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Home Features

Features

A barber in Chicago says he’d rather cut the hair of ten red-headed men than the hair of one brown-haired man. Can you guess why?

Ask Professor Picanumba, a master of riddles who carries dozens of sure-fire tricks up his sleeve. He’ll show you how to astonish your friends and family by predicting the answers to 88 word and number challenges. These tricks require only simple props - a deck of cards or a couple of pairs of dice, a calculator, and a pencil and paper. With or without an audience, these foolproof feats of mental magic offer hours of amusement. Solutions appear at the end, with 64 illustrations in between.

Author Martin Gardner has written more than 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion.
That barber, by the way, would prefer to make ‘ten times as much money’.

Month: November 2010.

 

In Ladakh, there is a popular saying: Only the ‘truest of friends’ and ‘fiercest of enemies’ come to Leh. Nikhil and his group of dysfunctional friends belong to the third kind: ‘craziest of wannabes’. Going Leh on bike would need them to surmount the road of world’s highest passes and deadliest traps.

And just when they begin to reckon that life can’t get messier, they get stranded in an inhospitable land. It is here that their conflicting emotions surface, their dark secrets unfold and their fears come alive. It is here that they begin to apprehend the real essence of life.

There can be no worldly justification to nurture such unrealistic option ahead of their lives. But why can’t they resist its temptation? Why should they find it tempting at first place?

Is this what they had sought to achieve when they left home? Is this the decisive journey of their rebellion? Would this consummate their search for that triumphant moment, their quest ‘For That Incredible High’?

Month: November 2010.

Maya spends her days dreaming of a perfect life; a life filled with love, success and pleasure. She tries to find fulfillment in the pursuit of men and money, and when this doesn’t work she looks for comfort in chocolate. But this just leaves her feeling empty and lost. Then Maya meets a mysterious stranger and is set on a spiritual journey to discover what she’s been missing all this time….

A sweet and touching fable about love, courage and enlightenment, Men, Money & Chocolate reveals what is possible when you open your heart to the spiritual secrets within the material world. This tale of transformation shows you how to love a man without losing yourself, find work that fulfils your heart and enjoy chocolate as a source of pleasure instead of pain.

Menna Van Praag is a freelance writer, Oxford graduate and chocolate aficionado. A magnificent insight by her mother, Vicky, led to a three-day experience of enlightenment, from which Men, Money & Chocolate was born. This is her first book. Menna currently lives in Cambridge with her husband, Artur, a gourmet genius. They are now working on fulfilling a long – cherished dream of opening a bookshop – café together.

Month: September 2010.

A hugely entertaining and hypnotically beautiful family saga about the corrosive power of secrets. The story centres on wealthy Trinidadian family – Valmiki, a renowned doctor and loving, if confused, father; and his eldest daughter, Viveka,  lively, intelligent, and intent on escaping the gilded cage that protects but also smothers her.

In Valmiki’s Daughter, Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalist and best-selling novelist Shani Mootoo explores family relationships, and the competing pulls of race, class, and sexuality, in a tale laced with humour. The author offers a refreshingly different view of Trinidad, evocatively capturing the island’s cultural ethos, and social conventions at odds with hidden desires and family secrets.

With this masterful novel, Shani Mootoo gives us a vibrant and uplifting book, full of the vigorous stuff of life.

Month: September 2010.

The endeavours like the Wright Brothers’ pioneering attempt to soar the skies or the scintillating experiments of Edison to invent the bulb are a culmination of what dawned on their minds as an inspiring idea. Even a million mile journey starts with a first step. Man is bound to face challenges both within and outside. In this tryst with the opposing forces some succeed, many fail.

For a man to travel from Bangalore to Hyderabad, he can take a ‘traffic-ridden road journey’ or a ‘Strainful train journey’ or a ‘time saving and comfortable aerial flight’. Similarly, in this journey of man’s endeavour in an action themed world he has an aerial option to easily over come unsurmountable obstacles by offering sincere prayers at the ‘altar’ of the ‘ONE’ who is the controller of all the ‘GANAS’ (forces) - ‘GANAPATHI’. ‘What is the guarantee?’ an internal sceptic may ask. An ever ready critic may question ‘is it a myth? or a time tested truth?’ - Yes!

This is the testimony: During the British rule in India, on account of their unmistakable divine experiences, it was a practice to ‘acquit’ an ‘accused’ if he were to swear at the threshold of LORD VINAYAKA IN KANIPAKKAM. Such was the influence this ‘Affectionate Vinayaka’ wielded on the practical western minds!

