Friday, October 30, 2009

Madurai Meenakshi Amman Kovil Temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple (மீனாட்சி அம்மன் கோவில்) is a historic Hindu kovil located in the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India.

The kovil forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai.

The complex is in around 45 acres (180,000 m2) and the temple is a massive structure measuring 254 by 237 meters. The temple is surrounded by 12 towers, the tallest of which, the famous Southern tower, rises to over 170 ft (52 m) high.

The main important festival associated with the temple is the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam (The divine marriage of Meenkashi) that is celebrated in April every year.

Like most Shakti temples in Tamil Nadu, the Fridays during the Tamil months of Aadi (July 15 - Aug 17) and Thai (Jan 15 to Feb 15) are popularly celebrated with thousands of devotees thronging to the temple. In every Tamil math am some festival occasions will happen in the temple like Aavani Urchavam, Maarghazi Urchavam, Navaraathri, etc.

Attractions :
Gopura - The Gopuras (Pramidal gates) exceedsmore than 50 meter in height.

Ashta Shakthi Mandapam - The Mandapam (Hall) stands at the beginning of eastern gateway.
Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam - This spacious hallis located adjacent to Ashta Shakthi Mandapam, used for shops and stores.The hall has 110 pillars, which are carved with the images of a peculiar animal.
Potramariakulam (Golden Lotus Tank ) - The Potramariakulam tank is an ancient tank, where devotees take bath. It is said that the area around the tank was the meeting place of the Tamil Sangam- the ancient academy of Tamil poets.

Oonjal Mandapam - The Oonjal (Swing) Mandapam is situated on the western side of the Potramariakulam tank. The 28 pillars of the mandapam, exhibit interesting sculptures of images from Hindu mythology.

Swami Sundareswarar Shrine - Swami Sundareswarar Shrine is situated to the north of Kilikoontu Mandapam. In the corridoroutside the main shrine, there is a stump of the Kadamba tree.
The Thousand Pillar Mandapam - In this Mandapam there are 985 beautifully decorated columns. The monument of the Dravidanart houses a Temple Art Museum, where you can see idols, photographs,drawings, etc

Vasantha Mandapam (Pudhu Mandapam) - Built by Thirumalai Nayakkar the mandapam is famous for Vasanthosavam - the Spring festival, celebrated in Vaikasi (April-May).

Kilikatti Mandapas - The mandapa was built in1623 and derives its name from the fact that there are parrots in a cagehere.

Madurai has 4 main bus-stands.

Periyar Bus stand - Exclusive local bus terminal, about 5 minutes walk from railway station. Commonly referred as "Periyar".

Shopping Complex bus stand - Right opposite to Periyar bus stand, often referred by the same name. Private inter-city buses depart from here.

Arapalayam bus stand - Some local buses and those bound west/northwest towards Theni, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Palani, Kodaikanal, Salem, Erode, Batlagundu or Vaththalakundu, Periyakulam depart from here.

Mattuthavani Integrated bus stand - Simply called Mattuthavani, and located in the outskirts about 10 km from Periyar bus stand. This is the location for long distance government buses and other places. Private buses also stop here.
All bus-stands are interconnected by buses or you can hire an auto.

Accessibiltiy :

As the temple is located in Madurai, so it is easily accessible from all parts of the country. Temple is near to Madurai railway station. Madurai is well- connected by Air, Rail and Road with major cities if the country.

Air - Madurai airport is 10 Kms from the city andis connected by air with Mumbai and Chennai.

Rail - Madurai railway station has direct connections with Bangalore (385 Kms), Coimbatore (227 Kms), Cape Comorin (235 Kms), Chennai (444 Kms), Rameshwaram (152 Kms), Thanjavur (158 Kms) and Tiruchirappalli (142 Kms).

