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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:53 am 
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An archery competition organised at Semmedu atop Kolli Hills was the highlight of the first day of the two-day ‘Valvil’ Ori tourism festival that began on Thursday.

Kolli hills is situated on the Eastern Ghats at an altitude of 1190 metres in Namakkal District. Kolli Hills is known for medicinal herbs and plants. Kolli Hills is one of the important lesser known Tourists centre of Tamil Nadu. Arappateeswarar Temple, Government Herbal Farm, Aiyaru (River), Akasagangai Waterfalls, Botanical garden, Telescope House are the important tourist attractions.

Every year in the month of August Valvil Ori festival at Kolli Hills is organised by the District Administration in coordination with Tourism Department.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:40 am 
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Embark on spiritual journey with ‘Sacred South’

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Tour operator SOTC, in association with Hotel High Point in the city, has launched a ‘Sacred South’ tour package covering important temples in and around Tiruchi.

Travellers can embark on the spiritual journey under the package which includes darshans at 10 major temples in and around the city covering the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Thiruvanaikovil Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswarar Temple, Rockfort Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple, Vayalur Sri Subramaniaswamy Temple, Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple, Gunaseelam Sri Prasanna Venkatachalapathi temple, Thiruvellarai Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal Temple, Uthamarkovil, Woraiyur Arulmigu Vekkaliamman Temple and Tirupattur Sri Brahmapureeswarar Temple.

The two nights/three day package starts at Rs.5,000 for a couple and includes two nights stay and a third night free at Hotel High Point in the city. The package will be valid till December.

Launching the package here on Friday, Sriram Rajmohan, Chief Financial Officer, Kuoni India Ltd., said this was the first pilgrim destination of the SOTC in the south.

SOTC, which is part of the Kuoni India group, would soon hold talks with the Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation to offer package tours to more destinations in the south. The tour operator, he said, would add more focus on the south in the coming days.

G.Ravichandran, president, Tiruchi Travel Federation, while welcoming the introduction of the tour at affordable rates said that the federation too was taking steps to promote tourism destinations in and around Tiruchi.

The federation was also lobbying for improving the tourism infrastructure of the city.

With the Tiruchi Airport set to being accorded international status, there would be more scope for promoting the tourist destinations of the region, he said
.

Anil Rai, Business Head, Holiday of India, Kuoni India Ltd., said travellers booking the Sacred South package would be given a complementary Divine India card using which they can have ‘live darshan’ of different places of worship online.

T.V.Anand, Managing Director, and T.V.Prabhu, Joint Managing Director, Hotel High Point, spoke.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:13 pm 
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Tourism park awaits Central nod

Tourism in Tamil Nadu will get an impetus if the Union tourism ministry gives its nod to few state government proposals.

According to sources in the Union tourism ministry, the Centre is actively considering proposals put forth by the state government to set up a tourism park in Chennai besides establishing Chennai– Tiruchy tourism circuit and promoting rural tourism in Thanjavur and Sivagangai–Chettinad area. The tourism park, which aims at luring international visitors, will be among the 20 Sentosa like theme parks proposed by the Centre across the country. Each tourism park, first-of-its-kind in the country, will have a hotel, convention centre, food court, entertainment and amusement facilities.

The Chennai-Tiruchy tourism circuit covers seven districts: Chennai-Kancheepuram-Tiruvannamalai-Vellore-Dharmapuri-Salem-Tiruchy and it is a blend of beaches, hill stations, heritage structures and temples along the state’s western coast. This circuit has been identified on priority basis taking into account the potential and perceived need for improvement / investment to basic and tourism infrastructure.

