A Travelouge of Temples of Inia, Andaman Islands, Europe, Malaysia, Singapora and Thailand. The author, S. Murugavel, Addl. Dy Commisioner of Police (Retd.) shares his travels with you. He gives brief details of more than 200 temples visited by him and the holiday tours undertaken by him. The book is illustrated with the photographs taken by him. "A picture is worth 100 words" – Maxim.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw of the bowlines, sail away the safe harbour. Catch the trade wings in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover"
I joined the Tamilnadu Police Department as A Sub-Inspector of Police and after 33 years of service, retired as Additional Deputy- Commissioner of Police in 2001. There is no time for leisure or even family life in a policeman's job. I had a longing to travel and see places. Hence after retirement, I loosened my purse strings and went to several Places. I visited lot of temples in amilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi Haridwar, Rishikesh, Odisha and Rajasthan. I also visited Himachal Predesh, Andaman Islands, Europe, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by joining guided holiday tours.
The innumerable temples of India are architectural monuments and sculptural wonders. It is said that there are more than 3500 temples in Tamilnadu alone. "Do not live in a place where there is no temple" – is the famous saying. We read with awe about the great monuments, sculptures and paintings of the renaissance are of Europe. Europe infact was petty much a backwater in 1001, - a collection of petty kingdoms emerging from the chaotic period following the fall of Rome. But India had a glorious heritage. Rajaraja Cholan built the Big Temple at Tanjore in 1010. Ajanthe (27 caves carved between 200 B.C. and 700 AD) and Ellora (34 caves carved between 200 BC and 700 AD), Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Temples of Kasi Visewanathar, Puri Jagannath, Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Belur and Halebedu, Hampi ruins and various Palaces and Forts found throughout India are examples to name a few, among thousand of heritage sites. One should travel the length and breadth of India and see the splendor of several priceless masterpieces master pieces of architecture, wonders of the sculptures created with the endowments made by royal patrons. From Himalayas to Kanakumari, there are thousands of temples showcasing splendid architecture. In spite of the fact that several great Hindu temples were destroyed by the invading Muslim iconoclasts in the Northern India and Central India, other temples stood the ravages of time and nature. Not much of temples were built during the period of Muslim rules in India. Gajini Mohammad, famous for his seventeen expeditions Temple and sent bits to Gajini, where they were laid as steps of the Jami Masjid to be tramples and defiled by the Muslims. The construction of the other temples started only after the waning of Muslim rule. Various monuments found all over India, speak volumes about the rich cultural, political and religious heritage of our country, Lord Curzon hailed India's antiquities as "the greatest galaxy of monuments in the world". Hence the Tourism Maxim – "Incredible India".
In Hinduism, one of the oldest religions of the world, the deep spirituality led to the building of thousands of temples in India. In places the temples were built in the centre of the town. The temples, apart from serving as the place of worship of the Supreme, also served as a place of community gathering. In olden days, during wars between kingdoms, the vast temples complexes served as places of refuge for the citizens, to escape the wrath of the invading army. We find temples all over, on top of hills, on the slopes of the hills, sea shores, river banks etc. With aesthetic sculptures, various inscriptions, they depict the rich legacy of Indian culture, traditions, history, religious tenants etc. The deficiency og historical texts is sometimes compensated by the monuments. For example from the inscriptions of the Big Temples of Tanjore, we learn remarkable expeditions of Cholas, their lavish endowments and about the organization of their kingdom. Even atheists would love to visit our temples, to see the excellent architecture and sculptures. They are the epitome of Hindu culture. The proportion of the Hindus in the world's population is said to be 13.2%, while that of Christians and Islam are 33% and 21% respectively. Approximately, Hindus constitute about 80% of India's population, while Muslims constitute 13%.
Gilles le Bouvier gave his reason travel and writhed as follows:- "Because many people of diverse nations and countries delight and take pleasure, as I have done in times past, in seeing the world and things therein, and also because many wish to know without going there, and others wish to see, go and travel, I have begun this little book"
I ventured to write this book, with a view to enlighten the readers with brief details of about 200 temples I visited, along with photographs taken by me. I have also detailed the holiday tours undertaken by me. Rather than terming this as creative writing I will describle this book – a compilation of known facts culled out from various Sthala varalaru (History about the pilgrim centre), history books, information boords exhibited near the monuments and travel leaflets along with my personal observations. I have also added mythological stories, legends, folklores and bits of General Knowledge. My humble with is that, this book should serve as a mini-guide to future tavelers. John Grisham the famous author of legal thrillers, observed in one of his prefaces that he found writing a book is easier than selling it. I do not know the result, about the sale of my book. This is my first venture and I request the readers to bear with flaws if any.
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