popular Hindu temple of Goddesses Ashtalakshmi in Hyderabad, India. This magnificent temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi stands distinctly on the outskirts of the city. Amidst the varied Islamic architectural monuments in the area, this temple has a different style — a touch of south Indian architecture. 

Among the Hindu pantheon, the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, finds a special place in the hearts of the people for she brings prosperity and happiness as well as salvation. But very few temples have Goddess Lakshmi in her eight splendorous forms.

Built under the auspices of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the temple was consecrated in April 1996. It is one of its kind in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This temple is located between Dilsukh Nagar and LB Nagar, Alkapuri near Kothapet.

Ardhagiri Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple, Andhra Pradesh

Ardhagiri Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple is located one and a half km. up of the hill in Aragonda village, Chittor District, Andhra Pradesh, 15 km away from Kanipakam.

According to legend, during Tretayuga, Hanuman brought Sanjeeva Parvatham in order to save Lakshmana during a war when Lakshmana fell unconscious. During the journey, half of Sanjeeva Parvatham fell, and the place where it landed came is known as Aragonda. Aragonda, initially is called as Arakonda (In Telugu language, "Ara" (sounds A'raw)means 'Half' and "Konda" (sounds Kon'Da) means Hill or Mountain).

With the time, the people changed their way of pronouncing this word "Arakonda" as "Aragonda" which is now the name of the village under this hill. This hill is famous with name "Ardhagiri" (Ardha means Half and Ge'ree means mountain). In Ardhagiri, it is believed that Sanjeevaraya Pushkarini (pond containing the holy water) never gets dried nor spoiled, even when kept for long periods of time. When devotees drink this theerham (or holy water) from the Sanjeevaraya Pushkarini, all types of diseases are getting cured. 

Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh

Arasavalli is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the sun god Surya, located near the Srikakulam town of Andhra Pradesh, India. The original name Harshavalli means abode of joy.

The temple is believed to have been built in the 7th Century AD by the Kalinga rulers Devendra Varma of Orissa. 

Arasavalli is home to an ancient temple to the Sun (Suryanarayana) - said to have been built originally by the Kalinga rulers of Orissa around the 7th century CE. Arasavalli is located at Srikakulam near Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.. Also near Srikakulam are the Mukhalingam temples built in the Orissa temple idiom, and Sree Kurmam bearing a shrine to Vishnu depicting his Kurma avataram. 

Legend has it that Indra the king of Gods attempted to force his entry into the temple of Koteeshwara - Shiva and was thrown away by the gatekeeper Nandi. Repentful of his arrogance in attempting to force his entry, Indra enshrined Surya the Sun God in a temple and performed worship services, at Arasavalli. 

Annavaram, Andhra Pradesh

Annavaram is a village situated on the banks of the Pamba River in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh state in India. The most distinctive feature of Annavaram is the shrine to Lord Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy situated upon the Ratnagiri Hills. The land of the Annavaram is considered to belong to both Lord Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami Temple and Goddess Anantalaxmi Satyavathi Ammavaru. 

National Highway (NH)-5 passes via Annavaram. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) operates regular bus services from Kakinada to Tuni, Rajahmundry to Tuni, and Yele-swaram to Tuni via Annavaram. Important trains of the South Central Railways (SCR) passing through are the Vijayawada-Vishakapatnam Ratnachal superfast express, the Chennai-Howrah Mail, Kolkata-Chennai halt at Annavaram, which is the nearest railway station within about 2 miles of the temple. The temple, situated on the hill top is about four furlongs (almost a kilometer) away from its base. It can be reached either by steps covered with canopy, via Ghat road, or trekked via a stone path. 

Amararama, Andhra Pradesh

Amararama is one of the Pancharama Kshetras which is located at Amaravati town near Guntur City in Andhra Pradesh in South India. Lord Shiva is known as Amareswara Swamy or Amaralingeswara Swamy here. The temple is situated on the southern bank of Krishna River. The consort of Lord Amareswara Swamy is Bala Chamundika. The Sivalinga at this place is installed and established by Lord Indra.

The Sivalinga here is very tall that the archakas mount a pedestal platform, and perform the daily rituals as well as Abhisheka. The top of the Linga has a red stain on it. It is said that Sivalinga was growing up in size and to stop its growth, a nail has been hit onto the top of the Sivalinga. When the nail dug into the Linga, blood started to ooze from the Sivalinga itseems. The stain can be seen even today.

Ahobilam, Andhra Pradesh

Ahobilam is located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located at a distance of 40 km from Nandyal and about 150 km from Kurnool, the district headquarters. There are two temple houses, lower Ahobilam and upper Ahobilam.