The destinations identified under the circuit include: Chennai — Marina Beach, Fort St. George, Santhome Cathedral, Sri Kapaleeswarar temple, National Art Gallery, Government Museum, Elliot’s Beach, Pulicat Lake, Mamallapuram, Kancheepuram — Sripermpudhur, Rajiv Gandhi Memorial / Ramanujar birthplace, Sri Kamakshi Amman temple, Silk, Handloom, Thennankar-Panduranga temple, Tiruvannamalai — Gingee Fort, Arunachaleswaram temple, Seshadri Swamigal Ashram, Jawadhu Hills, Renugambal temple, Padaveedu, Vellore — Vellore Fort, Prison, Tippu Mahal, Golden Temple, Yelagiri Hills, Pudurnadu, Dharmapuri — Hogenakkal Falls, Salem — Yercaud Hills, Kolli Hills, Hanuman Temple and Tiruchy — Sri Ranganathar temple. Sequestered villages in Sivanagai-Chettinad area, Thanjauvr, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Namakkal have been identified for promoting rural tourism in Tamil Nadu.

http://www.asianage.com/chennai/tourism ... al-nod-387

courtesy: bajk, SSC forum


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:30 pm 
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Students to turn tourist guides soon

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) is in the process of recruiting about 500 college students as freelance guides to add value to its package tours.

On an average, TTDC organises 26 different types of tours in a month and guides are available only in few specified sectors. Moreover, the guides find it difficult to narrate interesting details to the tourists either in English or in Hindi.

To offset the problem, TTDC officials have hit upon the idea of approaching city-based colleges where tourism is taught as a subject. Besides, it would be easier for them to train the youngsters, who are fluent in English and know more than one south Indian language. Currently, the Corporation organises one-day trips from Chennai to Kancheepuram, Mamallapuram, Tirupathi, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore (Sripuram Golden Temple) and Puducherry. Besides, temple tours are high on its agenda and these include a one-day amman tour, a three-day Navagraha (abode of nine planets) tour, a four-day tour to Arupadai veedu (six abodes of Lord Muruga), a five-day 108 Amman tours, a six-day south India tour, a seven-day Kollur Mookambika temple tour, as well as other eight-day tours. Speaking to The Hindu, a TTDC official said, “As most of our tours are city-centric, we would like to employ those who have some knowledge about historic places, know interesting anecdotes, and know the area thoroughly and are willing to serve with a smile. We will provide them with short-term training, uniforms, identity cards and mobile phone with a closed user group network.”

To help visitors, TTDC will print booklets and screen short films. In places such as Mamallapuram, TTDC is planning to come out with audio guides that will narrate the basic details of the place.

Apart from displaying the contact details of senior officials in charge of tours, accommodation, food and transportation in all coaches, a complaints or suggestion book will also be made available. This apart, a tourist can also express his grievances through the TTDC website.

“Most of our tours start from Chennai. We have hotels in important places and are now thinking about starting one-day tours from other places such as Tiruchi, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, so that it helps the tourists extend their stay,” said another official.

S. Subbalakshmi, Head of the History & Tourism department, Ethiraj College for Women, said it was the only college in the city to offer a skill-based course in Travel and Tourism Management since 2003-04. It has produced hundreds of professionals, she said.

“At the end of the three-year course, our students have been absorbed by several leading travel agents and tourist operators. They have been taught about marketing, air ticketing, hotel management and front office management, among other subjects, by experts in the fields,” she added.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:15 am 
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The air reeks of dried leaves and dead bats as I clamber into a musty cave half-hidden by a giant banyan tree. It is unsettlingly quiet as I sit cross-legged inside a six foot tall recess hollowed out of rock. With the surreal feeling of emulating an act performed aeons ago, I relive the legend of the sage who sat meditating at this spot before instructing a king to build one of South India's oldest temples here.

At Thiruvellarai, there is a whiff of mystique mingled with a decided antiquity. Priests recite literary verses to emphasise that the temple, which is among the 108 divyadesams (shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu), predates Srirangam, less than 20 kilometres away. It is not just the quaint temple and ancient caves, but Pallava rock-cut shrines and a well in the shape of a swastika that make the town worth a visit.

