Friday, 20 April 2018

Haripad Subramanya Swamy temple, a popular one in Kerala.

 Haripad Subramanya swamy temple.blessingsonthenet.com
The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple in Haripad, Alappuzha District   besides being  famous is one of the oldest Hindu places of worship in Kerala. Also known  as Dakshina Palani (Southern Palani), it is believed,  this temple is of great antiquity once worshipped by Parasurama. This suggests temple's origin before the advent of Kaliyuga.
Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple in Haripad/en.wikipedia.org/
For unknown reasons, Parasurama left the idol of Subramanya in the backwaters of Kandanalloor    - Govindamuttom Backwaters from which it was recovered after the landlords  of Eakachakra (the then Haripad) at the same time had a  dream regarding this idol. The idol  that was  in Kayamkulam lake  was  taken out  at Nelpurakadavu as the villagers suspected  divinity in that idol.
Subrahmanya Swami's Aarattu 2016 festival. YouTube

According to the legend as there was not a permanent shelter built for the idol, it was kept under a banyan tree in a place owned by a Christian family. An half hour worship was done for the deity here and the place where the idol of Subramanya was kept for brief worship,  there is a small temple  in the village  called  (half an hour) Ara Nazhika Ambalam”.

Consecration was done, it is believed, by Lord Vishnu himself disguising as a holy Saint on the Pushya star of Makara Masa and this day is celebrated  annually as  the founding day of the temple. In Malayalam year 1096 the temple  had a fire mishap and fortunately the golden flag mast and the Koothambalam  were not affected.  Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma rebuilt the temple and the golden flag mast was re-installed.

The giant 8 foot tall presiding deity Murugan facing east  has four arms carrying Vel (spear) in one hand, Vajrayudha in another hand one hand bestowing blessing (showing Abhahya mudra) and the other toughing the thighs. The idol  is believed be an embodiment (an hamsam of) of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma all in one form. The temple has four towers - gopuras and the Srikovil (sanctum) is round in shape. Here Murugan's mount Mayil (peacock) is kept in a separate place. There is a Koothambalam within the compound.  On festival days it is used for performing the tradtional dances of Kerala.  The golden flags staff (Dwajasthambam) is the biggest one in Kerala.

After  Thiruvonam, in commemoration of retrieval of the idol Vigraha Labdhi Jalolsavam is conducted in Payippad river for three days. This event attracts a lot of devotees.   Chitira Ulsavam,  Markazhi Ulsavam
Aavani Ulsavam, Thaipooyam  are important festivals here.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haripad_Sree_Subrahmanya_Swamy_temple

Agurchand Mansions (Khaleel Mansions), Chennai, a fine heritage structure

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(Khaleel Mansions) Agurchand Mansions, Chennai Flickr
Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu has had innumerable colonial monuments of architectural wonders in the past and we have lost some of them due to so many factors, one being sheer negligence on the part of the government with respect to periodical repairs, etc., and the other is lack of an interest group, of course with political influence, whose main interest will be to save such rotting buildings from serious damages beyond redemption. In the past, a part of heritage building Amir Mahal ( once official residence of Nawab of Arcot), Triplicane was damaged due to fire. Way back, a superb building Agurchand  Mansions (formerly known as Khaleel Mansions) had a fire mishap. In the latter, the damage was not a serious one. 

On  busy Anna Salai (formerly Mount Road) at  Spencer 's Junction, Chennai you can not miss a majestic and imposing  Indo-Saracenic styled brick-red two storeyed building, which is so simple, but impressive, you will be tempted to take an another look at this exotic edifice in the midst of jumbled  buildings.  Originally called the Khaleel Mansions, now it is known as  Agurchand Mansions.  Agurchand, a rich business man of Sowcarpet, Chennai  offered highest bidding (Rs. 5.5 lakh) for the property when the government auctioned the building as evacuee property when the legal heir of Khaleel mansion migrated to Pakistan.  Hence the Khaleel Mansions became  Agurchand Mansions in1964.                         