It is a major pilgrimage site in South India, is one of the 108 Vaishnava Divyadesams and known in Tamil as Thiru Singavel Kundram. According to the legend, this is where Lord Narasimha blessed Prahlada and killed the demon Hiranyakashipu.

There are nine temples around the Nallamala Forest range, and in terms of sculpture and architecture all these nine temples stands to be an ultimate testament for the ancient sthapathis in planning and sculpting these temples. A few temples can be reached through trekking. Some temples are inside the cave. Some temples are very difficult to trek to. The holy shrines of Ahobilam (all the Nava are Nine Narasimhars) are eulogized by Thirumangai Mannan. Hence, Ahobilam is one of the 108 Divya Desams. The nine planets that define the human fates are believed to have worshipped these nine Lord Narasimhas to get relief from Rakshashas (demons) and curses of sages for their actions. This is main theme of the work of the great Telugu poet Errana, the “Nrisimha Puranam”. The hereditary powers of the temple rest with the Pontiff HH Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt. Currently the 45th Jeeyar of this lineage is the reigning Pontiff. The Azhagiyasingars have the unique privilege of being Aradhakars to a Divya Desam (a distinction no other Pontiff enjoys). Occasionally when HH Jeeyar performs Mangalasasanam (pays respects at the temple) at Ahobilam, the Serthi Utsavam is performed (the Moolavar of Malola Nrusimhar and the Utsavar) are united.

The Nallamala hills are personified as Adisesha with his head at Tirumala, middle at Ahobilam and the tail at Srisailam.

Lord Narasimha in nine forms are

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Vasco da Gama, Goa

Named after celebrated Portuguese voyager Vasco da Gama, this city is a major commercial hub of Goa. Located on the narrow western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, Vasco da Gama has prospered because of the leveraging of its strategic location. The Portuguese conquered the city in 1543 and within a short span transformed it into a bustling port throbbing with maritime trade.

During its heydays under the Portuguese, Vasco da Gama was on the verge of becoming Goa's capital and frantic construction activities ensued towards that end. Even tough the plan was subsequently scrapped; Vasco still retains its old grandeur courtesy the well laid out downtown. 

The city of Vasco is bereft of any major tourist attractions, the salient monument being the 400-year old St. Andrews Church located at the entrance of the city. However the Naval Aviation Museum nearby the city center is a popular tourist spot and is the only such museum in India. It profiles the evolution and history of Indian naval aviation through aircraft exhibits and rare photographs.

The excellent communication infrastructure has given a boost to tourism in Vasco da Gama. The Dabolim airport, Goa's only airport, is located 4 km from the Vasco city. Moreover it is also a key shipping center and a major railhead. 

Places to See:

One of its kind in India, the Naval Aviation Museum is a repository of vintage naval aircrafts. Inaugurated on October 12, 1998, the museum boasts of a collection of 12 aircrafts that served the nation in different times. The interior galleries display weapons and armaments used against enemy warplanes. The photo gallery displays photographs tracing the naval aviation history in India.

One of the oldest ports in the West coast of India, the Mormugao port was set up as part of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1878 between the British and the Portuguese Governments. It is a premier hub of maritime trade and accounts for about 32% of India's iron ore export.

Located 8 km to the south east of Vasco town, the Bogmalo beach is a secluded spot. Bereft of the noisy atmosphere of many Goan beaches, Bogmalo is the favorite destination for those looking a serene vacation. The beach is a popular diving site. The nearby Hollant beach is another tourist hub. 


Naval Aviation Museum, Vasco da Gama

The Naval Aviation Museum is a glorious tribute to the origin and evolution of the Indian Naval Wing. Showcasing a multitude of warbirds that served the duty of the land, the Naval Aviation Museum is the only one of its kind in the whole of Asia. Inaugurated on October 12, 1998, the Naval Aviation Museum is divided into two sections, an out-door exhibit and a number of indoor galleries.

Starting off with a humble collection of six vintage naval aircrafts, the museum has metamorphosed into India's second largest aviation museum with twelve aircrafts on display. Among the aircraft collection, the piece-de-resistance is the giant Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation borrowed by the Navy from the Indian Air Force. Other aircrafts include Sea Harrier, Sea Hawk, Sealand, Alize, Dove, Vampire and Hughes.

If the outdoor exhibits swell your heart with pride, the indoor galleries are no less impressive. Step inside and massive replicas of aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Viraat will welcome you. The weapons and armaments galleries display a variety of bombs, torpedos, sensors and cannon used by naval aircraft over the ages. The archive section features a photo gallery where old photos are on display profiling the Naval Aviation History from 1959 onwards in pictures and footnotes............