The Tradition Continues: If an accused were to claim his innocence in the presence of the ‘LORD AT KANIPAKKAM’ it was legally accepted in the Chittoor court as a divine approval of his veracity. 

‘KANIPAKAM’ - a place where even the most demanding prayers of man is dealt with benign fulfillment.

‘KANIPAKAM VARASIDDHI VINAYAKA’ - 1000 YEARS old Magnificient and Mysterious Growing LORD. The presiding deity of Kanipakam is the all pervading power who casts a spell of divinity, purity and curative power. The silver armour which was quite ‘fit’ when it was donated in the year 1945 could not fit the idol as it was evident that the idol of Lord Vinayaka is gradually growing in its size and dimensions says Chandramouli Gurukkal, the  eleventh successor of the chief priests.

Kanipakam is 12 kms from chittoor and 75 kms from Tirupathi. The famous temple of Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka of Kanipakaam is situated on chittoor - Aragonda Road. Kanipakam is closer to Karnataka and Tamilnadu borders. The word ‘Kani’ means wet land and ‘Parakam’ means ‘flow of water into the wet land’. This name follows a legend that is connected to the temple.

Sthala Purana (history of the place)
Once upon a time there lived three farmers with physical deformities. They were dumb, deaf and blind by birth. They owned a piece of land. In olden days water was drawn from the well by way of Piccota system. As one of them used to irrigate the field through the channels, the other two used to ply on the piccota. On one such operation they found that the water in the well got dried up and they could no longer continue their job. One of them got into the well and started digging it up. He was taken aback to see the iron implement hitting a stone like formation. Later, he was shocked to see blood oozing out from it. Within a few seconds the entire water in the well turned blood red in colour. Thus, startled by this divine experience all the three became normal getting rid of their deformities. As soon as the villagers came to know about this miracle, they thronged to the well and tried to deepen the well further. But their attempt proved futile because the ‘Swayambhu’ idol (the self manifested) of Lord Vinayaka emerged from the swirling waters. After this miracle, coconuts were offered and the theertham from the coconuts covered the entire area. This led to the modification in the usage of the word ‘Kaniparakam’ and was later pronounced as ‘Kanipakam’. Even today the idol is in the original well and the springs of the well are perennial and eternal. During the rainy season, the holy water from the well overflows even today. Another striking and strange feature of the idol is that it is still growing in size! At present we can see the knees and the abdomen of the idol. An ardent devotee had offered a ‘Kavacham’ (armour) to the lord fifty years ago, but today it is out of size and doesn’t fit the idol. The holy water from the well is offered to the devotees as Tirtham (Holy water).

Legend associated to the temple
Long ago there lived two brothers Sankha and Likhita. They were on a pilgrimage to Kanipakam. As the journey was tiring, the younger brother Likhita felt hungry. Disregarding the advice of the elder brother he plucked a mango from the mango grove. Sankha felt bad and reported this to the ruler of that area and pleaded for punishment for the sin committed during the piligrimage. Thus Likhita was punished severely being deprived of both arms. Later they took bath in the river near Kanipakam temple. Lo behold! The chopped arms were restored to Likhita as soon as he had a dip in the sacred waters of the river. These incidents lead the ruler to rename the river as Bahuda (bahu means human arm). Thus the river beside Kanipakam temple is now known as Bahuda River.

Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka as up-holder of ‘Truth’
The swayambhu idol of Kanipakam is the up-holder of truth. Day to day disputes between people are resolved by taking a special oath (Pramanam). The people involved in the disputes i.e., both the parties take a holy dip in the temple tank (Pushkarini) and swear before the lord. It is taken as gospel truth. There are instances when the person who committed the sin voluntarily agrees as soon as he had the dip and much before entering the temple itself. It seems the lord dawns invisibly on the sinner and makes him repent & feel guilty for his sinful deeds. Thus the glory of Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka spread far and wide and the honourable courts upheld the ‘Special Oath’ in their judicial pronouncements.

The villagers of Kanipakam believe that the disputes are settled without the interference of the court, police and middlemen. It is all due to the purification of the hearts of the rivals under his divine spell. The guilty accept their guilt and pray to HIM for his forgiveness. Devotees who wish to give up bad habits like smoking, drinking, etc take bath in the pushkarini and take are oath in the temple at Kanipakam by contributing Rs. 516/-. The time of the seva is between 5 pm to 5.15 pm everyday which is called Pramanam.

