First Church of Christ, Scientist – Part 2

This is a related post to an earlier one on the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the mother church of the christian science movement. 3-shot bracketed HDR using a Nikon D7000 with a tamron 18-250mm lens. Merged and processed in Photomatix Pro.

Click on the photo for a larger version

The First Church of Christ, Scientist

My recent travels in the US took me to Boston and past this imposing church. The first church of Christ in Boston is the mother church of the Christian Science Movement and was built at the end of the 19th century.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston

This HDR image above is a composite of 3 bracketed shots processed in Photomatix Pro and Adobe Lightroom 5.0. Please view a larger image by clicking on the photograph above. Any comments/criticisms/observations welcome as always.

Cambridge in HDR – The Round Church

The Round Church in Cambridge is probably one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city.

Cambridge Round Church (12th century AD)

Dating from 1130AD, this is (according to the website) one of only 4 circular churches in England. It is now maintained by Christian Heritage. Not the easiest building to take a picture of, sitting as this is on a busy crossroad in the city. A lovely little church, well worth the visit for sheer character and history. Please click-through on the picture for a larger version.

Annavaram Satyanarayana Swamy Temple, India

Annavaram is a village situated about 125 Km south of Visakhapatnam in the East Godavari district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The village is famous for the holy hindu shrine of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami situated on a hillock in the Ratnagiri Hill range of the eastern ghats about 300 feet above mean sea level.

Panoramic view of the Pampa reservoir in Annavaram
Panoramic view of the Pampa reservoir from the Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami temple in Annavaram (click on picture to see in full size)

The temple itself is a short climb from the Annavaram village, and is also accessible by car. Legend has it that the location of the statue of the deity appeared in a dream to a local brahmin E. Prakasam, who with the help of the local zamindar (landowner) Sri Raja I.V.Ramarayanam traced the statue to the top of the hillock and helped to set up the temple in about 1891.

The temple of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami, Annavaram
The temple of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami, Annavaram. Both the western (foreground) and eastern entrance gates (gopurams) are visible.

The name Annavaram is a conjugation of the words Anina (Wanted) and Varam (Boom). This temple is now considered to be second only to the famous Venkateswara temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is constructed in the classical Dravidian style with two tall towers (gopurams) facing due east and west.

Western entrance gate (gopuram)
The main entrance (East) of the temple.
Fruits and other offerings on sale at a local shop in the temple complex.
Fruits and other offerings (and souvenirs) on sale at a local shop in the temple complex.

The temple complex offers great views of the Bay of Bengal (on a clear day) 11 miles east of the temple as well as the village of Annavaram 300 feet below.

Far from the maddening chaos of Annavaram below.

The large central courtyard of the temple has facilities for pilgrims to bathe, stay or eat, as well as halls and rooms for various religious ceremonies (marriages etc).

Central temple courtyard, with the western entrance on the far left.
Central temple courtyard, with the western entrance on the far left.

A stroll through the temple shows that the temple was constructed and extended over time, with some old buildings and some more recent construction. The oldest part of the temple as it stands today dates to just over 110 years. But if the legends are true, then a temple may have existed in this very place for many centuries before falling into disrepair.

A seemingly old gate in the temple complex
A seemingly old gate in the temple complex not built in the Dravidian style

Pilgrims flock to Annavaram from all over the state to fast and pray. On any day of the year, the temple is a hub-hub of activity.

Sacred saffron cloth tied to a tree branch in hope of fulfillment of a wish

I must confess that I’ve never been inside the sanctum itself in all my visits to this temple. I find the environs of the temple fascinating and love observing the faith and piety in the pilgrims visiting the place. I also find the views in and around the temple beautiful and serene.

Rays of the sun casting a beautiful light on the Pampa reservoir, as seen from the Annavaram Satyanarayana Swamy temple. Slight HDR effect.

Annavaram is definitely worth a visit, even if you’re non-religious, and particularly if you are a practicing hindu. The trip from Visakhapatnam takes about 2.5 hours by hired taxi cab. On a clear day you should also be able to see Bay of Bengal (but I’ve never managed to see this in all my visits).