Vidur’s Travel Diary – 16 : Vaitheeswarankoil , 4th Time


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CHENNAI – TAMILNADU – INDIA            JANUARY 30 , 2015   01.00 A.M.

 

I first wrote about   Vaitheeswaran Koil   in my Travel Diary No. 4 . It was posted on November 29 , 2011 . It was my first visit of the temple town , which is situated in Nagapattinam district of  Tamil Nadu . Though I visited   Vaitheeswaran Koil  again in 2012 and for the 3rd time again in 2013 with my wife and son but that time I did not write my travel diary about this temple town . In 2012 I wrote only about Karaikal [ Puducherry ] . It is there in my Travel Diary No. 15 of  December 28 , 2012 .

Whenever I visit a new place , I always remember these famous lines of the great modern Hindi poet Agyeya :

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

But this is uncanny that it never happened with the temple town of   Vaitheeswaran Koil   . This year it was my 4th consecutive visit and I decided to write about   Vaitheeswaran Koil   once again .

I took late evening flight from Mumbai and landed in Chennai late in the night on January 23, 2015 . After night stay at Hotel Golden Tower , I took a cab for   Vaitheeswaran Koil   on January 24, 2015 in the early morning and reached there in the evening .

In 2013 I visited goddess Saraswati temple in Koothnoor village of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu . Before this visit I had never visited any temple dedicated to Mata Saraswati . This year I skipped it . I started my pilgrimage of NAVA GRAHA temples from next morning.

January 25 , 2015 :

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1 – CHANDRAN – THINGALUR : With my wife and son , I visited Chandran or Chandra temple first. It is situated in the Thingalur village of Thanjavur district . This is the only temple which is not in Nagapattinam district.

Picture taken in 2013 at CHANDRAN Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother - in - Law

Picture taken in 2013 at CHANDRAN [ CHANDRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother – in – Law

2 – GURU – ALANGUDI : My second temple on day one was Guru temple in Alangudi village of Nagapattinam district.

2012 at GURU Temple with my wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at GURU Temple : My wife & son

3 – RAGHU – THIRUNAGESWARAM : In local parlance it is called Raghu temple . We know it as Rahu . This is the third among the NAVA GRAHA . Raghu is flanked by SRI NAGAVALLI and SRI NAGA KANNI in this temple situated in Thirunageswaram village.

Picture taken in 2012 at RAGHU [ RAHU ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother - in - Law

Picture taken in 2012 at RAGHU [ RAHU ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother – in – Law

After DARSHANAM of these three temples we had lunch at Hotel Aryas in KUMBAKONAM city. After lunch we started our journey for Karaikal city of Union Territory Puducherry.

 

4 – SANEESWARA – THIRUNALLAR ( KARAIKAL ) : The next stop after lunch was Shani temple of Karaikal . It is situated in Thirunallar , a part of Karaikal and is known as Saneeswara Bhagawan Sannithi. .

Picture taken in 2012 at Saneeswar Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at Saneeswar [ SHANI ] Temple : My wife & son

In my travel diary of Karaikal I have mentioned about Karaikal Halwa. The most famous Halwa shop known as NATESAN ALWA is 80 years old and not 55 years as mentioned earlier in my blog about Karaikal. It was stablished in 1934. It is situated at BHARTHIYAR ROAD , KATHAPILLAI KODI CORNER , KARAIKAL – 609 602 . You can not afford to miss it, if you have sweet tooth. Out of many varieties, THUMBAROOT ALWA , BUTTER ALWA and BUTTER KOVA are worth testing.

 

5 – BUDHAN – THIRUVENKADU : After Shani DARSHANAM , we visited Budh temple , which in local parlance is known as Budhan. The village where it is situated is Thiruvenkadu .

Picture taken in 2012 at BUDHAN [ BUDH ] Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at BUDHAN [ BUDH ] Temple : My wife & son

6 – KEDHU – KEEZHA PERUMPALLAM : Our last temple of the day one was Ketu temple. Known as Kedhu in Tamil, it is situated in a village called Keezha Perumpallam.

Picture taken in 2012 at KEDHU [ KETU ]  Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at KEDHU [ KETU ] Temple : My wife & son

After visiting 6 temples, we had sumptuous dinner at Hotel Pams in MAYILADUTHURAI [ earlier known as MAYAVARAM ]. It provides good food and is a marvellous hotel for stay in Mayiladuthurai. I , for the first time , ate Chettinadu cuisine.

January 26 , 2015 :

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7 – SURYAN – SURIYANARKOIL : After day one , we started our second day with Surya temple in Suriyanarkoil village. For local people it is known as Suryan temple.

Picture taken in 2012 at SURYAN [ SURYA ]  Temple : My wife & son

Picture taken in 2012 at SURYAN [ SURYA ] Temple : My wife & son

Temple premises has small NAVA GRAHA tremples. You can worship all the NAVA GRAHAS at this temple , if you are not keen on visiting all the temples situated in the far-flung areas of Nagapattinam and Thanjavur districts. It also has a small shop, where you can get RUDRAKSH and various other things of worship.

8 – SUKKIRAN : KANCHANUR : Second temple of the second day was Sukkiran or Shukra temple. It is situated in Kanchanur village.

Picture taken in 2013 at SUKKIRAN [ SHUKRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother in - Law

Picture taken in 2013 at SUKKIRAN [ SHUKRA ] Temple : My wife , son , sister & Brother in – Law

9 – ANGARAKAN – VAITHEESWARAN KOIL :  Angarakan or Mangal temple is situated in the precincts of main Shiva temple of Vaitheeswarankoil. ARUL MIKU VAITHIYANATHA SWAMI or Shiva is the main deity.

