Tuesday, November 21, 2017

St. Joseph’s Church, Chemmanvilai, Kanyakumari

St. Joseph’s Church, Chemmanvilai, Kanyakumari
St. Joseph’s Church is located at Chemmanvilai Village in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. The Church is located in the middle of the Chemmanvilai village, is an important worship center that plays an important role in the lives of the local people. It is near to the NagercoilThiruvananthapuram Highway. The Church is located at about 4 Kms from Padmanabhapuram, 4 Kms from Eraniel, 19 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 18 Kms from Marthandam, 22 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 12 Kms from Nagercoil, 32 Kms from Kanyakumari and 63 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway station is located in Eraniel at a distance of 6 Kms from Church. (3.7 mi). The nearest airport to Chemmanvilai is the Trivandrum International Airport, which is approximately 63 Kms from Church.




St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Kottar, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari

St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Kottar, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari
St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral also St. Xavier Church is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine located at KottarNagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu stateIndia. While Saint Xavier was doing missionary work at Kottar and its neighborhood, he averted an invasion of Padagas with the help of his cross alone and thus protected the people of Venadu kingdom from that attack which was appreciated by the king, Unni Kerala Varma, who became closer to the priest and befriended him from then on. In recognition of Xavier’s services, the king allotted him a piece of land to construct a Catholic church, as a gesture of goodwill, as per the church records.





There was already a small church, in the same place where St. Xavier’s church stands at present, dedicated to Mary the Mother of God, since AD 1544. Church records indicate that St. Xavier Church was built in 1600. In 1865, the Shrine of Mary was renovated and enlarged. In 1930, the church was raised to the status of a cathedral. The annual festival is celebrated during November – December, lasting for 10 days.




History
St. Francis Xavier, a Spanish Jesuit missionary, landed in Goa in May 1542 and he sailed from Goa to Cape Comorin in October 1542 on missionary tour to Travancore  Once a great band of dacoits attacked Travancore. Raja`s forces couldn’t combat the enemy successfully, but Xavier chased away the marauders at Vadasery by raising his Crucifix aloft and shouting at them. Very pleased with Xavier, the Raja showed special regards and gratitudes to him. At Kottar, Xavier had a dwelling house and a small church.
Tradition says that the heathens set fire to Xavier`s house and reduced it to ashes, but they were struck with awe when they saw the holy man on his knees devoutly praying, not in the least touched by the flames. To mark the place a cross was put up, to which miraculous powers were attributed. From the time, the church was built on the spot, a lamp is kept perpetually burning. Even Hindus go there and make vows and pour oil. Miracles are recorded to have taken place there; and hence multitudes of devout Catholic pilgrims from British India, Ceylon and Malacca resort to the annual festival at St. Xavier`s church, Kottar, about December of every year.
Christianity in Travancore was introduced by the disciple of Jesus Christ St. Thomas in 52 AD. The primitive or original church which still subsists was built by St. Francis Xavier himself between the years AD 1542 and AD 1550. Afterwards the Bishops of Cochin constructed a new and more spacious church that was richly endowed with precious ornaments and utensils gifted by the Kings of Portugal. The mortal remains of Christian martyr Devasahayam Pillai were given a Christian burial in front of the high altar of St. Xavier`s church at Kottar in January AD 1752. 
While being one of the oldest churches in the whole of erstwhile Southern Travancore, it is definitely the oldest Cathedral church of Roman Catholic Diocese of Kottar in the present-day`s Kanyakumari district (of Tamil Nadu) since there are three more dioceses got established here later on. In the year 1806, an engineer from Kolkata built a wooden altar with artistic works on it. And in 1865, the church was expanded. In May 26, 1930, the Diocese of Kottar was established from the Diocese of Quilon and St. Xavier’s Cathedral was announced as the Parish Church.
A 10-day festival from November 24th to December 3rd is held every year. The car procession in 1st, 2nd and 3rd December is the sight of beauty and devotion. While December 3rd being a Sunday it will be extended up to 4th December. In such cases the car processions will be on 2nd, 3rd and 4th December. In which thousands of people will be gathered to worship St. Francis Xavier to fulfill their needs. In 2010, the main altar and the altar in the Holy chapel where saint prayed were maintained by removing the old gold and decorated with more than 200 gms of 24ct Gold, which is then blessed by Most Rev. Bishop Peter Remegius, The Bishop of Kottar on 28th October10. In 2012, the Holy Tomb of the Blessed Devasahayam pillai has been maintained and the Holy Relics of Blessed Devasahayam Pillai has been erected above the Holy Tomb and dedicated to people’s worship.
Connectivity
The Church is located at about 3 Kms from Nagercoil, 1 Km from Nagercoil Railway Station, 1 Km from Nagercoil Bus Stand, 18 Kms from Kanyakumari, 5 Kms from Suchindram, 12 Kms from Boothapandi, 17 Kms from Thuckalay and 76 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Nagercoil and Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram.

