Namakkal Trip to Tamil New Year

This Tamil New Year weekend we planned for a trip to Namakkal. On Tamil New Year night we took the Salem Express and reached Salem on Saturday morning. After freshening up in Salem junction itself headed straight to Namakkal town for darshan of Hanuman. After completing darshan of Hanuman took the bus to Salem junction again but en route got down for Kottai Mariamman Temple and Raja Ganapathy temple.

All temples complete and it was peak afternoon summer exhausting. So chose to wound up the tour and returned back to Railway Station. The same train which dropped us in the morning was standing in the platform. In the night got the train back to Tambaram.

Looks like hot summer ahead I don’t think so any outbound trips during April to June and hence this travelog would resume active trips from July onwards.

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Bhadrachalam and Pancha Narasimha Kshetrams Pilgrimage

You might have recalled from our September 2016 trip that the original schedule was then to visit Mattapalli and Pancha Narasimha Kshetras. However due to reservation issues it did not materialize. Thanks to Vaidehi Parthasarathy, the tour organizer from Tambaram in March 3,4 and 5 we were planning the tour.

We took the Tamil Nadu express to reach Vijayawada. After freshening up in Vijayawada we headed to Mangalagiri Panaga Narasimha temple first. From here the next destination was Bhadrachalam (a long distance drive) with night halt. Bhadrachalam was beauty beyond bounds and had an opportunity to have a darshan of Shayana Pooja also.

After completing Bhadrachalam and holy dip in the river next morning started back to Pancha Narasimha kshetras as below.

  1. Mattapalli
  2. Vadapalli
  3. Kethavaram and
  4. Vedadri

After completing all darshan with a night halt at Mattapalli we reached Vijayawada the third day to catch Tamil Nadu express for the trip back home.

The initial September trip had plans for Kanakadurga also in its ambit. But this tour organizer had only Sri Vaishnava kshetras in the plan and hence Kanakadurga had to be dropped. We would try including Kanakadurga later.

Extended Weekend Trip to Sri Kshetras in Maharashtra

I had been planning out the following trip a couple of months ago.

  • Shirdi
  • Shani Shingnapur
  • Pandharpur and
  • Pune

from 5th to 8th of January 2017. After boarding Mumbai mail on 5th it reached mid night of 6th to Pune. After a couple of hours wait boarded the Shirdi passenger. The train reached Shirdi at around 12 PM on Friday. After completing darshan, I started my journey to Shani Shingnapur (70 Kms from Shirdi).

The journey was long and good with crowdy buses. After completing darshan at Shani Shingnapur we started back to Pune (Pandharpur had to be skipped because of lack of time). On Saturday instead of Pandharpur we had a trip to the following destinations.

  • Alandi
  • Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapathy

After completing these took the night train to Chennai.

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.