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 :

—————————

 

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 – 15 : Karaikal


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 28 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

Union Territory Puducherry is unique among all the states and Union Territories of India . It has 4 districts or regions but they are not contiguous at all . Puducherry , Karaikal , Yanam and Mahe are 4 districts of this Union Territory and they fall in 3 different states . Puducherry and Karaikal are in Tamil Nadu , Yanam is in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe is in Kerala . Though Puducherry and Karaikal , both are in Tamil Nadu but even they are not contiguous .

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mah...

Map of India showing Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my last visit to Tamil Nadu , I stopped at Puducherry , while returning from Vaitheeswaran Koil and visited many places . I have already written a blog about my Puducherry visit . That time I did visit Karaikal but could not write my travel diary about Karaikal because it was raining heavily and therefore apart from Shani Temple , I could not visit other places .

During my recent visit I visited only Beach Road in Puducherry and spent more time in Karaikal .

 

English: It is very old map of Karikal (Karaik...

Old map of Karikal (Karaikal) when it was a French colony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I took night flight to Chennai on December 21 , 2012 and reached there late in the night . Next day , on December 22 , 2012 , I proceeded for Vaitheeswaran Koil and after briefly stopping in Puducherry , reached there in the evening . From Vaitheeswaran Koil , I proceeded for Karaikal on December 25 , 2012 .

When you visit Karaikal please don’t forget to eat Karaikal Halwa . It is too yummy to skip . You are not supposed to not have it during your Karaikal visit , even if you are visiting Karaikal for a short period . ” Natesan Halwa ” is the most famous shop and it is 55 years old . It was stablished in 1957 and since then it is in business of making Halwa . There are other shops also on the same road . If you wish to explore , you could visit them .

A Road in Karaikal

A Road in Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses - Karaikal

Old Tiled Houses – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

Beach Road - Karaikal

Beach Road – Karaikal

At Beach Road - Karaikal

At Beach Road – Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial - Karaikal

With My Wife At Tsunami Victim Memorial – Karaikal

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

Sangam of Arasalar River & Sea

The Promenade Near Beach

The Promenade Near Beach

Government Buildings Near Promenade

Government Buildings Near Promenade

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple - Thirunallar , Karaikal

With My Wife & Son At Saneeswar Bhagwan Temple – Thirunallar , Karaikal

A French enclave from 1673 till 1954 , it became part of India by a treaty of cession signed by the Indian and French governments in 1956 . It finally became Union Territory in 1963 . During French rule it was called Territoire de Pondichery . It was renamed Puducherry in 2006 .

Karaikal is 300 km. south of Chennai and 135 km. from Puducherry . From Puducherry or from Chennai , you can reach there by taxi . It is surrounded by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu .

After visiting Saneeswara Bhagawan temple in Thirunallar , Karaikal , I returned to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the night . I don’t know whether I would be able to visit Karaikal again or not . May be yes , may be no .

I remembered these famous lines of Agyeya , which I always remember , whenever I return from a new place .

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 ? ]

Visit to Karaikal gives me ample opportunity to tell some good tales to the students of my acting institute,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

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Tamil Nadu : 25 Years Without M. G. R.


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 28 , 2012           05.35 P.M.

Marudhur Gopala Ramachandran or M. G. Ramachandran or simply M. G. R. needs no introduction in Tamil Nadu . Though he died 25 years ago , still his popularity refuses to wane . I always knew about his phenomenal sway over the masses in Tamil Nadu but I personally experienced it during my recent visit to the state .

English: MGR with Kerala politician K.Karunaka...

MGR (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One morning when I came out of my room in Subam Lodge , Vaitheeswaran Koil , I noticed that arched are being erected on the streets and photos of M. G. R. are being garlanded everywhere . Old hit songs of the films of M. G. R. were being played . People in large number were queuing in front of his photos and paying respect .