St. Catherine Church, Eraviputhenthurai, Kanyakumari

St. Catherine Church, Eraviputhenthurai, Kanyakumari
St. Catherine Church is located at Eraviputhenthurai Village on the coast of the Arabian Sea in Thoothoor Village Panchayat in Vilavancode Taluk in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. This village is bounded in the north by the A.V.M (Anantha Victoria Marthandam) Canal, south by the Arabian Sea, east by Chinnathurai village and west by Thadeupuram village.


History
The History of Eraviputhenthurai can be traced from the legend. In the 16th century this region was ruled by King Kalinga. People say that this village changed after the legendary story happened in the Kingdom of Kalinga. Kalinga arranged marriage for his daughter. He invited well-wishers from everywhere and also invited Mother Sea, who instructed him in a dream that if she came, the kingdom would be no more. But the king compelled her to attend. In return Mother Sea sent a Tsunami in the 16th century which destroyed his dynasty.
After some years King Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma decided to make this village the capital calling it Aadhithyanthurai (Aadhithya-name of King Aadhithya Varma, King's father and Thurai—Coastal Village). Later in the 19th century Maharaja Marthanda Varma succeeded Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. The Varma's reign was an important stage in the history of Travancore. Marthanda Varma's policy towards the Dutch and English had no support from his own people and was obliged to depend on foreign mercenaries.
The armies which led him to victory owed their efficiency and fighting skill to Flemish soldier D'Lannoy's discipline, who built Travancore forts after he was taken captive at the battle of Colachel. When Marthanda Varma ascended the ancestral throne, the Dutch were powerful in the east. They had settlements in the Pacific and the Indian oceans and a number of fortified places in Ceylon and the Coromandel and Malabar Coasts. Most Malabar rulers were under their influence while some were their acknowledged vassals. Varma's successes flowed from a steady policy of national political expansion.
The suppression of the Poligars of Tinnevelly and the buttressing of the authority of the Nawab of the Carnatic were achieved by the East India Company with the active help of the Maharaja who sent large armies to fight the enemy at Vasudevanallur, Nellithankavila and many another places. However, the Maharaja was obliged to recognize the formal precedence of the Nawab. King Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma planned to dig a canal from Poovar to Erayumanthurai connecting river Neyyar in Poovar and river Tamirabarani in Eraiyumenthurai.
In 1860, he named the canal AVM canal (Anantha Victoria Marthanda Varma) canal. Here Anantha stands for King Anantha Varman—Father of UTM Varman, Victoria refers to Queen Victoria who ruled over India during this time and Marthanda refers to Marthanda Varman, the King. Soon after this the King constructed the first Bridge above this canal for free traveling and named it Aadhithyanthurai Bridge which still remains, ruined at E.P. Thurai Edappadu, justifying the history.
Later an epidemic took many lives. Many people moved towards east and settle down there and called that village as Puthenthurai (Puthen-New., Thurai- Coastal Village). Later on, Puthenthurai was attacked by great tsunamis and many people lost their lives. During this flood, a soldier named Eravikuttipilla helped to rescue many people so the people named the village Eraviputhenthurai. Portuguese missionaries invaded this village and built a Church under the Patronage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. People were very much happy to call this village honoring the Patroness as Santacatherinaputhenthurai (Stcatherineputhenthurai.).
The Church
St. Catherine Church plays a vital role in the day-to-day life of Eraviputhenthurai. The village's conversion may be traced back to not later than A.D. 1544 when St. Francis Xavier converted nearly 10,000 Mukkuvars (fishermen and women) living in thirteen villages along the coast from Pallam to Poovar. Immediately thereafter they pulled down their Hindu temple and idols. A cross was built and thatches were made for worship. In due course, they were converted into churches.
In 1600, the existing Thoothoor Parish Church was brought under the Padroado. Thoothoor Parish came under the Diocese of Cochin. In 1838, St. Thomas Church, Thoothoor and other adjacent coastal Churches from Pallithura to Erayumanthurai were brought under the Diocese of Varapuzha. Ultimately Thoothoor was brought under the Diocese of Cochin in 1850.
Under the Diocese of Cochin St. Catherine Church was Built at Adthiyanthurai (Eraviputhenthurai). The Patroness was St. Catherine of Alexandria. The church was constructed by English missionaries. Later in the 19th century this village was flooded. The new village was named Puthenthurai (Puthen =New. Thurai = Coastal Village). The name of the village became Santa Catherina Puthenthurai) (St catherineputhenthurai). In the 1860s a new Church was constructed, followed by another in 1886. The tower of this Church was destroyed by a storm.
In the middle of the 20th century, Rev. Fr. Rayyapan Parithyal started to build another new Church. In 1968 Rev. Fr. Francis Neetany wanted to reconstruct the Altar, which was completed on February 4, 1990. It was blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr. Soosai Pakiyam, Bishop of Diocese Trivandrum. In 2003 the tower was destroyed by a storm. Maintenance was started in 2003 by Rev. Fr. Stansilaus Theesmas and completed during the period of Rev. Fr. John Churchill Bas on November 2004.
St. Joseph's Shrine:
In 1972, Dennis Kanakkapillai initiated to construct a Shrine for St. Joseph at Eraviputhenthurai. Mr. Alphonse Pirisant cooperated with him for the construction work and provided the fund for construction. They opened the Shrine that year and it was blessed by Rev. Fr. Francis Neetany. Later on, reconstruction was started during the period of Rev. Fr. John Churchill Bas in 2004. The Face for the Shrine was planned by Mr. Robert Singh of Eraviputhenthurai. The work was started and new Shrine was opened on 1 May 2005 by Rev. Dr. Youhannon Mar Chrisostom, Bishop of Marthandam.
Connectivity
The Church is located at about 5 Kms from Kollamkode, 15 Kms from Marthandam, 17 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 15 Kms from Nattalam, 13 Kms from Parassala, 40 Kms from Nagercoil, 60 Kms from Kanyakumari, 23 Kms from Colachel, 26 Kms from Thuckalay and 45 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is Parassala (11.2 Kms), Kuzhithurai (15.6 Kms) Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (38.9 Kms) and Nagercoil Junction Railway station (43.5 Kms). Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (41.7 Kms).

