Monday, March 17, 2008

The Vellore Diaries-2

Then we returned to Vellore town and went to the the Vellore Fort. The fort is home to the famous Jalagandeeswarar Temple. The temple is pretty old but well maintained and had a number devotees visiting it that day. The consort of the presiding deity is Goddess Akhilandeshwari.

There was a Shivalinga to which one could perform an abhishekham by paying Rs 10. There was also a wishing well in which one could drop coins and make a wish. Somehow I did not go near the well and decided to convey my wishes to Lord Shiva through my prayers. I got a book about the temple's history and a Navagraha yantra.

I took some snaps of the temple. Then we proceeded to the outer walls of the fort and sat for some time at the top of the hill and got a magnificent view of the town from the top of the hill.

Then we went to Saravana Bhavan and had lunch. At the restaurant a group of school students from some international school, some Bangalore school(bus registration number:) had KA on it) created absolute mayhem and the poor waiters had a tough time managing them. Madhu joked and Said that Srini would make a perfect teacher and manage the students brilliantly! Srini gave a glare and continued to eat in silence.

Ratnagiri Murugan Temple

Then we visited the Ratnagiri Murugan Temple. Ratnagiri is around forty minutes by bus from Vellore en route to Arcot. The temple on a hillock is beautiful and the sculptures and paintings are an art lover's dream come true. We climbed hundred plus steps to reach the top of the temple. Both Srini and me felt tired but Madhu kept climbing without any signs of fatigue and beat both of us to reach the summit first. The temple is clean and well maintained; a factor that was common to all the temples that I visited in Vellore.

We got the darshan of Lord Muruga and then sat on the marble steps enjoying the cool breeze and got some excellent snapshots of the view from the temple. While returning we chose to use the road, then Madhu said lets climb on the rocks and take some pictures. Both Srini and me got really worried when Madhu climbed on to the rocks, then she proceeded downhill searching for a shortcut to reach the road below. We tried to stop her, but as adventurous as ever Madhu completed the trip, found that the path had been barricaded and returned to the top.

We climbed down and had tender coconuts. Then we purchased prasadam-Panchamritham and Ladoos.

By 18:00 hours we were at Srini's place. En route we also visited a small Ayappa and Anjaneyar temple.

We were really tired after all the traveling. We had dinner at a restaurant and it was time to bid adieu to Madhu. It had been more than a year since we had met and it was a wonderful experience to meet her after such a long time. I gave her a birthday gift and was really happy when I too got a birthday present- a beautiful pen stand from her.

I returned to Srini's place and got an early morning bus to Chennai the next day.

So the Vellore Diaries officially end here , these lines describe one of the happiest days of my life. I really thank Madhu and Srini for being such caring friends and making my trip such a pleasant and memorable experience.

Hopefully I will be making one trip to Vellore in May and visit Sholingar and Amriti.

So till then.... Until we meet again.

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