Importance of Lord Vinayaka
First letter of all the mantras is ‘Om’. Om symbolizes ‘Ganapathi’ the God of the Ganas, who fought against the demons and the rakshas (the evil doers). When the yagnas could not be continued and Rishis were not let to live in peace and to continue to perform the rituals they approached Lord Siva. Lord Siva was pleased with the penance of the Rishis and assured them that they would be relieved of their suffering. That was the advent of Lord Vinayaka as the lord of the Ganas assuming the position of Ganadhipathi. Lord Vinayaka is also called Parvathi Thanaya, Ganesha, Lambodara, Gajanana, etc., related to his birth. There are various versions in the Puranas like Padma Purana, Linga Purana, and Siva Purana about his divine birth and existence who is worshipped by Gods too, to overcome obstacles before their start anything. Even Pooja to other Gods and Goddesses begins with invocation to Lord Ganesha. Lord Vishnu proclaimed that worship revolved to any God is futile, if it is not invoked by the blessings of Lord Vinayaka.

The self manifested idol of Kanipakam (Swayambhu)
The idols are of three types. In some holy places the presiding deities are not man made. They are self manifested. In some places Gods themselves install the idols of other deities. There are some holy places where idols are installed by humans and worshipped. Kanipakam Varasiddhi Vinayaka is a self manifested one.

Soulful prayers of ardent devotees are well received and performing Abhishekam to the self - manifested idol fulfils are wishes. People affected by chronic diseases and Grahapeedas (planetary disorders) offer special sevas to the Swayambhu Vigraha and are sure to get relieved from the problems by His Grace.

How to Reach: Kanipakam is well connected by road from Tirupathi, Tiruthani, Kuppam, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ananthapur, Cuddapah, Vellore and other places. There are regular bus services operated by the APSRTC. The nearest Railway Station is Chittoor and the next is Tirupathi.

Important Festivals
1. Vinayaka Chavithi
2. Annual Brahmotsavam: Commences from Ganesh Chaturthi. It is celebrated with all traditional pomp and gaiety. The Utsava Murthi (festive idol) is taken out in procession on all the days colourfully decked on different Vahanams (Carriages). The soulful participation of the devotees is praise worthy. The Float festival attracts piligrims from all over the country.
3. Ugadi (Telugu New Year Day)
4. January 1 (New Year)

Man source of Income: The main source of the income to the temple is by seva tickets, hundi Collections, shop rents and land revenue.

Administration: A joint commissioner of Endowments Department heads the Devasthanam’s administration. There are nearly 75 employees working in various wings of establishment of Devasthanam.

Accommodation:  The Devasthanam has few rooms nearer to the temple. There is a TTD choultry adjacent to the Devasthanam choultry consisting of more than 15 rooms. Apart from this there are hotels in and around the temple. 

Details of Daily Sevas
1. Suprabatham Bindu Teertha Abhishekam - Rs. 600/- (4.00 am to 5.00 am)
Kanipakam was once called ‘Viharapuri’ as gods and goddesses frequented this place for its greenery and for the all pervading divine power. The first seva is a feast to the eyes of the devotees who perform this seva.
2. Ksheerabhishekam - Rs. 150/- (7.30 am to 8.00 am, 12.30 pm & 5.45 pm to 6.15 pm)
Devotees to bring 2 litres of milk when they come for this seva.
3. Prathyeka Abhishekam - Rs.550/- (5.30 am to 6.00 am, 9.00 am to 10.00 am, 11.00 am to 12.00 noon).
4. Ganapathi Homam - Rs. 500/- (9.00 am to 12.00 noon)
Efficacy of performing this homam - It is said in puranas that by performing this homam the devotee is relieved of all the obstacles that come as hindrance to the progress.
5. Ganapathi Modaka Puja - Performed in the Utsava Murthi Mandapam - Rs. 300/- (performed brfore 12.00 noon):
Lord Ganesha is ‘Modaka Priya’. Modaka (Kudumulu) is a preparation made of rice and jiggery. It is customary to offer Modakas to Lord Ganesha before the commencement of any puja to attain bliss and salvation by Hindus.
6. Ganapathi Sahasramanarchana - Rs. 150/- (10.00 am to 11.00 am, 1.00 pm to 1.30 pm, 3.30 pm to 4 pm, 6 pm to 6.30 pm).
7. Ganapathi Vratha Puja - Rs. 58/- (performed before 12.00 noon)
8. Shodasha Puja - Rs. 500/- (performed before 12.00  noon)
9. Sankatahara Ganapathi Vratham - Rs. 151/- (Performed in front of Utsava Murhti Mandapam).
It is said in puranas that this vratham was followed by Lord Krishna and Lord Brahma too.
10. Moola manthra Archana - Rs. 300/- (Performed before noon)
This is also called Naarikela puja. Once upon a time Lord Vishnu appeared before Vinayaka. Lord Ganesha took the Sudarshana Chakra from Him. When he did not give back the chakra, he was bestowed with a boon in turn. Lord Ganesha asked for a Head with three eyes. Then Lord Vishnu asked Brahma to create ‘Naarikela’ (coconut). Since then Lord Vinayaka is worshipped by offering coconuts.
11.  Poolangi Seva - Rs. 1,000/- (performed every Thrusday)
The presiding deity is decked by colorful flowers in the sanctum.
12. Navagraha Santhi - Rs. 116/-
13. Namakaranam (Naming Ceremony) - Rs. 116/-
14. Aksharabhyasa - Rs. 116/-
15. Annaprasana - Rs. 116/-
16. Baarasaala - Rs. 116/-
17. Utsava Murhty Harathi - Rs. 2/-
18. Utsava Murhty Archana - Rs. 5/-
19. Archana (for Vidya, Udyoga, Vyapara and Vivaha)
20. Maha Harathi (Kumbha harathi) - Rs. 100/-
21. Sani Dosha Nivarana Jyothi - Rs. 5/-
22. Vahana Puja - Auto, Scooter - Rs. 50/-; Car, Jeep - Rs. 125/-; Lorry, Bus - Rs. 150/-
23. Vivaha Kattadi - Rs. 540/-
24. Tonsure - Rs. 5/-
25. Pramanam - Rs. 516/- (at 5.00 pm everyday)
26. Ekantha Seva - Rs. 150/- (9.30 pm to 10.00 pm)
27. Nithya Kalyanotsavam - Rs 616/- (11.00 am to 12.00 noon)
28. Unjal seva - Rs. 250/- (6.30 pm to 7.30 pm)