St. Arockiya Nathar Church, Vavathurai, Kanyakumari

St. Arockiya Nathar Church, Vavathurai, Kanyakumari
St. Arockiya Nathar Church is a Catholic church located in Vavathurai Village in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. This church stands on the sea shore of Kanyakumari. This church was inaugurated in the year 2010 by Bishop Most Rev. Peter Remigius, D.D., the present Bishop of Kottar. This church is a sub-station of Puthugramam Parish. It was divided from Kanyakumari Parish in 2001. The Parish was created by then Bishop Most Rev. Leon. The First Parish Priest was Rev. Fr. F. Devdass, from that time onwards it became an independent parish. Under the Parish there were three substations, namely Anjukuduvilai, Siluvai Nagar and Vavathurai.


In 2009 the Anjukuduvilai went back to Kanyakumari Parish. The Vavathurai Church is dedicated to St. Arockiya Nathar (St. Roach). Arockiya Nathar means one who always saves from sickness and gives good health. Truly a beautiful structure, the church looks gorgeous because it stands on the sea shore with a background of bluish sky. The parish is populated predominantly by local fishing folks. Mass is always held in the regional language Tamil. The place adds beauty to Kanyakumari and is one of the important places to see in Kanyakumari. One can see sun rise at all the seasons.


The Church is located at the sea shore of Vivekananda Rock memorial. The Church is located at about 2 Kms from Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari Town is well connected to major cities by road / rail / air across India. Kanyakumari is located at about 20 Kms from Nagercoil, 13 Kms from Suchindrum, 47 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 33 Kms from Thuckalay, 47 Kms from Marthandam, 100 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 245 Kms from Madurai.


The Church is located about 1.5 Kms from Kanyakumari State Transport Corporation Bus Stand. The Church is well connected from Bus Stand by means of Buses, Taxis and Autos. The Church is located at about 1.2 Kms from Kanyakumari Railway Station. The Church is well connected from Railway Station by means of Buses, Taxis and Autos. The Church is located at about 100 Kms from Trivandrum International Airport and 240 Kms from Madurai International Airport.

St. Antony's Church, Chemmanvilai, Kanyakumari

St. Antony's Church, Chemmanvilai, Kanyakumari
St. Antony's Church is a Roman Catholic Church located at Chemmanvilai Village in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. The Church is located right in the middle of the Chemmanvilai village, is an important worship center that plays an important role in the lives of the local people. The church is under the control of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kuzhithurai. On December 25, 1942, Rev Fr. Mathias of Madathattuvilai Parish helped to establish the small church and hold the first mass there.