Road - Madurai is connected with good motorableroads with all parts of South India.
The distance of important towns from Madurai are Bangalore (385 Kms),Chennai (444 Kms), Coimbatore (227 Kms), Cape Comorin (235 Kms), Kodaikanal(120 Kms), Periyar (160 Kms), Ooty (325 Kms), Rameshwaram (152 Kms), Tanjore(158 Kms), Trichy (142 Kms) and Trivandrum (264). From the city bus stands buses, taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are available to reach thetemple.

Accomodation :

To visit the temple, the best place to stay are hotels across Madurai city. There are several hotels ranging from 5 star to budget hotel. The well equipped hotels offer a pleasant stay to guests. Famous hotels of Maduraiare Taj Garden Retreat (5 Star), GRT Residency (3 Star), Hotel Germanus (3Star), Hotel Sangam (3 Star), Hotel International, Hotel Supreme and Hotel MR International etc.

Map view Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fantasy Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Oct. 31, 2009

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, many of the young and young at heart take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or attend or host a Halloween party.

Health and Safety Tips

For many people, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety. Below are tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.

Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

  • Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters, such as individual packs of raisins, trail mix, or pretzels. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
  • Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
  • Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Swine (H1N1) flu vaccination effort starts Monday: CDC

WASHINGTON - Healthcare workers in Indiana and Tennessee will be between the first to get swine flu vaccines in the United States on Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Vaccination clinics are planned for Monday morning for staff at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee and Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis, the CDC said.

Last week, the center said the first doses of H1N1 flu vaccine would arrive on Tuesday. The first vaccines to administer will be AstraZeneca unit MedImmune's nasal spray.

The U.S. government has ordered about 250 million doses from five companies -- Sanofi-Aventis SA, Novartis AG, CSL Ltd MedImmune and GlaxoSmithKline. MedImmune had especially superior production of the H1N1 vaccine and has been the first to make doses available.

The vaccines will trickle in at a rate of about 20 million doses a week, and officials are unsure how many Americans will actually get them. The U.S. government is providing them for free, but clinics and retailers may cost to administer them.

Pandemic H1N1 has been circulating since it was first recognized in two U.S. children last March but it has picked up speed since schools returned from their summer break in August.

The CDC said it is not particularly deadly, but it is affecting younger people than seasonal flu usually does and at a time of year when there is normally little or no influenza.

Dozens of children and at least 28 pregnant women in the United States have died from the virus and at least 100 pregnant women were sick sufficient with it to be hospitalized, the CDC said.

Pregnant women, healthcare workers and people with particular health conditions including heart disease and diabetes are supposed to be the first to get the vaccine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

US now has better understanding of India's stand on climate

India has said that there is now better understanding of its position on climate change in the US, which recognises that emission cuts is not the only way for countries to reflect their domestic obligations globally.

"We have to take forward this dialogue. We will be in close touch with our American counterparts. Today we have a better understanding of what the US is doing and certainly the US has a better understanding of what we are doing," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said winding up his visit to America.

Ramesh, who met US officials on climate change and several influential lawmakers, told the Indian media here that "there is better appreciation of India's position on climate change issue."

During his visit to New York and Washington, Ramesh had two rounds of discussions with Todd Stern, Special US Envoy for Climate Change. He also met Energy Secretary Steven Chu, besides a number of lawmakers — John Kerry, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Congressmen Edward Markey and Jim McDermott.

"The important thing is change in perception of India," Ramesh said, referring to his meetings with US officials.

It has been established firmly that "India is a responsible player wanting a fair and equitable agreement and prepared to play a leadership role in this regard, given its unique position in world affairs.

The ultimate objective is that when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh comes here on a state visit in November, "we should have some articulation and finalisation of institutional partnership in the field of energy, environment and climate change.

"We are hoping that between now and November, we would be in a position to give operational content to many of these ideas. It would be reflected suitably in some statement after the two heads of state meet in November.

"I do feel that in the last month and a half, there has been a noticeable shift in narrative as far as India is concerned. We have a long way to go.

Article Source:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kutralam Aintharuvi (Five Falls) Video

Aintharuvi Falls 3 miles from the kutralam Main falls, so named as the cascade spreads in five heads like a hooded cobra.