On 25th Death Anniversary , MGR Being Rememberedin a Village of Thanjavur

On 25th Death Anniversary , MGR Being Remembered in a Village of Thanjavur

I was astonished . I was astounded by the fact that it is his 25th death anniversary and still people are remembering him . To know the height of his popularity , please go through the description of his death scene , which I am quoting from Wikipedia :

” M.G.R. died on December 24, 1987 after his prolonged illness. He was 70. His death sparked off a frenzy of looting and rioting all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Shops, movie theatres, buses and other public and private property became the target of violence let loose all over the state. The police had to resort issuing shoot-at-sight orders. Tamilians from Bangalore rushed to Madras in trains to see the mortal remains of MGR. Govt had announced free train facility for this visit. The violence during the funeral alone left 29 people dead and 47 police personnel badly wounded. This state of affairs continued for almost a month all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Around one million people followed his remains, around 30 followers committed suicide and people had their heads tonsured.

After his death, his political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, split between his wife Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa; they later merged in 1988.

In 1989 Dr. M. G. R. Home and Higher Secondary School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired was established in the erstwhile Residence MGR Gardens, Ramapuram, in accordance with his will dated January 17, 1986. His official residence at 27, Arcot Street, T.Nagar is now MGR Memorial House and is open for public viewing. His film studio, Sathya Studios has been converted into a women’s college. “

English: New emblem for All India Anna Dravida...

New emblem for All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party, designed by B. Balamanigandan email:bbm@drmgr.org (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now non – Tamil people can understand his impact and popularity among the masses . It was well – crafted image with the help of his films . He was the first major film star of India , who became Chief Minister of any state and won 3 consecutive elections in 1977 , 1980 and 1984 . He became Chief Minister in 1977 and remained in office till his death in 1987 . In 1984 assembly elections , though he was in the hospital for treatment and could not participate in electioneering , still he led his party to unprecedented victory . His images , from his hospital bed in the U.S.A. , were broadcast through cinema halls . And his party A.I.A.D.M.K. got 56% of assembly seats .

How he created this larger – than – life political image ? You can watch the song  “…….. neenga nalla irukkanum ……… ” of his film ” Idhayakkani ” [ 1975 ] . In the  ……neenga nalla irukkanum ……… song , he pays homage to his mentor Annadurai , whose image is clearly visible on the screen . His party flag is also fluttering in air and you could see that in the song itself his screen character is doing his philanthropic work . ” Idhayakkani “ was released 2 years before he became the Chief Minister . His last released film was ” Madurai Meeta Sundara Pandian ” [ 1978 ] .  This was his 136th film .  It was released 1 year after he became the Chief Minister . So through his 136 films , he created this kind of image , which is unheard of anywhere in the world . After becoming CM , the ongoing project ” Anna En Theivam “ was stopped and later on it was released by Bhagyaraj with modified story in which Bhagyaraj was the hero.

Apart from M.G.R. , no one in India or in world could replicate this kind of success . He was the first and till date only actor turned politician , who got this kind of mass popularity and could generate mass hysteria of this magnitude . N.T.R. or Nandamoori Tarak Ramarao was also an actor in Telugu film industry and he did succeed in Andhra Pradesh but his success was short – lived as he was soon toppled by his own son – in – law . President of U.S.A. , Ronald Reagan was also an actor in Hollywood but he was not a major star.

On my previous visit to Chennai in 2011 , I visited memorial of M.G.R. at Marina Beach to show my respect . In December 2012 , when I visited Chennai again , I was again able to pay respect to him on his 25th death anniversary .

At MGR Memorial , Marina Beach , Chennai

At MGR Memorial , Marina Beach , Chennai

With Poster of MGR in a Small Town

With Poster of MGR in a Small Town

It is sad that he died when he was only 70 . And 70 is not the age to leave the world . Had he been alive he would have been a formidable Prime Minister of India . In these days of coalition politics it would have been a real possibility .

