Ranamandalam – Part 1

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2005 – 06? I don’t remember. Might be later also. I had gone to Rameswaram for first time in life. After showing floating rocks in a temple, the guide took us to a small hillock with 50 – 60 steps, and an antenna above. “Gandhamana Parvatham”, he said with all pride in his face. This is the point where Hanuman took Vishwaroopam, and jumped to Lanka. From here it is 16kms, he said. From that place, we could see some distant land. He continued, “That is Lanka!”

I was slowly rewinding “Jai Hanuman !” serial in DD which I had seen in school days in my mind. Hanuman actually did 2 things in that flight. First, He killed a demoness on the way, who pulled Him near her using Hanuman’s shadow. Second, He defeated Naga-Matha Sursai by taking a very small figure and speeding away. If both has to happen, 16kms is too short a distance I thought. Hanuman is considered Maha-bala. If so, what is the great deal in jumping 16 kms? Rama banam is believed to have crossed very great distances to kill asuras. When Hanuman’s valour is so equally celebrated, I felt something was missing. And, this hillock is too small to hold His weight was my next thought. Logic didn’t fall in place, and I left it at that point that day.

Years later, when I was reading Siththanarul blog, did I come across an incident as Mahaguru Agasthiyar narrated to Hanumathdasan, a person who had read his Jeeva nadi for long time – close to 50 years !!!

“இந்த இடத்திலிருந்து தான் அனுமன், விஸ்வரூபம் எடுத்து, சீதாதேவியைத் தேடி ஸ்ரீலங்காவுக்கு புறப்பட்ட இடம். முன் காலத்தில் இதற்குப் பெயர் மகோதர மலை.  இங்கு கொடிய விலங்குகள், அடர்த்தியான காடுகள் சுற்றி இருந்தன.  அனுமன் விஸ்வரூபம் எடுத்தவுடன், அத்தனை விலங்குகளும், மலைகளும், காடுகளும் வீழ்ந்து நொறுங்கின.  அந்தக் காட்சியை அகத்தியன் யாமும் கண்டு மெய் சிலிர்த்துப் போனேன்.”

Though I am not gifted to have met Late Shri Hanumathdasan, I was carried away by this narration. And these lines did throw me a picture of how Hanuman would have taken his Vishwaroopam. After this, I tried a lot to go to this place as usual, and it never happened, until my friend Jana sir came on a 2 week long assignment to Bangalore. First weekend, we both left to Mantralayam. My plan was simple – Go and pray Shri Raghavendrar first, and then go to this hill.

And Mahodhara hills of Thretha yuga is today called RANAMANDALAM !!!

As such, let me reserve the Mantralayam experience for another blog, since there is a lot to write 🙂

Hill of Surprises, even today:

It was almost 11:45 AM when we reached the foot hills, and as usual, I was bothered about the closing time. There is a small Hanuman vigraha, which I prayed for a second before climbing up, and had a very strange feel at that moment.

I felt like some one was pulling my eyes and ears towards him from a different direction. I turned my head, and saw an old man sitting there in rags. Beggar should be, I thought. He did not turn towards me, but told in clear tamil, “………………. poitu vaa. Ellam sari aayidum” (Go to ………… All will become ok.) I was dumb-stuck. I didn’t talk there after getting down from the auto, but how he knows I am a Tamilian? I thought and thought if I had spoken any word, and really nothing !!! And I should add, I went to that famous temple almost after 2 weeks.

One month later, in my own hands I realized why he had instructed me to do so !!! Who was he? A fortune teller? A Rishi / Muni / Siddha? I dont know. But I do know one thing, He saved me from something big, and I am thankful to God for that 🙂

Entrance to Ranamandalam Temple !

Entrance to Ranamandalam Temple !

Temple Details:

Two distinct things will catch your attention for sure. One, the Hanuman statue which I told first, and next a very old banyan tree. Also, there is not much greenery around.

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Hanuman, in the pose of Ravana’s son Akshaya Kumara vadham ! (For a fact, same vigraha of Hanuman is just opposite Moola Brindhavanam of Shri Raghavendra !)

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Very old Banyan tree. Long live you, I thought seeing the roots falling down !

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Climb a couple of steps, Swami padham is there for us to pray and climb !

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Rain water flowing down, amidst Tulsi and other herbs !! We tasted it, and it was pleasant !

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Some surroundings, with slight water flow, and in summer, absolutely nothing 🙂

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A separate rock, standing on its own without support !!!

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Way to temple !

Climbing this is not too difficult. The first time I went here, it was all pleasant cloudy weather. We two were not finding it difficult to climb. After climbing almost 150 – 200 steps, a nice view of another temple in the vicinity was visible.

Shiva temple in vicinity. Covered later in this blog-post !

Shiva temple in vicinity. Covered later in this blog-post !

After climbing close to 250 steps, there was a small path to the left. We didn’t know whether to venture, when couple of local-ites guided Jana sir to go inside. And to our surprise, we came to know that it was some Sidhdha / muni cave.

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Kaaval deivam with weapons at the entrance of the cave. Don’t know if it is Bhairavar, since there is no Vaahanam !

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Nandhi Devar at entrance !

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Surprised to see Babaji !!! but no one to explain why!

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Rocky beds inside !!!

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Zoomed inside, but this was the picture !

So, came out again, and continued climbing another 35 steps. There was a Shiva temple on the way.

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Left building is the Shiva temple.

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Lord Shiva inside that small temple. History unknown.

After this, it was all climbing. When I reached 300 steps from ground level, there was a small Hanuman sannidhi. Again no one to explain what is the significance.

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Hanuman again in Akshaya kumara vadha kolam !

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Swami Padham, again 🙂

Walking up, almost when reaching 400 steps, we can clearly see Adoni fort !!!

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After climbing 522 steps from ground, finally we come near the main temple, and have darshan of Vinayaga peruman first.

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Beautiful Valampuri Vinayagar that too in standing position !!!

So, with another 22 steps, and 544 in total from ground, we enter the main premises.

Temple whole view...

Temple whole view…

There is no separate sanctum for Hanuman. He stands in open arena. I could imagine the place almost 40 years back. If there was no transport facility, how much that noble soul would have suffered before reaching this place ! Hanuman stands same through time. We went on a Saturday and there was some pooja. So we sat down patiently, and started chanting Hanuman mantras, and more importantly Panchamukhi Hanuman Kavacham. I had got it the previous day, minutes before I had left office. 20 – 25 minutes of real bad reading of it, since we both don’t know sanskrit, we finished it, and someone showed Harathi. And as I stood up, few drops of drizzle fell on me and my friend, just like a blessing 🙂 Before or after this, in the total 5 hours we spent on this hill, there was no drizzle / rain ! Happy we were !!

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Sri Ranamandala Rama Anjaneya Swamy !!!

Opposite to Him, stands His boss, Sri Ram, albeit a small vigraham.

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Now we go around the Hanuman shrine. Behind the shrine, there are lots of newly constructed sannidhis. We shall have a darshan of them too.

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Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita with Hanuman…new vigrahas, but very good looking with the vahanam opposite this shrine !!!

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Vahanam opposite Sri Rama…Adhisheshan should be I thought, since there are multiple heads !

IMG_0880This most effectively completes this temple. I wanted to continue on Venugopala Swami temple and Shiva temple but due to the length, will reserve it for part – 2!

How To Reach:

Adoni is around 50 kms from Mantralayam. Ranamandalam is close to 4 kms from the bus stop. You need to go through very narrow market streets, and in the end of the town, you find this temple.

Temple Timings:

I don’t know if there is timing at all. If you walk in broad day light, you should be able to have darshan and come down.

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Thiru-Malai-Vaiyavoor

Thiru-Malai-Vaiyavoor !!!

Temple from a distance !

Temple from a distance !

What to say about this divine temple ???

Extreme beauty of Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal ?

The courtesy and divine look of Sri Seetha Rama Swamigal who has spent majority of his life to service the temple ???

The flavour of hot Ghee + Camphor (Pachai karpooram) which he gave me from the deepam he carried on a “Thiruvona deepam” day, to drink when I was in school days?

A tiny but majestic black dog which I still remember ?  (https://samiappapalanivelan.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/dog-as-a-saviour/)

Steps, which can never be forgotten !

Steps, which can never be forgotten !

Or the taste of Laddu and puliyotharai sold there way back ? 🙂

Or the temple itself getting turned from an isolated spot, to a mandatory tourist itinerary now, after many centuries of existence?

Well. In this blog-post, we shall see the marvel of this temple, to the slightest extent of what I know !

Sthala Puranam:

In one line if I have to say, this Perumal is considered elder to Tirumala Perumal, and any offering which you have prayed to Tirumala Lord, can be carried out here, including tonsure.

In Krutha yuga, after vanquishing demon king Hiranyakshan, Lord Varaha is believed to have come to this place. Hence, akin to Tirumala, this is “Aadhi Varaga Moorthi Kshetram.”

In Thretha yuga, when Lord Rama fought mighty Ravana, and fell down unconscious with Lakshmana, Hanuman was asked to bring Sanjeevini herb, during when, He took complete Sanjeevi hill and travelled down south from Himalayas. When He crossed this place, Hanuman is believed to have changed the hill from his right to left hand, without keeping it on floor, and hence this place came to be known as “Thirumalai-vaiyaa-oor”.

Hence, with Aadhi Varaha swamy, Aadhi Varaha Kshetram, and Aadhi Varaha pushkarini, this temple has got the specialities of Moorthy, sthalam and theertham in one place.

