Being a Chennaite, I love our Marina Beach. In fact when we were young, visit to the Beach was our favourite outing. http://sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.com/2009/07/nostalgia-evening-in-marina-beach.html Amma and Paati used to take us all to the Beach from our house in Nungambakkam and Appa would join us there straight from office. The standard meeting place was at the Kannagi statue. At first I was very scared by the huge sheets of waves. I remember my eldest sister Sujatha used to lift me and every time a wave came, she used to bend down and dip my feet in the water. She is 10 years elder to me and must have been about 14-15 years when she did that. I am not sure if I would have had the courage to do such a thing at her age. Thank you Sujatha for introducing me to the beach! Slowly I came to know water was fun and fell in love with it.
My first river bath was in the Thungabhadra. I may have had the chance to have a dip in Cauvery earlier than that, but I do not remember it. About Thungabhadra, we had been to Adoni to my mother’s uncle’s (Kittappa Chittappa) place for summer holidays and went to Mantralayam from there. I actually do not remember the temple now, but I do remember bathing in the river very well. I was about six years old. My parents just made me stand in chest deep water. Appa joked that he could feel a few fishes biting him. I started jumping in the water and wanted to get out immediately as though the small fishes were going to eat me whole!
In 1985, we all went to Patna for my uncle’s (SV Prasad) wedding. Ganga flowing in Patna is called Akanda Ganga as she runs in a very wide path there. It was very nice and pleasant to have a bath here and I realised that I liked river bathing too. After the wedding, our family alone proceeded to Allahabad. Here again we bathed in the Triveni Sangamam. Here, we could very clearly see the colour difference where the Ganga and Yamuna met. River Saraswathi is supposed to come from underneath and invisible. This trip was really enjoyable and I would like to make a separate blog on this North India trip. Our next stop was at Varanasi where we bathed in the Ganga on 2-3 days. In spite of so much of junk being thrown in, the river remains pure!
After Varanasi, Appa took us all to Rameswaram. On the way to Rameswaram, we went to Thiruchendur. What a sea it was! We went in for a dip but many of us fell into the water as the sea was very rough, but it was great fun.
At Rameswaram, the sea is very calm, almost like backwaters and only during high tide, it is a little wavy. So it was almost like bathing in a river. We all enjoyed it so much! I am very happy to have visited Rameswaram four times so far. The last trip was with my husband, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law and their families and was real fun. Twice we went to the sea for bathing and both the times it was at high tide and very wavy.
Dhanushkodi – what a beautiful place! Out of the four visits to Rameswaram so far, I have been to Dhanushkodi thrice. Each time this place looked different. My second visit was after the tsunami and I could see that the sea had come way inside eating into the shore. At Dhanushkodi we could see the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean joining at a point. During the latest trip, we performed some pujas there and had the opportunity to stay for a longer period. While the men were busy with the puja, I was very happily walking on the beach collecting shells. The kids and I were very keen to go as much as possible into the sea and at one point we all just sat inside the sea and enjoyed the waves crashing on us. As it was morning, the weather was mildly sunny and the water was quite cool. I really love the sea here and would like to visit again.
On my third trip to Rameswaram which was a package trip with about 100 odd people, we all went to Devipattinam. I have heard about this place first in Kalki’s Alaiosai and then from my sister Sujatha. The Navagraham here is said to have been worshipped by Lord Rama on his way to Lanka. The uniqueness of this Navagraham is that during high tide, they are completely submerged in the water and only during low tide, can we do puja or pradakshinam. After having bath in the sea here, we did the perambulations around the Navagraham in waist-deep water.
Though Kumbakonam is my hometown, I have bathed in the Cauvery only once during my visit to Nallur with Appa.
Hope to have a bath in Cauvery once again and also visit the other Holy Rivers of India!