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It is only on stepping out of the cave onto an outcrop that I realise the temple is built on a white rock, giving its name ‘Thiruvellarai'. Myth has it that the Sri Pundarikakshan Perumal temple was built by the king, Sibi Chakravarthy. The sovereign stumbled on Maharishi Markandeya at his cave while pursuing a wild boar, an incarnation of Vishnu.

I sit down to listen for the trills of birds nesting in the foliage of the knotted banyan. Suddenly sounds pierce the air, courtesy a gaggle of village children, teasing the echoes in which Thiruvellarai abounds. The majestic, unfinished gopuram and rampart-like walls at the entrance give the temple the aura of a fort. The subsequent white carved gopuram leads you into precincts with massive wooden doors, stone pillars and intricately sculpted images of the holy trinity. If you are keen on religious details, temple priests can enlighten you on the auspicious faculties, the deities enshrined and the annual festivities. Or you can simply wander amidst the stone walls breathing in the lingering incense and savouring the silence.

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Determined to go no further barefoot, I take the lane leading behind the temple. A children's park ends in a familiar blue signboard by the State Department of Archaeology indicating a protected monument. At first sight appears a matrix set in stone, which on closer look reveals a swastika. Four entrances, one at each arm of the swastika, lead to 51 steps descending to ledges jutting into the water. The well, dating to 800 A.D., was built by Kamban Arayan during the reign of Pallava king Dhantivarman. Verses inscribed on the walls exhort people to do good deeds.

Though the well goes by many names, I find the ‘maamiyar-marumagal kulam' (mother-in-law daughter-in-law tank) intriguing. Locals attribute it to the privacy afforded by the entrances where the two cannot see each other during a bath. There is some truth in it, I discover. Believing the place to be deserted, I descend the narrow steps that take a 90 degree turn, to find three kids silently baiting hooks for fish. Deciding to leave little unexplored, I egg the cab driver along a bumpy stretch that opens out into a rugged, rock-strewn landscape dotted with little shrines hewn out of stone. While one dedicated to a goddess harbours a watery secret in the form of a rock pond, the quaintest of the lot holds a sanctum sanctorum and deities carved out of the very rock on which it is built.

Passing a few strange rocky formations, I find myself at the back of beyond. The only sign of civilisation is a petrol pump a mile away. Surrounded by centuries of sacred rites, I can agree with the sage's choice. You can still find solitude among the stones and lose yourself in contemplation. Here, only the echoes will keep you company.

GETTING THERE:

Thiruvellarai is about 20 km from Tiruchi, which is well connected by air, rail and road.

WHERE TO STAY:

There are hotels for varying budgets in Tiruchi.

-deepu051993/hindu.com


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Viralimalai Wildlife Sanctuary is an oasis of idyllic green and paradise of tranquil bliss. Tourists visiting the sanctuary are greeted by the mind-blowing panorama of India's National Bird, the regal peacock spreading out its beautifully colorful plumes and dancing to nature's tunes.

Viralimalai Wildlife Sanctuary is strategically sited 30 km from Thiruchirappalli and 40 km from Pudukkottai.

The sanctuary is one of the best places to watch peacocks. There are at least six specie of peacock pheasants distributed throughout South East Asia, though the Palawan Peacock Pheasant or "Tandikan" (Polyplectron Emphanum) is by far the most spectacularly coloured of these beautiful birds.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:37 am 
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Take a magical green getaway

Take a break from the chaotic city life and explore this greenery filled hotspot...

True to its name, Pachamalai looks like a hill covered in lush greenery from afar - located 80 kms north of the city it is a hillock which is famous for its traditional way of living, medicinal value trees, small streams and tribal lifestyle.

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As you drive towards this beautiful patch in the Eastern Ghats you can experience the gradual progession one makes from the city life to this tiny paradise - the smell, the climate change and the noises. If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway, then this is your best bet. A one day trip would ideally start with a breathtaking sunrise, bird spotting and a small brunch. Later, you can get a bit more adventurous by taking a small trek up the mountains, taking a break near the streams and finishing it up with a packed lunch and a siesta. At the end of it all, you'll feel refreshed and energetic!

