Temples including Madurai Meenakshi are major attractions of Madurai and the accommodation facilities | Road map from Chennai to Madurai with driving directions

Temples including Madurai Meenakshi are major attractions of Madurai and the accommodation facilities | Road map from Chennai to Madurai with driving directions

Madurai Meenakshi 1 Madurai Meenakshi 2

Madurai is the second biggest city in Tamilnadu state after Chennai.  Railway station of Madurai is at the center of the city.  Bus stand is at a distance of 3kms from the city.  A big main road can be seen next to the Railway station.  On the other end of the road which is opposite to the station there is a choultry  ‘Rani Mangammal’.  This road leads to Meenakshi temple. Opposite to the railway station there are many hotels which provide accommodation to the devotees. The distance between the station and the temple is about three fourth of a kilometer.  One and a half kilometer towards south from the temple, one can see the ‘Nayakar Mahal’.   Auto riskshaw are available to visit this place.  Thiruparankundram, which has the temple of Lord Subrahmanyam is towards south from Madurai.  One can reach this place by buses and auto rikshaws.   Meenakshi temple and Thiruparankundram temple are closed by 12:00O clock in the afternoon and are opened at 04:00 pm.  There is a light and sound show at Nayakar Mahal.  This show can be seen in  Tamil at 06:00 in the evening and in English at 07:00 pm daily.  On one side of Madurai a temple tank ‘Teppakulam’ is situated.  On the middle of the tank there is a temple dedicated to Goddess ‘Adisakti’.  Boating can be done in the tank.  City buses are run to this place.  ‘Alwar Temple’, a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is situated at the bottom of hills towards west at a distance of 11kms.  This is the most ancient temple and is very sacred for the people of Madurai.

On top of the hills at a distance of 3kms and in the midst of the forest there is a place ‘Palamudir Solai’ where there is a temple for the third form of Lord Subrahmanyam.  This is a very pleasant place.   Mini bus services are run from station to the temple.

Road map from Chennai to Madurai with driving directions:

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How the Kollur Mookambika got that name? | The temple architecture and Mookambika idol details

How the Kollur Mookambika got that name? | The temple architecture and Mookambika idol details

MookambikaThis temple has a history for its origin.  In Kritayugam there was a demon Kamasura in this place.  He did penance to please Lord Shiva.  Goddess Parvathi  made him dumb to prevent him from asking boons.  Later she killed him on Jesta sukla ashtami on the Kodachadri hill.  So the Goddess is called Mookambika.

Kollur Mookambika temple is built in the Kerala architecture style.  There is a 20 feet Deepa sthambam at the entrance.  Gaja sthambam which has golden plating is a little shorter.  Devotees have the darshan of these stambhas and then enter the sanctum sanctorium.  Male devotees have to take off their vests and shirts before entering the temple.  Mookambika Devi appears in a cross-legged position.  Mookambika has four hands, with the chakram and sankham in the upper hands.

The idol of Goddess Mookambika was installed along with the Srichakram by Adisankaracharya.  Adisankaracharya peetham is at the west side of the sanctum sanctorum.  Earlier Devi appeared ferocious.  Adisankaracharya did penance and make her tranquil.  Adisankaracharya went to north India with the permission of the Goddess, it is said.  All the kings who ruled this place worshipped and developed this religious place.

A Jyothirlingam is present in front of the idol of Mookambika.  This lingam is divided unequally by the line.  Devotees believe that the small portion of the lingam is the place of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the big portion is the place for Saraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali.  Decorations and Pujas are held for the idol and Abhishekam to the Lingam.

 

Gwalior Fort at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh | Location Map of Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh | Location Map of Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort

Another place which is a must visit is the fort of Gwalior.  This is on a hill.  Strong wall are built around the hill.  These are 2 miles long and 35 feet height and are intact even now.  The statues of Jain Teerdhankrs can be seen on the walls while going to the fort.  A local king carved them on the walls as he was interested in the Jain religion.  He destroyed some of them at the order of Mughals.  This fort went in to the hands of British rulers at a later stage.  This fort is so strong that Babur complimented that this is the best fort in the country.  When this fort was under Mughals. Aurangazeb had imprisoned his brother Murad in this fort.  He was hanged later.   51 subordinate kings were imprisoned here along with Hargobind Singh.  Queen Nurjahan ordered to release Hargobind Singh.  But Hargobind singh wanted all the kings to be released along with him. Then the Nawab laid a condition.  He said he will release all the kings who can come out holding the shirt of Hargobind singhHargobind singh’s shirt was torn in to pieces and made like a rope.  All kings came out holding that rope.

Location Map of Gwalior Fort:

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Train Timings and schedules, Train Ticket Fare, Distance, Fastest train from Secunderabad to Pune

Train Timings and schedules, Train Ticket Fare, Distance from Secunderabad to Pune | Fastest train from Secunderabad to Pune.

