This is the Govindaji Temple, the first major temple of Vrindavan, built in the 16th century. It is considered to be one of the greatest examples of medieval Indian architecture. The original temple was twice the height with a glorious tower, but it attracted the resentment of the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi, who had the tower dismantled.

Udupi
Udupi

Shri Madhvacharya was born to Narayana Bhatta and Vedavati in Pajaka, a small place near Udupi. He was born in 1238, on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami, and he was named Vasudeva.

Madhvacharya is traditionally considered as the third prominent incarnation of Vayu after Hanuman and Bhima. He was very strong and was a fine wrestler and loved sports like swimming and weight-lifting.

He was a highly intelligent child and was far ahead of all the other students in his Gurukula, and impressed his teacher from a very early age. He was always drawn towards the spiritual path and wanted to take up Sanyasa at the age of eight. As his parents were not willing, he put it off for some time.

He later managed to convince his parents and was initiated into Sanyasa by Achyutapreksha, a great teacher belonging to the Advaita School of Philosophy. At the time of initiation, he was given the name Purnaprajna. It was also Achyutapreksha who gave him the title ‘Madhva’ by which he was more famously known.

His Role in Establishing Dvaita

During this period, the Advaita school of Sri Shankara dominated Indian thoughts and teachings. It had been in existence for some centuries and most religious institutions and schools followed this philosophy. But Madhvacharya was never satisfied with the Non-Dualistic interpretations of the scriptures. He had always wanted to challenge them, even from his childhood.

 

Once, while sitting beside the sea engrossed in meditation upon Lord Sri Krsna, he saw that a large boat containing goods for Dvaraka was in danger. He gave some signs by which the boat could approach the shore, and it was saved. The owners of the boat wanted to give him a present, and at the time Madhvacarya agreed to take some gopi-candana. He received a big lump of gopi-candana, and as it was being brought to him, it broke apart and revealed a large Deity of Lord Krsna. The Deity had a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. As soon as Madhvacarya received the Deity of Krsna in this way, he composed a prayer. The Deity was so heavy that not even thirty people could lift it. Madhvacarya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Madhvacarya had eight disciples, all of whom took sannyasa from him and became directors of his eight monasteries.Worship of the Lord Krsna Deity is still going on at Udupi according to the plans Madhvacarya established.

 

http://udupishiroormutt.in/shiroor/?page_id=41

Mahabalesvara Temple
Mahabalesvara Temple

After seeing Pancapsara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Gokarna. While there, He visited the temple of Lord Siva, and then He went to Dvaipayani. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the crown jewel of all sannyasis, then went to Surparaka-tirtha.

 

Gokarna is situated in North Kanara, in the Karnataka state. It is about thirty-three miles southeast of Karwar. This place is very famous for the temple of Lord Siva known as Maha-balesvara. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims come to see this temple.

 

http://www.karnataka.com/gokarna/about-gokarna/

Badami Höhlen Komplex
Badami Höhlen Komplex

Die Badami Höhlentempel aus vier Höhlen, die alle aus dem weichen Badami geschnitzt aus Sandstein auf einem Hügel Klippe in den späten 6. bis 7. Jahrhundert. Die Planung von vier Höhlen ist einfach. Der Eingang befindet sich eine Veranda (mukha mandapa) mit Steinsäulen und Klammern , eine Besonderheit dieser Höhlen, was zu einer Säulenhalle mandapa - Haupthalle (auch maha mandapa) und dann auf den kleinen quadratischen Schrein ( Allerheiligste , garbhaghrha) schnitt tief in die Höhle. Die Tempelhöhlen repräsentieren verschiedene Sekten. Unter ihnen sind zwei (Höhle 2 und 3) zu Gott gewidmet Vishnu , einem zu Gott Shiva (Höhle 1) und der vierten (Höhle 4) ist ein Jain Tempel. Die ersten drei sind zum gewidmet vedischen Glauben und die vierte Höhle ist die einzige Jain Tempel in Badami. 

Somanathapura, Karnataka, Indien   Keshava Tempel
Somanathapura, Karnataka, Indien Keshava Tempel

Das Wahrzeichen Tiruvannamalais ist der gewaltige Arunachaleswara-Tempel. Um das zentrale Heiligtum der Tempelanlage – mit einer Ausdehnung von knapp zehn Hektar einer der größten Südindiens – sind drei Innenhöfe angeordnet, die jeweils durch kunstvoll verzierte Gopurams (Tortürme) betreten werden. Der innerste Gopuram, der „Papageienturm“, wurde im 11. Jahrhundert vom Chola-König Rajendra I. (reg. 1012 bis 1044) gestiftet. Auch die Pfeilerhalle stammt aus jener Zeit. Die Hoysala fügten weitere Anbauten hinzu. König Krishnadevaraya (reg. 1509 bis 1529) von Vijayanagar ließ die insgesamt neun Gopurams auf ihre heutige Höhe aufstocken und prachtvoll ausstatten. Der Arunachaleswara-Tempel ist dem Gott Shiva Lingodbhava geweiht, der auf dem Berg Arunachala nahe der Stadt in Form einer Feuersäule erschienen sein und damit das Zeichen des Lingam geschaffen haben soll. Pilger besuchen nicht nur den Arunachaleswara-Tempel, sondern besteigen oder umkreisen auch den sagenumwobenen Berg, nach dem er benannt ist. Jedes Jahr findet im tamilischen Monat Karttigai (November/ Dezember) ein Pilgerfest namens Karttigai Dipam statt. Zu Füßen des Arunachala liegt als weiterer Anziehungspunkt und Pilgerstätte der Ramana Ashram, benannt nach dem indischen Weisen Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950).

