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Revisiting the Basics

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[Spiritual Tourism #3] PRASAD Cities- Kanchipuram, Mathura, Puri


In the last blog of this new series on Spiritual Tourism we left off at Kamakhya. Lets continue the tour alphabetically and traverse way down South to Kanchipuram. Keep the following map handy

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#7: Kanchipuram

  • Kanchipuram is situated on the banks of Vegavathy river
  • One of 4 dhams of Hinduism (other three being Puri, Dwarka and Badrinath) + Seven most ancient religious cities (like Dwarka too)
  • Ruled by the Pallavas, the Medieval Cholas, the Later Cholas, the Later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the Carnatic kingdom, and the British.
    • The legendary Pallavas ruled from Kanchi
    • Dravidian style evolved when rulers such as Mahendravarman and Narsimhavarman-1 commissioned Rock-cut temples (UNESCO herigtage status) known as “Rathas” on banks of Mamallapuram (close to Kanchipuram) Eg- Dharmaraja Ratha
    • Finally culminated in structural temples (also UNESCO heritage status) at Kanchipuram / Mahabalipuram such as Kailasanatha and Vaikuntha Perumal temple
  • Being THE temple city, it is known as ‘city of thousand temples’
    • Home to Ekambareswarar temple (having one of the tallest temple towers aka Vimana in India),
  • Centre for advanced education for Jainism and Buddhism between the 1st and 5th centuries
  • Headquarters of the Kanchi Matha, founded by the Hindu saint Adi Shankaracharya <recently a debate shot up regarding having this Astik Philosopher represent India as its National Philosopher; which exact sub-school does he belong to?>
  • Also called Silk City (Mulberry Silk)
    • Thriving handloom industry
    • Main profession of the people is weaving silk sarees
  • From North to south order of Important TN cities: Chennai -> Kanchipuram -> Puducherry (UT) -> Thanjavur -> Madurai -> Dindigul (Jalikattu Belt)

#8: Kedarnath

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  • One of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas‘ of Kedar or Lord Shiva.
  • Situated 3500 metres above sea level in Kumaon-Garhwal Himalaya
  • River Mandakini <Tributary of which river?> originates from a Chorabari glacier near Kedarnath
  • Fellow member of famed Panch Kedar 
    1. Rudranath
    2. Madmaheshwar
    3. Kalpeshwar.
    4. Tunganath
    5. Kedarnath
  • Built in 8th century AD by (same) Adi Shankaracharya (enlisted the Char Dhams)
  • Kedarnath was the holy temple ravaged by floods in 2013

 

#9: Mathura 

  • Situated on banks of Yamuna river and birth place of Lord Krishna
  • Ruled by Mauryas, Sungas, Kushanas, Lodhis, Mughals, Jats, Marathas, Britishers
  • Centre of three cultures: Indian, Indo-scythian and Hellenstic
  • Centre of Religions: Buddhists, Jains and Brahmanical faith alike (Around 36 annual fairs are held); Round the year festivities
  • Visited by the famous Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang (during reign of Harshavardhana) and also received a mention from Ptolemy, the great Egyptian writer
    • Tsang came through Tashkent and Swat valley <Alexander did too!>
    • His book “Si-yu-ki” or the records of western world

 

Mathura School of Art: 

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Materials– Clay figurines (Terracotta), Red sandstone

  • Landmark Experimentation in style of sculpting- as it replaced symbols by Anthropomorphic forms
  • Secular in character
  • Foreign elements blended with indigenous motifs

Traditional folk arts:

  • Rasiya (the tradition of folk-songs that describe the love of the divine couple Radha and Krishna),
  • Charkula (a traditional folk dance of the Braj, where a woman balances a column of deepikas on her head)
  • Sanjhee (the colourful art of decorating the ground with flowers),

 

#10: Puri

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  • Abode of Hindu diety “Lord Jagannath(a coastal city, not along banks of any river)
  • Enshrined in a grand Kalingan Temple of the 12th century
  • One of the Five sacred “khetras” of odisha
  • One of the 4 Dhams of Hinduism
  • Following saints sanctified the place through their preachings and left their imprints in the monasteries and ashramas
    • Ramanuja (12th century AD), Madhavatirtha (13th century AD), Naraharitirtha, Sankaradeva, Nanak, Kabir, Chaitanya
  • Famed Car festival (Rath Yatra) takes place annually here:
    • Three chariots carry Lord Jagannath and his sister, Subhadra, and brother Balabhadra
  • Community Institutions of Puri – the Jaga Gharas and Akhadas are present in each Sahi (nuclear settlements), where martial art, physical exercises and gymnastics are practised
Published with inputs from Amar 

Questions, suggestions and comments


  1. Krishna Kunal

    Adi Shankaracharya belonged to Vedanta school of Philosophy.

  2. Krishna Kunal

    CD unlike other blogs why haven’t u put previous reference article as hyperlink. plz do it.

    1. Root

      Go the the top – you will find the link to the complete collection having similar articles.

  3. Anmol Phutela

    chaardham 1. badrinath 2. puri 3.rameshwaram ( not kanchipuram) 4. dwarka

    1. Krishna Kunal

      yes. agree

  4. Naveen Shekhar

    Mandakini is a tributary of Alaknanda river.

  5. Naveen Shekhar

    Adi Shankaracharya belongs to Advaita school.

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