Mormugao Port, Vasco da Gama

One of India's top-notch natural harbours, the Mormugao port is a premier hub of maritime trade in Goa. With its location at the mouth of the Zuari River, the Mormugao port is a crucial component in the flourishing export industry of the state. The origin of the port dates back to the Portuguese era, it being a spin-off of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1878 between the British and the Portuguese Governments. 

Ever since it was accorded the status of a Major Port in 1963, the Mormugao port has contributed immensely to growth of maritime trade in India. It is the leading iron ore exporting port of India with an annual throughput of around 24.50 million tonnes of iron ore traffic. The Mormugao Port accounts for about 32% of India's iron ore export.

The Mormugao harbour is also a major attraction for tourists coming to the Vasco da Gama city. The harbour's claim to fame is the role it played in the 1980 war film, 'The Sea Wolves.' The film, starring Gregory Peck and Roger Moore, is based on a real-life incident where The Calcutta Light Horse, a territorial unit of British expatriates, launches a covert operation to destroy three German ships interned in the Mormugao harbor in Goa............

Bogmalo Beach, Vasco da Gama

Being situated close to the airport of Goa, Bogmalo Beach can be easily reached from any part of the state. It lies at a distance of approximately 8 km from Vasco-da-Gama town. Spread over a vast expanse of land, the beach is not much visited by tourists and because of this, it retains much of its virgin charm. Though people visiting Goa have started exploring it, the rush is still on a very low scale as compared to the other famous beaches. This helps in making it one of the cleanest as well as the most peaceful beaches of the state.

The cluster of small shack restaurants on the beach has lent it a look that is quite different from the others. The occasional fishing villages seen lining the shore further add to this uniqueness. If you have become bogged down by the pollution and hectic pace of the city life, Bogmalo Beach will serve as your perfect respite. The air here is clean, the surroundings serene and the views picturesque. Even from accommodation point of view there is no problem, as a number of hotels and guesthouses are available nearby. 

This coconut-fringed beach is like a heaven for those who love fishing. Apart from that, you can also indulge in swimming at the Bogmalo Beach. For the adventure enthusiasts, there are a number of water sports providing the perfect thrill. Do not forget to taste the mouth-watering cuisine available at the beach; along with the renowned Goan drink Feni. Naval Aviation Museum is one of the major tourist attractions near the Bogmalo Beach. This museum gives an insight into the working of the Indian Navy. Bogmalo Beach is just the place to visit on a tour of Goa............

Vasco da Gama Excursions

The Miramar beach is a bustling tourist hub due to its close proximity to the Panaji town. Miramar in Portuguese translates to 'viewing the sea,' an apt sobriquet considering the azure waters of the mighty Arabian Sea that expand into the horizon. Spread over a stretch of 2 km, the Miramar beach teems with vacationers and locals all the time. Pulsating with activities, the Miramar beach is definitely not the ideal place for those looking for a tranquil beach vacation. 

Although dedicated to Lord Rama, the Ramnath temple is the abode of other deities such as Shri LaxmiNarayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Santeri and Shri Sidhanath. Similar to the Mahalsa temple, the courtyard of Ramnath temple features a five-storied deepstambha or lamp pillar carved with images of Hindu on its base. The annual festival or Jatra of the temple is celebrated with fervor and devotion with the traditional palanquin parading around the temple................... 
Located 9 km to east of Panaji, Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa. As the center of the Portuguese territory, Old Goa witnessed the profusion of magnificent churches and majestic buildings befitting the stature of the city. Old Goa has been declared a World heritage site by the UNESCO. 

Nestled amidst tropical woodlands and waving betel-nut palms, there is nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the Kesarval spring............

How to Reach Vasco da Gama

The Dabolim Airport, Goa's only airport, is located 4 km southeast of Vasco-da-Gama. A number of national and international flights cater to the perennial flow of tourists to Goa. There are pre-paid taxi counters inside the airport and private taxis are also available. Local buses are also available from the intersection immediately outside the airport to go to Vasco. 

The south-central Vasco da Gama railway station is located at the south end of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Avenue and is connected to many major destinations of south and central India. 

Vasco has good road connectivity to major cities of Goa. The Interstate Kadamba Bus Terminus, 3 km east of the town centre, lies on the National Highway 17A. Local minibuses carry passengers from the main bus stand to the city area............

Sanguem, Goa

Sanguem is the headquarters of the Sanguem taluka in the South Goa district. Sanguem is one of the five talukas that constitute the South Goa district. Sanguem and the adjoining areas were under the reign of the King of Soonda during the 16th century. After the Portuguese invasion, Sanguem, along with Ponda, Canacona and Quepem was merged with the Portuguese territory in 1791.