Kanchipuram

 

“Nagareshu Kanchi”, was the greatest of cities, one of the seven mukti kshetras, the capital of ancient Tondaimandalam and the most ancient city of South India. Ashoka built a stupa here, and it was one of the great centres of learning in the ancient world. Patanjali refers to Kanchi in the 2nd century B.C. The ghatika was the famous university of Kanchi, a unique one of its kind. Hiuen-Tsang praised the city’s intellectual eminence and Avvaiyar described Tondaimandalam as a land of wise, learned people. Kanchipuram was also known as Kamakottam due to its association with the Goddess Kamakshi,  the chief deity of the town.

Kanchiwas  named after the kanchi tree, which was once found in abundance in the forests in this area. Also, ka means Brahma and anchi means worship, so Kanchi is the place where Brahma worshipped (Shiva). In Sanskrit, the word Kanchi meant a girdle, and the city was like a girdle of the earth.

 

Kanchipuram was reported to be a beautiful town and the 4thcentury Sangam work, Perumpanatruppadai, describes it thus : “Kanchi is beautiful like the heart of the lotus in the navel of Mahavishnu, which is said to be the birthplace of Brahma. Here, there are high ramparts around the town which are made of brick. Like the jackfruit tree which is full of singing birds and sweet and big fruit, Kanchi is also full of the noble festivals of people of different faiths. Therefore, this city is the greatest of all cities on this earth”. 

 

Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum of Folk Art is situated in Brahma Mandiram,  the 400 year-old house belonging to land owners of Damal, the maternal ancestors of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar. Reliable sources date it to the 16th - 17th century.  The existence of wall paintings, sculptures and household collections prompted the reuse of the house as a museum. 

 

Kanchi was an ancient centre of cotton and silk weaving. Old silk and cotton saris and a hand loom are on display.

Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram
Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram

Ancient City Found Off the Coast of Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), India, April 11, 2002: An ancient underwater city has been discovered off the coast of southeastern India. Divers from India and England made the discovery based on the statements of local fishermen and the old Indian legend of the Seven Pagodas. The ruins, which are off the coast of Mahabalipuram, cover many square miles and seem to prove that a major city once stood there. A further expedition to the region is now being arranged which will take place at the beginning of 2003. The discovery was made on April 1 by a joint team of divers from the Indian National Institute of Oceanography and the Scientific Exploration Society based in Dorset. Expedition leader Monty Halls said: "Our divers were presented with a series of structures that clearly showed man-made attributes. The scale of the site appears to be extremely extensive, with 50 dives conducted over a three-day period covering only a small area of the overall ruin field. This is plainly a discovery of international significance that demands further exploration and detailed investigation."

More information at--

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_1923000/1923794.stm

 

Before the tsunami that occurred on December 26, 2004, evidence for the existence of the Seven Pagodas was largely anecdotal. The existence of the Shore Temple, smaller temples, and rathas supported the idea that the area had strong religious significance, but there was little contemporary evidence save one Pallava-era painting of the temple complex. Ramaswami wrote in his 1993 book Temples of South India that evidence of 2000 years of civilization, 40 currently visible monuments, including two “open air bas-reliefs,” and related legends spreading through both South Asia and Europe had caused people to build up Mahabalipuram’s mystery in their minds (Ramaswami, 204). He writes explicitly that “There is no sunk city in the waves off Mamallapuram. The European name, ‘The Seven Pagodas,’ is irrational and cannot be accounted for” (Ramaswami, 206).

Anecdotal evidence can be truthful though, and in 2002 scientists decided to explore the area off the shore of Mahabalipuram, where many modern Tamil fishermen claimed to have glimpsed ruins at the bottom of the sea. This project was a joint effort between the National Institute of Oceanography (India) and the Scientific Exploration Society, U.K. (Vora). The two teams found the remains of walls beneath 5 to 8 meters of water and sediment, 500 to 700 meters off the coast. The layout suggested that they belonged to several temples. Archaeologists dated them to the Pallava era, roughly when Mahendravarman I and Narasimharavarman I ruled the region (Vora). NIO scientist K.H. Vora noted after the 2002 exploration that the underwater site probably contained additional structures and artifacts, and merited future exploration (Vora).