The building has impressive arches, long veranda arcade typical of colonial design. The building was designed to let out for rent to shop owners and retail traders. There were  about 58 shops here. In January 2012 there was a fire accident in this building. 
Fortunately, the damage was not a big one.
(Khaleel Mansion)s Agurchand Mansions, Chennai,The Hindu
It will be a bit interesting if you peep into the origin of this wonderful building. It was built in 1930s by Haji Mohamed Khaleel Shirazi, a Parsi who  moved over to Chennai from Iran  and got  into the construction business. He is believed to have built a few buildings here and also owned some in the prime areas. It is often said of this building, "It was the first multi-storeyed building to come up on Mount Road." After Khaleel Shiraji’s  death one of his sons Abbas Khaleeli, an ICS officer working in Madras Government, became the owner of the mansion.  At the time of partition of India, after independence in August 194, Abbas decided to migrate to  Karachi, Pakistan for good. Incidentally his wife is the  daughter of the Dewan of Mysore Sir Mirza Ismail, a brilliant administrator.  Abbas' property became an evacuee property under the Evacuee Property Act, 1949. Hence, the  Madras state government put up the mansion for auction.

Believed to be the city's ‘first 100-foot high building,’ Agurchand Mansions (Khaleel Mansions) is tagged as   the city’s first ‘high rise’. As to the history of this building, according to  an article (vide: The Hindu dated September 16, 2012 ) a well-researched one, the place where Agurchand mansions stands  was part of a vast stretch of property, covering  all the way from Mount Road to Express Estate, lining the eastern side of what was called Lord Pigot Road and which is now Club House Road. This property and the gardens were owned by the Arcot Nawab family members, and in this particular case,  it was owned by a Begam. She is believed to have sold the property to  Agha Mohammed Khaleel Shirazee on August 30, 1910.  Being one of the  richest men in Madras in the early 20th Century,  Mohd. Khaleel developed the property. The Kahaleel Mansons was built  between 1923 and 1925, then the city’s tallest building .

 http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/The-city] 99/article12572907.ece

 http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/No-major-damage-to-Agurchand-Mansion/article13382061.ece






Three of Kerala's age old heritage mosquse - a brief note

Unlike other parts of India, in Kerala Islam has been around for a pretty long time - far before the arrival of Muslim rules from NW of India. It was  through Arab traders during the time of Prophet Muhammad(CE 570 - CE 632) Islam was introduced on coastal Kerala. They were traders in spices, etc. Kerala is known to have ancient relation with the middle east even during the Pre-Islamic period. Muslim merchants (Malik Deenar) settled in Kerala by the 7th century AD and introduced Islam. The Cheraman Juma Masjid said to be the very first mosque in India situated in Kodungallur Taluk, in state of Kerala. According to historians , Cheraman Perumal, the last of the Chera kings, became Muslim and travelled to visit prophet Muhammad and  upon his death he  requested his family members  to be kind to Malik ibn Dinar to whom he gave a letter and advised them to follow the path of Islam. Malik Dinar in the 7th century took the initiative and this was the beginning of Islam in this otherwise predominantly a Hindu state. Cheran Perumal who  took a Muslim name now is buried in Salalah, Oman.

Kerala Muslims generally referred to as Mappilas in Kerala share a common language (Malayalam)  and culture with the rest of the population. In this state  next to Hinduism,  Muslim population forms 26.56% of the total  population of Kerala. Islam is growing fast here on account of large conversions and birth rates.


Kerala has the distinction of having some of the oldest mosques in this country. The amazing feature is some of the mosques follow the old Kerala architectural tradition and design  relevant to  this region and seasons. They are made of wood, masonry with tiled roof. Only the recently built mosques (Pallis) have  traditional Islamic features like minarets, etc. 

