GR Travels

Dwaraka Tirumala

According to legend, a famous sage by name Dwaraka once, in the untraceable antiquity was advised by Lord Venkateswara while lost in Penance to install his image in a temple, lying hidden in an ant-hill, traceable from the position of an eagle sitting on a soap-nut tree. He did. So this place is called after him since then. When the Lord conferred boons on the ardent devotees, its importance went up. Moreover, it is in this area lived acharya Nagarajuna the Buddhist monk of eternal fame. Many Buddhist relics testify to his existence here, prior to his opening gurukula at Nagarjuna hill that drew students from all over the world. Further this temple claims its connections with Srimadramanuja, the redoubtable Vaishnava pravakta, responsible for the propagation of Vaishnava cult. Belief is attested by the main statue along with Padmavathi and Nanchari installed by him and the traditions introduced by him. The queerness of this temple is that there are here two archamurthis one half hidden, and appearing from navel upwards and another in standing posture just behind it. The priests narrate that the feet of the half-hidden Venkateswara are on the head of Balichakravarthi, who when pushed down into Patala prayed that he wished to carry the Lord s feet always on his head as a mark of his adoration. This was granted. So we see the icon from the waist upwards. The same idol was worshipped in the Tretayuga by the emperor Aja, father of Dasaratha and Sri Rama too. In the Dwaparayuga by Sri Krishna and other, another version says that the same feet are on the head of Dwarakamuni, according to his wish. The deity in standing posture was brought from Tirumala and was installed in the 11th century. It is from the date of construction of the magnificent 5-tired tower, prakara minishrines enshrining the images of Always etc., by Sri Dharma Apparao in 1782, its significance came into lime light. The temple now is equipped with all essentials as that of any divya kshetra boasting of best traditions festivals etc. The Mallikarjuna temple on the head of the serpent shaped hill has equal importance and possesses many niches for parivara devatas. There are many thirthas around and stories connected with them give an elevating experience. Finally the region is saturated with Vishnu Mahima and every object bears the marks of Vishnu Mahima and every object bears the marks of Vishnu, circle like Chakras on the stones. The boulders and even the gopi chandan are embodying Vishnuchakaras. It treasures up many more marvels meriting visitation. Have darsan and get bliss.      Book Now



Kolleru-Bird-Sanctuary

Kolleru Bird Sanctuary (KBS) is located in the wetlands spread between Krishna and West Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh. KWS is approximately 64 km (52.81 miles) away from West Godavari and 82 km away from Krishna districts in Andhra Pradesh. History of the Kolleru Bird Sanctuary dates back to the year 1999. Kolleru Lake, the largest freshwater lakes in India and the marshlands spread around it were declared as Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary in November 1999 under Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 in India. Later the sanctuary area was designated as a wetland of international importance in November 2002 under the international Ramsar Convention. KBS was established with an objective of protecting the species of resident and migratory birds in Andhra Pradesh, India. Kolleru Bird Sanctuary is located in the marshlands of Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh. The KBS area falls under the Kaikalur Forest Range. Average water depth of the KBS is four meters. The KBS covers an area of 308 sq km (118.91 sq miles) in the Kaikalur Forest Range in Andhra Pradesh. Kolleru Lake near the sanctuary is fed with water by the seasonal Budameru and Tammileru streams. Kolleru Bird Sanctuary is a home and haven for different species birds, wild animals, plants and trees etc. The floristic combination of the sanctuary include different varieties of tree and plant species such as Ipomea, Eichornia, Reeds and Tall grasses etc. Ornithologists recorded occurrence of different species of birds migrating from northern Asia and Eastern Europe during the months of October and March. Avians found in the sanctuary include Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks etc. KBS is an important habitat for an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds, including the Grey or Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) along with water birds such as Garganys, Teals, Pochards, Spot Bills, Brahminy Ducks, Open Bill Storks, Herons, occasionally Flamingos and Grey Pelicans. The resident bird species spotted in the sanctuary include Grey pelicans, Asian Open-billed Storks (Anastomus oscitans), Painted Storks (Mycteria leucocephala), Glossy Ibises, White Ibises, Teals, Pintails, and Shovellers. Similarly the migratory bird species spotted in the sanctuary include Red-Crested Pochards; Black winged Stilts, Avocets, Common Red shanks, Wigeons, Gadwalls and Cormorants, Garganys, Herons and Flamingos etc. Kolleru Bird Sanctuary is open throughout the year. But the best time to visit the sanctuary is during the period of October to May. Visitors can have panoramic view of birds from the watch towers constructed at different locations in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to get in touch with officials of the sanctuary for complete information on entry timings and fee etc.      Book Now



