Monday, March 8, 2010

Temple visit: Tirupathi over the Seven Hills

Like many of my earlier trips, this was a package day trip organised through A.P. Tourism. I personally feel that AP tourism has a better influence at Tirupathi than TTDC or ITDC. The trip was thanks to Anil and Indu or should I thank Sathi Aunty who wished to visit Tirupathi in the first place and I was given a chance to go with Aunty and Indu! 

We left on our journey at 5.40 am from T. Nagar temple and reached Lower Tirupathi at 9.30 am after a stop for breakfast and a change of tyre in Puthur. We then took the AP tourism local bus to reach the main shrine up on the hills. The bus crossed all the hairpin bends and we reached Mel Tirupathi at about 10.30 am. The way the driver handled the bus at these hairpin bends was admirable! We were asked to wait near the shops for some of the co-passengers who wanted to offer their hair and do mottai (tonsure). We did some small shopping by which time, they were back and we were lead to the 300 rupee ticket queue which was part of the package. It was almost 12 noon by then and the guide informed us that we should be out by 1.30 pm after darshan.

We stood in the queue which moved at a snail’s pace and finally reached the sanctum. The usual pushing and rushing began there and then we were able to see the Lord finally.

It is no wonder that people come here again and again despite the rush and “jarugandi”. What a sight the Lord was! I was second-time-lucky to have Nethra darshan, the earlier one was about 4-5 years back. Nowadays with the devotees not being allowed close to the deity, we were able to look at the Lord right from the point where we started walking into the inner sanctum in front of the deity till the point we turn left to move out. It was Nethra darshan as it was a Thursday.

The Lord was dressed simply in a dhoti and angavasthiram with his diamond-studded crown and hands and feet covered in silver kavasam. The namam was a slim one so that we could have the darshan of his nethram - eyes. There were absolutely no flowers on the deity. Devoid of any flowers, he looked rather smaller than usual, but I was very very happy to see the Lord clearly without the covering of flowers. Of course, it is a great pleasure to see the Lord in alangaram, but this simplicity was stunning! The total darshan lasted only for about a minute, but the Lord’s appearance got registered in my mind permanently. With many jarugandis around, we were pushed out too soon. 

We then proceeded to Vakula matha’s sannidhi where many people were offering coins into the glass covering around Vakula matha. In front of Vakula matha there was a small hole in the wall and we peeped through it to find that it offered a sight into the kitchen were prasadams were being prepared. It makes one wonder whether Vakula matha is sitting there and supervising the food prepared for her son, Venkatachalapathy. I have never noticed this in my earlier trips to Tirupathi. We then put our offerings in the Srivari Hundi and proceeded to receive the prasadam.

On our way out, we noticed the huge statue of Krishnadevaraya who has done so much for the temple standing in a praying posture along with his two wives.

After eating the Thayir saadha prasadam, we came out to do a little more shopping and then took the bus back down the hill.

After lunch, we left for Tiruchanur. Here the crowd was not much, but the pushing was similar to Mel Tirupathi. Goddess Padmavathy was in direct contrast to the Lord - in full alangaram decked with flowers and jewellery.

We also had darshan of Radha Rukmini sametha Venugopala Swamy and Balarama Krishnar at this temple.

It was about 4.45 pm by the time we got into the bus, but a few passengers were hanging out at the temple for a very long time, delaying our departure by another hour. Finally we left Thiruchanur by 5.45 pm and reached Chennai by 9.30 pm.

Though some people may call this a hectic trip, I feel that it was an excellent deal travelling by an air-conditioned bus, with the food and darshan taken care of.

Thank you Anil, once again for this wonderful opportunity!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eventful Friday


Last weekend, for a change I finished making breakfast, packing lunch, etc before going for my bath. As soon as I entered the bathroom, I saw a dear old cockroach sitting in the corner. Hearing my movements, the poor fellow got disturbed and started running around. He tried moving in different directions but was not very comfortable. Like we all do, I also thought, “I am scared of him, but the actual fact is the poor thing must actually be very scared of us huge human beings!”

With thoughts revolving around the cockroach, I finished my bath to find the dear cockroach climbing up my leg. Did we have a telepathic connection? May be! I shook my leg vigorously to throw him off and Wham! I slipped and fell. What a fall it was! I scraped my waist, back and the back of my head - medulla to be exact - on the tap. For a second, I did not understand what had happened, but thank God, I was not concussed. I screamed for my husband, Ranga and managed to get out the bathroom. My back was scratched badly and the back of my head was slightly swollen. I also had a burning sensation on both these areas. As the injury was on my head, I did not want to take the risk of leaving it as it is and went to the doctor on the way to work. The Doctor told me not to worry as long as there was no nausea or giddiness.

I went on imagining about all that could happen if a person got injured on his head and reached my office. As I took out my office keys, I realised that my house keys were not in my bag. I promptly called up Ranga to check if I left it in the car. Ranga checked the car thoroughly and said it was not there. I tried to recollect myself locking the house, but all I could recall was seeing the key pouch on the dining table. Getting really bothered and thinking at worst it could be the effect of the injury on my head, I called up one of my neighbours to check if the house was locked at all. 

Thank God, it was locked alright. In the meanwhile, Ranga told me to call up the doctor to check if I had left the keys at his clinic. But the doctor could not find it there. I called another neighbour on the ground floor and requested her to check if my keys were lying around somewhere near our block. The poor lady made the effort to check all around and the staircase too. But no luck, the keys were not there.

I could do nothing other than pray that the keys did not fall into wrong hands continued with my work. In the evening, I called my neighbour up again to find out if she had some good news for me. But no such luck!

With no house keys and not fit enough to travel on my own, I waited for Ranga to pick me up in the evening. As per his instructions, I purchased a new Navtal lock for 300 bucks, just in case. My sister Jayashree had come to see me and was waiting along with me for Ranga to turn up. As we were standing in front of the shop where we bought the lock, I told her, “I will be satisfied only if I check the car myself for the keys”

Ranga came and parked the car; I was about to open the car door and noticed the key pouch lying silently in the shallow space between the front glass and the bonnet. The poor thing had been lying there quietly all through the day though Ranga drove the car to many places. Being the same shade of black as that of the space, it was thankfully not visible to anybody other than yours truly!

Though it was a very eventful day, I was thrilled that I had not lost the keys and of course a big “THANK YOU” to the Almighty for the mildness of my injury.