Adhisheshan was given divine darshan by Tirumala Sri. Srinivasa Perumal here.

Aparajitha varma, a pallava king, was given darshan on this hill top by Lord Sri Venkateswara standing on a chariot. Still now in some rocks, there are signs of Horse-shoe, and chariot wheels. Raja Thodarmal of Vijayanagara empire has done construction works for this temple.

Akin to Tirumala temple, here also we are supposed to pray in Aadhi Varahaswamy shrine first, and then pray Sri. Prasanna Venkatesa perumal shrine and Thaayar Alarmel Mangai. It is trusted that the pilgrim to Tirumala is only complete after praying in this shrine.

Pradhakshina of the temple :

Let us first stand in the adivaram.

Temple steps, around 150...

Temple steps, around 150…

Once we climb half, we have a small shed, and a Hanuman shrine to pray.

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Hanuman shrine !

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Mobile didn’t have a flash 🙂

Once we pray here, walk another 50 – 60 steps, we reach the main temple premises. Let us take a praharam since the shrines are to our right, and we should not walk apradakshanam.

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Rocks found near temple walls, which show how this place was before constructing this wonderful temple….

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Thaayar and Perumal gopurams…

We enter the other side of the temple, and in the corner we have Pali peedam.

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Pali – peedam

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Sri Garudan on a small stone structure akin dwajasthambam.

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Sri Hanuman on the other side…

We have now come to the side, where we have the main entrance…..

Nice depiction of Dasavatharams...

Nice depiction of Dasavatharams…

This complex is divided into two. The main one housing Srinivasa Perumal and thaayar, and the other one having some avatarams of Maha Vishnu. We enter the second one first.

This has Sri Ramar, Sri Varahar, and Sri Krishna with their consorts.

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Sri Ramar, with Devi Sita and Lakshmanar…

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Sri Adhi Varaha swamy with Goddess Lakshmi…

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Sri Krishna with Bama and Rukmani…

We now come out of this, and enter the main sannidhi, which houses Perumal.

Entrance to the main sanctum...

Entrance to the main sanctum…

Trust me, Srinivasa Perumal is so very beautiful. Once we pray Him and come out, in the praharam itself we have Alarmel Mangai Thaayar sannidhi.

Sri. Alarmel Mangai Thaayar !

Sri. Alarmel Mangai Thaayar !

Pray Her, complete pradakshinam praying Aandal, and come out. Here sits Sri Ramanujar beautifully 🙂

Aazhwaar !!!

Aazhwaar !!!

We next have the Chakarathaazhwar shrine.

Chakkarathaazhwar shrine !

Chakkarathaazhwar shrine !

Once we pray Him, we are done with the pilgrim.

When we walk to the car parking, we can see these rocks, which have carvings, which are believed to be the markings of Lord Vishnu’s chariot!

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Chariot wheel markings !

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Horse Shoe Marks !

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Complete rock, but our people have dumped waste into it !

Breath-taking though is the sculpture work of Sidhdhas and other Avatars in the temple pillars. Enjoy the beauty 🙂

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All beautiful sculptures…great work from our ancestors !

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How to Reach:

From Padalam koot road in Chennai – Trichy highway, take a right, which goes towards Vedanthangal bird sanctuary. This temple is in the 5th km.

Nerkundrum Kari Varadharajar!

Almost in May – June time-frame, I came across this temple in “Aalayam kandean” blog of Mrs.Priya and visited almost immediately. It was a very good and satisfying visit I should say. Finding the place was a bit difficult thing, but the Battachariar mama and his wife guided me over phone to the temple. Come, lets look into the sthala puranam before we do a pradakshina in this temple!

Entrance of the Temple !

Entrance of the Temple !

Sthala Puranam:

Kari means an elephant, and “Varam tharum raja” is Varadharaja 🙂 (A king who gives a boon).

This is a story similar to “Gajendra moksham” one, with a slight twist in climax scene. Ideally, this Varadharaja has given a boon to an elephant. But why?

Long long ago, there was a king called Indra-dhyuman. Once Maharishi Agasthiyar came to his courtyard, and fury with the disrespect meted out to Him, cursed the king to become an elephant (Personally I don’t believe this as character of Agasthiya though. This could have been a blessing in disguise!). Since the king knew in advance, that, that was his last birth, he prayed Vishnu.

As “Akashvani” (அசிரீரி), Vishnu told the king, to go to a place, where harvested paddy lay like mountains (“நெல் குன்று போல் விளைய கூடிய நெற்குன்றம்”), and He resided as “Varadharaja”. Immediately the king came here and prayed the Lord, and got turned into an elephant. Though he changed like this, he did have old memories, and hence was offering a lotus to this Lord everyday.

One day, a Gandharva called Goo-Goo came to this place from Devaloham, turned himself a crocodile and was playing in the pushkarini, where the lotus was taken by the elephant everyday. In parallel, Maharishi Bharadhwaja came to this pond and was doing his Sandhi pooja. This crocodile, when moving around, hit him with its tail, for which the frowning Rishi, cursed the Gandharva to remain a crocodile itself (since his pooja was interrupted). When the Gandharva begged for mercy, the great sage told “There is a Vishnu Bhaktha elephant and if you catch his legs, you will get your old form.”

So, the crocodile started waiting for the elephant, and one day in the Brahma-muhurtha, the elephant came and took a lotus from the pond. The crocodile swiftly moved and caught its leg. Since the flower it took started to dry, the elephant did try to free himself, but when he couldn’t, called Vishnu “Aadhi-moolame!!!”

Till this the story resembles “Gajendra moksham” ! Vishnu, on hearing His bhakta’s voice, appeared on the shore of the pushkarini, and used His “Sudharshana-chakram”, to drag both out of the pond. Once they came out, Vishnu gave them “Moksha-gathi” !

So, Varadharaja has “Varadha-hastham” here 🙂 Remember, Perumal in Tirumala has “Abhaya hastham” (which means, those who catch His feet shall remain protected.) Here He says, for people who come here, and pray Him as “Kesava, Madhava, Govindha”, and come into His “Saranaagathi”, He shall forgive all their sins, and will grant them moksham.

In 1894, there was a troop of Bhagavathas, who were doing Bhajans and were travelling to Kanchipuram, to have darshan of “Kanchi Varadha” on “Vaikasi Vishakam – Garuda seva” day from Chennai. When they crossed this province, there was a huge rain lashing out at them. Fearing they will miss the seva, since there were only 2 days to reach Kanchipuram, that too by walk, they did pray Vishnu, and as “Akashvaani”, Vishnu ordered them to have His darshan here first !!!

After they came here and did a “Bhagavatha seva”, the rain stopped, and they were able to continue their journey. The Bhattachariar says, even today, there will be someone doing a rendition on each saturday!

Finally, the speciality of this Varadharaja, is the Lord opening His eyes to see His bhaktas. (Many visitors were very proud to say this there in the temple. I could only feel the eyes of the statue glowing when the deepam was taken near. Since I am a self accepted fool, might be I couldn’t realize Perumal opening His eyes 🙂 But, I honestly trust, that a person can enter even his next door temple, only if his name is in the appointment list of the Lord that day 😉 )

Pradhakshina of the temple :

Once we enter the temple, through the entrance shown above, take a left, and first we have Ramanujar sannidhi.

Ramanujar !

Ramanujar !

Further down, we have Vinayagar, called “Thumbikkai Aazhwaar” in Vaishnavism.

Thumbikkai Aazhwaar !

From here, next is Sri Anjaneyar !

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Sri Anjaneyar – too many visitors on that saturday 🙂

We pray near Dwajasthambam, and Sri Garudan Sannidhi, to reach Varadharajar !

Dwajasthambam !

Dwajasthambam !

Sri Garudan !

Sri Garudan !

Just opposite, is “Sri Kari Varadharajar Sannidhi” !

Sri Kari Varadharajar sannidhi !

Sri Kari Varadharajar sannidhi !

After praying Him, we need to take a pradhakshina, to pray Goddess Sridevi and Boodevi…

Sri Mahalakshmi !

Sri Mahalakshmi !

Sri Aandaal !

Sri Aandaal !

And finally in the koshtam is “Vishnu Durgai” !!!

Vishnu Durgai !

Vishnu Durgai !

This completes the temple pradhakshinam…..

Parihaara sthalam:

1) Here there is a peculiar tradition followed. In case we have any issues in life, we can take our horoscope along with Rs.27/- (that is, the number of total stars), and place it in the holy feet of Lord and pray. It is believed that the problem will be solved by the Lord with 48 days or something.

2) For married women, who have not conceived, and are eagerly awaiting a child, the Bhattachariar places the utsavar of “Santhana Gopala krishnan” in their saree, and patiently sings “Krishnashtakam”. His voice is really divine…

“Athasee pushpa sangasam,
Hara noopura Shobitham,
Rathna kankana keyuram,
Krishnam Vande Jagat Gurum” !

I heard him singing these lines for a lady, and even after such a long time, his voice reverberates in my ears !!!

How to reach:

When we go from CMBT terminus to Madhuravoyal, we get Nerkundram in between, closer to CMBT. There is the “Kaaruneegar street.” Enter that, and ask for “Eri theru / masoodhi theru”. The temple is in the mid of the street.

Contact number:

Shri. Sugendra Bhattachar :: 99625 59123, 99628 11792

Temple Timings:

Normal 🙂

Parvatha Malai !