A range of mountains like Aathi nadu, Kombai nadu, Thenpara nadu and other places is a treat for trekkers. Pause for a minute and chat up with the locals and you'll know how this hill has proved to be their companion through their lives. They talk excitedly about their many adventures inside the dense forest cover and also inform us about the medicinal value of the plants. Their way of life around these hills seem to be that of a simple one. With changing times, there is eco- tourism being promoted to a large extent - part of which has enabled the government to come up with weekend packages for tourists. Arrange a bike trip with your friends where you can drive for hours, just exploring the wide road, dense forests experiencing the sound of silence that seems to resonate through these lush green valleys.

Fact file :

Route: Trichy to Thuraiyur road.

Travel time: One hour and 30 mins

Activity: Trekking, taking a dip in the stream, learning about traditional way of life and medicinal facts of plants.

Places nearby: Murugan temple, Mythulu falls, Top Sengattupatti.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:35 pm 
Tourism sector gets a facelift

CHENNAI: Within a few months after taking over the reins of the State, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced a seven-point strategy for promotion of tourism in the State. The new measures, announced on September 23, 2011 was just a curtain raiser to many more initiatives for the development of tourism in Tamil Nadu.

The seven strategies for the growth of tourism sector are: development of tourism parks, development of rural tourism clusters, integrated development of tourist destinations/circuits/cities, skill development, wayside amenities centres, Clean Toilet Campaign, promotion of heli-tourism, cruise tourism and the cable car project. The CM also called for an action taken report on this strategy. Within a short span of time, many projects for development of tourism under these seven heads have been completed.

On November 8, 2011, it was announced that Kolli hills and its surrounding areas would be made a eco-tourism spot and Rs 2.75 crore was allocated to improve the infrastructure facilities around the place.

The Chief Minister on December 18 earmarked Rs 500 crore for giving a boost to tourism prospects of the State. Two parks on the lines of Sentosa park in Singapore will be established at Chennai and Tiruchy at a total cost of Rs 50 crore. These parks will have special features to attract tourists and they will be developed as entertainment centres.

In January this year, Jayalalithaa announced that the vast wetland along Suseendram, Therur and Manakudikayal in Kanyakumari district will be declared as a bird sanctuary and that the area will be developed as a tourist spot. The CM allocated Rs 1.61 crore for undertaking developmental works in this area. The wetland is a biodiversity zone. Of the 90 species of birds coming to this place, 50 are from Arctic region. Apart from them, 25,000 wetland birds also visit this place.

The CM announced many measures for increasing the fauna and flora in Tamil Nadu on May 15 and said that a zoological park would be set up at 22.5 acres of land at Udayagiri in Kanyakumari district, at an expenditure of Rs 15 crore. It would house 26 species of animals, including spotted deer, sambar deer and ant eaters.

The Infrastructure Development Investment Programme for Tourism was approved by ADB as a Multi-tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for Tamil Nadu. The Investment Programme targets enhanced economic growth and provision of livelihood opportunities for local communities through tourism infrastructure development. The investment programme consists of five components - quality enhancement of natural and cultural attractions, urban infrastructure and service improvement, connectivity improvement and signages, community-based activities and capacity development, community participation and project management.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has formulated the Technical Assistance (TA) programme to enhance the capacities of tourism department and other associated implementing agencies in Tamil Nadu.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:00 pm 
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Kudumiyanmalai Temple in Pudukkottai

Kudumiyanmalai is 20 km from Pudukkottai. Kudumiyamalai is an important site in the district famous for a few old temples of considerable beauty as well as archaeological interest. It is one of the oldest historic townships in the tract. The township was called as Thiru-nalak-kunram is earlier inscriptions and Sikhanallur in later ones. The village had extended all around a hillock, at the foot of which, on the east, is the famous Kudumiyanmalai temple complex. On and near a hillock there are four temples including a fine cave temple and a very large Siva temple, called Sikhanathasvami-koil, containing exquisite sculptures. The musical inscription found on a face of the cave-temple is important in the musical history of India. There are nearly a hundred and twenty inscriptions in Kudumiyamalai.