9 trains between Secunderabad Junction/SC and Pune Junction/PUNE improve the transport.
0164 represents Secunderabad Pune Shatabdi Special. This train departs at Secunderabad Junction/SC at 15:20 and reports an arrival at 23:55  at Pune Junction/PUNE . 8 h 35 min are required for it to travel 597 kms of distance. It has departures on  Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.Prices are Rs.780 for Chair car section.It is the fastest train from Secunderabad to Pune.

2749 train number makes up for the Vishakhapatnam LTT SF Express. It makes it departure at 21:10 in Secunderabad Junction/SC  and makes it to reach the destination at 07:50 +1 night in Pune Junction/PUNE. It takes 10 h 40 min to pass the distance of 596 kms. 2749 starts at Secunderabad Junction/SC  on  Wednesday, Saturday.They charge Rs.124 for general class, Rs.266 for SL class, Rs.695 for 3A class, Rs.940 for 2A class.

2702 specifies Hussain Sagar Express. It starts at 14:45 at Hyderabad Deccan Nampally/HYB  and reaches Pune Junction/PUNE  at 01:10 +1 night. It consumes 10 h 25 min of time for travelling a distance of 598  kms. It runs regularly.Rs.124 for general class, Rs.266 for SL class, Rs.695 for 3A class, Rs.940 for 2A class,  are charged.

Name of 7204 train number is Kakinada Bhavnagar Express. It starts at 14:50 in Secunderabad Junction/SC  and reaches the destination of Pune Junction/PUNE at 02:05 +1 night. It covers a distance of 597 kms within 11 h 15 min.This train is scheduled only on Thursdays.It costs Rs.124 for general class, Rs.246 for SL class, Rs.665 for 3A class, Rs.910 for 2A class.

7018 represents Rajkot Express. This train departs at Secunderabad Junction/SC  at 14:50 and reports an arrival at 02:05 +1 night at Pune Junction/PUNE. 11 h 15 min are required for it to travel 597 kms of distance. 7018 starts at Secunderabad Junction/SC  on  Monday, Tuesday, Saturday.Fare for travelling in this train is Rs.124 for general class, Rs.246 for SL class, Rs.665 for 3A class, Rs.910 for 2A class.

1020 specifies Konark Express. It starts at 11:45 at Secunderabad Junction/SC and reaches Pune Junction/PUNE at 23:45 . It consumes 12 h 0 min of time for travelling a distance of 597 kms. It runs seven days a week.  Rs.124 for general class, Rs.246 for SL class, Rs.665 for 3A class, Rs.910 for 2A class,  is charged.

Mumbai Express has the train number of 7032. It arrives the destination point of Pune Junction/PUNE  at 09:05 +1 night by leaving the departure point of Hyderabad Deccan Nampally/HYB at 20:40. It travels a distance of 598 kms within 12 h 25 min. It runs regularly.It costs Rs.124 for general class, Rs.246 for SL class, Rs.665 for 3A class, Rs.910 for 2A class, Rs.1518 for 1A class.

0732 train number also indicates Hyderabad Dadar Summer Special. It leaves Hyderabad Deccan Nampally/HYB at 22:00 and reaches Pune Junction/PUNE  at 11:20 +1 night within duration of 13 h 20 min travelling a distance of 598 kms.It travels only on Saturdays.It costs Rs.124 for general class, Rs.246 for SL class, Rs.665 for 3A class, Rs.910 for 2A class.

7014 number corresponds to the Hyderabad Pune Express train. Hyderabad Deccan Nampally/HYB  is the starting point for this train and Pune Junction/PUNE is the destination point. It leaves at 22:45 and reaches at 13:15 +1 night. 649 kms of distance is travelled in 14 h 30 min. It starts from boarding point on  Sunday, Tuesday, Friday,. Fare of this train is Rs.131 for general class, Rs.259 for SL class, Rs.700 for 3A class, Rs.959 for 2A class.
Official website of the Indian railways www. indianrail.gov.in   provides information about advance reservations, train ticket bookings, berths / seats availability, PNR status.

Falaknuma Palace has been converted into a luxurious hotel by Taj Group

Falaknuma Palace has been converted into a luxurious hotel by Taj Group | Kitchen, library, luxury rooms, suites and tariffs in the Falaknuma Palace Hotel
Falaknuma Palace
Falaknuma Palace is a beautiful historic palace built with Italian marble in the shape of a scorpion.  This palace is built in an area of 32acres and is situated at a distance of 5kms from Charminar.  It is built on a hill and stood as an evidence for the grandeur and splendor of Nizam Nawabs.