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Around an year back, I was waiting in Porur signal. An auto overtook my car very fast and closely, as if it would rub against my door, and stopped before me. I lowered my door to scold that driver…but HOLD ON…

In the backside of that auto, there was a poster, with Shiva Linga, and a statue of Goddess Parvathi. There was a huge hill behind it, and it was very steep looking also. I tried reading that poster, but could not, since the fonts were small. I moved my car now towards the auto 🙂 and saw the last line, and it read “Parvatha Malai !!!”

I heard this place for the first time in life, and decided that moment, “I should go there once sometime !”. Deciding something without enough details can be very costly, as I realized later 🙂

During our Thumburu trip, I was talking to Jo about Parvatha Malai, and he confidently told me, “Palani…Parvatha Malai is only 60% of this effort. We will go there once.” Since he had already visited the hill 4-5 times, I trusted his words. He continued, “It will take maximum 1.5 hours to reach the top. We shall spend some time and come down.” I was totally flattened. Such a good place, in such a small time ??? I was all set to travel. We had set Amavasya day, 30th of March to travel. Reason, simple. There will be someone to walk with us. And there were some shops also that day.

This time we got a totally unexpected team. Jo, myself, Sakthi, my B.E. professor, Prabhuraj sir, and Jo’s friend, Jana sir.

Sthala Puranam:

The Parvatha-Malai, as such is 4560 feet tall. Sri Mallikarjuna Swami and Sri Brahmarambigai Ambal bless us from there.

It is believed that, when Lord Shiva came to South India, he kept one foot in Thiruvannamalai and other foot here. Through out our trip, Jana sir, who knows meditation was saying there is lot of energy there in hills. Since I am a blank slate, I didn’t know it though 🙂 Also, whenever I read some post, they were saying that a dog will accompany first-timers to some distance. It was a surprise to me.

Come, lets scale:

Our trip started at 3 AM in the same Porur signal. All of us assembled there. And we were at the foot hills at 6.50 AM. From the parking, we had to walk around 1.5 to 2 kms to reach the foot hills.

Our walk to foot-hills - Photo courtesy - Jana sir.

Our walk to foot-hills – Photo courtesy – Jana sir.

We took a de-turn at the end, to reach and pray Ayyanar there at a small temple. There were lot of women sleeping in the floors. I thought this place was safe. There were some invitations to us to have “Kanji”, which we gracefully rejected since it was only getting ready, and we were already late. We returned back to our old ways after that.

It was 7.15 AM, when our long trek started. Already sun was blazing, and we expected since it is almost April, the complete hill would be dried. We got ourselves 5 ltrs of water, some Abhishegam things, and archana sets, since we were not sure if it will be available there. So we had enough load to carry.

We had come to the ascent route. There was a temple-shed with Vinayaga, Muruga with His consorts and a swami padham to pray and walk.

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Vinayagar Peruman and Saastha !

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Sri Subramanyar with Valli and Devasena !

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Swami Padham, with Nandi devar !

From this point, we had steps to climb. Jo was saying, “Half of the distance will have steps. Then it will be easy.” The first premise, which I had read came true. A dog came to us as we started walking, didn’t make any noise near us, and started walking ahead of us.

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Majestically walks before us – Photo courtesy – Jana sir !

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Leads the way – Photo courtesy – Jana sir !

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Comes back to wait near us, when we stopped to have water !!! (P.C. Jana sir)

I was very shocked with its behaviour. There were some others also walking just before or behind us, but they were not accompanied! It came almost 600 to 700 steps with us, before I got it some “Murukku” to signal parting ways with it. And after that, it never came !!!

The steps were very convenient at some places and very narrow at others. And there was a very vigilant watch from over head monkeys also. It almost took us 50 minutes to cover that steps way.

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Very unruly monkey disturbing people. We offered a water packet, and it grabbed it with both hands !

We walked and walked, and almost when we came to end of the steps, there was the magic number written on that – 1263 ! So we have walked so many steps. Intelligently, the person who wrote it, did it in ascending order, so that a first timer will never get upset of walking, since he doesn’t know what is left over 🙂

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End of steps, and start of rocky path!

In the last step, there was a board “Sakthi Vinayagar temple”. And I was surprised to see the temple below it 🙂 Much magnified snap below.

Vinayagar, Shiva Linga, and Nandi devar !

Vinayagar, Shiva Linga, and Nandi devar !

Took some rest there, and we started to climb. We walked through the rocky terrain for some 10 minutes, when there was a building to our left, with lot of deities.

Building in the mid-way!

Building in the mid-way!

There was no one to tell us what it was, but the place turned to be a sweet surprise for me. Initially there appeared to be a Saastha deity, which I didn’t look into in detail. Just outside this, were the two brothers 🙂

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Saastha, seems so.

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Valampuri Vinayagar !

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Smiling Subramanyar with Valli and Devasena !

After praying them and offering some flowers which we had in hand, and also from the neighbouring plants 🙂 we went inside the mandapam. There was a very small Shiva Linga, Agasthiyar peruman photo, 18-Sidhdhargal photo, a stone with a spear, clad with turmeric, and a Shiva Linga and Nandhi in the stone wall as a sculpture. There were lot other Sidhdha photos also. I didn’t individually look into each of them.

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Lingam and Agasthiyar Peruman!

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Ambal!

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18 Sidhdhargal, Ramana Maharishi, and Murugan family in the not-completely clear photo!

Shiva Lingam and Nandhi in stone wall. P.C. Jana sir!

Shiva Lingam and Nandhi in stone wall. P.C. Jana sir!

One remarkable thing with this place, we were there around 15 minutes. It was a bit cooler than the sunny steps and rocks we were walking. Also, we started without any eating anything in the morning, so we decided to have some snacks there, before going on. After eating things did I realize one thing. My complete tiredness of walking had gone !!! Though I can attribute a part of it to glucose which we ate, the rest was definitely because of the place. Also, Jana sir mentioned there was huge energy in that place, and it really pushed him out when he meditated !

We came out, and started walking again. I could still the top of the hill in a very distant place.

Temple still too distant !

Temple still too distant !

Another 5 minutes of walk. There was a place like a Sidhdhar tomb. I couldn’t make out, but the place was painted stripes. So there should be something I thought.

Don't know the significance of this place !

Don’t know the significance of this place !

Some more time, another steep way. I had started losing energy already. And after it, there was an ant hill. Some pooja should have happened sometime back, but the flowers had dried away.

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Mr. Prabakhar in this photo. He was climbing 3rd time, and was very courteous to walk with us both ways !

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Ant hill…should be a snake’s abode now 🙂

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Nature’s surprise. No leaves but still has blooming flowers!

As we continued our walk further, the luxury of walking on rocks went off. There were sand ramps, and it was very slippery. But mindful locals, have kept iron handles, which are properly bolted in the ground, for support. It was way too helpful.

Slippery sand dunes, and railings to walk!

Slippery sand dunes, and railings to walk!

Again continued, and we got rocks again. Now we could see way markings, since there were alternate routes. Steeper paths had become the order of the day!

Steeper paths and way marks.

Steeper paths and way marks.

By now, we have cleared the easier parts of the trek !!! What Jo said at the beginning started materializing before me slowly. This Trishul was the mark of beginning 🙂

Start of all difficult treks!

Start of all difficult treks!

Kadapaarai Padi:

Within 5 minutes, we reached this spot. I have read regarding this in many blogs. There will be Iron rods / kadapaarais on both sides to catch and climb. The path is very steep, and slippery, and people have chiseled small carvings, so that a person can keep his legs to climb. This is what I knew. See this. It was almost half km.

This is how the climb will be !

This is how the climb will be !

See the steepness!

See the steepness!

Kadapaarai Padi !

Kadapaarai Padi ! (Photo courtesy : Jana sir)

Basically, am an expert in “Maan-Karaate”. If there is something like this, I would prefer to run away from there 🙂 I have never climbed to see the overhead tank in my house, just because of the fear of falling down, and it has only 10 steps 😦

Direct opposite thing happened. My brother was standing 25-feet in front of me, and after seeing this, shouted to me, “dei….romba steep a irukku. Mudiyumanu theriyala!!!”. Same time, Jo said to me, “Many come till here, and seeing the steepness, they leave.” Had it been a normal day, I would have happily told, “Me too”, and I would have climbed down. I saw the steepness, and I don’t know what happened to me there, that I said, “Climb carefully da…I will come behind you. And Jo, take care of Sakthi.”  Most mechanical thing I have done possibly in my life. Now I feel my mind got switched off that moment 🙂

My brother started climbing followed by Jo, myself, and after me Prabhuraj sir came. One by one, and by one, we started climbing on this path. This started with a ladder of 10 steps, then rocks followed, and there was another ladder in the middle. Again rocks, which were very slippery, but for the cut-down part. Slowly, and steadily we went up. Jo kept on saying, “Never see the surroundings. Look only your steps and Kadapaarai’s”. Somewhere in the middle I tried to see down, and GOD !!! I was seeing a complete valley. Had I fallen down, they would probably have not got even bones 🙂

Around 15 minutes, that we climbed this portion, which is the toughest part of the complete climb. We went there, and for good, did not look back. We went forward, and thank God, there was a mandapam with enough place to sit. The cool breeze was awesome. With 10 minutes of our rest, around 15 people gathered and we started to walk together.

After walking for another 5 minutes, the next steep climb came. This time, I did a clean monkey-walk in some places, walk with my hand on rocks for support. Trust me, it was very easy to climb that way, without any skid.

Second steep portion.

Second steep portion.

By this time, the temple and the annadhana complex were visible very close to us. This gave us the energy to walk further. In a turning there was a small Nandhi, which Prabhuraj sir noted. Was too cute.