The first annual festival was held on April 11, 1943. A second church was established by Bishop Agniswami T.R. on December 20, 1970. Bishop Peter Remigius of Kottar Diocese announced the church as a new parish on June 22, 2011 and the first priest was Rev Fr. Joakins. A. St. Antony's Church is an ancient church which is mentioned in ancient Indian history of Travancore Kingdom. In the little church in Chemmanvilai martyr Devasahayam Pillai came to pray in his last days of life. 


St. Antony Church Festival is celebrated for ten days with grand events with prayer, music, drama and fireworks that add color to this religious event. The festival dates are based on the St. Antony Feast, in last weeks of May every year. And, the feast of St. Antony will be celebrated on June 13. People from various places come here and pray with St. Antony. It is near to the NagercoilThiruvananthapuram Highway.


The Church is located at about 4 Kms from Padmanabhapuram, 4 Kms from Eraniel, 19 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 18 Kms from Marthandam, 22 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 12 Kms from Nagercoil, 32 Kms from Kanyakumari and 63 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway station is located in Eraniel at a distance of 6 Kms from Church. (3.7 mi). The nearest airport to Chemmanvilai is the Trivandrum International Airport, which is approximately 63 Kms from Church.

Sacred Heart Church, Parakuntu, Kanyakumari

Sacred Heart Church, Parakuntu, Kanyakumari
Sacred Heart Church is located at Parakuntu Village in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. Before the independence of India, the area was a thick forest. Fr. James from Belgium played an important role in the history of the village. Sacred Heart Church is 1st Dravida architecture styled catholic church. The construction of this church is in the model of the Hindu temple. The pillars were similar to Dravidian style decorated by bundle of plantains. This church shows the connection with Dravidian architecture and art.


The church is located at about 2 Kms from Vilavancode, 8 Kms from Marthandam, 5 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 15 Kms from Thirparappu, 29 Kms from Colachel, 22 Kms from Thuckalay, 35 Kms from Nagercoil, 6 Kms from Parassala, 15 Kms from Kulasekharam, 60 Kms from Kanyakumari and 41 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kuzhithurai and Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram. 

St. Michael’s Shrine, Rajavoor, Kanyakumari

St. Michael’s Shrine, Rajavoor, Kanyakumari
St. Michael’s Shrine is located at Rajavoor Village in Agastheeswaram Taluk of Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu.  Rajavoor had been divided into 'Vadakkur' and 'Therkur' according to the communal population. While Vellalar reside in the northern part of this village, the southern part is dominated by Nadar community. Previously Rajavoor was called as Vanchimarthandanalloor in some land registration documents during the reign of Travancore Princely State ruled by Maharajas (refer Nagam Ayya's 'State Manual of Travancore'). Rajavoor has nearly 99% Catholic population.









St. Michael's Shrine is located at the center part of Rajavoor. The annual feast starts on the first Friday of May with a flag hoisting followed by a ten-day Mass and adoration. The eighth, ninth and tenth days are marked with a car procession to St. Michael Archangel, carnival ended with High Mass in front of the Holy Cars. The Roman Catholics and parish are administered by the Kottar Diocese. Rajavoor is located at about 17 Kms from Nagercoil, 17 Kms from Kanyakumari, 7 Kms from Suchindram, 15 Kms from Boothapandi and 88 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kanyakumari and Nagercoil. Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram.

Our Lady of Presentation Church, Rajavoor, Kanyakumari

Our Lady of Presentation Church, Rajavoor, Kanyakumari
Our Lady of Presentation Church is located at Rajavoor Village in Agastheeswaram Taluk of Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu.  Rajavoor had been divided into 'Vadakkur' and 'Therkur' according to the communal population. While Vellalar reside in the northern part of this village, the southern part is dominated by Nadar community. Previously Rajavoor was called as Vanchimarthandanalloor in some land registration documents during the reign of Travancore Princely State ruled by Maharajas (refer Nagam Ayya's 'State Manual of Travancore').


Our Lady of Presentation (Kaanikkai Maatha) Church is attached to the Rajavoor Parish's Sub-station. Previously its annual feast starts on the 40th date from Christmas with a flag hoisting followed by a ten-day Mass and adoration. In recent years that rule has been changed. Rajavoor is located at about 17 Kms from Nagercoil, 17 Kms from Kanyakumari, 7 Kms from Suchindram, 15 Kms from Boothapandi and 88 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kanyakumari and Nagercoil. Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort, Trichy

Tiruchirappalli Rock Fort, Trichy
Tiruchirappalli Rockfort is a historic fortification and temple complex built on an ancient rock. It is located in the city of Tiruchirappalli in Trichy District of Tamil Nadu. It is constructed on 83 metres (272 ft.) high rock that may date to over one billion years ago. There are three Hindu temples inside, Manicka Vinayagar Temple at foot hills, Uchi Pillaiyar Temple at Hill Top and the Thayumanaswami Temple at mid hill.







