Category Archives: Pilgrimage

Thirunallar – Kottuchery – Govindapuram – Bangalore

After a fitful night’s sleep, I woke up feeling ok.¬† I looked and sounded cross and so nobody wanted to ask me anything. I was glad ūüôā Managed to get ready by 8 am – we were planning to go to Thirunallar today.

Day 3

Breakfast at Meenakshi Bhavan took forever and when we finally left¬†Kumbakonam – it was 9 am. The Senior Arien had arranged for a taxi to take us to Thirunallar. I think I slept the entire journey away – that does not go to show the roads were gr8 – it goes to show tht I was pretty sick ūüė¶

I was rudely awoken by the Arien (he probably wud have liked to doze off as well Рbut did not Рso the rudeness) when we reached Thirunallar. I could not remember the temple at all Рwe kept walking towards the entrance and as we neared РI realized tht we were walking to the temple frm the right and not frm the front. Whtever the reasons, I was glad to remove my sandals and walk into the temple. (Yupp Рthe sandals continued to hurt). It was xtremely crowded inside and we all realized tht we had come to the sanishwara bhagawan temple on a saturday Рa very auspicious day for sanishwara bhagawan. A priest stopped us from taking spl darshan tickets and asked us to get to the normal darshan queue Рnot wanting to get on his bad books we did jes tht. It was one of the best things to do. The spl darshan queue hardly moved Рours on the other hand was moving at a steady pace.

We finished our darshan and reached the car at 12 – the Senior Arien wanted to visit a place known as Kottuchery – which was pretty close to Thirunallar. His cousin lived there – plus he wanted us to see their old house – where he spent his vacations. I was pretty sick and would have lowed to fall asleep anywhere – to really raise objections – I also realized tht the Senior Arien already had the Taurean’s support. So, we met them, visited the old home, the senior Arien showed us the entire house, sharing funny anecdotes¬†– he was nostalgic – almost sentimental¬†– and he was totally enjoying it. We chatted with them for an hour and¬†left after having tea.

modernizedThe senior Arien had another plan up his sleeve -to  visit his aged aunt and uncle who stayed at Govindapuram. We had not seem them in two years and so no objections were raised. On our drive to Govindapuram, the driver felt xtremely hungry and so stopped to have sm grub Рwe stewed as we waited. We had not had our lunch as well n we def cud not eat at the place where he had stopped Рwht a mess!! arienenthu

The Arien decided to take sm snaps.¬† The first thing we all noticed was this board – I really did not know that things had changed so much in this lil village – this was common in B’lore quite a few years ago – now, almost everyone has net connection at¬† home ūüėĬ† We giggled incontrollably like it was¬†the funniest joke – I think we were hungry. The¬†senior Arien got¬†us Good Day biscuits which we¬†had after saying “Biscuits?? Now???”¬†. The Arien and the senior Arien bonded over biscuits while me and the Taurean¬†‘Hi-Fi’ ed each other over various issues that we agreed on and both the Ariens did not.

When the Ariens realized¬†wht we were doing – both sulked in their¬†own ways – senior Arien¬†occupied himself with¬†asking for directions to Govindapuram. Arien took more snaps. We (Piscean and Taurean) had coconut water and then went to¬†pacify them – they can¬†sulk for a looong time ūüėĬ†

When the driver returned and we started on our way – we saw a huge snake on the road – it was crossing the road – the driver went mad trying to miss it – he braked hard n turned sharply so as to miss it – all of us stared ahead¬†– the snake was also a lil psyched – it slithered like it was drunk.¬†After we crossed the snake, the driver braked and told us tht the snake¬†was a “nalla paambu” – literal translation being “good snake” – funda being you don’t kill it even by mistake ūüėÄ The Arien realized belatedly tht he cud have taken a snap ūüėõ

The visit to Govindapuram was short and sweet. We visited the Anachenayar temple – which¬†housed the Bhodendra swamigal’s samadhi. It is a very calm and peaceful place and on the day of the visit – and tho’ we were walking in pretty late – they shared¬†some of the prasadam (from the vadamalai)¬†with us. The best joy was of course the happiness tht was seen in the face of my great aunt.