Alas ! We lost him too early and too soon .

I think it would be fascinating to tell his story to all the students of my acting academy , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . Who knows ? They might replicate M.G.R. story in their lives also .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 4 ]


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CHENNAI – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 26 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

 

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

After four days stay , I left Vaitheeswaran Koil in the afternoon and reached Chennai in the night . Sitting in the room of my hotel Golden Tower , I am writing the 4th installment of ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” .

In my last 3 blogs I have tried to explain some of the misconceptions about Tamil Nadu , its leaders and general public . For the large sections of North Indian people the image of Tamil Nadu of 1965 is hard to forget . I think I have explained everything in detail about Tamil Nadu of 1965 .

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai , Muthuvel Karunanidhi , Marudhur Gopal Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa Jayaram have dominated the Tamil Nadu scene since 1967 . They all jointly left Dravid Kazhagam led by Erode Venkata Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” a.k.a. E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam a.k.a. D.M.K. in 1949 .

 

English: M. G. Ramachandran, K. A. Mathialagan...

M. G. Ramachandran, K. A. Mathialagan, C. N. Annadurai, C. Rajagopalachari, M. Karunanidhi at a private function in Jan 1968 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai a.k.a. C. N. Annadurai led D.M.K. to victory in 1967 elections and became the first non – Congress leader to form a majority government in any Indian state . He left Dravid Kazhagam and formed a new party because he was not willing to be part of anti national forces . He was against vivisection of India and was in favour of fighting elections under Indian Constitution . Atheism and anti – Hindi sentiments were the only two things which he accepted and borrowed from Dravid Kazhagam . He was instrumental in dropping the demand of independent Dravid Nadu of Periyar and berrying it forever in the pious land of Tamil Nadu .

C. N. Annadurai's House in Kanchipuram

C. N. Annadurai’s House in Kanchipuram

Anna Durai Memorial at Marina Beach

Anna Durai Memorial at Marina Beach

After his death in 1969 the post of chief minister went to Muthuvel Karunanidhi a.k.a. M. Karunanidhi . He followed almost same principles of C. N. Annadurai and atheism and anti – Hindi rhetoric still continues to be his credo .

But he has participated in the N.D.A. as well as U.P.A. governments of centre and his earlier bellicose attitude does not exist any more . A five time chief minister of Tamil Nadu is not the same M. Karunanidhi of yore . He is a changed man .

English: K. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tam...

M. Karunanidhi, ex Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1972 Marudhur Gopala Ramachandran a.k.a. M. G. Ramachandran split the D.M.K. and formed Anna D.M.K. It was later on rechristened as All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam a.k.a. A.I.A.D.M.K. He is the only chief minister of Tamil Nadu , who holds the record of winning three consecutive terms as the chief minister . Though he followed atheism initially , but he was a practising Hindu and a follower of Bhagawan Muruga . During his regime , animosity towards North India disappeared and he followed a policy of no confrontation towards centre .

MGR Memorial

MGR Memorial

His successor Jayalalitha jayaram is a Hindu Brahmin and though she has not said anything openly but she is not an atheist . She is the only leader of prominence from Tamil Nadu , who can speak fluent Hindi . In my personal opinion she is only leader from Tamil Nadu who is capable of becoming the Prime Minister of India . I must say that she could , rather she should become the Prime Ministar of this nation . That day will be a red-letter day in our history and it will be a final blow to some of the misguided policies of E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” .

Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election, 2011

Jayalalithaa , Incumbent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus in Tamil Nadu of today a different picture emerges these days . Gone are the days of unnecessary bellicose attitude of Tamil politicians . Credit for this goes to Bharat Ratna M. G. Ramachandran . Again a personal opinion , but I think he would have been an excellent Prime Minister of India . But alas he died young . 70 is no age to go .

I will again say that Tamil Nadu is changing fast . Or it has already changed ?

I am waiting to narrate these findings to all the current students of  my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

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