Weekend Trip to Kumbakonam

This weekend was holy on two occasions.

  1. Happy New Year 2017
  2. Shravanam (on New Year Day)

You might be interested to check my presence in different new years at various places here. This year’s scheduled trip was Kumbakonam. Since it was on Sunday I was trying to add a few more pilgrimage spots. So I took the Madurai Express via Mayiladuthurai and got down there. I don’t know who renamed Mayavaram (Mayuram) as Mayiladuthurai. The former name is more divine and crisp. After reaching Mayavaram at around 4 AM on Saturday morning, I got freshed up in the Railway Waiting Hall and proceeded to bus stand.

From there I visited Thiruindhalur Parimala Ranganathan temple. It is one of the Pancharanga Kshetrams. Since it is Dhanur Month, the temple had open early and Thiruppavai and other pasuram chanting was going on. Got very good Pongal prasadam after Ghosti. After being in temple close to an hour, came of the temple to visit a Hanuman temple nearby and then moved to bus stand. From there caught a Karaikal bound bus to visit Thirukadaiyur.

Thirukkadaiyur has two significant histories.

  1. Blessings to Abhirami Bhattar by Ambal
  2. Saving of Sage Markendaya from the Lord of death by Lord Shiva

After worshipping the deities came back to Mayavaram bus stand and moved to Therazhundhur Amaruviappan (Devathi Rajan) temple. Here is one pasuram about this temple.

திருவுக்கும் திருவாகிய செல்வா !
தெய்வத்துக்கரசே ! செய்யகண்ணா !
உருவச் செஞ்சுடராழி வல்லானே !
உலகுண்ட ஒருவா ! திருமார்பா !
ஒருவற்காற்றி உய்யும்வகை என்றால்
உடனின்றைவர் என்னுள் புகுந்து ஒழியாது
அருவித் தின்றிடவஞ்சி நின்னடைந்தேன்,
அழுந்தூர் மேல்திசை நின்றவம்மானே.
(பெரிய திருமொழி – 7-7-1)

After worshipping the deity it was quite evening. So started to Kumbakonam. Reached Kumbakonam around 7 PM and stayed in a relatives house. Got up at 3.30 AM and after having bath went to Viswaroopa darshan at Sri Bhumidevi Sametha Oppiliappan temple.

After completing darshan went to Ayyavadi Pratyankara temple. This temple is bordered by cremation ghats and hence the temple has warnings not to use stale words anywhere in its premises. After completing darshan here went back to Oppiliappan temple to have a darshan of Shravana Deepam and had lunch at Sri Ahobila Mutt.

It was 2 PM then so moved to Kumbakonam and caught a Thiruvaiyaru bound bus (Townbus No. 37) to go to Kabisthalam. Had darshan of Lord Gajendra Varadhan and started back to Kumbakonam. It was 4 PM and hence waited for a few hours in Kumbakonam bus stand and at 6 PM moved to Railway station to have dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. A couple of more hours wait for my Uzhavan Express to come at 9.45 PM to start my journey back to Chennai.

Weekend Trip to Karaikudi

I have been planning for a while to visit Sri Karpaga Vinayagar (Pillayarpatti) and hence planned the same for this weekend. Though I had booked Pallavan Express for the up journey, I canceled the same because of the following reasons:

  1. Need to take half a day leave because the train crosses Tambaram at 4 PM
  2. Very early reaching to Karaikudi (mid night) and half night sleep would be spoilt.

Hence I booked an overnight bus (TNSTC-SETC) to Karaikudi. However the 9 PM bus came to CMBT only by 11.30 and when crossing Perungalathur it was well around 2 AM. The estimated reach time as on schedule to Karaikudi was 8 AM but because of the delays it reached by 11 AM. From Karaikudi bus stand I caught a local bus and went to Pillayarpatti. The temple devasthanam had made good arrangements for devotees to take bath behind the temple. After completing the morning (?) duties and finishing the darshan started from there to Kundrakudi. Felt very lucky when a TNSTC bus to Kundrakudi came from near temple so saved a bit of walk to the main road (near arch) bus stand.