Thazhathangady Juma Masjid:

Thazhathangady Juma MasjidTripAdvisor
Thazhathangady Juma Masjid is a  heritage site located in Thazhathangady, Kerala, and is vey close to Kottayam town. It is one of the oldest mosques in India and is more than 1000 years old. Famous for

Thazhathangady Juma MasjidIndiatimes.com
its rich of architectureand fascinating wood workof immense beauty , it is being visited by lots of tourists. In 2012 some changes had been made on the south side as the structure was too weak to handle. With disturbing the heritage aspect, the south side is pulled down and extended  with iron pillars, aluminium sheets and minars to keep the mosque intact from additional damage. Situated on the banks of the Meenachil river in the midst of serene surrounding, it was built by the early settlers who migrated from different parts of Kerala.  The Muslims from this area  took an active role in India's  Freedom Struggle and other National Movements. This vintage masjid goes by the name of the “Taj Juma Masjid”of  Kottayam. Here, Muslim wome have a sepate space for prayer and are not allowed to perform rituals. Only on two days -  April 24 and May 8, women with proper attire are allowed inside the masjid.

The Cheraman Juma Mosque:

The Cheraman Juma Mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District of Kerala is the first mosque in India. The masjid  located in Paravur is also believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
Cheraman Juma Masjid,Methla, kerala
en.wikipedia.org
Built in 629 AD, by Malik Deenar, an Arab propagator of Islam, it is believed, that this mosque was first renovated and reconstructed in the 11th century AD. The Arabi-Malayalam script in the masjid gate denotes  5 Hijri. Many non-Muslims conduct initiation ceremonies (Vidhyaranbham) to the world of letters of their children here. This mosque has an ancient oil lamp that has been burning more than 1000 plus years. People of all faiths bring oil as an offering for the lamp to keep it burning so that the blessed light will remove the darkness in their lives. In April 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. A few years ago this mosque was renovated. 


Mishkal Mosque:

Mishkal Mosque,Calicut.  kalli valli
interor Mishkal Mosque,Calicut  www.frontline.in
Mishkal Mosque,  a medieval mosque located in Kuttichera, Thikkipuram beach  Calicut in the Indian state of Kerala is one of the oldest in this region. Historically, architecturally and culturally this old mosque occupies a proud place in the history of Kerala.  Built by a rich Arab merchant, Nakhooda Mishkal in the 14th century, the mosque carries his name. Entirely made of heavy timber wood with
no cupolas and minaret, this strikingly unique mosque has 5 stories. The top floors are  damaged when the Portuguese rulers invaded this place and set fire to the mosque in 1510. Reconstruction was done after this destruction

Mishkal Mosque originally had five storiesbut now  has four stories.  The mosque that can accommodate  400 people at a time has 47 doors, 24 carved pillars supporting a big well ventilated prayer hall.
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheraman_Juma_Mosque


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thazhathangady_Juma_Mosque


 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishkal_Mosque

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Medical College, Calcutta, first in Asia - early colonial period

Earliest medical College, Kolkata. Alamy
stampgallery.com/
 The British East India Company established the Indian Medical Service (IMS) as early as 1764 to look after the medical needs of Europeans in British India as they were living in a tropical country infested with mosquitoes, venomous snakes, etc. IMS officers headed military and civilian hospitals in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and they also took care of ships and Army. They were assisted by trained native doctors whose medical activities were limited to certain duties. Increasing demands in medical services prompted the British company to give serious consideration to medical education in India. The then Gov. Gen. of India William Bentnick was instrumental in establishing a medical college in Calcutta (Kolkata) "for the education of the Indian youth without exception to creed or caste". Founded on 28 January, 1835, it was a major medical institution to teach western Medicine - European Allopathic system of medicine and was the oldest in Asia. The British were quite pleased with the native doctors who acted as compounders and dressers`as the Ayurvesds and Hakims were not reliable. Very much impressed by the dedication of the native doctors, a vernacular medical School  came into being  as far back as in October 1824 and the classes were conducted at the Sanskrit College and Calcutta Madrassa. Considering Indian students' capacity to learn the subjects, it was found out that the teaching was inadequate. Based on Lord Bentnick's recommendation the educational committee abolished the old school in favor of a new Medical College in 1835 to meet the growing needs of the doctors for the colonial administration. In the early years the Senate of the University used to meet here.
Lord William Bentinck Wikipedia

