Sunday, June 7, 2009

Vellore Weekend Trip: Thiruvalam and Padavedu – Day 2

Vilvanatheeswarar Temple, Thiruvalam (Thiruvallam)
Thiruvalam – the place where lord Ganesha came around their parents and won the mango over his brother.

We reached there early morning. There was a group of children aged around 6 to 12 years singing Siva puranam
under the guidance of an old odhuvar. Old temple, stone flooring, no crowd at all and the children singing very devout. Wow… I wish to wake up ever morning in the same ambience.

Our next destination after breakfast was Padavedu. Padavedu is 30+ kms in the Vellore – Thiruvanamalai road. Follow the straight road from Vellore to Thiruvannamalai, pass by Kannamangalam-Vaazhiyur until Sandhaivasal. In Sandhaivasal turn right until you reach Padavedu.

Padavedu is a small village of banana and paddy fields. All the temples are old temples and amazing to hear that they were buried in sand. Over it the villagers have been cultivating corn until the buried temples were found it in ‘prasannam’ and archeological facts. Hats off to TVS company who have renovated and maintaining these temples. Amazing service they have been doing; all these temples are maintained very clean and daily they give prasadham as a kaingaryam.

We were lucky enough to get to see at least few of these temples. ‘Renuka Paremeswari’ temple is the most famous in this village.

Renuka Parameswari temple

Very famous temple and everyone on the way can direct it to the temple. The temple has a history of Parasuramar and his mom Renuka. Thank you, the temple has a very good signboard on all the temples, short history and opening timings.

Yoga Ramar Temple, Padavedu
The only place lord Rama is not Gothanda Ramar with bow and arrow He is in a meditation pose and has rested here on the request of Renuka Devi. Hanuman has ‘olai chuvadi’ clarifying doubts with Rama. The archagar and the staff are very friendly and passionate in sharing the history.

Sambar saadham and curd rice prasadham.

Veera Anjaneyar Temple, Padavedu

This is a new temple built and we went there hoping that we could request him to visit the ‘Chinna Varadhar’ temple. Though we were not lucky enough as the archagar has just closed the Varadhar temple and he said next time.

Milagau Vadai and curd rice (prasadham from Chinna Varadhar) temple.

Ammayappa Eswarar Temple, Padavedu

Recently renovated from the buried sand and the temple is at a beautiful location facing paddy field. This is the only temple with ‘Abarnambigai’ as the goddess. The name ‘Abarnambigai’ comes in Lalitha Sakasaranamam. In front of the goddess shrine they still have a place from where the idols and jewels of the goddess were recovered.

Curd rice, mixed rice and payasam prasadham.

Chinna Varadhar Temple, Padavedu

We didn’t want to miss the ‘Chinna varadhar’ temple, though it was closed. We got a guide on the ay and the middle-aged woman agreed to show us the route if we dropped her in the car near the temple.

Well we had to get down on a small road. The temple is hidden in between banana and paddy fields. Watch the path as it might be slippery.

It was an experience to sit on the steps of the closed temple and no human in sight, lush green at any angle you turn the head.

End of day 2 – Wish to go back to Padavedu and visit all the temples and if there’s a chance to stay in that village for a couple of days. A very satisfactory day and the only regret was that we were not in Padavedu early in the morning.

On the route to Padavedu, saw many 'Ayyannar' idols without heads. Is there a story behind it?

Check these for more information on Padavedu:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vellore Weekend Trip (Pilgrimage?) - Day 1

We packed our bags and left Bangalore on Saturday morning by 7am for our weekend trip to Vellore. After the first stop at Krishnagiri – Adyar Anandha Bhavan for breakfast we drove to Ambur via the fantastic Krishnagiri-Chennai NH.

Kailasagiri Murugan Temple – Gadambur, Ambur

Take the service road towards Ambur and drive straight until you cross a Reliance petrol bunk. Left turn on the road further down (Hotel Amirtham is a landmark) and ask for Kailasagiri, Murugan temple. Follow the road for a 20-30 minutes drive until the board stating Kailasagiri (a police station is immediately next to it).

There’s a patchy road which ends at 990 stairways up the hill to Kailasagiri. We parked our car under the shady neem tree and was encouraged by the old watchman that we could reach top of the hill within 15-25 minutes.

Well I must admit that it was mid summer and thanks to the tress we didn’t feel much heat.

Though I didn’t make beyond 350 stairs, the Mr and mom reached the shrine. As heard from them, it is a small temple surrounded by 7 ponds (on top of a hill !) and the view from the top is beautiful. Only the archagar with the company God and breeze flying thru’ the hair and absolute silence I can imagine that it must have been a divine experience.

Jalagaandeshwara Temple & Vellore fort

We rushed into the Jalagandeshwara temple before it was closed for lunch. Read some where that there was a stream running beneath the moolavar and a secret passage which ended up in Kancheepuram.

As they were closing down, we couldn’t explore the temple much.

Vellore fort, well it was very hot to go out on boating. The park, lake around and the fort was picturesque until you look into the waters. It was a sad feeing to see hundreds of dead fish floating.

Rathnagiri Bala Murugan Temple, Vellore

Our next stop after lunch at the Hotel Aryaas, Vellore (take the left road to Vellore from NH and ask for new bus stand, the hotel is beneath the flyover) was Rathnagiri. Rathnagiri is 15 kms from Vellore on the Vellore-Chennai route. It’s a small hill and you can drive the car up the hill. The temple has been renovated in recent times and become very famous. Sounds interesting to hear about a clerk Murganadimai (which means ‘slave of Lord Muruga’) who got enlightened and vouched to turn the ruined temple to what it is today.

Be aware of the naughty monkeys.

Thanvanthri Bhagavan, Walajapet

Walajapet is approx. 15 kms from Rathnagiri on the Vellore-Chennai route. Drive down till Walajapet bus stand and take the adjacent left road (before the bus stand), sholiyur route.

Thanvanthri is the Dr God, 12th avatar of Lord Perumal. The archagar is a very good orator and possess good marketing skilled and well trained. The Dr God with a steth, operating knife and a naught smile drew me away and made belive what the archagar said. I ended up buying a herbal thayathu (Rs 200), a total healer for any (or all) disease ;-)

Must say the Dr God, Mahishashuramarthini gives a sense of peace with a pleasing smile.

Golden temple, Sripuram

Coffee break @ Durga Bhavan, Vellore (opp. To Hotel Aryaas).

The skies has opened and swept off the summer heat. What a delight to feel the cold evening air after being fried by the sun during the day. Thanks to the rains, a tree has blocked the road to Sripuram and huge traffic jam. We had to park the car well ahead and walk down. The place was too too crowded, may be a thousands were.

Took a special ticket ad had a good evening walk of atleast a 2kms around the temple of gold.

Sorry to say that it was more of a picnic, exhibitional place of gold rather than the sense of divinity. Though the ambigai is strinkingly beautiful, all that glitters around takes away the attention.

End of day we dropped our bags and self at the ‘Millenium Plaza’ hotel in Vellore – Katpaadi road. This hotel had good amenties at reasonable rates. (Rs 800 for a AC room and Rs 500 for non AC.) The rooms were clean with a TV and a water heater in bathrooms.

End of day 1 – The old temples with stone flooring and no tiles or marbles, makes me feel more close to God. Is it because of the upbringing or the mind?