Darshans
1. Free Darshan - During temple timings apart from Abhishekam time.
2. Prathyeka Darshan (Special darshan) - Rs. 10/-. Entry through a special “Q” for darshan.
3. Sheeghra Darshan - Rs. 51/- (per person)
4. Nijaroopa darshan - Rs. 50/- (5.00 am to 5.30 am, 7.00 am to 7.30 am, 8.30 am to 9.00 am, 10.30 am to 11.00 am, 4.30 pm to 5.00 pm)

Sawatha Pujas:
1. Saswatha Kalyanotsavam - Rs. 15,116/-
2. Saswatha Unjal Seva - Rs. 7,500/-
3. Saswatha Abhishekam - Rs. 7,500/-
4. Saswatha Ganapathi Homam - Rs. 7,500/-
5. Saswatha Puja - Rs. 1,516/-
6. Saswatha Nithya Archana - Rs. 1,516/-
7. Saswatha Vuchitha Prasadam - Rs. 1,516/-

Guest rooms at Kanipakam: 
Donations are invited for constructions of rooms in the Guest House at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 crores 60 lakhs by the Devasthanam. Cost of each room is estimated Rs. 1 lakh 50 thousand. Donor’s name will be displayed and will be allowed to stay for 40 days in a year, free of cost.

Saswatha Nithyannandana Scheme (Free Meals): There is no gift superior to Annadanam (donation of food). To provide food to the poor and hungry is a noble tradition followed by us since the Vedic times. Annadanam is offered on the interest accrued on the endowment made by the devotees in their name, on any day they prefer. Devotees can send any amount.
Those who donate an amount of Rs. 1,00,116/- will be honoured as Maharaja Poshakas; those who donate Rs. 50,116/- will be honoured as Raja Poshakas; those who contribute Rs. 2,116/- will be honoured as Maha Poshakas; those who contribute Rs. 10,116/- will be honoured as Poshakas; and those who contribute Rs. 1,116/- will considered as donors. These donations under section 80 (G) are exempted from Income Tax. Every day at 12 noon, more than 300 tickets are issued for free meals near the Annadana Bhavan. 

Brahmotsavam Laddu: During Brahmotsavam, a special Laddu is prepared. It is auctioned to the public. Last year the Laddu’s weight was 21 kgs. Last year it was bid for 1.21 lakhs. The entire amount goes to the development of the temple.

Sub Temples: 
1. Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy temple
2. Sri Varadaraja Swamy temple
3. Sri Manikanteswara temple.
The above three temples are very nearer to the main temple and there is a master plan get the three temples in one compound.

