“Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God,
First fill your own house with the Fragrance of love…”, Rabindranath Tagore had written. Whatever may be the reason for visiting temples, most people find them seats of tranquility. I have put together here a selection of photos from my visits to temples in India.
Thirunelli Temple is a famous pilgrim centre in a beautiful jungle valley surrounded by mountains on four sides. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu in the form of Chaturbhuja. There are also deities of Ganapathy and Nagam. The temple is at the base of Brahmagiri hills. It is 30 km from Mananthavady in Kerala, at an altitude of 900 metres.
Kottiyoor Temple is 67 km from Kannur. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the main deities. Lakhs of devotees visit the temple during the annual Vaisakha Maholsavam celebrations.
Parassini Muthappan Madappura is a Hindu temple at a scenic location on the bank of Valapattanam River. The main deity is Sree Muthappan who is considered a manifestation of Lord Shiva.
Non-Brahmins perform the pooja rituals. Dogs are allowed to enter the temple and roam around freely. They are seen as Muthappan’s companions. Offerings to the deity include toddy and dried fish. It is 19 km from Kannur and 10 km from Taliparamba. Calicut International Airport is 129 km by road.
Sree Jagannath Temple in Thalassery is one of the best loved temples in Malabar. The temple was consecrated by Sree Narayana Guru in 1908. The temple functions on the lines of Jagannatha Temple in Puri. The pooja and rituals are conducted by non-Brahmins.
Sree Ramaswamy Temple in Thalassery is popularly known as Thiruvangad Temple. The temple is dedicated to Sree Rama and is located at Thiruvangad, 2.1 km from Thalassery railway station. Devotees refer to the deity as Perumal.
Sree Sundereshwara Temple of Kannur was built by the Thiyya community of Kannur and consecrated by Sri Narayana Guru in 1916. The temple follows the Brahminical way of worship though the poojaris are Thiyyas.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rasmoni. It is on the eastern banks banks of the Hooghly in Kolkata, overlooking Bali bridge. The presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Goddess Kali, meaning ‘She who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence i.e. Samsara’.
An ancient Jain temple can be seen in Gholvad, Maharashtra: Sri Munisuvrat Swamy Jain Temple. It was built in 1949.
There is an ancient Nandi temple on top of Nandi Hills. It has been entirely built using rocks. and is believed to be 1,200 years old. It is 40 km ( 1 hour) from Bangalore Airport.
Ernakulam Shiva Temple is in the heart of Ernakulam city. The deity is well-known as Ernakulathappan.
The 8-day long annual festival at the temple usually falls in January/February months. On the seventh day, there is Pakalpooram, when the deity is taken out in a grand procession with caparisoned elephants and to the accompaniment of Panchavadyam. The procession ends at Durbar Hall Ground after rhythmic Pandimelam and impressive fire works.
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kerala. The presiding deity is Sri Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The main idol is a four-armed Krishna in a standing position. He carries the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus.
Ambalapuzha is best known for its Sree Krishna Temple which is believed to have been built in the fifteenth century. The deity is worshipped as Unnikrishnan (child Krishnan). It is 14 km from Alapuzha. By road, the distance is covered in 26 minutes. Trains take 12 minutes.
The prasadam of the temple is Palpayasam. It is famous for its distinctive pink colour as well as wonderful taste. The milk for the payasam is obtained from the temple’s own goshalas. The prasadam is distributed in one-litre containers after the poojas get over at noon.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is an ancient temple that draws devotees from all over Kerala and elsewhere. It is a pilgrim centre which is devoted to the serpent gods and is located among woods in Haripad, 32 km from Alappuzha.
Sree Ayyappa Temple is built in the style of Kerala temple architecture. The roof is covered with red clay tiles. There is a tall kodimaram (flagstaff) in front of the temple. On festival days, the outside walls of the temple are lit up using many small oil lamps. The temple was consecrated in 1995.
Sree Ayyappa Temple is in Vasai West, Maharashtra. It is 2.3 km from Vasai Road railway station.
A temple in Thalassery, Kerala is Ambalavattam Temple. It is owned by Ambalavattam family and is managed by a charitable trust. Durga Devi is the presiding deity.