Other attractions include the famous Pallava-era Cave Temples in the mid of the hills and Madurai Nayak-era fort. The fort complex has witnessed fierce battles between the Madurai Nayakas and Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, Carnatic region and Maratha Imperial forces. The fort played an important part during the Carnatic Wars, helping lay the foundations of the British Empire in India. The Rockfort is the most prominent landmark of the city.







History
The name "Rockfort" comes from frequent military fortifications built here, first by the emperors of the Vijayanagara Empire and later by the British Empire during the Carnatic Wars. The oldest structure in the fort is a cave temple built by the Pallavas in 580. During the Chola period, the nearby town of Woraiyur was their capital, but the Pallavas did not keep control of this strategic city and lost it to the Pandyas. The Cholas reasserted themselves in the 10th century. Trichy continued to be in their possession until the decline of the empire, after which it became a Vijayanagara stronghold.
In the mid-14th century, the region was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate after Malik Kafur's raid on South India. They were ousted and the region came under the control of Vijayanagara. During the early part of the 16th century, the region came under the control of the Madurai Nayaks, who were the earlier governors of Vijayanagara Empire. However, it was under the Nayaks of Madurai that Tiruchirappalli prospered in its own right and grew to be the city that it is today. The Madurai Nayaks constructed the Rock Fort Temple Lake along with major walls as foundations, establishing the town as a trading city and later, their capital.
The fort palace also witnessed the transfer of power from Queen Meenakshi to Chanda Sahib, as he ruled in conjunction with the alliance with the Kingdom of France. He lost this command when his uncle, the Nawab of the Carnatic along with the British, seized the fort after the Carnatic wars. This enabled the British to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu and later all of South India. In modern times, the fort is maintained and administered by the Chennai Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort is one of the prominent tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu.
Major Battles:
Nayak Era:
As the Rockfort was the capital of the Madurai Nayaks, the fort has witnessed fierce battles. One of the largest was the Battle of Toppur for supremacy between the Aravidu dynasty of Vijayanagara and the Madurai Nayaks. The former won, with support from the rulers of Mysore and Thanjavur in the 16th century. Later, the Nayaks faced fierce attacks from Adil Shahi and Imperial Maratha troops. The Fort complex formed the northwest territory to the Nayaks. During their two-century rule, they had occasional skirmishes with their neighbours, the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom, the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, and, more frequently, with the invading Adil Shahi, Kingdom of Mysore, and Imperial Maratha armies.
Carnatic Nawab Era:
During the midcentury, Chanda Sahib, aided by the French, made this fort his home base. He battled with the combined forces of the Carnatic Nawab and British. He was defeated in the Carnatic wars and was forced to cede his lands to the British.
British Era:
In the late 18th century, Hyder Ali was a major threat to the British, as were the French who were still fighting for their colonial supremacy in this region. By now, the town was firmly established as a Cantonment town and the fort's gate was known as main guard gate. Robert Clive lived near the tank when he was in Tiruchirappalli.
Rock Fort Complex
The rock is said to be one of the oldest formations in the world. It is 3.8 billion years old, making it as old as the rocks in Greenland and older than the HimalayasQuartz, used in glass making, and feldspar, used in ceramics, are found in this rock formation. As the name suggests, the Rock Fort Temple Complex is situated on 83-meter-high outcrops. The Pallavas initially built this temple, but the Nayaks made use of its naturally fortified position and designed it again. It is a long climb up the 344 steps cut into the stone to the top.

The temple complex in the fort complex is a collection of three functioning Hindu Temples and Pallava Era Cave Temples:
Connectivity
Rockfort is located at about 5 Kms from Trichy Central Bus Stand, 1.5 Kms from Chatiram Bus Station, 5 Kms from Trichy Railway Station, 4 Kms from Woraiyur, 14 Kms from Thiruverumbur, 4 Kms from Srirangam, 7 Kms from Thiruvanaikoil, 6 Kms from Trichy and 10 Kms from Trichy International Airport. Lots of buses ply from both Central & Chathram bus stands of Trichy. One can get down at Main Guard Gate or Teppakulam to reach Rockfort.