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    By: Rang7 Team September 2, 2011
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A Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, has suddenly gained attention overnight owing to the discovery of a large treasure found on its premises.

Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams or the principal centres of the deity in Vaishnavism, built in Dravidian style of architecture. The recent treasure discovery at its premises has garnered so much attention that the temple has now become a tourist attraction and is included in special packaged pilgrimage tours to places such as Kollam, Alapuzha, Coutralam, Amba Samudram and Kanyakumari.

With the current festival season of Vinayak Chaturthi and the upcoming Onam festival which is widely celebrated in the south, most of the pilgrimage tours have been fully booked. Travel operators are experiencing a great tourist rush to Kerala for the festival season especially from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. "As the Ramadan and Vinayaka Chathurthi are falling on consecutive days close to weekend, I thought of going on a five-day package to Alapuzha-Kollam backwaters. It was only after the discovery of treasure at the Thiruvananthapuram temple that I came to know of it. So I included that also in my package,'' said M Vishnunath, who works with an IT firm in Coimbatore.

The Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple is currently run by a trust that comes under the patronage of the royal family of Travancore.

While many in the south are opting for pilgrimage places including Madurai, Tirupati and Rameshwaram, there are others who looking out for places offering peace and tranquility, away for the noise and pollution of a city life. As such hill stations in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu along with many off beat destinations are also attracting tourist this festival season.

Various resorts and jungle lodges near National Parks such as Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and other places such as Malampuzha Dam and Nelliyampathy Hills in Palakkad, in Salem and Hoggenakkal water falls in Dharmapuri, have been heavily booked.

"Almost all the resorts and lodges in Wayanad have been reserved in advance for the next 30 days. Most of our bookings are coming from Western Tamil Nadu, especially Coimbatore, Tirupur and Salem,'' K Raveendran, secretary of Wayanad Tourism Organisation said. "People from Coimbatore prefer Wayanad largely because they can reach there by passing through Coonoor, Udhagamandalam and Mudhumalai. On the return journey, they can visit Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Chamarajnagar district of Karnataka as well," he added.

P Prakash, a bank official in Coimbatore who is preparing for a holiday with his family for the upcoming festival season of Onam said, "I am taking my family to Athirapally waterfalls in Thrissur district of Kerala via Valparai. I have booked a room at an old guest house located in the middle of a tea estate in Valparai. From Valparai to Athirapally, it would hardly take 40 km and the route is very scenic. After all, I wanted a change.”

Onam is the largest festival celebrated in the state of Kerala. It is a grand festival and includes many varied celebrations and festivities including snake boat races, making of intricate flower carpets called Pookallam, dances such as kaikiottikkali and Thumbi thullal and various sport activities played by men.

 
 

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Related Photos

A beautiful etching (dated 1808) of an Elephant Hunt in action (Kheddah)<br />
Source:  Oriental Field Sports, Vol. I, by Thomas Williamson, 1808. Drawn by Thomas Williamson & Samuel Howitt.
A successful Khedda (
Mastigudi Temple (Mastigudi Lake) that is only visible during the dry summer months.    Source:  Orange County Kabini


 

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