Saturday, February 07, 2009
"PONGAL" FESTIVAL of TAMIL NADU
Pongal is one of the most important festival celabrated accross Tamil Nadu.The harvest festival of Tamil Nadu marks the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons and happy days of reaping of the harvest. Basically a rural festival, it is celebrated in the month of Thai (that falls in January) for four days.The month of Pongal is considered very auspicious for marriages and other kinds of activities. During the festival, Sun God is worshipped as a sustainer of life on Earth.It is the New Year festival of the State and hence is associated with cleaning and burning of the rubbish from the past. 'Kolams' (Rangoli) drawn with rice flour to feed the insects in the front yards of the houses, new clothes, adorning cattles with beads, bells and flowers and painting and capping their horns with metals, delicious traditional cuisines,typical style of worshipping rituals and a procession taken out from the Kandaswamy Temple in Chennai along with the bull fights or Jellikattu in Madurai, Tanjore and Tiruchirrapalli and community meals are the chief highlights of Pongal.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Elliot's Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in the city of Chennai. It is located towards the south of Marina Beach and is an extremely calm and tranquil place. As the beach does not offer much activity, it is ideal for long walks. Moreover, the ones who want to soak their feet in the splashing sea water and lose themselves completely in the arms of the nature, head on. Elliot's Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in the city of Chennai. It is located towards the south of Marina Beach and is an extremely calm and tranquil place
It is also the favorite destination of foreign tourists for enjoying sun bath. Elliot's Beach offers very subtle activity, with only few food joints and restaurants. You can relish the mouth watering South Indian snacks and pamper your taste buds, here. Apart from this, there are some religious and historical monuments, to be explored, to add to your adventure. Ashtalakshmi Temple and Velanganni Church are some worth visiting places in the vicinity.
St Thomas, it`s believed, was the first Christian to set foot on Indian shores. One of the Christ`s Apostles [the famous Doubting Thomas], he arrived in India within a couple of decades of the crucifixion. Having landed on the Kerala coast, St. Thomas moved to what is now Chennai and is believed to have lived in a tiny cave atop this hill. Today asimple church built by the Portuguese in the 16th century forms the entranceto the cave which houses a large image of St. Thomas.
It is said that he used to live in a cave on a hill. He spent the last years of his life at a small hill that is known as the Little Mount area of today.He escaped from his cave to take shelter on a nearby hill, but here he was shot by an arrow and died. Since then the Hill where he had died has become St. Thomas Mount.
The Santhome Cathedral Basilica Church in Chennai is a sacred place especially for the Catholic Christians.The cathedral at Santhome was built by the Portuguese between 14th and 15th century A.D. The cathedral has been built in a typical neo Gothic style. The shrines included in the cathedral is a small hand bone and the lance that was used to end the life of the apostle in this world. The 50 metres high building has been constantly renovated, following the ravages made by the time. An important fact regarding the cathedral is that, it is the second only church in the world that has been erected over the burial place of an apostle. The cathedral holds a 3 feet high statue of Virgin Mary, believed to be imported from Portugal in the year 1543 A.D. The reaching spire goes as high as 50 metres and the width of the nave is about 10 metres. The cathedral is provided with stained glass and 14 wood plaques that depict St. Thomas' encountered with the resurrected Christ. The cathedral, which was blessed in 1896 A.D. and raised to the dignity of a basilica by Pope Pius XII, in the year 1956 gathers pilgrims from far off places. The renovation works from last decade has restored the damages caused to the monument. The cathedral walls might have been weakened but the the glory is still there.