The college had a humble beginning with Dr, M.S. Bramley,  Asst. Surgeon as the first Principal (1835 to 1837) ; the classes started on the 20th of February, 1835. Prof, Pundit Madusudun Gupta was the instructor. Initially there were 50 students, each receiving a stipend of Rs, 75.00 per month. David Hare, a well known philanthropist served as secretary for some years, A fairly developed College and hospital buildings came up in 1910 through public donations.
Calcutta medical College. University of Calcutta
On the 150th anniversary day, foundation was laid for the research and education in 1984. In the history of Indian medical education, this college crossed some frontiers. On 10 January 1836 Pundit Madusudan Gupta, with his students dissected the first human body, setting aside all the taboos, prejudices and superstitions. In 1838 five Indian doctors came out with flying colors. One Babu Uma Charan Sett stood first. In 1845, the college was recognised and registered in England and in the same, year four students  were sent overseas for higher education.

In 1848 one Babu Mutty Lal Seal (well-known business man) donated a spacious teaching building (it is depicted in the postal stamp).  The foundation stone was laid by Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General of India on 30th Sept. 1848 (in the 12th year of the reign of Queen Victoria). The new MCH hospital was opened for sick patients on 1 March 1852. There was also an OT on one side of the old MCH which was later upgraded in 1902  Later other hospitals came up:  the Eden Hospital (1881–82), the Ezra Hospital (1887), the Shama Charan Laha Eye Hospital (1891) and the Prince of Wales Surgical Block, opened in March 1911. The Medical college was affiliated to the newly formed Calcutta University in 1857. Yet another milestone made here  was a girl student Kadambini Ganguli was taken in to study medicine for the first time!!. In this regard the medical council took a decision in June 1883.  This college has produced a number of brilliant doctors the most notable being Dr. B.C.Roy. 

Presently the Medical College trains 750 under graduates and 100 post-graduates. The hospital caters to 2000 plus in-patients and more than 6000 out-patients. The college imparts the degree Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) as well as specialised and post-doctoral degrees. Nursing and para-medical courses are also offered. 

http://www.istampgallery.com/medical-college-calcutta/

Historical Holy cross Church Mapranam , Kerala bestowed with a relic of the Holy Cross

Holy Cross ChurchMapranam Indian Philately
Holy cross Church Mapranam,Kerala Tourism
 India is home to a number of old churches and almost all of them have historical significance. The Holy Cross Church of Mapranam near Thrissur city has a proud place among the Indian churches as it is bestowed with a relic of the Holy Cross. 

Holy cross Church Mapranam,Wikipedia
Founded in A.D 928  Holy cross Church Mapranam, Thrissur is one of the oldest churches not only in Kerala state but also in the entire country, India. 
It is also one among the few churches that
received the relic of the Holy Cross (21 September, 1887), part of the Holy blood of Jesus Christ and the bloodstained Holy Cloth used by Veronica to wipe the face of Jesus Christ, all donated from Vatican by the order of the Pope. Worshipers are allowed to experience the blessings of the Holy Cross on the 14th and 21 st of September and on Good Friday. Only a few churches across the globe have this unique distinction. In the history of Indian churches, in this respect, this church has an exalted status.
On the day of  Exaltation of the Holy Cross -14th Sept. every year,  Mapranam Church celebrates the main feast in the name of the Holy Cross.