When I reached Kundrakudi it was around 3 PM so the temple was closed. So waited for sometime and then when the temple opened started climbing the flight of steps. It was around 140 steps I believe. After completing the darshan at Kundrakudi came down and caught a bus to Karaikudi Old Bus stand from where Sri Koppudai Nayaki temple is walkable (~0.75 KM) After completing the darshan and having some food in a nearby restaurant came to know that there is a mini bus service to railway station at 6.15 PM. Took that bus and reached Railway Gate at around 7 PM. From where maneuvered  through the thick blanket of dark roads (street lights missing) to reach Karaikudi Junction. Our train came at around 8.30 PM (Sethu Express). We boarded the same to reach Tambaram next day morning.

As a good citizen, I also reported to Government of Tamil Nadu to provision a TNSTC bus stand near Pillayarpatti Arch and increase the number of buses between Karaikudi and Pillayapatti. Also requested for streetlights to be provisioned near Karaikudi Junction for the safety of passengers and passerbys on that route.

The 9th Year Pilgrimage to Sabarimala

The 9th year pilgrimage falls in the same angelical year of 2016 as the 8th year pilgrimage but in different Tamil years. I had booked the bus tickets in [http://www,.tnstc.in/]SETC in the first week of Karthikai month itself. Furthermore I had also booked in the Virtual Queue at the same time. On Friday we started early morning to Thirumal Nagar (Poonamalee) Ayyappa temple and had the Irumudi Kattu there. After that before the strike of Rahu Kalam (10.30 AM) we booked an Uber and started to Koyambedu CMBT. Our bus was only at 2 PM and after a little wait we boarded the bus. It was a little long 14 hours journey and we reached Pampa at around 7 AM through Trichy Bypass, Dindigul and Kumily.

After having the dip at Pampa and getting the Virtual Queue identification cards we started trekking the hill. After little confusions in locating group members we reached Sarankutthi around 10.30 AM. The queue from there took around 3 hours and by that time the temple closed at 1 PM. So we had the touch of Pathinettam Padi at 2 PM and then entered through North Gate for darshan of the Lord. After completing darshan of other deities, started to trek down to Pampa at 5.30 PM. By the time we reached Pampa it was close to 8.30 PM. Was feeling way too tired to walk further to Kerala RTC bus stand. Perhaps this is the reason Lord had directed me to cancel the return ticket which was originally scheduled for 6 PM. So once at Pampa Ganapathy temple took rest there till 11 PM and heard Harivarasanam from there. Had another sleep till 4 AM and then started to RTC bus stand to catch the 6 AM bus to Chennai.

Another day long journey of 14 hours and we reached Chennai around 11 PM on Sunday.

Kaisikha Ekadasi Trip to Thirukkurungudi

This Kaisikha Ekadasi I was intending to travel to Thirukurungudi and hence had made the bookings right in the month of August itself. Nearest Railway station for the same is VLY (Valliyur) from where you would need to either take a bus or auto to Thirukurungudi. But a week before I made a slight change in the itinerary and got down at TEN (Tirunelveli) from where I had booked a cab from RS Cabs to help me tour around the following places and then drop me off Thirukurungudi by 7 PM because Kaisika Ekadasi celebrations is only in the night.