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On both sides of the corridor from the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum housing ShikhagirIshwarar are pillars having huge, beautiful sculptures.Me at 1000 pillar mandapam Kudumiyanmalai As pre Kailash yatra preparation along with 5 friends we made a mini yatra to some Tamilnadu temples. Among the temples visited were:-

Reaching Kudumiyanmalai

Kudumiyanmalai is at a distance of 20km from Pudukottai, 50 km from Trichy and 59 km from Thanjavur.

Sthala puranam

Before this place was called Kudumiyanmalai, its name was Thirunalankunram. Legend goes that the king used to visit the temple everyday in the evening and it was customary for the priest to give the prasad to the king after the evening puja. One evening, it was getting late and King Sundarapandian had still not come. Since the closing time of the temple was nearing, the priest gave the prasAd to the dasis who danced everyday at the temple. Seeing the king enter the temple just as the dasis were leaving, the priest got worried and took the flowers from the dasis who had already worn it on their hair and gave it to the king. Seeing a strand of hair on the flower, the king became suspicious and questioned the priest about the presence of hair in the flowers. Overcome by fear, the priest lied that it was from Lord Shiva’s head. Angered by the priest’s reply, the king locked him inside the temple, telling him that he would come the next day and check if the Lord did really have hair. Worried, the priest prayed to the Lord.

The next day when the king came, there was indeed a kudumi/shikha (tuft) on the Shiva linga! Becoming suspicious, the king tried to pull it from the Shiva linga, only to see blood coming from the lingam! That’s how the Shiva here got the name ShikhagirIshwarar & the place got the name, Kudumiyanmalai.

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Cave temple – Melakkoil

Inscriptions of musical notes

The music inscriptions are to the south of an east-facing rock cut temple also of seventh century origin. This cave temple is called Melakkoil or Tirumerrali. Archaeologist Dr. Kudavayil Balasubramaniam says that in the case of Pandya rock cut temples, the linga was hewn out of the same rock, as the temple took shape, resulting in one big monolith of temple and deity. The Kudumiyanmalai temple is one such monolith, and therefore a Pandya structure, he says. According to Dr. Raja Mohammed, former curator of the Pudukottai Museum, the temple is Pandya, because the linga rests on a square peetam.

Two dwarapalakas at the enterance

Outside the sanctum sanctorum are two dwarapalakas smiling smugly, with none of the sternness one would expect of security guards. The two earliest inscriptions in the cave temple are those of the Pandyas.

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1,000-pillar mandapam

The 9th century temple is a store-house of rare inscriptions and carvings, and an engineering marvel.

Although popularly referred to as the 1,000-pillar mandapam, it has 644 pillars — 322 on the northern side and an equal number on the south of the main prakara leading to the sanctum sanctorum. Over the years, the structure has been weakened, and three years ago the ASI barred the entry of devotees while renovation work is undertaken. “We took care to retain the original order of every stone structure and its beauty. At the time of removal, the pillars and beams were numbered in rows and columns, and the seriatim was maintained in all perfection while re-constructing it,” said Senior Conservation Assistant P. Vasudevan. In all, 29 pillars were replaced.

The work is being done in three stages. In the initial phase, the base stones, pillars, capital, beam and ceiling slabs were removed. Then the structures were re-arranged in the same order and reinforced using `brijally’— comprising powdered brick and `jally’. Finally, the ceiling slabs are reinforced with powdered lime and `brijally.’ The ceiling has been newly provided with a series of brick ventilators to allow sunlight in, adding to the beauty.

“Water-tightening will be followed by fixing of two layers of tiles and the entire ceiling will be plastered using lime and cement,” Mr. Vasudevan said.

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http://templesinsouthind.wordpress.com/2012/02/


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 7:06 pm 
Kolli Hills



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