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Nandhi Devar alone…

We again started walking in narrow paths, and steep climbs. There was a iron railing, with side support.

Iron railing to walk!

Iron railing to walk!

After crossing this, the next right was a very narrow steep steps. But it was easy to climb, since there were rocks on both sides for support. When I clicked this picture, the lady in yellow chudidhar was very courteous to say, “If you are taking for blogging, take a snap when we are climbing. Let women understand we can climb this hill, and let them visit!”. Was surprised, and “Thank you Madam!”

Very narrow steep steps.

Very narrow steep steps.

We climbed this part, and went through very narrow, slippery and steep portions of rock, to finally reach the Temple!!!

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Last rock before reaching temple !!!

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If you happen to see a Parvatha malai poster, this is the left peak which you will see 🙂

We finally entered the temple complex. I forgot to click it 😦

It was almost 10 AM, 3 hours from our start time, that we reached the temple.

Three Sannidhis:

The first sannidhi houses Sri Vinayagar, Sri Subramanyar with Valli and Devasena, Sri Aghora Veerabhadrar, Sri Kali, and Sri Nagarajar.

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Sri Vinayagar Peruman, though it doesn’t seem so 🙂

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Sri Subramanyar with His consorts !

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Sri Veera Bhadrar and Sri Kali !

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Sri Nagarajar !

Sri Mallikarjuna Swami:

Next in a Sanctum was Sri Mallikarjuna Swami. Advantage in Parvatha Malai, is, there is no regular Gurukkal to do poojas. In case you take Abhishega things, you can yourself do Abhishegam to the Lord inside sanctum. Remember one thing though, you are entering one of the most sacred sanctums in the world. Remove your shirt and enter bare-chested into the sanctum. This will also allow you to take much of the energy waves that are there. People there don’t prevent anyone from entering the sanctum or doing Abhisgegam, which is also a good tradition followed.

When I was going up, there was one area where there were lot of Dharba grass. I had taken some in my bag, though I didn’t think much why I should take it. We waited for around an hour to get our chance of abhishegam. I had taken very few items though. Santhanathi thailam, Sandal powder, Honey, Rose essence (Panneer), and a tender coconut. Seeing our preparation, Prabakar, who accompanied us, got us a packet of Vibhoothi. I offered to do the abhishegam, and all others readily accepted !!! Prabakar got us the chance through his influence to do abhishegam also.

With stern crowds occupying the sanctum, I told others, it will be atleast 1 PM to start abhishegam. We will be very late to start down. Just then I didn’t know what happened, every one started rushing out. It was 11.10, proper and most auspicious Guru hora, when we entered the sanctum, and saw the Lingam for first time. Before us, there were 10 people inside, one on another. I felt we need not replicate same, and come out heavily sweating. An agreement was made quickly. Myself and Jana sir will enter the sanctum. Others will wait outside and see the pooja. This was just to avoid congestion inside sanctum.

Those were the most gifted moments in my life, I would say. It was so hot outside, and the sanctum was like a double ton AC built-in room! I started the pooja with Ganesha Pancharatna, did Sri Rudram – dhyanam, followed by chanting Namakam lyrics which I knew. Abhishegam to the Lord started with Santhanathi thailam, Honey, Tender coconut, Vibhoothi, and then Panneer + Sandal wood powder with the Lord wearing my chain (Swarnabhishegam)!

Sri Sri Mallikarjuna Swami!

Sri Sri Mallikarjuna Swami!(another group had started their abhishegam)

When I did the Abhishegam, did I understand something…The previous abhishegam people had done milk and curd, and had left it, without properly rinsing the Lingam. Ho, is it for we brought Dharba grass I thought. Slowly used the Dharbha grass to rinse the Lingam with little amount of water we had, and Lingam was back to its proper old rough surface. I should also share another surprise. People were shouting at others inside sanctum, if they stayed more than 10 – 15 minutes. Also there was a huge noise in the complex. But after we started, they were so silent, and waited patiently till 11.50, when we finally came out, after doing Archana reading ashtothram. I should owe all these to Maharishi Agasthiyar peruman, who I had prayed for a safe journey.

Sri Brahmarambika Ambal:

Next in the temple was Ambal sannidhi…Goddess was so cute and beautiful. There are some significant surprises written in other blogs about this statue, which I didn’t know when we went there. Nevertheless, She has such a cute smile in her cheeks, which I was able to witness, when I entered the sanctum.

Sri Brahmaraambika Thaayar!

Sri Brahmaraambika Thaayar!

Just did an archana, since I didn’t know the procedure for abhishegam, and also I felt unfit, and left the sannidhi around 12.00 sharp!Just in praaharam, we have Nandhi devar.

Sri Nandhi Devar !

Sri Nandhi Devar !

And, just when I left, saw these Sidhdhar installations in the left wall outside Ambal sannidhi.

Sidhdhas in the left side of Ambal sannidhi outer wall.

Sidhdhas in the left side of Ambal sannidhi outer wall.

Finally prayed the kodi-maram, before we left at 12.40 PM.

Dwajasthambam !

Dwajasthambam !

Climbing Down:

Climbing down was very very difficult. The rocks and sand were too hot to walk bare foot, and also you have to take grip from the rocks  to climb down. It took us close to 3 hours to come down, of which almost one hour went only in crossing till Kadapparai padi from the temple. We had to be very careful coming down step by step. But Jo and Jana sir came down just like that! So Jo took care of Sakthi again, and Prabhuraj sir took care of me!! Advantage of having a very good professor 🙂 Around 4 PM, we reached the Adivaaram.

Things to remember:

1) Very tiring trip. Almost Sathuragiri height, but half of the distance to climb(Roughly 6 kms). So its very steep.
2) Keep Amla (Nellikai) in your mouth when you walk up. This reduces sweating and also controls your BP when you walk up. Info courtesy : Jana sir
3) In Full moon and Amavasya days, there are shops with water bottles and Lemon-soda. But in ordinary days, you will find none. So take enough water for your trip.
4) Most important thing, climbing up and down, is like exercising for one whole year 🙂 The next whole week, each and every nerve and muscle in body was paining. So, try this out 🙂

How to Reach:

Two routes are there:

1) Your place – Thiruvannamalai – Then-Maathi-Mangalam, and trek.
2) Your place – Kanchipuram – Arani – Polur – Then-Maathi-Mangalam.

Request to devotees:

In that height, doing construction for our convenience is very difficult. And its happening due to efforts of some people. I saw this poster there. In case you wish to contribute, use this information (at your own risk though)!

Banner - Requesting cash and kind !

Banner – Requesting cash and kind !

P.S : After 4-5 days I had called Jo, and only thing I asked him was, “Jo, when are we going again 🙂 “

Thumburu Theertham !

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To put it down exactly, it was last week of August 2011. I met with one of my most respected acquaintances, and he was talking elaborately about temples and sacred locations he had traveled.

He said, “There is one interesting place beyond Tirumala temple. I had gone there some years back. There were very few people along in that route. In some deserted place, there was one very old person with a very long hair laying down. He was wearing rags and looked visibly very shabby. With long nails, and beard, very frightening too. But I understood him to be a Siddha. I went close to him, and placed the only biscuit packet which I had near his feet. He slowly raised his hand, blessed me and dropped it down. Later, I asked Agasthiya Maharishi in Nadi about him, and he replied, “He is one of us, and waited there to bless you. After blessing you, he immediately left for Himalayas!”. I was happy to know this.”

There was a sense of happiness in my 60+ aged-friend’s face when he narrated this. His experiences are very unique, and are destined for him. But the name of the place remained in my mind. I happened to meet him again this new year’s eve. Totally forgetting his previous narration to me, he told the same story, and told me, visit once if you can.

The name got stuck in my mind, “Thumburu Theertham !”. In last week of february, suddenly I remembered the place, and started searching in internet for this, and saw a blog, where the author had written about lot of theerthams in Tirumala. Same time, my brother called me and told one of his managers offered him a guide’s phone number to visit Thumburu! I was way too surprised by this, and decided to make a trip, on the only occasion this theertham will be opened to public officially, The full moon day of Panguni (Panguni – Pournami).

The eventful day was 16th of March – 2014. Once I decided to travel, I did invite two of my friends, Jothi, and Balu. Jo readily accepted, but Balu was not, on account of his work. So we were three to travel. We did eventually travel, and enjoyed this different and long trek. Come, lets see this trip in this blog-post!

Sthala Puranam:

Only thing my aged friend knew is, Thumburu Maharishi had his Ashram here and performed penance for long time.

Thumburu Maharishi:

I happened to listen to an audio recording of Maharishi Agasthiyar’s Jeeva Nadi, where on questioned about Maharishi Thumburu, Agasthiyar replied thus, “He is a Maharishi, who is equal to Naradha in prowess. But his existence is not known much to general public.” I had listened to this narration, but just after a few days, happened to go to Vadivudai Amman temple in Thiruvottiyur, where there was a statue for him in Shiva shrine in the praharam. Might be, one of the most powerful rishis, yet unknown to people.

Trip to Thumburu Theertham:

Let us see what all we knew before taking this trip.

1) Reach Tirumala bus stand, and later Papavinasam falls by bus transport.
2) Behind that there will be a dam, which will be opened on this day. Go through that and walk around 6 kms, to reach this theertham.

With this information, we were really afraid if at all there will be people by our side. So, as a ground rule, we had set two things.