This place of worship is quite popular and people from other faiths also visit this church for Christ's blessing. It is a part of Irinjalakuda diocese and historically and archaeologically it occupies an important place in Kerala. As at many churches, offering of  candles is the main ritual here and the annual ceremony  called Thirithelikkal (Candle Lighting) is quite popular It  is attended by lots of devotees from Kerala and other states. The unique difference is the candles that are offered here  are big, weighing between one to 300 kg. The offering is done on the 13 th of September. The custom has been that  at least 500 worshippers should light big candles here. Recently around 100000 worshipers lit the big candles for receiving blessings from the Holy Cross. This tradition has been here for centuries. In the past, a 22 foot tall  candle weighing 1,079 kg held the record in India in that year. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross falls on 14t Sept. every year, and on this day,  Mapranam Church celebrates the main feast in the name of the Holy Cross.

The main attraction of this church is an old wooden Cross made in Persian  style which is well polished  and blackened by five metals - Panchaloka.  Set in a beautiful place, north of this church  lie Karuvannur River, the Arattupuzha Temple and the churches of Pallissery and Panamkulam.
https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/holy-cross-church-mapranam/534


http://www.istampgallery.com/holy-cross-church/

Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station,Kerala a fine colonial structure

Thiruvananthapuram Centraln.wikipedia.org
Thiruvananthapuram Centra Dreamstime.com
 Indian Railways (IR), which is being controlled and managed by the Central Government at New Delhi, has one of the busiest and largest railway networks in the world, besides, it operates both long distance and suburban rail systems. Because of its colonial connections under the Raj there  There are  countless railway stations in India whose buildings are strikingly colonial in nature. Many of them are architectural wonders.

Thiruvananthapuram Central  railway station, besides being the largest one in the  state of Kerala with respect to  passenger movement, it an an important hub on the Southern Railway built during the colonial days when Travancore was an important Princely State.  The impressive and strikingly beautiful  Thiruvananthapuram Central  station building was built in 1931. Being the capital city of Kerala, a highly literate state, this Central station  is connected to  almost major cities across India.
Thiruvananthapuram_Centralerail.in/blog/
The history of railways in Kerala has close links with the colonial period under the British crown. It was for the first time the Madras-Quilon line was extended to the capital of the Princely State of Travancore, Thiruvananthapuram and  it was opened on 4 January 1918. It meant this city had a direct rail link with Madras, then the  capital of the Madras Presidency.  The railway line then terminated at Chakka, then a trading centre of Thiruvananthapuram. The then Dewan of erstwhile state M.E. Watts, considering the hardship faced by the public,  took the initiative and had the railway line extended up to the center of the  busy city. The terminus was shifted to current location Thiruvananthapuram Central Thampanoor in 1931. 

As the necessity arose for a  spacious building with all amenities for the increasing number of passengers, etc, the Thiruvananthapuram Central station building was  constructed during the reign of Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, the Maharani of Travancore (under the aegis of Sree Chithira Thirunal).The building was declared open  on 4 November 1931. An interesting feature of this building is it is entirely made of  dressed rock stones and lime mortar.  No bricks were used for the construction of this station Though  it was a branch line station with just solitary platform, it  was built to handle two departures per day in 1931 as per Maharani's wish. The platform with a single line continued till the 70's. It was presumably the longest covered platform at that time. The platform was so long that it could accommodate two trains at a time in that single line platform.

This station presently has 12 platforms out of which 10 will handle broad gauge trains and 2 platforms for meter gauge trains. To relieve passenger pressure 2nd and 3rd terminals were built in 2004 and 2007 respectively.  A few years ago the railway station could handle 200000 passengers daily. Nemom  and Kochuveli satellite terminals are functioning with trains originating from here. The station is the terminus for the proposed  High Speed Rail corridor connecting Chennai and Bangalore with Thiruvananthapuram. Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor was proposed in the recent railway budget. Work on these projects, it is said, is afoot. The Thiruvananthapuram railway station has two entrances. The main entrance is opposite to Central Bus Station Thiruvananthapuram and eastern entrance is on Power House road.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiruvananthapuram_Central_railway_station

Early colonial Holy Redeemer Church, Ambala cantonment


Holy Redeemer Church Ambala cantt. Haryana. Trodly
Ambala in Haryana during the Raj was an important cantonment and it still has  a lot of colonial bungalows and wide tree-lined roads, typical of British cantonments in the subcontinent.
The  military area had early churches to take care of the needs of church services of the British Army.