Reflection of sky

Falaknuma Palace was built between 1884 and 1897 by Prime Minister of Hyderbad Nawab Sir Vikar Ul Umra and it was designed by a British architect.  Falaknuma in Urdu means the reflection of sky.  Sixth Nizam was fascinated by this palace which is with pleasant atmosphere and which looks like it is kissing the blue skies.  He paid one crore rupees for this building and made it his official residence.  Even after the princely state of Hyderabad merged in to India, this palace is under Nizam’s successors.  Taj Group has taken over this palace a decade back to convert it into a heritage hotel.  It worked hard for six years and renovated the building, protecting the ancient articles and beauty of the building and opened the palace now as a luxurious hotel.

Falaknuma Palace hotel

Guests are taken in a Horse card from the main gate of the palace which is built in Italian and Tudor style of architecture.  Battery golf cots are arranged to move around in the surroundings.  The guests will be welcomed with rose flower petals in the reception.  Main hall and Gol Bungalow of the Palace are kept as it is with small changes not to damage the naturality.      Paintings in the Victoria style on the ceiling are the high light of the palace.  A musical instrument which is 2 tons is still placed in the music room.  This is the only one of its kind in the whole world.  36 varieties of tunes can be played at a time on this instrument, it is said.  Many painting collected by the Nizam from various places, handicrafts, furniture and books can be seen here.  Jades are used in decorating the palace which is not seen in any other palaces in the world.

Library in the palace

There is a big library which houses more than 5,900 rare books in the middle of the palace.  This is designed in the lines of Winders Castle Library in the British Royal Palace with rose wood and teak almirahs and tables.

 

 

Dining room

Dining room in the palace has a rosewood dining table which can accommodate 101 guests at a time.  This table is designed in seven divisions and such table is not found anywhere in the world. Dining table looks splendid with golden plates, spoons and crystal glasses.  If the number of guests in a group is more than 60, lunch will be arranged in this dining room, informs the hotel management.

Venetian chandeliers in Brazil cut are another special feature of this palace.  There are 40 such chandeliers spread all through the palace.

Durbar Hall

Wood ceilings, walnut wood furniture and beautiful mirrors are the special attractions in the durbar hall.  This is now converted into a stage for parties and receptions.

GE refrigerator, electrical switch board, telephone exchange, petrol pump and attached bathrooms were concepts introduced by Falaknuma palace in India.  These are exhibited just where they are.  Nizam breakfast room is converted into a conference hall.  Carpets and furniture are brought from Turkey.  Falaknuma palace which had 22 halls and 220 rooms is converted into a hotel with 60 luxurious rooms.

Falaknuma had Jenana mahal and Harem quarters on the left side of the palace.  These are now converted in to 4 luxury rooms and 41 palace rooms.  Tariff of luxury rooms is RS.33,000 per day and Palace room is Rs.38,000 per day.  Another 15 rooms have been converted as expensive suites.  3 historical suites of Rs.83,000 tariff and 8 royal suites of Rs.1,40,000 tariff remind the guests of the royal days.  Another three grand royal suites are also present in the palace tariff of which is Rs. 1,95,000 per day.  One of the suites is called Begum suite.  All the articles used by the then queen are arranged in this room.  Nizam suite is the high light of the palace.  This suite is in duplex model and has a special swimming pool.  Guests will have to spend Rs.5 lakhs to spend a day in this suite.  5% taxes are extra.

Kitchen in the palace

The kitchen in the palace Gol Bungalow has been converted in to two restaurants.  One is Celesta that provides Italian and mediterranean cuisine.  Second is Ada where Hyderabadi traditional dishes are available along with north Indian dishes.

Jade room offers Hyderabadi, Turkish and South Indian breakfast and also varieties of Tea.  Restaurants are open for not only those who stay in the hotel but also outsiders.  Wine centers and hukka lounge are other attractions.

Billiards room, board room which is equipped with LCD projectors, electronic copy boards and 52” television are also available in the palace hotel.  Falaknuma gardens were personally designed by Nizam after visiting the Mughal, Rajasthan and Japan gardens.  There is no doubt that staying in Falaknuma Palace hotel remains as a beautiful memory to the guests.

Falaknuma Palace has a GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE rent of which is RS.5 lakh per day | GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE in Falaknuma Palace is the most expensive suite in India

Falaknuma Palace has a GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE rent of which is RS.5 lakh per day | GRAND PRESIDENTIAL SUITE in Falaknuma Palace is the most expensive suite in India

Falaknuma palace is inviting rich people who can afford Rs.5 lakh to spend a day.  The official residence of 6th Nizam has now been converted into a luxurious hotel.  This hotel is going to be inaugurated ion 13th November, 2010.  Minimum rent for each suite in this palace is RS.34,500.  Tariff for the most luxurious ‘Grand Presidential Suite’ is Rs.5 lakhs.  This resembles the queens abode in the Falaknuma palace.  This may be the most expensive suit in India.  The rent of a suit in Taj Mahan Palace in Mumbai is Rs.3,07, 650.  There is no dearth of rich people spending laths of rupees for luxuries in this poor country.  This hotel is developed by Taj group in Hyderabad for such people.