Although mention of Sanguem does not conjure up the image of a tourist hub, it boasts of a number of attractions. The Dudhsagar falls are the fifth highest waterfall in India and a tourist hotspot for its sylvan surroundings. During the monsoon period the waterfall transforms into a grand spectacle as the Mandovi river cascades down from a height of 310 meters.

The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Mollem and is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary houses the Mollem National Park in its core zone. The Tambdi Surla temple is a sacred pilgrimage that dates back to the Kadamba era. 

Places to See:

Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa.

Set amidst a breathtaking landscape resplendent with the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats mountains, the Dudhsagar waterfall is a prime tourism destination in Goa............

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanguem

Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary was previously known as the Mollem Game Sanctuary, a designated wildlife reserve since 1969. The core zone of the sanctuary, comprising an area of 107 sq. km., was declared a National Park in 1978 and is known as the Mollem National Park.

Apart from being home to exotic wildlife species, Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of a host of tourist attractions in the form of unique geographical formations and scenic spots. The basalt rock formation known as Devil's Canyon serves as an ideal vantage point for watching the wildlife of the sanctuary. The Dudhsagar waterfalls located in the fringes of the sanctuary presents a breathtaking spectacle with water gushing down from a height of 200m. The Tambdi Surla temple was built by the Kadamba kings in the 13th century. 

The sanctuary is endowed with lush green vegetation ranging from tropical evergreen forests and semi-evergreen forests to moist deciduous forests. The major species of flora found in the sanctuary are Terminalia, Lagerstromia, Xylia, and Dalbergia. 

The sanctuary is the treasure trove of a myriad of animal species including Gaur, Sambar, Panther, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, and Malayan Giant Squirrels. The avian population is represented by Indian Black Woodpeckers, the Malabar Pied Hornbills, Paradise Fly Catchers, Fairy Blue Birds, Drongos, and Wag tails............

Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Sanguem

Set amidst a breathtaking landscape resplendent with the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats mountains, the Dudhsagar waterfall is a prime tourism destination in Goa. Literally meaning 'sea of milk' in native Konkani, the Dudhsagar falls appears to be milky streaks cascading down the mountainside. At a height of 310m, Dudhsagar is the fifth highest waterfall in India and ranks 227th in the world. 

The Dudhsagar waterfalls are created as the headwaters of the Mandovi River branches into three cascades to tumble down a near-vertical cliff. The falls has acquired the sobriquet "sea of milk" courtesy the clouds of milky foam which rises up at the bottom of the falls. Some credit the name to a local legend about a princess who covered her modesty by pouring a stream of milk in front of her.

The picturesque beauty all around has made the Dudhsagar falls a popular picnic site. The waterfall has created a couple of pools nearby that lure the tourists for a bath and frolicking in the waters. The Dudhsagar Waterfall is also known as a trekking destination and one can reach the falls by traversing serpentine mountain trails............

How to Reach Sanguem

Dabolim is the nearest airport to Sanguem

The Calem station is the nearest railhead to Sanguem and is connected to Margao on the Konkan Railway network. The Colem station serves the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary while there is a railway station near Dudhsagar falls

Buses are available from Margao (25 km) and Panaji (60 km) to Sanguem. Most of the tourist operators run conducted tours to the Dudhsagar waterfalls and the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary............

How to Reach Ponda

The Dabolim airport is the nearest airport to Ponda

The Margao (17 km) railway station is the nearest railhead to Ponda. 

Ponda is connected to state capital Panaji (28 km) by the National Highway 4A. The NH 4A also connects Ponda to the neighboring state of Karnataka. Buses ply regularly between Panaji. and Margao via Ponda............

Ponda, Goa

Located 28 km from Panaji, Ponda is a major town in the North Goa district. Ponda's claim to fame is its unrivalled status as the cradle of Hindu pilgrimages in Goa. After remaining a part of the dominions of Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, Ponda fell to the Portuguese in 1791 who annexed it along with the nearby talukas of Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem.

Among the number of sacred shrines that dot the Ponda landscape, there are five famous Hindu temples and the Safa masjid, the largest mosque in Goa. As the Portuguese unleashed a wave of destruction of religious shrines during the early days of the Inquisition, the idols of Hindu temples were clandestinely smuggled into Ponda, then a safe haven under the territory of the Bijapur Sultan. 