The Holy Redeemer Church located in Ambala Cantt area is among one of the most famous Christian places of worship here. This church  came up in 1848, under the British rule. That time the East India Company, a proxy ruler of the Crown,  transferred its troops from Karnal to Ambala.  This place assumes strategic importance as it is closer to many regions, including Sind and NWFP (North west Frontier Province, now in Pakistan) Lord Ripon, an efficient British administrator,  was the only Catholic Viceroy of India and he is  said to have paid a visit to this vintage Protestant church while he was on his way to Shimla on official assignment. Because of vagaries of weather and other factors, this church collapsed  and in its place a new one was built in 1905. In 1956 the church was handed over to the Redemptorist group. The church is set in a picturesque place with lots of greenery around


The present day Holy Redeemer Church has tall towers supported by strong  pillars for extra protection to the structure. The elevated roof built in  Gothic style is meant to keep the interiors cool in the hot summer period.  This Church has two large rooms for altogether different purposes - one was originally meant for the British India troops, perhaps for rest and relaxation while on the move. In those days, this small town had no buildings good enough  to accommodate the British Army.  Now, the other room is  converted into a dispensary.
 Within the church compound there is an old house, apparently for the priest to stay. There is a memorial stone  in the north of the church. This 170 year old colonial church, despite its age, has not lost its colonial charm and old glory.
http://www.ambalaonline.in/city-guide/churches-in-ambala

























Wednesday, 18 April 2018

St. Paul's oldest Protestant church (1857), Ambala - bombed in 1965 war by Pakistan

St Paul's Church Ambala, cantt.Pinterest
St Paul's Church Ambala, cantt. Wikimedia Commons
Above image: St. Paul Church, Ambala cantonment, Haryana. It an old image.  Prior to  Pakistan's 1965 bombing, the oldest protestant church (1857) looked like this. Classified as a historical monument by the ASI.................................. 

January 2009: postage stamp . St. Paul's Churchutowo.blogspot.in
Above image: 25th January 2009: A commemorative postage stamp on. St. Paul's Church. Govt. of India...............

Saint Paul's Church of Ambala cantonment town, Hayana  is  one of the most reputed protestant and oldest churches in the country built during the  most crucial time in colonial India's history. The Indian Rebellion - Sepoy Mutiny was on across northern India in 1857 and the British were preoccupied with the tough task of quelling the rebels.  Consecrated on  04 January 1857 to cater to the spiritual needs of the British officials and soldiers, the church  was a big one and could accommodate 1000 people at one time. It was here  the inauguration of the Diocese of Amritsar took place  and today it appears that it will soon be the Mother Church of the Diocese. Under the East India Company's  rule this Cathedral was earlier the only cantonment church of the British army  constructed on a huge land of  20 acres. Presently, a major portion of the area is under the Indian Army for its use and running an Air Force School. The Indian Cantonment Board  is controlling it and the church  is open to all devotees. 

myunfinishedlife.com
It is believed this vintage church had a humble origin. The construction of the church  began in earnest in 1852  and the credit goes to one Captain Atkinson who  designed  the church following  the Gothic style. Initially affiliated to the Church of England, in 1952 the affiliation was transferred to the Lahore Diocese. Way back in 1855 the British India Army built a small church made of wood for the patrons. During the Sepoy mutiny, the Church became a safe haven for the British who took refuge here.
Saint Paul's Church of Ambala cantt HolidayIQ
St. Paul church, Ambala, Haryana. /atulambala.blogspot.in
Unfortunately in 1965, during the Indo-Pakistan war the church was bombed  by the Pakistani Airforce,  destroying most of the main portion of the church  except the tower and other parts. The bombing by a Pakistani Aircraft considerably obliterated a beautiful heritage church. The  remaining part  of the church  is being used now as the worship place.   The old church bell that was made in England was shifted to the nearby church house.  The Church has  become  a National Monument and is taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Ambala city location map. ambala.nic.in
On account of security issues, the bombed church was not reconstructed as  the Indian Air Force base near-by  is a busy one and the army air crafts continuously land and take off from the neighboring runways.  The Air Force Authorities have  a proposal to convert the church into a war memorial.