Picture taken in 2012 at ANGARAKAN [ MANGAL ]  Temple : My wife

Picture taken in 2012 at ANGARAKAN [ MANGAL ] Temple : My wife

On January 27th, after staying for 2 days in Vaitheeswaran Koil , we returned to Chennai in the evening. Our 4th pilgrimage of  Vaitheeswaran Koil ended. After 2 days stay in Chennai, we will take early morning flight to Mumbai today. After posting this blog, I will start packing my bags for the journey back home.

 

 

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If fate permits, I hope to come again in December 2015. But as I have said in the beginning of this blog, it is a BIG IF !!

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 6 : Kanchipuram


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA          DECEMBER 05 , 2011           01.00 P.M.

On the 30th morning , my last day in Chennai , I started for my journey to Kanchipuram . It is 71 km. from Chennai . I had read in the Holy scriptures that 7 holy cities have powers to give you salvation or Nirvana . They are Ayodhya , Mathura , Maya [ Haridwar ] , Kashi [ Varanasi ] in Uttar Pradesh , Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu , Avantika [ Ujjain ] in Madhya Pradesh and Dwarka in Gujarat .

अयोध्या , मथुरा , माया , काशी , कांची , अवंतिका ;
पुरीद्वारावातिश्चैव , सप्तैते मोक्षदायिका

This is the shloka from Garud Puran and I used to recite it during my childhood . I had already visited 6 cities and only Kanchipuram was left . So the excitement was palpable . After fabulous breakfast in a roadside restaurant , we reached Kanchipuram in 2 hours . The city , formerly known as Conjeevaram , is situated on the banks of Vegavati river and is known for thousand temples and silk sarees . It is also called City of 1000 Temples . Once upon a time , it was kingdom of Pallava empire for 200 years , and is one of the oldest cities of South India .

Our first stop was 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

At The Gate of Ekambarnathar Temple

Gopuram of 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

Gopuram of Ekambarnathar Temple

Kanchipuram is the centre of one of the four Mathas , stablished by Adi Shankaracharya . Badrinath in the North , Dwarka in the West , Jagannath Puri in the East and Kanchipuram in the South . So our next stop was Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham Meenakshi Temple :

Meenakshi Temple of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham

Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple : Kanch Kamkoti Peetham

After Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham , we visited Varadharaja Perumal Temple :

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Entrance of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram is birthplace of famous Sanskrit poet Dandin . He is writer of Dashakumaracharitam . Another famous Sanskrit poet Bharavi , who wrote Kiratarjuniyam , also hailed from here . Bharavi wrote his Kiratarjuniyam here under the patronage of the Pallav king Simhavishnu .  So out of four most famous poets of Sanskrit , two ; Dandin and Bharavi belong to Kanchipuram . Other two are ; Kalidas and Magha . The famous shloka describing their eminence is still fresh in my memory :

उपमा कालिदासस्य , भारवेरर्थ गौरवं ;
डंडीनः पद लालित्यम , माघे सन्ति त्रयो गुणाः

It is irony of the fate that Kanchipuram , which is second only to Varanasi in Sanskrit learning and which is the centre of Hinduism since time immemorial , is also the birthplace of C. N. Annadurai , an atheist and most famous Dravidian leader , second only to E. V. Ramasami Naicker Periyar . He formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 and led it to victory in Tamil Nadu assembly elections in 1967 . Though C. N. Annadurai ruled only for 2 years and died in 1969 but his influence on Tamil Nadu and Dravid politics is immense . He is the first Non – Congress and Dravid leader to become Chief minister of Tamil Nadu , then known as Madras  . He is the first Non – Congress leader to come to power with absolute majority in any Indian state and ended monopoly of Congress in Tamil Nadu . M. Bakthavatsalam was the last Congress Chief Minister and since 1967 to 2011 , it is 44 years since Congress lost power . C. N. Annadurai symbolized this Non – Congress sentiment .

Kanchipuram is his birthplace and his house is converted into a memorial . I visited his memorial also ;

C. N. Annadurai's House in Kanchipuram

After Kanchipuram , I proceeded to Vellore . It is a small town 145 km. from Chennai . It is situated on the banks of Palar river . It is famous for hospital and V.I.T. University [ Vellore Institute of Technology ] . Since my sister’s son is studying there I went there to meet him .

With My Nephew Kaustubh in the V. I. T. Campus

V. I. T. Gate

While coming to Kanchipuram from Chennai , one can see Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur also . This small place is situated 40 km. away from Chennai and comes under Kanchipuram district . It is birthplace of Sri Ramanujacharya , one of the most prominent Hindu Vaishnav saints . In 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was killed here during an election campaign and this small , unknown town became known to all . I visited his grand memorial ;

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperubudur

It is a grand and opulent memorial . I am not against it  . But I am sad that crores are spent on Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial and Subramanya Bharathi’s memorial in Puducherry is now closed .

With this I finished my 12 days pilgrimage , said good-bye to Chennai , took train from Egmore on December 01st and reached Mumbai on December 02nd .

Egmore Station - Chennai

I don’t know whether I would be visiting these place again or not . I do intend to visit but …….? As usual I remember few lines of Hindi poet Agyeya and leave everything to my destiny .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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