Today a flourishing tourism industry has grown around these renowned temples with devotees coming from faraway lands. Ponda has also come up as an industrial city with many large factories and industrial estates nearby. Goa's only engineering college, the Goa College of Engineering is located at nearby Farmagudi. Ponda also serves as a convenient base to explore two of Goa's wildlife sanctuaries, the Bondla and the Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Places to See:

Mangueshi temple is the most famous among the temples in Goa. Located about 21 km from Panaji, the deity of the temple was shifted from Cortalim to the Priol village of Ponda in 1560 to escape the destruction by the Portuguese. Lord Manguesh, the presiding deity of the temple, is an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Located in the Bandode village of Ponda, Sri Ramnath temple is believed to have been set up by Lord Rama after his slaying of King Ravana. This temple too was relocated from the original site in Loutolim to the Bandode village for fear of persecution by the Portuguese. The Ramnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The smallest among the wildlife reserves in Goa, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is more popular as a wildlife resort than a sanctuary. The sanctuary houses a botanical garden, a rose garden, deer safari park and a zoo, initially established as a refuge for injured or orphaned animals.

Also known as the Shahouri masjid, the Safa masjid is the biggest of the 27 mosques built by Sultan Adil Shah in and around Ponda. The mosque was located at the center of a sprawling complex of gardens and fountains remnants of which can be witnessed today. The structure of the masjid is replete with typical elements of Islamic architecture of that period. 

The opulent Mahalsa temple is one of the most famous temples in Goa. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. 

Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance, it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki. 


Ponda Excursions

Sprawling over a nine acre hillock at Loutulim in South Goa, the Ancestral Goa project is an effort to recreate the rural life of Goa as it had existed in the days of yore. Essentially a miniature Goan village, Ancestral Goa is the culmination of the dream and singular efforts of Goan artist, Maendra J. Alvares.

Sprawling over an expanse of 20 km, Colva beach is the longest beach in Goa. Miles of golden sand and shades of palm trees conspire to unfold an enchanting landscape all around. In contrast to overcrowded beaches like Anjuna or Miramar brimming with locals and tourists, the Colva beach comes as a pleasant surprise with its laidback ambience and relatively sparse crowd.

Located at the Cortalim village, Mormugao taluka, the waters of the Kesarval spring are renowned for having medicinal properties. Because of the supposed curative nature of the spring water, people from the neighboring areas and faraway places flock the Kesarval spring to purge their ailments with a bath in the spring's healing waters............

Kesarval Spring, Verna

Apart from a profusion of stunning beaches along the coastline, nature has enriched Goa with a multitude of lakes, waterfalls and other water bodies. Among these the Kesarval spring stands out for its unique characteristics. Located 22 km from state capital Panaji, the waters of the Kesarval spring are renowned for having medicinal properties. 

Nestled amidst tropical woodlands and waving betel-nut palms, there is nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the Kesarval spring. But what is lacking in appearance is pretty much made up by the supposed curative nature of the spring water. People from the neighboring areas and faraway places flock the Kesarval spring to purge their ailments with a bath in the spring's healing waters.

The Kesarval spring takes its name from the Indian word for a flock of eagles that resided among the magnificent forested slopes. During the monsoon season the spring is at its magnificent best, as it tumbles forward in a dashing cascade. But during the summer months the water body is reduced to a lean stream............

Sri Devaki Krishna Temple, Ponda

Located 17 km from state capital Panaji, Marcel in Ponda taluka is home to some of the most sacred Hindu temples in Goa. Among these shrines, Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance. The uniqueness of the Devki Krishna temple lies in the fact that it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki. 

Apart from the chief deity of Devakikrishna, the temple enshrines the deities of Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar. Originally located at the Chorao Island, all the deities were moved to Mayem in Bicholim to escape the wrath of the Portuguese rulers. They were finally established at the present location at Marcel. 

The idol of Devaki and Lord Krishna is the main feature of the Garbha Griha or the inner sanctum of the temple. The idol of Devaki is depicted in a standing posture with child Krishna between her legs. Malni Purnima is the most important festival of the temple celebrated with great pomp and fervour during the January-February period............

Naguesh temple, Ponda

One of the ancient Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Courtesy a stone plaque found near the temple, the origins of Sri Naguesh temple can be traced back to 1413, when the region was under the rule of Veer Pratap Devraya of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire. 

Unlike most of the Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh Temple was spared the threat of persecution by the Portuguese and the temple has been in existence in its original location for centuries. The present structure of temple is the culmination of an extensive renovation process undertaken in 1880. The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains intricate wood carvings depicting the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other. 

Located within the temple precincts is a magnificent tali or water reservoir surrounded by palms. The reservoir is built in such a way that standing at a certain location around the tali, a person can view the reflection of the idol of Lord Naguesh and the lighted lamps in the inner sanctum............
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