Temples in and around Kanipakam:-
Manikanteswara Temple: The temple of Manikanteshwara is very ancient. Archaeologists date this to the times of Rajakulothunga Chola. The legend is that he built 108 temples by ordain of Lord Shiva to relieve him from ‘Brahma Hathya pathakam’ (the sin of killing Lord Brahma). The temple is famous for its architecture. The exquisite sculpture is an added attraction to the temple.

Varadaraja Swamy Temple: The temple of Sri Varadaraja Swamy makes it a Hari Hara Kshetram. The width and height of compound wall of this temple is commendable and it stands as a land mark in the surroundings. The other temples inside are that of Sri Anjaneya Swamy and the Navagrahas.

Ardhagiri Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy Kshetram, Aragonda, Chittor Dist: That Faith can move the mountain is proved at this temple. 15 kms away from Kanipakam is Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy temple of Ardhagiri. The famous temple that attracts devotees from far and wide has a legend. It seems in Treta Yuga, during a battle Lakshmana went unconscious. In order to save his life Lord Hanuman carried Sanjeevani Parvatha. During the Journey, a piece of Sanjeevani Parvatha fell here. Later that place was called Aragonda. It is a belief that the Sanjeevaraya Pushkarini (tank) water here never gets dried up. Devotees carry water from this pond for intake as it is said to cure all diseases and it stays fresh for a long period. It is the belief that the water cures acute cases. This has been proved in the cases of Psoriasis, initial stage of TB, Asthma, Cancer, Joint Pains. The experiences of the patients who were cured have been recorded and they stand as testimony to it.

The striking feature of the Moola Vigraha (Main deity) is that it faces towards north, which is a rarity. The first rays of the sun, fall on the feet of the Lord. Gradually the sun rays disappear after reaching the head of the Lord. It is also believed that the ardent devotees and staunch believers can even hear the ‘Omkaranada’ (chanting of the ‘Om’) at midnight amidst silence. It is deemed that Lord Anjaneya stays to safe guard Lord Lakshmi Narayana as he dwells there.

Festivals and Sevas at Ardhagiri: Full moon day attracts thousands of pilgrims. It is said that prayers offered overnight on a full moon day are well received by the Lord. Cultural programs one organized throughout the night. Garlands made of betel leaves, black gram and Tulasi adorn the Lord.


Sri T. Sivaji, Executive Officer of Sri Varasidhi Vinayaka Swamy Devasthanam, Kanipakam, speaks in an exclusive interview with Mr. S. R. Subramanian, Special Correspondent of Primetime Prism. Mr. Sivaji has earlier served as the Executive Officer of Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple and Mahanandi Temple, and with his rich experience is currently serving as the Executive Officer of Kanipakam Temple, for the second tenure. 

S. R. Subramanian (SRS): Sir, we are extremely thankful to you for sparing your valuable time and that too before the preparation of the Annual Brahmotsavam. Can you highlight our readers the importance of the temple?
Executive Officer (EO): Thank you. It is truly with the divine blessing that I am fortunate to serve as the executive officer of this temple - Kanipakkam Swayambhu Sri Varasiddi Vinayaka Swamy Devasthanam. The temple is a very ancient temple and the Idol is a Swayambhu and the devotees are drawn from different parts of the world and with the firm belief that this is the Prathyaksha Daivam and truth prevails on confession. Day by day there is an increase in the number of Devotees visiting this temple. 

The main idol is growing in size, year after year, and the silver Kavacham of various sizes since 1945, are displayed at the main entrance of the temple. 

SRS: Please tell us about the development activities and the temple Projects?
EO: Mainly we are concentrating in providing facilities to common devotees visiting the Temple, providing hassle free Darshan, Accommodation and Annadanam. The Ongoing projects include construction of Prakaram of the temple, building of cottages, Annadanam, and making a Golden Chariot for the Deity.

We seek liberal donation from public for the completion of these projects at the earliest. Donations for all these projects are eligible for Income Tax Exemption. 

SRS: For the benefit of our readers, kindly highlight the details of the Brahmotsavam.
EO: The main festival of the temple is the Annual Brahmotsavam which is held during Vinayaka Chavithi and this year it will be held from 11th September to 01st October. During the festival days, the Deity is taken in colorful procession on all days with different types of flower decorations and we are gearing up in making arrangements and facilities for the devotees visiting during this festival. During this festival cultural programs are organized on all days and the artists from different places come here to perform, which adds to the pomp and gaiety of the festival. Lakhs of pilgrims from far and wide visit during this festival and take the Lord’s blessings.

Month: September 2010.

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Pingali Venkayya, the designer of the Indian national flag, was born in Bhatlapenumarru, near Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh (India)

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