We returned early as I was very tired – we had lunch at a small hotel as Meenakshi bhavan¬†was closing. I had parota and was ready to crash – we packed n I fell asleep. The train was at 6:30 and so we left at 5:30. We reached on time and there was no hassle as the taxi-driver dropped us at the railway station. We met the same grp tht we had initially travelled with – but thankfully they were not travelling with us ūüėÄ

We reached Bangalore the nxt day – rather early. It was a good short trip – I was sick for most part of it but I still feel we covered a lot, this time.

Kumbakonam – Swamy Malai – Uppiliappan Koil

We reached Kumbakonam at 7 am. As soon as we got off, my sandal strap ripped off on one side Рand I was unable to walk. I had not brought a spare as this particular sandal has been good for a looong time Рonly prblm was tht it squeaked Рwell, now Рit was ripped as well РI was totally vexed. Meanwhile, the Taurean who had been walking ahead came bk n asked me wht was the problem Рwhy was I walking so slow?? I showed him my poor sandal and the Arien ran to a shop Рgot me a rubberband to hold the strap to my leg instead of flapping outside and throwing me off-balance. I was now able to walk РThe * I feel good* song was reverberating in my head!

Day 2

The plan for today was to visit¬†Swamy malai in the morning and go to the Uppiliappan Koil post lunch. We were ready by 10 am after having breakfast.¬†I insisted that we travel by bus to Swamy malai as it was a mere 7 kms away.¬†On the way to the bus-stop, I got myself a pair of sandals – tht was jes ’bout ok. The wait at the bus-stop took forever. Usually, there was a bus every 15 mts – we stood in the hot sun for an hour before the first bus to swamy malai arrived. It has been years since we travelled by bus and so it took us a while to get accustomed to ppl pushing you frm behind – surprisingly, our seat finding ability had not rusted! we sat far apart and the bust stopped every two mts and picked up a min. of 5 ppl at every stop.

swamymalaientWhen we reached Swamy malai, the bus was packed to capacity and we really had to push our way out. We had been dropped pretty close to the temple entrance, for a change. However, we still had a small walk ahead of us. My cousin, the Capricon, calls to let us know that he is already waiting at the temple. When I return his call Рno answer РI assume that the pujai has already started. The moment I tell the other folks this Рwe are moving forward at a faster pace.  I am not moving with them РI am slowing down Рreason: the lovely beads of my new sandal start digging at my skin РI know I am getting a shoe bite РI hate this sandal Рmy walk becomes slower. Soon, they are walking a long way ahead Рthe Arien slows down to keep me company. The Taurean wants to know why I am taking forever to walk РI cannot share the reason as I had been the one who said this sandal was gr8 Рand refused to chk for comfort- I glare at him and he decides to keep the Senior Arien company.  murugan2

At the entrance of the temple, while the Senior Arien is getting the archania thattu –¬†I get the¬†damn sandals off. I feel relieved almost instantly.¬†

We catch up with my cousin¬†and his family – they are waiting in the queue to get the spl darshan tickets – we join them. The entire pujai takes arnd half an hour and¬†after tht we¬†catch up with whts going on in each other’s lives – we¬†spend an hour in¬†the temple and then¬†decide to¬†catch up in the Uppiliappan temple later in the day.¬†My cousin and his family leave immediately.

We find a bus waiting at the place where we got off and it is in the process of getting filled Рwe take the last seat. The Taurean is totally against sitting here, but the idea of moving was totally unacceptable as more ppl had followed us in. We stayed where we were Рlaughed and joked and reached Kumbokonam pretty quickly. I was really tired, and feeling sick, the sandal continued to bug me. We had a quick lunch at Meenakshi Bhavan. I wanted to sleep almost immediately Рwe are supposed to meet my cousin at 3:30 and there was really no time to catch a nap Рbut I was looking so green Рeverybody asked me to take a small cat nap. 

kfWe reached Uppiliappan Koil arnd 3:50 pm by auto. I was feeling terribly guilty only to find that the Kalyana Utsavam was going to start at 4pm. For once, we were actually early!! * I feel good* My cousin was in the temple kolam with his daughter, feeding the fish. It was a nice break and we joined them. Saw a cute kingfisher sitting atop a steel pillar. The Arien could not resist taking snaps. The Kalyana Utsavam started sharp at 4 pm and went on for almost an hour.  It was lovely. The Lord Vishnu, also known as Uppiliappan was being wed to Bhoomi Devi Рthe elaborate Kalyana Utsavam was a sight for sore eyes.

