Sunday, January 14, 2007

Our Temple Trip

Finally we decided to go on a pilgrimage tour. It was due a long time now. And since we had to go to Trivandrum for Varun’s first birthday, we decided to club our temple trips together. My parents agreed to accompany us.

We booked our flight tickets from Mumbai for the 4th of August 2006. To reach Mumbai we had booked ourselves on KK Travels, a popular choice with the people who head straight to the airports in Mumbai from Pune. The bus picked us up from our individual homes and we set off. The view en route to Mumbai was astounding thanks to the rainy season. Anyways, we reached the airport only to find out that our flight was delayed by 2 hours. Now, waiting in the airport lounge, that too with a one yr old is a situation by itself and I’m sure those of you having a baby know exactly what I mean! Well, my prayers were heard and we boarded the flight and reached Trivandrum (after making a trip to Cochin too, imagine!) by 1:00 am.


. Or Thiruvananthapuram(that sounds better!), is one place I always wanted to visit. Especially the Padmanabha Swamy temple. I guess it was the Lord’s doing that I got married to Reghu, who belongs to Thiruvananthapuram. Sometimes I wonder if I was deliberately kept away from coming here. Maybe it was destined that I visit this divine sanctity with my husband! Whatever the reason, I feel blessed!

So, the next morning we went to the temple and performed Varun’s choroonu. By noon, my parents arrived and in the evening we visited the Attukal Bhagavathy temple.

It was exactly 6:00 am in the morning the next day when the quails reached the doorstep and we all left for a 2 day trip to Rameshwaram, Madurai and Kanyakumari. Our first stop was for breakfast at Gowri Shankar restaurant on the highway. We instantly took a liking to the place when we saw the three different types of chutneys served there. My husband Reghu still raves about those chutneys!

The next stop was at Thirunelveli where Reghu’s cousin, Sunder anna, stays. We spent an hour there and returned to our journey after getting our lunch packed by Chitra bhabhi.

It takes 10 hours to reach Rameshwaram from Thiruvananthapuram by road. The heat was on and we could notice the vast difference in the landscape as we moved deeper into Tamil Nadu. After a short stopover at Madurai for lunch (needless to say lunch was delicious, as is the case with home made food!), we reached Rameshwaram at 5:30 pm.


To reach Rameshwaram, you have to cross the Pamban Bridge which connects it to the mainland. The view from the bridge is breathtaking…one has to see it to believe it!

I have always had a fascination for Rameshwaram. Firstly because of it’s value in Hindu mythology and secondly, due to its geographical location. Now, for those of you wondering what’s so great about the location of this place, let me tell you that it is situated at the tip of the Indian sub continent, and just a few kilometers away is the island of Sri Lanka. Surrounded by two big oceans at the tip of the mainland, now, isn’t that exciting?!?

We checked into a TTDC hotel and from our rooms we got a wonderful view of the sea. That evening we took a dip in the holy waters, and surprisingly, my son, Varun enjoyed it too!! The next day, we made our visit to the temple and also to Dhanushkodi. On the way to Dhanushkodi we halted at our President, Mr. Abdul Kalam’s residence. Yes, you read right! Our President is from Rameshwaram and anyone is free to visit his house. His house is just like any other in the neighborhood and that itself explains the simplicity behind him.

The road leading to Dhanushkodi has a few trees on either side and it bore a deserted look. The guide informed us that during the high tide the water from the seas flow till the road. There is also an abandoned railway line which was used long back, but was discontinued after a severe cyclone not only destroyed the train and passengers within but also the Dhaushkodi village. A few kilometers of driving and you reach the last check post of India located at the shores of the Indian Ocean. You still have to go further down to reach the tip of India, but there was no road. I would have gone if it wasn’t for Varun, who was fast asleep on my shoulders. Someday, I told myself, I will return and see where the land ends and the two mighty waters, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet.

Back at the hotel after having lunch, we packed and set off to Madurai, 3 hours from Rameshwaram. We reached in the evening and could not resist a visit to the Madurai Meenakshi temple. This was my first visit to the temple.


Well, what can I say? You can just stand and stare at the enormous gopurams (entrances) of the temple in awe! So fantastic is the art work on them. And even more pleasing was the Goddess herself!

The first thing you would notice about the Goddess is her shimmering nose ring and her beautiful madisaaru (a nine yard sari). There she stood, majestically with a parrot on her right hand ……. I thought I was dreaming! She looked so heavenly!

I would have loved to stay but there were closing the temple and we returned to our hotel to realize how hungry we were!! Yes readers, food will always be discussed in my blogs, both me and my husband being ardent food lovers! (we hope to raise our son, too, the same way!) Our hotel had a rooftop restaurant and we could have a beautiful view of all the four gopurams from there. But we had to hurry our dinner as my dear son, could not bear our discussion anymore, and insisted on being attended upon!


The next day, too, we visited the temple and set off again, this time to Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is not new to me, but I just love the waters and the sight of Vivekananda Rock that I never get bored no matter how many times I go. We visited the temple there, I bought some shells (the ones I don’t have already), went to the waters and were on our way back to Thiruvananthapuram after taking a break at Suchindram too. Finally we reached home at 9:00 pm and settled for the talks and discussions.

On 10th August, 2006 we celebrated Varun’s first birthday grandly with all near and dear ones. Then we left for the other half of the journey. We took a train to Guruvayoor, performed choroonu, thulabharam, etc. there and left for Palakkad by car the same day. Peruvumbu, in Palakkad, has a bhagavathy temple which was my kuladevam before marriage. All necessary poojas were performed there also. And from there we went to Tirupathi by train. Other than the usual Tirumala darshanam, this time we also visited the Kalyana sundara temple in Tirupathy and also Kalahasti. The next day was our train to Pune, my parents were to leave for Bangalore directly from there. And there ends the 12 day long trip.

We also had Chidambaram in our minds, but since the distance was too much, we decided to carry forward it to the next temple trip. Yes, there will be another one too! Will keep you updated with the plans!

1 comment:

Lux said...

why on earth do I miss these?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...