Tit-Bits:

Though legally and constitutionally Kashmir is part of India, it has been a bone of contention between two  countries  since  India's independence in August 1947. Pakistan, it is a known fact, purposely creating problems in Kashmir under India's control, using religious sentiments. The  war of 1965 was as a result of  skirmishes that frequently took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between these countries. Under Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, the Pakistan Army  carefully planned to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to incite an insurgency against Indian rule. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. In this war Pakistan Air Forces targeted civilian areas. St Paul's Church, an early British legacy in this part  was bombed during one of the raids. 

 http://www.hoparoundindia.com/Haryana/Ambala-cantonment-attractions-history-of/Saint-Paul%E2%80%99s-Church.aspx

Kaviyoor Mahadev temple and important traditional temple festivals


Mahadev temple.KaviyoorTemple,Main Entranceen.wikipedia.or

Kaviyoor Mahadevar temple. Kerala Tourism Guide
Almost every month there will be  some Hindu temple festivals   somewhere in India. There are countless temple festivals  being held across India  relevant to the regions,  local culture and seasons. Each state has its own temple festivals on specified days   in which lots of devotees participate. The temple festivals are an integral part of Indian culture and they have been around us for more than 1000 plus years. The lives of devout Hindus are closely woven with them. Some  are held on particular days, others last  a week and more.  They commemorate some mythological legends  associated with the temples and the presiding deity.  For example - Odisha: Puri Jaganath temple and the popular Rath yatra;  Tamil Nadu: The famous Meenakshi Kalyanam festival in Madurai,  Vaikunta Ekadesi and  Sorgavasal Thirrappu (opening of Heaven's gate) at the huge temple complex  of Sri  Ranganathar, Srirangam;  Kerala: The colorful Thirussur Poorum festival at Vadukanathan temple  and  the popular  Arattu festival at the Lord Padmanabha temple in Thiruvananthapuram.; Karnataka: The Ranganatha festival is the most popular oneand is observed  in those temples dedicated to lord Ranganatha (Vishnu)  in his Ananthasayanam posture and   Andhra: Several festivals are associated with Tirupati Balaji temple and the other popular one is Durgamma festival across this state. 

Hindu festivals are an occasion for rejoice and a chance to express our gratitude to the almighty. for prosperity, welfare and providing copious rain for agricultural operation, etc. From social integration point of view,  such festivals bring people of all casts from different communities to one place and make them work in unison to make  festivals a success. It promotes social intercourse , integration and unity among the people for a common purpose. Besides, days-long festivals provide an opportunity  for young people to show their talents in traditional Indian dances, classical music, etc. The temple festivals give job opportunities to plenty of middle class people who have close link with the temples. They  are the torch bearer of Indian tradition and culture that have  been with us for centuries without any break and, further, they keep the Indian fine arts, dances, music, etc.,  alive. 

Kerala,  often called  'God's Own Country', has a large number of Hindu temples and  many have unique religious and cultural traditions. Many temple  festivals  are held on specific days of the year and others  usually continue for a number of days. The striking feature of Kerala temple festival is the procession of
of idols (Urchavar) on caparisoned elephants often accompanied by traditional music such as Panchari melam or Panchavadyam. The latter is quite common in many Hindu temples of Kerala.

Festivals of Kaviyoor Mahadev temple:

Sivaratri festival in a Kerala temple iveminer.com
Kavyiyoor Mahadevar temple in  Pathanamthitta District of Kerala is a popular temple and here, besides the presiding deity lord Shiva, there is a separate   sanctum - Srikovil dedicated to Sri Rama Bhakta Hanuman. That Sri Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) himself did linga prathista (consecration ) here is a mythological facor that bestows importance and sanctity to this age old temple. The temple is also famous for Mangalaya puja (meant for women).