1) Bath in Papavinasam only after we return from Thumburu.
2) Photos only after having a bath in Thumburu. This was because, we didn’t know how long will it take to reach the spot.

Both turned out to be extremely helpful.

It was exactly 7.15 AM, when we reached Papavinasam bus stop from Tirumala. The ride itself was too hectic, with sharp bends and a very casual driver, who took our empty stomachs out. In a place, there was a wild boar too 🙂

Once we reached Papavinasam, we started walking inside falls complex. After 5 mins, we were in front of the dam.

Dam behind Papavinasam !

Dam behind Papavinasam !

The dam bridge walk is considerably long, close to 150mts if am correct. Just as we entered, I was shocked to see the ramp which we need to walk up at the end of it. It was literally a 60 – 70% steep one (tougher than sathuragiri vettu paarai), and also probably a 100 mts long path.

Ramp to walk !

Ramp to walk – Imagine the steepness in this tilted photo!

It totally took our energy out, when we reached there on top of the ramp. There was a huge Ghee lamp at the entrance with a Vishnu photo. People stopped there to pray and proceed. We stopped there for rest 😉

Lamp to Begin walk !

Lamp to Begin walk !

In between there were some Food distribution centers (Annadhanam). Each separated by half a km. And I should say, I was surprised by the crowd which I saw there. And very less distance did we walk without having people crossing us on the either side.

We finally saw this sign board, which told us the distance to cover.

Thumburu - 4.2 !

Thumburu – 4.2 !

Till now we have covered 1.3, and it was a clear ground level walk.

Down, Down and Down:

Then the real forest walk started. It was a slow descending ramp all the way. a decent 20-degree ramp to walk. This made our journey very easy. We were walking down, down and down, and after an hour realized that we had made a perfect u bend from one side to other.

Rocks and greens all the way !

Rocks and greens all the way !

It was 8.30, when I lost patience. No sign boards, nothing. Just plain ramp to go down. I stopped a person in opposite side, and asked how long should we go, answer came “4 Kms!” I just couldn’t believe what I heard. I saw one sign board which showed a total of “5.5” to Thumburu from Papavinasam, but I didn’t understand the torn Jalebis (telugu fonts) near them. I thought it to be 5.5 kms.

At this junction did a point struck very hard in my mind, numbers in mountains are miles and not kms. One person had told this to me in Sathuragiri long back. So I made a quick calculation. Its approximately 9.5 kms and we are walking for one-quarter hour. So might be I thought. Sun was already scorching us.

We continued our walking for another half an hour. It was 9 AM. Still the ramp was going down. I stopped another person and asked about distance, he confidently told me, “4 Kms!”

My eyes started getting dark…”what crap !!! Don’t they teach any other number here” was my doubt. We continued our walk, and suddenly there was a huge crowd.

Peeped into it as usual, and it was a Chilly Bajji stall 🙂 Was a bit disappointed by this, but the way a tree had its bark converted into a stone like structure, did surprise me.

Tree just like a slab of stone !

Tree just like a slab of stone !

I just turned my face away, and wait….what is that??? There was a small opening behind it in the rocks, akin to Gorakkar cave opening…I thought in such a religious place, might be a cave where Rishis and Munis did their penance !

Might be a Sidhdhar cave ???

Might be a Sidhdhar cave ???

Nature has very many surprises…from our walk in Papavinasam, we were walking in hot sun. After this point, the route turned right, and my GOD!!! it suddenly became a shadow path way, and the difference in temperature was atleast 5 degrees…Thanks to the huge mountain on the other side 🙂 This made our remaining journey very pleasant.

Just after some half a km, there were twin trees, where people were doing pooja in the noon when we returned. We asked what is this, and a person replied, we do “Ram-Lakshman pooja” here. The trees were too big, but we didn’t wait to see the pooja.

Ram - Lakshman Pooja !

Ram – Lakshman Trees ! Photo courtesy – Jothi

Walking further for half a km, there was an ant hill, to which people were doing pooja. A small goddess statue was installed beneath it, and poojas were going on.

Snake pit, decorated and goddess installed !

Snake pit, decorated and goddess installed !

We walked in a pleasant weather further. There was another “Annadhana koodam” and people were thronging for food. We started seeing people with wet clothes in opposite direction, which made me think, we are NEAR !!! After some more walk, we started feeling the heat of the trip. Congested pathways, really mindless people trying to walk in them in both the directions, without bothering basic rules of walking inside mountains.

Congested pathway - 1

Congested pathway – 1

It took us more than 5 minutes to move out of this way, due to unruly crowd. After crossing another congested way, where people were really getting into hand fights, for way, we entered this only building in the whole pathway. Inside this, there was only a highly decorated Shiva – Parvathi photo.

Only building in the walk!

Only building in the walk!

Outside this, there was a Shiva linga, and a Valampuri Vinayaga statue. We prayed this, and started walking.

Shiva lingam and Valampuri Vinayagar - Photo courtesy - Jothi

Shiva lingam and Valampuri Vinayagar – Photo courtesy – Jothi

Wow…I could hear sound of water flows now, and told others, “It is somewhere near now!!!” And after this, I saw the most beautiful 1 km, in my life, with high raised mountains on both sides, and a 30 feet wide separation between them. And the mountain gap, resembled a snake, as we moved inside and inside.

Start of mountain walk !!!

Start of mountain walk !!!

Natural swimming pool in next turn !!

Natural swimming pool in next turn !!

Vinayagar in a rock, to pray and move inside !!!

Vinayagar in a rock, to pray and move inside !!!

Difficult rock to scale and move inside !

Difficult rock to scale and move inside !

Nature is the best designer, see these three pictures, as we move in, in a highly congested, and wet, slippery rocks now. The sound of the falls is faintly, but clearly audible now.

Nature's own design on rocks.

Nature’s own design on rocks. Not the telugu fonts 🙂

Excellent pathway, bright light above, and total shades below !

Excellent pathway, bright light above, and total shades below !

Different color rocks, in same place !!!

Different color rocks, in same place !!!

Crowds increased in the next bend, and I was dumb struck to see the mountains on top of us. Had that mountain collapsed that day, easily thousands would have met our creators 🙂 It alone is the grace of God, that so many walk in and out, without any second thought.

Huge crowds showing up!

Huge crowds showing up!

Another congested way, but see how the mountain stands !

Another congested way, but see how the mountain stands !

Another point of fight outs !

Another point of fight outs !

When we walked further in, Wow….Dhumburu Maharishi was there !!! People think this statue is a celestial Ghandarva, still they pray.

Maharishi Dhumburu !!!

Maharishi Dhumburu !!!

We went inside to first have a shower and then pray Him. As we went inside, the gap between rocks started narrowing down. Last 5 bends are just ahead of us, go through the pics 🙂

Last 5 !

Last 5 !

Last 4!

Last 4!

Last 3 !

Last 3 !

Last 2 !

Last 2 !

Last 5!

Out there we are!

And in the next turn, we have Thumburu Theertham !!! The final congested, and narrow end to the deep tunnel of our walk !!!

Thumburu Theertham !!!

Thumburu Theertham !!!

The water was gushing from mid of the rock. The water was so damn cold, that I started gasping for breath, even when just drops of water fell on me. I was too surprised, since there was no water flow visible to human eye, and it suddenly appears like magic !!!

Starting at 7.15 AM, we had reached non-stop at 9.45 AM. Since it was down, down and only down, this walk was neither tiring or water-demanding.

I came out of this falls, prayed Thumburu maharishi, and started our walk to Papavinasam.

Up, Up and Only up :

We started at around 11 AM, and we started walking up. Initial one km was cake walk. But then the ramp walking started.

The walk was way too tiring, with hot sun from top, completely burnt forest on one side, and a deep valley on other side. It took total 3 hours for us to come out of this ramp forest.

Completely opposite to Sathuragiri trek, where you will find water bottles everywhere in shops, there was not a single person selling water bottles. Only courtesy was packets of buttermilk and Mango tetra-packs. We had to take buttermilk packets to quench our thirsts.

Finally when we came to ground level walk, I was feeling heavens 🙂

When we came out, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam was distributing Puliyotharai packets for people who were coming there in the dam-bridge. Tasty it was 🙂

Mindful courtesy extended by TTD !!! Salute your service !

Mindful courtesy extended by TTD !!! Salutations to your service !

How to reach:

Reach Tirumala from your place. In the bus stand, get into Papavinasam bus, and go to that complex. If you go on Panguni-Pournami day, there will be loads of people walking. Just follow them, and you will reach Thumburu !

And, if at all you think if there will be people to walk with you, I should say, my very conservative estimate will be around 15000 people.

And how is this different:

As opposite to any hill temple or theertham, where you climb up when you go to it, and climb down to return, this place has climbing down to reach the spot, and climbing up to come out 🙂 Visit once and enjoy this yourself !

Agasthiyar Ashramam !

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Agasthiya Maharishi !

Any day I will remember Late Sri Seerkazhi Govindharajan in this regard.

Why ?

Because he did this role and with his great voice had sung songs in “Agathiyar” movie. I still remember a hillock melting scene in a competition between him and Ravana playing a veena.

Years later, when late Sri Hanumatha dasan wrote “Nadi Sollum Kathaigal” in a tamil daily, I started realizing that my mythological saint character is no more a myth, but a reality. I used to wait for every Saturday to read that column.

5-6 years back, my brother went to Panagal park, and incidentally visited “Agasthiyar Ashramam !” One day he took me too, and I was very impressed with the temple structure, and also the quality of Priests there and mantras chanted were very divine.As the name states, the speciality of the temple is a separate sannidhi for Sri Agasthiyar and His wife Lopamudra.

