Friday, March 20, 2009
Trip to kAnCipuram
I just came back from kAnCipuram. After a long time, I got to go on a trip with my mother :). It was a little tiring because of the heat but it was completely worth the effort. The burning fire torch inside the kAmAkSi amman sannidhi really made the morning so much more brighter the other day. I could vividly feel the vibrations inside the temple and sang "kAmAkSi kAmakOTipIthavAsini (sumadyUti)" and "kanjadaLAyatAkSi (kamalamanOhari)". After a nice, long darshan of the Goddess, we went to Adi Shankara's sannidhi and spent a few serene minutes there. Once again, I could sense divine vibrations in the BhagavadpAdAs sannidhi. We then moved on to EkAmrESwarar temple. The majestic gOpuram, the long corridors and the famous mango tree (sthala vriksha) punctuated the visit to this shrine. Lord EkAmranAtha occupied center stage in all his glory. I sang EkAmrAnAthAya namastE (mukhari) and cintaya mAkanda (bhairavi) as amma and I walked around the huge corridors. The kEsari and puliyogare prasAdhams were extremely delicious :).
Next on the list was kailAsanAtha temple. Yet another majestic temple where many yogis are known to have meditated and attained salvation. It was a great experience walking through the majestic corridors of this temple. I sang "kailAsanAthEna" in kAmbhOji..a beautiful krithi which gallops along in miSra chApu. Next stop was kumarakkottam. It is a small temple but beautiful neverthless. One the way, we passed by kachabESwarar temple but amma told that we are running late and we cant go in :(. So, we saw the deity from outside and prayed and moved on to kumarakkottam. I sang bAlasubrahmaNyam in surutti and pArvati kumAran bhAvayE in nATakuranji.
All these temples (beginning with kAmAkSi till the ones I have described so far) are within 10 to 15 minutes of walking distance from each other. The whole 4 streets around which these temples are located just resonates with energy. It was around 10 am and since we had started roaming around from 6:30 in the morning, amma grew a little tired and hungry. So, we stopped for a nice breakfast at Sri Rama's cafe, a very famous traditional restaurant in kAnchi.
After breakfast, we went to Ulagalandha Perumal kovil, a temple dedicated to Vishnu's vAmana avatAr as the name suggests. This is one of the 108 divyadesams. Speaking of divyadesams, I forgot to mention about the nilA thunDa perumal sannidhi inside the EkAmrESwarar temple. Folklore has it that, after the asuras and dEvas churned the thirupArkaDal, Lord Vishnu became very angry and his anger was so uncontrollable that his entire body heated up. To cool down, it is believed that He worshipped Lord EkAmrESwarar at kAnchi. The cool rays from the crescent on Lord Shiva's head is supposed to have cooled Lord Vishnu down and He takes the form of Nila thunda perumal here. Also, everyone knows that Goddess Lakshmi is always depicted as being located at Lord Vishnu's chest (vakshasthala). However, at this sannidhi, She is located at the nAbi. Since all the heat and energy of the body is originating from a person's nAbi, Goddess Lakshmi is believed to have positioned herself on the Lord's nAbi to bring his temper down. Anyway, after Ulagalandha perumal temple, we moved on to the famous temple for chitragupta, Yama's assistant. Since it is the only temple dedicated to Him, I thought it will be pretty big. However, it was a very small temple located on the road side just a few blocks away from the main bus stand.
We were in a hurry and had to get back to Bangalore by that night. So, we were basically restricted to just one more temple in kAnchi :( and we chose to go to VaradarAja perumAl temple, yet another divyadEsam. And what a brilliant choice it turned out to be. Visiting this temple was perhaps the most satisfying experience of all. As we entered the huge temple, there was a huge crowd chanting hymns and singing his praises. Accidentally, it was the Lord's birthday :). And my mother shared the same star as Him ("hastha"). We were served hot akkAravadasal prasAdam. It was so hot that our hands turned red..that was perhaps the best ever sweet I have eaten in my life. We then proceeded to go around the prAkAram and walked up to the main sannidhi.
The perumAl stood there in all his glory, majestic with sahasranAma mAlai and sAligrAmam around his neck. Amma and I stood extremely close to the deity for around 10 minutes and were absolutely wonderstruck. I sang varadarAja avAva (gaNgAtaraNgini). With utmost reluctance, we moved to the famous lizard room. A golden lizard and a silver lizard are plated on the ceiling of this room. It is believed that whatever we pray for and touch the lizards facing east direction, it will be fulfilled. We then went to thAyAr perundEvi sannidhi and had another amazing darshan. Amma and I then purchased some puliyogare at the temple for our journey back to Bangalore and went back to our hotel.
On our way back to Bangalore, we passed through Vellore. Since we did not have time, we could not stop at Vellore and go to JalakanDESwarar temple and the Golden Lakshmi temple. We then passed through virinchipuram and could not go to the famous mArgasahAyESwara temple either. As we passed through here, I vowed that we will return very soon on our next trip :). In my next post I will take up akSayalinga vibhO, the masterpiece in SankarAbharaNam as requested by Padma :). See you all in a bit.