Monday, October 17, 2011

Notes on a Pilgrimage

A culmination of my mother's long pending wish of having me weighed at Guruvayur.

The 'thulabharam' were I sat on a giant weighing-scale and was weighed with flowers.

Guruvayur now looks like a Malayali version of Tirupati with the admin staff saying 'Poru Poru' (Go-go) instead of the 'Jaragandi'that you hear at Tirupati.

Chotanikkara has always fascinated me. The Bhagavathi is extremely powerful and the evening pujas are a great experience.

The temple is renowned for curing people with psychological problems. As the evening prayer ceremony is conducted, one can see 'the possessed" moving about as the Goddess cures the ill. The rising crescendo of the tantri's prayers eventually cause the 'patient/possessed' to calm down.

Mannur Kavu - Kaiman Kunnath Bhagavathy temple is located in Mannur a sleepy little village about 15 kms from Palakkad. One more devi temple and amongst the few temples in Kerala where men can wear trousers and enter the temple premises.

Trivandrum visit started with a couple of false notes; I lost my phone in an auto, but thankfully realized that my trouser pocket was empty and got the phone before the auto left. Then we were informed that the train we planned to take was cancelled.

We went to Kochi bus terminus and took a direct bus to Trivandrum. Six solid hours of travel through narrow by-lanes, wide highways, scenic back-waters, paddy fields in shades of green and lots of palatial houses built mostly by Gulf-returnees. With just one scheduled stop for 10 mins at Kollam, the journey was completed in 6.5 hours.

Reached a distant uncles's house which was located in a quaint little agraharam (a community of Brahmin priests). A quick coffee and a bath later we proceeded to pay our respects to Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy, now famous for the multiple vaults of treasures of the Raja of Travancore.

Excellent architecture, lovely murals on the walls, a dark sanctum sanctorum only lit buy oil-lamps and a darshan of the lord through three doors. Head, torso and feet each through a successive door. Truly exhilarating.

A group of Gujaratis and Bengalis struggled to wear the mundu/dhoti properly and kept stumbling as the mundu kept dropping off their waists :)

The souvenir counter had the Gujjus haggling with the staff over the price of photos of the Lord and key-chains and small statues. One of the staff knew Hindi.He said "Bargaining ke liye yeh Big Bazaar nahin, mandir hai" (This is not Big Bazaar to bargain for prices this is a temple). That silenced the Gujjus.

Also visited the famed Pazhvangadi Ganapathy temple, had a chance to witness the evening puja and was allowed to ring one among the many bells tied to the ceiling when the arati was performed.

The next day visited the Srikandeshwarar temple (Lord Shiva). Really marvellous, got pal-payasam as part of an offering that I made. Truly sumptuous.

This was the pilgrimage part. The next post will talk about the other interesting things that happened :)


Karen Xavier said...

Sounds like a beautiful journey, though I live just a couple of hours from Trivandrum... I've never visited the temple myself. Are you allowed to take pictures in there? So after weighing you, what do they do with the flowers?

mahesh said...

The flowers are auctioned by the temple administration, usually bought by floral/marriage decorators.

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