Very rare isn’t it? In this blog post, we shall see a round-up of this temple.

Sthala Puranam:

The temple is believed to have been built before 75 years. Before that, this place was house of a Nadi reader, who had lot of Agasthiyar written Nadis. Even now we can find Nadi bundles in a small room where all utsava murtis are kept. Also, these Nadis are taken out on the day of Saraswathi Pooja and special poojas are done on them. These Nadis have lot of medical and astrological notes and detailed description of how this temple should be built. Many Nadis have been eaten by termites, claims a Priest here.

Even in the temple complex, initially only Maharishi Agasthiar Sannidhi, Murugan, Vinayagar and Nava graham sannidhis were built. Later on, many changes were done and the temple is in its present form.

Another excellent thing in this temple is the great depth of rich sculptures. Really awesome set which is quite interesting to watch.

Temple Round up:

There are two entrances to this temple: East and North. This is the North entrance.

Agasthiyar Ashramam

Agasthiyar Ashramam

Let us leave this entrance for a moment, and enter by the other one, Eastern entrance. Once you enter, you have to look to you right, where “Sri Siddhi Buddhi Vinayagar” is present.

Siddhi - Buddhi Vinayagar

Siddhi – Buddhi Vinayagar

The vigrahams are really excellent and is a treat to watch and pray. And what more, pillars and the side walls of this sannidhi have excellent sculptures.

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Pandavas, Draupathi, Karnan, Lord Krishna, Pithamahar Bhishma, Vyasar dictating Mahabaratha to Lord vinayagar !

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Krishna looks, as Lord Shiva blesses Arjuna with “Pasupathasthiram”, Arjuna Tapas before getting this asthra, Adhi Sankara Bagavath padhal !

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Krishna – Arjuna “Geetha upadesam” scene, Pandava sena fighting war against Kauravas.

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Greatest sage “Naradha Muni” !

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“Bringhi Maharishi” – He who made Goddess Parvathi do Tapas to get left portion of Lord Shiva !

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Sri Anjaneyar, Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sri Sita, Barathan, Shatrugnan, Garuda devar !

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Vinayagar as a crow, making Cauvery flow from kamandalam of Agasthiyar Peruman. Indra praying in the last sculpture !

After praying Vinayagar and all Maharishis in pillars and side walls, we come to the central portion of the temple, which houses Sri Sundara Vanibeswarar, and Sri Sundara Vadivaambigai.

Sri Sundara Vanibeswarar:

Sri Sundara Vaanibeswarar and Sri Sundara Vadivambigai Temple

Sri Sundara Vaanibeswarar and Sri Sundara Vadivambigai Temple

The specialty of this temple is that, Lord Shiva and Goddess, other than the traditional Lingam and Vigraham  + Sri chakram darshan, are present in “Thirumana Kolam” also. This is a treat to watch and pray, since only three shrines have this in Chennai – Othaandeeswarar Temple in Thirumazhisai, Shiva temple in Thiruverkadu and this one.

Sri Siva Subramanyar Sannidhi:

We pray Shiva, Goddess, Nandhi and come out to the next temple block, where Sri Siva Subramanyar resides with Sri Valli, Sri Deva Sena, and Sri Mahalakshmi and bless devotees.

Agasthiyar-Lopamudra Sannidhi:

Just outside this Murugan sannidhi, is the sannidhi for Sri la Sri Agasthiyar peruman with his consort Lopamudra ambika.

Sri Agasthiyar Lopamudra sannidhi

Sri Agasthiyar Lopamudra sannidhi

Sidhdha of all Sidhdhas, Agasthiyar peruman with his consort Lopamudra

Sidhdha of all Sidhdhas, Agasthiyar peruman with his consort Lopamudra

Other than this, the sannidhi has a vigraham for “Veera Bahu Devar”, who is the eldest of Nava veeras.

Sri Veerabahu Thevar

Sri Veerabahu Thevar

We pray him and come out, only to witness these sculptures in the pillars.

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Lord Muruga doing Pranava Upadesam to Sri Agasthyar Maharishi !

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Lord Muruga blessing Sidhdhar Bogar in Palani!

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Nava Veeras performing pujas towards Lord Muruga !

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Blessing a dumb child, Kumaraguru, to sing !

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Giving darshan to Saint Arunagirinathar !

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Blessing Sri Chidambaram Swamigal in Thiruporur !

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Beautiful portrait of Agasthiyar praying Lord Subramanya with Valli and Devasena !

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Giving darshan to Prabudadeva maharaja !

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Upadesha of “Om” to Lord Shiva !

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Punishing Brahma for not explaining meaning of Pranava !

And when we come around the praharam, we have Sri Nagarajar, Sri Ayyappan, Sri Dakshinamoorthy, Sri Sudharshanar, Sri Perumal, Sri Durga, and Sri Anjaneyar sannidhis. In the NE corner, we have Sri Bhairavar sannidhi.

Specialties of this temple, in my view:

1) Separate sannidhi for Agasthiyar and Lopamudra
2) Very different picture of Sri Agasthiyar, which the Nadi reader had kept in his home. Just a view.

Sri Agasthiyar Peruman

Sri Agasthiyar Peruman, in a very different portrait !

3) Guru is in aspect of Sri Siva Subramaniar and Sukran is in direct aspect of Vinayagar peruman here. This is a parihara sthalam for “Sashta-Ashtaka dosha” in married couples.
4) What else, every brahmin in this temple is special in the way they chant mantras and do poojas.

How to Reach:

This temple is in Raja street, T.Nagar. This is very popular one. Just to mention a landmark, its within 200mts from T.Nagar, Venkatnarayana road, TTD devasthanam temple.

Siruvapuri Murugan !

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Siruvapuri:

For quite some time I have heard about this famous temple, and have also noticed many people talking about this place. And I did visit this place on a sunday. Crowd was heavy. And there were farm-fresh vegetables available outside temple premises. Worthy buy after a nice darshan.

Some information from the book “Seermigu Siruvapuri Murugan Sthala  Varalaaru” before a temple round up.

Sthala Puranam:

Two distinct incidents have created importance to this place.

Thretha Yugam:

Lord Rama had disowned Sita devi and she was living in Valmiki Maharishi’s ashram. It was where Lava and Kusa were being brought up by the Rishi himself.Rama decided to perform “Ashwamedha Yagna”, and did it. As a part of the yagna, a white horse was left free, and was allowed to roam. Traditionally, whenever the horse enters another kingdom, the native king should either fight the yagna-karta, Sri Rama in this case, or accept his supremacy.

The horse after roaming various places incidentally came to Valmiki’s ashram, and as fate would dictate, Lava and Kusa, without understanding the concept of yagna, tied it in the neighborhood. Bharatha and Shatrugana, who came in search of the horse, demanded its release, which the kids didn’t accept for. As a custom, there was a fight and the kids won the battle.Shocked, Bharatha and Shatrugana, went back and brought Lakshmana, to the battle field, to tackle the small boys. Lakshmana was also defeated, which made Sri Rama to come to battle these two kids.

Rama came with a huge army, yet was defeated by His own sons. In olden days, it was known as “Kusalapuri”. Siruvapuri is the modern name of the place, where the battle happened.

Kali Yugam:

Some centuries back there was a very religious and pious girl, who always uttered name of Lord Muruga from childhood, and was hence called “Murugammaiar”. She got married and came to her husband’s place and lived happily. In her in-laws place, people were not very devotional.

One day her husband asked her something, and Murugammaiar, who was meditating on Lord, simply replied “Muruga”, without understanding what he asked for. On this, her husband got angry and full of rage, cut down her hand.With blood flowing from hand, Murugammaiar meditated on Lord Muruga, and called aloud “ Siruvapuri Muruga ! Save me !!”

On this, Lord Subramanya appeared before Murugammaiar, and blessed her by joining her hand back without any visible wound.

Siruvapuri Thirupugazh:

Blessed saint Arunagiri Nathar sang 10000 Thirupugazh songs, out of which we have got only 1330. In these, he has sanctified 224 shrines, out of which, 9 have not yet been identified. So we know only 215 shrines. In these, he has given more importance to 35 places than others.

8 places have been sanctified with 4 songs each. 6 have “Archanai Thirupughazh” sung on them.

And Siruvapuri is one shrine which has both the specialties of 4 songs with an “Archanai Thirupughazh.”

First Thirupugazh:

In the first thirupugazh sang in glory of this Lord, to denote happiness, saint has used, “Mahi meera”, “Maghizh koora”, “Maghizhvaaga”, “Maghi koora”, and “Inbamura” and never in any other song has he mentioned happiness 5 times while praising the Lord of shrine. More than this, the saint says that people need not observe any tough vratham, prayers or fasting to come and pray this Lord. In their own places, if they keep on thinking and meditating this Lord, Muruga will bless them, are the saint’s words.  Further, Lord destroys 7 types of problems which people face in life. In case one reads this Thirupugazh understanding the complete meaning and prays Sri Bala Subramanya Swami here, He blesses devotees with 5 different blessings:

  1. Marriage for girls in family
  2. Professional success
  3. Very good family life
  4. Wealth in life
  5. Moksham

Second Thirupugazh:

This is the Archana Thirupugazh which the saint has sung on this shrine’s Lord.

This has 24 lines, of which the first 12 lines glorify Lord Muruga’s valor, beauty, and his unequalled physique. The other 12 lines praise Siruvapuri’s beauty, significance and specialties.