During the entire Kalyana Utsavam, I coughed infrequently. I thought the cold was ok Рsore throat had disappeared. I started feeling very tired. We had planned to visit another temple РI was suddenly in no mood for anything. I told the senior Arien that I would like to sleep and so we left. Of course, my aunt, the Gemini, is known for her ability to quickly divide prasadam into multiple packets, bless her Рdid all the dividing and handing it to both the Ariens, while I was acting slightly weird as I was very sick. The goodbyes happened in a rush РI wanted to rest my head and soon we were at the hotel. I fell asleep almost imm РI knew I was likely to get fever РI had started trembling.  When I woken by the Arien for dinner РI asked for Idlis and refused to wake up. I do recall eating two of the idlis Рwith sugar and falling asleep again. What a blaaaah end to Day1.

Bangalore – Kumbokonam

The Taurean finally agreed to the long due trip to Swamymalai.¬†Senior Arien was ready at any time – “Jes book the tickets and I’ll join you” – was his latest tagline. We realized that getting tickets on the Myladudurai express was akin to recieving Darshan at Tirupathi. Senior Arien asked us to go for Tatkal and finally a day or two before the journey – we had tickets and we knew were¬†travelling for sure.

Day 1

We reach the railway station with 10 mts to spare.¬†After the luggage is dumped and I am kept as guardian of the luggage – The Senior Arien gets water bottles for all, the Taurean gets chai for himself, pays for the chai, collects the change and¬†forgets to take the chai, realizes tht after a¬†few mts and goes back for the chai, the Arien joins the Senior Arien and they generally walk up and down the railway station buying biscuits, and¬†chips, the taurean is wondering if the senior arien has gotten into the train and leaves again,¬†while I am waiting panic-striken inside the train. The train finally leaves Bangalore at 7 pm with all the three men inside. Grrrr… They always do this – drive me nuts jes before the train moves. I take out my Wheel of Time and am immersed in it. The Taurean is also immersed in his book.¬†The Arien listens to music and the Senior Arien looks out of the window and¬†passes comments frm time to time.

smbWe all see the Side Middle Berth (SMB) and are really glad that none of us have tht ticket.¬†For a while, we¬†are engrossed in our respective worlds and then the group sitting opposite start talking and knowingly or unknowingly you are listening in. The son, who¬†kinda looked like the Kaadhalil Vizhundhen Nakul or¬†“Naka Muka” Nakul,¬†was actually explaining why he¬†does not have a bath everyday. I think uncosciously we all move away¬†(hehehehe).¬†There is a gal,¬†his collegemate probably, who is also travelling with us – who asks “Why not??”¬†He then corrects his earlier statement¬†tht he actually dislikes¬†having baths in the morning and then goes on n on ’bout why must I? An older man, who wanted to show¬†off his command over multiple languages spoke in¬†accented Tamil tht he must have a bath if he wants gals to like him. I think tht was for us – we spoke a few words of Tamil wen we walked in – after which we lapsed into English. When the ticket checker came, he spoke in passable Kannada and asked for a berth for the gal (collegemate) but to no avail. I think he was a malayali. Nakul’s mom was also travelling who initiated the bath conversation.

It was finally time to sleep and I was glad for the break – my eyes were hurting frm reading in train light, my mind frm concentrating on two things (my book and the conversation) at the same time, and¬†I had a sore throat. I was glad to fall asleep. We will be in Kumbokonam in the morning. Hopefully, I won’t have too bad a cold – at least, thts my hope!