Datta-Kshetra-Yatra-Temple

Shri Dattatreya is a very ancient incarnation, highly venerated through the ages. Dattatreya a Universal Guru manifested in the recess of time of Kaliyug, when humanity had gone far from its pristine state and steeped into threshold of a timewhen all kinds of vices had already taken root, and the pious souls made fervent appealed for the salvage of the mankind surging forward in manifold way. Atri Rishi was one of such Seers who had seen and experienced the Brahman, the eternal Wisdom. To him was born a son, the product of the Grace or the Divine Will, which was the manifestation of all three Primal Energies of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He was ordained with the three energies; He came to have the concentrated wisdom of the three God-heads or symbolically three heads. The three heads signified as Brahma:Tejas personified, Vishnu:Ojas personified, Shiva: Tapas personified. Under these heads, illumination of knowledge, vigorosity of action and stringency of penance were represented as three aspects or state of being of the same. Dattatreya had descended into the realm of world as progeny of Atri Maharshi and Anusuya, a sage couple of the Vedic age. Mata Anasuya was very famous for her devotion to her husband (Pativrutya). She was the embodiment of chastity. Such was her spiritual power that hard, uneven earth turned soft and smooth for her as she walked about. This Pious Woman induced jealousy and envy in others, however, and the three Gods decided to prove these doubting elements how wrong they were. They transformed themselves into mendicants, approached the hermitage of sage Atri and begged for alms. At that time Sage Atri was away at the river offering his daily oblations. Anusuya came out and offered food to them. They made a strange request; the food be prepared and served to them by Anusuya, in the nude. In the Indian tradition any athithi (guest) cannot be turned away, as they are considered to be an aspect of God. Hence she was placed in a dilemma. She smiled to herself and reflected thus: I am totally purified by the long association with the holy sage Atri. What harm can the god of lust ever do to me? So I do fear nothing. As they have sought food from my hands, I look upon them as my own children and not as strangers and grown up men! Her thoughts the thoughts of a pious and chaste person instantly became reality; the elderly guests became babies! Sage Atri on his return to the hermitage saw his wife Anusuya fondling three babies. Anusuya said These children are the gift of God to us who have been childless so far. Sage Atri was overjoyed and named them Datta, which means given. At this the three Gods reverted to their real forms and disclosed the truth. They extolled the power of Chastity and Purity of Anusuya which vanquished the combined and colossal powers of all three of them. Sage Atri and Anusuya prayed that they should remain as their sons. They consented and the three Gods merged into one body. This is how Shri Dattatreya incarnated and is known as Gurudeva Datta the Guru of all Gurus. Sri Dattatreya is always depicted as holding Kamandalu and Japamala (representing Lord Brahma), Conch and Discuss (Shanka Chakra represents Lord Vishnu), Trident and Damaru (Trishula represents Lord Shiva). The Cow behind represents earth, 4 Dogs represents 4 Vedas and Audumbar in itself represents Datta Principle.      Book Now



Galigopuram

Sri Chenna Kesava Swamy Temple is located at Eluru in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Lord Vishnu is presiding here in the form of Sri Chenna Kesava Swamy. The temple was built by Chalukya kings during 10th century. This temple is facing towards north. The Raaja Gopura looks beautiful with well carved sculptural images. The temple was reestablished by Nuziveedu Zamindar Meka Dharma Apparao 200 years ago. There is a separate shrine of Lord Shiva to the east of temple premises. Mukkoti Ekadasi is the main festival celebrated annually including all festivals with special poojas. Sri Chenna Kesava Swamy Temple, Shanivarapu Peta, Eluru, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. Buses are available from all major places in Andhra Pradesh. Buses travel frequently from Vijayawada to Eluru which is 63 km away. Nearest railway station is Eluru Railway Station which is 5 km away. Bus and auto-rickshaws are available to reach the temple. Nearest airport is Vijayawada Airport which is 46 km away. Bus and taxi services are available to reach the temple. Sanivarapupeta is well connected by road. Eluru is the nearest city at a distance of 3 mi (4.8 km) from Sanivarapupeta. Eluru New bus station and old bus station are the nearest bus stations. State run APSRTC buses provides transport services from Sanivarapupeta. Eluru railway station is nearest railway station. Vatluru railway station and Powerpet railway station are other nearby stations.      Book Now



Buddha Park

Gaja Vallivari Cheruvu is one of the ancient ponds in the history of Helapuri town (ancient name of Eluru town). During the Chalukyan period elephants used to take drink water in this pond. Since the last 2 decades the entire area of the pond was filled with rubbish and it was used as a dumping yard in the heart of Eluru town, which created the most unhygienic conditions for the citizens. The idea came to restore the past glory of the Chalukyan pond and efforts were made to clean the whole dumping area. Once that was done, then came the idea to erect a Buddha statue which then developed in to a Buddha Park. I have been inspired by Buddhas teachings since the last three decades and have been practising Vipassana meditation the Buddhist way of meditation since many years. The essence of Buddhas teachings is compassion for all. A magnificent 74 feet Buddha statue was constructed in the middle of the pond and a painting gallery was also created to spread the Buddha s teachings. The pedestal is decorated with famous Amaravathi sculptures along the railings of the foot bridge up to the statue.It was opened by Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy who served as the Last Chief Minister of United Andhra Pradesh.      Book Now


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