Though the first 12 lines praise Lord Muruga in various ways, 2 important notations are there.

1)    Lord, who gets happiness in listening Naradha Maharishi’s keerthanas.
2)    Lord, who resides in Siruvapuri in “Brahma Saastha” form. This means the Lord holds “Japa Mala” in His top right hand and “Brahma Kamandalam” in His top left hand. Also, this means that Lord performs duties of Brahma. If a person prays this form of Muruga regularly, he can learn many in 64 arts and become specialist in them, says the saint.

Third Thirupugazh:

This song is sung to remove ills of life. Arunagiri Nathar sings at length about his past life, which was full of lust and desires, and prays Lord to bless him a life, where he will never forget golden feet of Muruga, and will continue writing high quality books on Shiva thathuvams. He praises Goddess Parvathi with various names and says that Oh Lord, son of Goddess Parvathi, you sit in this famed Siruvapuri.

Singing this Thirupugazh understanding its meaning,is believed to remove ills of life.

Fourth Thirupugazh:

This has been sung for getting a boon.

In a human life which is bounded by birth and death, when shall I have the fortune of thinking your lotus feet, which is prayed upon by Indra and humans, asks saint.

Lord, you appeared in a Peacock before Poet Nakkeerar and blessed him by accepting “Thiru Murugatru Padai” with all happiness.

Lord, you sit in Siruvapuri, where the army led by Sri Rama himself was defeated by his sons Lava and Kusa. This place has all riches like Kuberan’s city Alagapuri.

Please bless me with the boons I require, pleads saint in the fourth song.

12 Glories of Siruvapuri:

1. Blessing Murugammaiar with her cut hand by appearing on a peacock.
2. Devas have taken “Amirtham” in this place.
3. Devas were given Devendhira-patnam only in this place.
4. Indra was crowned Devendhran only in this place.
5. Place where the horse of Sri Rama’s Ashwamedha yaagam was tied.
6. Place where Lakshmana was defeated by Lava and Kusa, bringing Rama
7. Place where Lava and Kusa fought Sri Rama himself.
8. Archanai Thirupugazh was sung by Arunagiri Nathar.
9. One of the 8 shrines to have 4 Thirupugazhs sung on it.
10. One Thirupugazh song gives 5 types of blessings in this temple.
11. Many deities are carved out of emerald stones.
12. Very own Balasubramaniya Swamy temple of Siruvapuri.

Temple Complex:

The entrance to this shrine is a 5-staged Raja-gopuram.

5 - Staged Rajagopuram

5 – Staged Rajagopuram

The primary complex below houses Sri Annamalaiar, Sri Unnamulai Amman, and also Murugan shrine.

Main Temple Complex

Main Temple Complex

In the praharam, we have Surya sannidhi. If we proceed further, we have Maragatha Vinayagar sannidhi.

Maragatha Vinayagar

Maragatha Vinayagar

We pray Him and continue pradhakshinam, when we come to a door, which leads to Temple Thirukulam.

Temple Thirukulam

Temple Thirukulam

Adhi- Moolavar sannidhi:

Next in the praharam is Adhi Moolavar shrine. He has decorated the main sanctum, before the new vigraham has replaced it.

Adhi Moolavar

Adhi Moolavar

After we pray Adhi- Moolavar, we come to the other end of praharam, where we have Bhairavar, Muneeswarar, and Venkatarayar shrine.

After this we have Arunagirinathar shrine.

Aruna Giri Nathar

Aruna Giri Nathar (Photo courtesy : Dinamalar.com)

Opposite to this shrine, is Lord Bala Subramaniya Swami shrine.

Siruvapuri Balasubramaniya Swami

Siruvapuri Balasubramaniya Swami (Photo courtesy : Dinamalar.com)

We pray Him and come out, where we have “Maragatha Mayil” (Emerald peacock)

Maragatha Mayil

Maragatha Mayil

After this, we pray near the Dwajasthambam and come out.

Kodi-Maram

Kodi-Maram

Special Information:

Luckily, I had gone on a second sunday in a month. There was a group called “Siruvapuri Abhishega Kuzhu”, who had assembled from Chennai with all abhishegam things and the pooja was very grand to witness. In case you want to participate in the abhishegam do go on second sunday. The group is very pleasant one, and they accommodate new comers.

How to Reach:

In Chennai – Kolkatta highway, once has to cross Thatchoor cross road, which is a famous point in that road. From there proceed around 3 Kms, where you can see a small green board to your left. Take that left road and travel 3 kms in the same road  to reach the temple.

Bhairava Sidhdhar & Appudu Sidhdhar Jeeva Peedam !

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When I first heard the name “Bhairava Sidhdhar” in Bangalore, ( https://samiappapalanivelan.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/roma-maharishi-jeeva-peedam/ ), I never expected, and so as to say, was not interested also, to visit it one day.

After a very happening and pleasant surprise in Roma Maharishi Jeeva Peedam, I went to this Jeeva Peedam also. We need to go around 200 mts from Roma Peedam, but it is a very narrow street to drive. There, inside a private property compound are Bhairava Sidhdhar, and Appudu Sidhdhar Jeeva peedams.

I could not see a Gurukkal or a care-taker for the temple when I went (it was almost 12 noon), and the temples were closed. But when I requested the owner, he readily gave me the temple keys, which was surprising.

I couldn’t get details of these Sidhdhas, but I got a nice link to read on Bhairava Sidhdhar, Sri Padagachery Ramalinga Swamy (http://www.padagacheriswamigal.org )

Regarding the other Sidhdha, I could not make much information too.

Bhairava Sidhdhar Jeeva Peedam:

Since I always thought my visit was on this Sidhdha’s invite, I first went inside this temple, prayed for a second took some snaps and came out.

Bhairava Sidhdhar Jeeva Peedam !

Bhairava Sidhdhar Jeeva Peedam !

Jeeva Peeda Lingam !!

Jeeva Peeda Lingam !!

In this statue of the Sidhdhar, we can see his hand-stick, having a dog’s face inscribed at its head !

Bhairava Sidhdhar - Sri Padagachery Ramalinga Swamigal !

Bhairava Sidhdhar – Sri Padagachery Ramalinga Swamigal !

Appudu Sidhdhar Temple:

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Jeeva Peeda Lingam !

Jeeva Peeda Lingam !

How To Reach:

From Ellai-Amman koil in Thiruvottiyur, walk to Mayil-Andavar kovil. Just take the left in from of the temple, walk some 200 mts, ask anyone and they will direct you. In case the temple is closed, you can ask the owner, and they will oblige a darshan!

Thiruvannamalai !

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Praying Thirupathi Venkatesa Perumal more than a minute in His sanctum is an almost impossible task. But can we believe seeing Him in another shrine for long time is damn easy?

Seeing Sri Krishna with Bhama and Rukmani is quite rare in Tamil nadu. Having His darshan with Srinivasa Perumal, is it not a pleasure?

We all know Shiva temple in Thiruvannamalai. Do we know that there is a place by the same name elsewhere in Tamil nadu, which has a Vishnu temple?

Let us see this temple which is near Srivilliputhur, in this post.

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Shrine - Mandapam

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Shrine – Mandapam

Once in a Sathuragiri trip, I found a different face of otherwise very low traffic Srivilliputhur roads. It was a Saturday, and many buses were plying to this place. So visited this place, and I have written following information as I saw them.

Sthala Puranam:

I asked a Battacharyar in the Lord Sri Krishna sannidhi regarding this. He politely said, “We don’t know all that. We believe this shrine to be 700 years old, and the main shrine to be 1500 years old.” After this answer, I didn’t venture to ask this question to others in the temple. So no stories in this post 🙂

Sri Periya Aadhi Vinayagar:

When we walk in from the main road, we first have a Vinayagar sannidhi, to our right. Nearby this temple, there is a thiru-kulam also. “Sri Periya Adhi Vinayagar” blesses devotees from here. Also, as the name denotes, He is too big and majestic. Mukkuruni Pillayar, we call Vinayagar of this size in our native words.

Sri Periya Aadhi Vinayagar!

Sri Periya Aadhi Vinayagar!

His vigraham was found from the nearby Thiru-kulam, my friend Madasamy from Srivilliputhur says.

Prayed Him for a minute and left towards the Perumal Temple.

Temple in hillock:

This temple is on a small hillock. There are 194 steps in total. I might have missed counting a few steps. The complete way is sheltered. So there is no issue of timing to visit.

Up the way !

Up the way !

When we cross half mark, we take a small de-tour to our right. Sri Venugopala swamy waits there to bless us.

Lord Venugopala Swamy Temple:

This temple complex is very good to pray, since it houses many deities.

Since we entered through the back door, we went for a pradakshina, and outside the main shrine, there is a shrine, for Lord Shri Hanuman.

Jai Hanuman !

Jai Hanuman !

We pray Lord Hanuman and come inside the main Shrine.

Lord Krishna, Bhama and Rukmani stand and bless people.

Lord Sri Krishna, Bhama and Rukmani!

Lord Sri Krishna, Bhama and Rukmani!

After praying them, we do a ul-praharam (round in the inner praharam). In one side, there are the Dasa-Avatarams of Lord Shri Vishnu, standing in small sannidhis.

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Matsya, Koorma, Varaha Avatarams !

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Nrisimha, Vaamana, Parasurama Avatarams!

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Sri Rama, Balarama, Krishna Avatarams!

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Kalki Avataram (since it is yet to happen, I took a separate snap)

When we pray them and come to the other side, we have “Pattabishega Ramar” sannidhi.

