India Journals

India: Sacred Spaces

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A travel journal to India by phileasfogg

St. Stephens Church Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: Most Indians are extremely religious, so it’s hardly a surprise that some of the country’s best-known and most-visited destinations are places of pilgrimage. Here are reviews of three very much-revered temples, and two little-known but interesting old churches.

Brahma Temple

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Attraction | "India’s only major Brahma temple"

Brahma Temple Photo, Pushkar, India
Quote:
Hinduism is ruled by a trinity: the Creator, Brahma; the Preserver, Vishnu; and the Destroyer, Shiva. There are millions of other gods—according to tradition, there are 80,000,00,00 deities in the Hindu pantheon—but these three are the mightiest. There are thousands of temples, large and small, scattered across India, honouring these deities. You’ll find temples to Shiva, to Vishnu, to the elephant-headed god Ganesh, to the goddess Durga and her many avatars. You’ll even find the one-odd temple to less prominent deities like Kuber, the god of wealth. Strangely enough, across the length and breadth of India, there is only one major temple where the Creator Brahma is worshipped. This is where it is: in ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 20, 2013

Brahma Temple
Brahma Temple Rd, Badi Basti, Pushkar, Rajasthan
Pushkar 305022

Nataraj Temple

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Attraction | "The dancing god of destruction"

Nataraj Temple Photo, Chidambaram, India
Quote:
Of the Hindu trinity, the deity known as the god of destruction is Shiva: the god who, when he gets angry (which he seems to do with worrying frequency), goes into a frenzied dance of destruction known as the taandav. Shiva doing the taandav is known as Natraj—literally, the god of dance. There are many temples across India dedicated to Natraj, and of those in Tamilnadu, the one at Chidambaram is probably the most famous. It is the main attraction in the town of Chidambaram, about half-way between Pondicherry and Tranquebar.We were returning from Tranquebar to Pondicherry, and since we’d already stopped by at Vaideeshwara (another Shiva temple, dedicated to his form as a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 20, 2013

Nataraj Temple
Chit Sabha, Chidambaram, E Sannathi, Chidambaram
Chidambaram 608001

Vaitheeswaran Temple

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Attraction | "The temple of the physician deity"

Vaitheeswaran Temple Photo, Tamil Nadu, India
Quote:
I’d never heard of this temple until I did a day trip to Tranquebar (Tharangambadi) from Pondicherry. The person I was travelling with, a writer and translator, was a Tamilian and very knowledgeable about just about everything to do with Taminadu—including temples. About 25 km beyond the town of Chidambaram, my friend got pretty excited when we saw a road sign pointing to Vaideeshwara. "That’s the temple people go to if they’re suffering from a disease," she explained. Vaidya, in Sanskrit and in Tamil, means ‘physician’. The incarnation of Shiva that is revered at Vaideeshwara is that of a healing god: a vaidya deity, so to say.My friend’s keen on visiting the temple, and since I have...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 20, 2013

Vaitheeswaran Temple
Sri Sivakama Sundari Ambaal Sannidhi, Lalkhan St, Chidambaram
Chidambaram 608001

St. Mary's Church

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Attraction | "Tucked away, but interesting"

St. Mary's Church Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Catholic missions had arrived in Northern India fairly early (the Jesuits were welcomed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 1650’s), but Delhi’s first Christian mission was a group of Capuchin monks. By the latter half of the 19th century, Delhi had a number of churches. Several of these date back to just after the Mutiny of 1857, when the construction of churches was a way of showing the native population just who was in charge. Around this time, too, the railway came to Delhi, with the main track cutting right across the heart of the old city of Shahjahanabad (which had been established in the 1650’s by the Emperor Shahjahan, and today is popularly known as Old Delhi). Alongside the track was made a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 20, 2013

St. Mary's Church
Sp Mukherjee Marg, Near Old Delhi Railway Station
New Delhi 110006

St. Stephen's Church

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Attraction | "One of Delhi's oldest churches - and the prettiest"

St. Stephen's Church Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Some of Delhi’s most interesting churches are in Shahjahanabad—the Walled City—and of them, St Stephen’s is probably the best. In fact, according to the Delhi Development Authority, which awarded this church the Urban Heritage Award in 1994, it is the best.We visited St Stephen’s on a sweltering April morning, with the temperature hovering in the 30s (Centigrade, not Fahrenheit). Battling the crowds of Chandni Chowk; the rickshaw-pullers; the cattle feeding off rotting vegetables; the spice hawkers selling cardamom, areca nuts and tamarind; and dodging everything from horse-drawn carts to motorcycles can be wearying. By the time we made it to the end of Chandni Chowk and turned right on to C...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 20, 2013

St. Stephen's Church
726-2, Church Mission Rd, Khari Baoli, Chandni Chowk
New Delhi 110006