Once this temple, it is believed, celebrated  16 annual festivals.  But as of  now the main Annual festivals are less than what it used to be. The following may be worth mentioning:


Panthrantu kalabham for Hanuman in Chingam Kanni ( July), 

Ayilyam (September) for Serpent gods, 

Thiruvuthsavam (Annual festival- December–January) for Shiva and Parvathi,

Hanumath Jayanthi for lord Hanuman  (December–January), 

Uthrittathi Attathirunal (January) for the consort of Shiva,

Sivarathri ( February–March), Kalabhaabhishekam (April) and Sahsrakalasam (May–June).

Panthrantu Kalabham: This  festival was first introduced in  1951 for Lord Hanuman as wished by Maharajah  Sri Chithira Thirunal Balaramavarma. This is done in memory of the renovation and upgrading of the Hanuman Temple by the ruler. This 12 day  festival starts on the first day of Malayalam month Chingam and ends on the twelfth day.


Ayilyam: It falls  in the Malayalam month Kanni  and is for the serpent gods - Nagarajah and Nagayakshini. This festival is observed here as  countless  devotees  who come to the temple  also pray to the Serpent stone idols installed on the temple premises. Childless couples participate in this temple festival. 

Thiruvuthsavam: This  main festival of Lord Mahadeva is held  on a grand scale in the Malayalam month of Dhanu (December- January) and is being attended by thousands of devotees from all over the central Travancore region. This  ten-day  colorful festival  is a popular one.  Utsavabali, Seva, Pallivetta are the other parts of the festival.  Devotees decorate the temple with colourful lights, candles and flowers.

From the second day to the sixth day the lord's idol  atop caparisoned elephant is taken to those temples  associated with this temple. Temple rituals are held only inside the temple premises from the 7th day onward.  The tenth day event is an important one.  The Urchavar idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi are taken in a colorful  procession to the Manimala river for Arat.

Hanumath jayanthi: It falls  in the  Malayalam month Dhanu (December–January) and is a popular festival dedicated to lord Hanuman (Anjanayar). This festival also attracts thousands of devotees. The main offering is Vada mala and devotees offer it with prior arrangement.
Aval Panthirunazhi is yet another offering here. Hanuman stands for valor, wisdom and good health. Worshiping him on this day is good for your physical and mental well being.

Uthrittathi Thirunal:   It is held in the month of Makaram (January–February) in memory of the consecration of the Sri Moolarajeswary idol 
(Parvati). Maharajah Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore in 1893 AD had the idol consecrated.  

Shivarathri:  This important festival is celebrated in  Malayalam month of Kumbham (February–March). It is associated with  various rituals as  in other Shiva temples. 

This temple has a huge oil lamp stand- Velakku Madam.  The tradition has it that all oil lamps in the velakku madam should be lit on certain festival days. Vilakkezhunnellippu is a unique custom of the festival. The 8000 lamps on the wall of the Nalambalam are lit by seven desams  of Kaviyoor and Kunnamthanam villages. It is an amazing sight that enhances the sanctity of this place of worship. Whole night there will be puja to the main deity which is done four times by the priest.  On the temple premises, there will musical discourse  of stories from the Puranas, etc. This is just a one day festival ending in the following morning.






Sahasra Kalasam: This festival is  for 10 days. The main event  of  this festival is  abhishekam (anointing) and  is  done to the main deity with 100 pots among which one is  gold pot, 10  are silver pots and the rest are copper pots. This is done at devotees' request.


Thulabharam Offering:  This is common on festival days at some temples. Tulaparam offering is made by some devotes who offer food grains, vegetables, etc., equal to their body weight. This is done for various reasons to succeed in business, to pass exams, to get a child, etc. Tulaparam offering is made either before or after their wish is granted by the lord. In those days, rich people would  make  gold and silver coins or jewelry as offering to the lord for success in their endeavor or in any other matter.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaviyoor_Mahadevar_Temple