Pattabishega Ramar, with Sita Devi and Lakshmanan

Pattabishega Ramar, with Sita Devi and Lakshmanan

When we complete the other half of the praharam, we have “Ashta Lakshmi sannidhis”.

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Adhi Lakshmi, Santhaana Lakshmi

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Gaja Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi

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Dhaanya Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi

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Sowbhagya Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi

We pray them, and come out of the temple, and continue our walk upwards.

Temple as seen from Sri Venugopala Swami Shrine !

Temple as seen from Sri Venugopala Swami Shrine !

Once we cross around 144 steps from ground, we need to take a left, where Thaayar Lakshmi sits beneath a tree to bless us in a shrine. It was very easy to find Her, since it was very crowdy, and people were thronging for praying Her 🙂

Sri Mahalakshmi Thaayar!

Sri Mahalakshmi Thaayar!

Once we come out of the shrine, we have the steepest 50 steps, which draw our energy out.

Steep steps to reach the sanctum of the lord!

Steep steps to reach the sanctum of the lord!

We need to climb this, and we come to the Lord Sri Srinivasa Perumal shrine.

Lord Srinivasa Perumal Shrine:

There are rocky terrains inside the temple itself 🙂

Rocky layers inside temple!

Rocky layers inside temple!

we go on a pradakshinam before entering the sanctum. To the left, though it is a slightly secluded place, we have “Sri-Vari Padham (Lord’s feet)”.

Swamy Padham !!!

Swamy Padham !!!

We come to the main way again, and we enter the Lord’s shrine. Wow. Lord Srinivasa Perumal here is an exact replica of Tirupathi Venkatesa perumal. And the board in his sanctum has a prefix, “Then-Thirupathi”! (South Thirupathi).

Temple Gopuram from Srivari Padham!

Temple Gopuram from Srivari Padham!

Had a very peaceful darshan for around 10 minutes. Though there was a bit of crowd, no one pushed others in the queue. Since it was written that photography is banned, I didn’t take any snap inside the main shrine.

When we come down, there is Chakrathaazhwar shrine in the steps.

Sri Sudharshanar !

Sri Sudharshanar !

Felt very peaceful and content as I left the temple.

How to Reach:

From Srivilliputhur town, this place is close to 4 Kms. There are buses for sure on Saturdays. Even then autos should be good means to visit this place.

Temple timing: 7 AM to 7 PM.

Mappedu Sri Singeeswarar !

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Moolam Nakshatram, Dhanur Raasi.

Puranas say, Hanuman’s avatar happened in a special occasion – Marghazhi Moolam (both sun and moon standing together in Dhanur raasi).

Moolam is special in many ways. It belongs to Ketu, considered Gnana karakan (one who bestows Enlightment) in traditional astrology. It is present in Dhanur Raasi, which belongs to Jupiter. One star, for which all “Trikona Rashis” are ruled by “Rajagrahas” (Jupiter, Mars, Sun). And many more in astrology.

Also, one of the most controversial stars, based on popular belief, that, it will affect one’s father in law after marriage. Trust me, it is only hear say, and there is no proof in traditional astrology for it. Many astrologers have started explaining this in TV shows now.

Generally in Tamil, two lines about this star are very famous.

1)      “Aann Moolam Arasaalum”, meaning a boy born in this star will rule like a king. It is actually a changed version of “Aani moolam Arasaalum” which means, a child born in Tamil month Aani – moolam star will rule. In this month, Sun will be in Mithuna raasi, and will aspect moon in 7th house, which means full moon will occur this day or next, and this will give the child very high IQ, resulting in a king like intelligence.
2)      “Penn Moolam Nirmoolam” meaning a girl born in this star will lead to destruction in the family. It is actually a changed version of “Pinn moolam nirmoolam”, which means, a child which is born in 4th Padham of this star, will bring about destruction of the enemies of the family automatically. I am not sure enough to explain this.

Astrological Significance of number 27:

In Indian astrology there are 27 stars, named Aswathi, Barani, through Revathy, considered to be wives of Lord Chandra, spread into 12 Raashis.

In very highly revered temples of great values and significance, there are Nakshatra Lingams and Nakshatra Vrukshams.In case you have visited Thiruvottiyur Vadivudai Amman temple or Thiruvidai-Marudhur Shiva temple (near to Kumbakonam), you will find Nakshatra lingams (one Lingam specific to every nakshatram.) In Thiruvottiyur, I remember seeing Nakshatra Vrukshams also (one specific plant / tree for each star).

Not only this, Maharishis have also identified 27 different sthalams, each one corresponding to one specific nakshatram,  as “Nakshatra sthalams”, also termed now a days as “Nakshatra Parihaara Sthalams”.

Nakshatra Parihaara Sthalams:

Personally I don’t believe in this terminology, since it demeans God a lot. Imagine Shiva saying you, “I shall bless you only if you come to Kailash!!!”

Every living being is born in one star or other, and if we say you need to do parihaaram in a sthalam, for being born in this star (and get upliftment), it feels absurd to me. Don’t believe in this term, but visit these temples to get Lord’s blessings 🙂

And, Mappedu Sri Singeeswarar temple, is the identified one for Moolam nakshatram!

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Sri Singeeswarar Temple, Mappedu

Sthala Puranam:

Though we know only Nandi Devar to be in Rishabham form (form of Bull), there are many more devas in this form, and Singi devar is one of them.

Once the Lord of universe, Shiva performed “Aanandha Thaandavam”. At that time, Singi was playing “Mirudhangam”. He was so involved in the “Thaala – Layam”, that he did not see Lord dancing. Feeling sad about this, he came to Lord Shiva, and asked permission to do a pooja to Him. And as Shiva accepted his request, Singi performed pooja in this sthalam, and the Lord got the name, Sri Singeeswarar.

Sri Singeeswarar and Sri Pushpa Gujambal shrine

Sri Singeeswarar and Sri Pushpa Gujambal shrine

Goddess Parvathi has the name of Sri Pushpa-Gujambaal here. Just like performing Abhishegams for the Lord, it is said, performing floral decoration is a specialty in this temple on “Aadi” and “Thai” month Fridays. Reciting Lalitha Sahasranama is considered very special here.

Excellent sculptures in Vimanams:

In the Gopuram of Sri Singeeswarar, “Adalvallan” and “Urthuva thaandavam” sculptures were present, and were very captivating.

Thandavam Sudhai sirpams.

Thandavam Sudhai sirpams.

Similarly, Godess with Lord Muruga in her laps, was extremely good. In some temples, she is named, “Pillai – Idukki Amman”

Pillai - Idukki Amman

Pillai – Idukki Amman

Sri Veera-Paleeswarar:

This sanctum is in the Eeshana part (North-East) of the temple. This is believed to be a 5000 years old lingam. There is no Ambaal for this Lord from time immemorial. So, in 967 AD, “Adithya  Karikaala Cholan” installed Sri Singeeswarar and Goddess Pushpa-Gujambaal here and built this temple. (If I remember correct, he was elder brother of Raja Raja Cholan, and was murdered in a forest fight-out with his enemies before he was crowned king.)

Sri Veera-Paleeswarar Shrine

Sri Veera-Paleeswarar Shrine

Sri Adhikesava Perumal:

There is a separate sanctum for Sri Adhikesava Perumal with Sri Boo-Dhevi.

Sri Adhi Kesava Perumal Sannidhi

Sri Adhi Kesava Perumal Sannidhi

Sri Veenai Anjaneyar:

Every day in the evening Lord Sri Hanunam appears here, and sings Amirtha Varshini raaga, with a Veena. Because of Sri Hanuman here, this has become the parihara sthalam for Moolam Nakshatram.

Sri Veenai Anjaneyar !

Sri Veenai Anjaneyar !

Elandhai Tree:

This is the Sthala vruksham here. During Aarudhra season, since this fruits are abundant, it has become a mandatory practice to add this fruit in Pancha-amirtham during abhishegam.

Sthala Vruksham - Elandhai tree!

Sthala Vruksham – Elandhai tree!

Nandhi Devar:

Near the Nandhi Devar and the Dwajasthambam, there is a stone placed. It is a general belief, that if one stands on this stone, faces north and prays the Lord here, he will have a relief in bone and knee related pain and diseases.

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Sri Nandhi devar !

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Stone to stand and pray for bone related diseases.

Parihaaram:

People born in Moola star are supposed to visit this temple, and light 5 ghee lamps. Since Lord Shiva has 5 faces, this prayer is aimed at praying Him to remove our troubles atleast through one of the five faces 🙂 There were no shops nearby this temple, 2 years back when I visited. So, obviously I didn’t do this 😦 Don’t know the present situation now. Better carry them from Chennai.

Parihaara Sthalam Identification:

Just when leaving the temple, I saw this following symbol on the outer wall. A snake, and a disc, which signifies moon! I have heard from some very aged Brahmins, that this signifies the sthalam as a parihaara sthalam. If you very closely look in some big temples, you will note structures like this.

Symbolism of Parihaara Sthalam !

Symbolism of Parihaara Sthalam !

How to Reach:

In the Bangalore highway, once you cross Poonamallee and Savitha Institutions, you will have EMPEE distilleries, a huge blue colored structure to your right. There will be a road passing by its compound, which will lead you to “Thakkolam” sthalam from here. Travel in this road, and this temple is exactly in the 18th KM from the NH, to your left.

The gurukkal lives very close to this temple, and he obliged us to open the temple though it was closed then. I believe, it should be open in normal temple times now.