The following places we visited:

Name of the temple Demigod Planet Specialised day Location Photo Time
Srivaikuntanathan Permual Temple Hindu Sun-God Sun Sunday
Srivaikuntam4.jpg
Srivaikuntam 7 am – 12 pm, 5 – 8 pm
Vijayaasana Perumal Temple Chandran Moon Monday
Varagunamangai2.jpg
Natham 8 am – 12 pm, 1 – 6 pm
Vaithamanidhi Perumal Temple Angaragan Mars Tuesday
Thirukkolur3.jpg
Thirukolur 7:30 am – 12 pm, 1 – 8 pm
ThiruPulingudi Perumal Temple Budha Mercury Wednesday
Thirupuliyangudi3.jpg
Thirupulingudi 8 am – 12 pm, 1 – 6 pm
AlwarThirunagari Temple Guru Jupiter Thursday
Azhwar Thirunagari9.jpg
Alwar Thirunagari 6 am – 12 pm, 5 – 8:45 pm
Makara Nedunkuzhai Kannan Temple Sukran Venus Friday
Then Thirupperai3.jpg
Thenthiruperai 7 am – 12 pm, 5 – 8:30 pm
Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Tirukulandhai Shani Saturn Saturday
Thirukulandhai1.jpg
Thirukulandhai 7:30 am – 12:30 pm, 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Irattai Thiruppathy, Aravindalochanar temple Rahu
Aravinda Lochanar temple3.jpg
Tholavillimangalam 8 am – 1 pm, 2 – 6 pm
Irattai Thiruppathy, Devapiran temple Ketu
Devapiran temple4.jpg
Tholavillimangalam 8 am – 1 pm, 2 – 6 pm

After completing all these by 1 PM we went to Thiruchendoor, had lunch and darshan there and then from there we went to Nanguneri (Vanamamalai) temple. After that we got dropped off in Thirukurungudi. The whole night we were in temple. After completing darshan in the morning we took an auto to Valliyur but the train was only towards evening. So while waiting in the station we went to the Murugan temple nearby.

Towards evening the train came and we started off. Both up and down were through Ananthapuri Express.

More Information on Navathirupathi temples here.

Weekend Shravanam Pilgrimage to Kumbakonam

This weekend I had taken the scheduled trip (pilgrimage) to Kumbakonam Oppiliappan Temple for Shravanam on 4th December 2016. The train (Mannai Express) dropped me quite early and hence I had the opportunity to get a glimpse of Vishwaroopa darshan also. The Sharavana Deepam was at 11 AM and hence was waiting in the temple itself till then. After darshan completion and lunch in the temple itself started back to the Kumbakonam bus stand. There was funny situations in Kumbakonam bus stand. The folks at TNSTC are not tech-savvy and could not accept mobile tickets. Hence had to visit a nearby browsing center to take a printout of the ticket. Again the conductor tried to change the bus for me but the changed bus was too uncomfortable and since I protested, I got the opportunity to board the same bus which was booked at my desired time. I have submitted a petition to Government of Tamil Nadu vide GOVTN/E/2016/03095.

After a lot of ordeal the bus started at 4.15 PM (15 minutes before Rahu Kalam). It reached Tambaram around 9.30 PM. Only then when booking a Uber did we realize that there was local chaos because of Jayalalithaa related news. Fortunately we reached home in time.

 

Tirumala and Kumbakonam Pilgrimage

Kumbakonam Oppiliappan is considered to be elder brother of Tirumala Srinivasa Perumal. I had been planning a trip to Tirumala and hence started on Friday afternoon. The train reached Tirupathi by 8.45 PM and then stayed at a relative house for that night. Next day morning went to Aliperi and boarded the bus to Tirumala. After a six hour queue had darshan of the Lord towards afternoon. Had food at the Annadhanam in the afternoon. And then started by bus to relatives house in the evening. On Sunday morning started to Srinivasam complex in Tirupathi and booked for Local Temple Tour by APTDC and TTD.  That covered most of the temples in the town including Thiruchanoor. Towards evening got the train back to Chennai. After reaching Chennai switched to Egmore station and boarded the train to Kumbakonam. The train reached Kumbakonam next day morning. Now started to Oppiliappan temple and had Sravana Deepam darshan by 11 AM.

Towards night caught the next train to Chennai to reach Tambaram by 4 AM.