Apologies for the length delay in post.
Adiyean had always liked to visit Divyadesams that are less crowded and where we can have a darshan of Perumal whenever we felt like. Needless to say, Alwarthirunagari & Thirukurungudi come first. Tirumala Tirupathi, though being crowded is an exception as visiting the divine hill itself is an wonderful experience. Srirangam generally hadn’t been my first choice for a divyadesam trip owing to the heavy crowd and humid climate. How would Sriman Narayana let me not like His bhooloka vaiukndam? Of course He did make me understand why Srirangam is so endearing to Sri Vaishnavas. Recently adiyean had the opportunity to visit Srirangam and having visited Srirangam many times adiyean hadn’t expected any surprises, but it was not to be. Adiyean went through the Vellai Gopuram and took left to go to Thayar sannithi. Just near the mandapam, out of nowhere, there was a small and beautiful temple of Lord Sri Rama. Adiyean had visited Srirangam so many times but in all earlier visits adiyean hadn’t ever seen it. Seeing Lord Sri Rama always brings boundless joys, but an unexpected darshan brings even more joy. Adiyean’s Srirangam visit had begun well! Next adiyean had a darshan of Thayar and then proceeded to have a darshan of Lord Sri Ranganatha.
As usual there were lengthy queues for Ranganatha darshan, but somehow adiyean’s mother chanced upon to meet a local who took us inside the mandapam and once inside the mandapam there was another known person who got us a darshan of Sri Ranganatha Swamy for a good 2 -4 minutes. One thing adiyean had always felt when visiting temples is that, if we earn for a good darshan, the Lord always grants us with a wonderful darshan someway or the other. Having blessed with a good darshan adiyean had an entire evening to spend in Srirangam. After staying for sometime at the room, adiyean left to the temple at about 6. This time adiyean went through the main entrance. And to my sheer disbelief and joy, just after walking a few meters there was another temple of Lord Sri Rama to the left. All these days adiyean had known of the Pattabhisheka Ramaswamy temple with the beautiful and large deity of Sri Rama and another temple of Sri Rama just nearby, but nothing more. Adiyean was happy to see so many temples for Lord Sri Rama. Adiyean continued and visited all small sannathis that adiyean could find. Finally after visiting Ramanujar sannathi & Chakarathalwar sannathi adiyean sat for sometime in the large pathway between the two sannathis. The atmosphere was magical. A lot of devotees were moving around, children were playing and there was mild breeze. It was only then adiyean realised why Srirangam is so endearing. Srirangam can be enjoyed anyway we like. If we like to see utsavams, there is always something happening for most part of the year. If we like Divyaprabhandam recitals, it happens daily at the Ramanujar sannathi and of course the Pagal Pathu & Raa Pathu during Marghazhi month. If we like to enjoy Him with thousands of devotees we can do it too. And if we like to enjoy Him in serenity, there are lot of sannathis which not many devotees do not even know exist. Or we can just sit and be immersed in the atmosphere of the divyadesam. Our acharyas have written a lot about the greatness of Sri Rangam, but at a basic level for a not so enlightened soul like adiyean, this unique trait makes Srirangam so endearing.
Please share your Divyadesam experiences in Comments…
Kinchitkaram Trust has come out with another really wonderful effort. Reading the leaflet I felt like this was just what every Sri Vaishnava would need. Here is what the scheme is…
Due to our commitments, most of us live in cities. Nevertheless, we all yearn to stay in a tranquil Divyadesam for some days and do some Kainkaryams for the Lord there. But we are unsure about food, accommodation & the kainkaryams that cane be done. Kinchitkaram Trust, through this service helps bagavathas to stay in Divyadesams. To start with, the trust has shortlisted 4 Divyadesams bagavathas can visit and do kainkaryams.
- Food & Accomodation will be arranged by the Trust. Accomodation is being provided free of cost and food at a very nominal price.
- Books & CD’s on the Divyadesam will be provided by the Trust.
- Interested Bagavathas can register through Kinchitkaram Volunteers or through the Kinchitkaram site – http://www.kinchit.org
During the Stay
- You can do Pushpa Kainkaryams (Garlands / Tulsi for the Lord), help keep the temple premises clean, draw kolams in temples etc.
- You can also sing or play devotional tunes in Flute / Tabala etc.
- You can also offer financial help to the Archakas, other swamis and even the temple workers. These donations are given directly by you to the divyadesa people and NOT through the Trust.
The 4 wonderful Divyadesams shortlisted
- Katumannar Kovil (Near Chidambaram)
- Sirupuliyur (Near Mayiladuthurai)
- ThiruKanangudi (Near Nagapattinam)
- Koviladi Appakuduthaan (Near Trichy)
All the 4 divyadesams are very beautiful but less visited by Bagavathas. Visiting the wonderful Perumals in these Divyadesmas offer a unforgettable experience. More than money, it encourages the Archakas when they see a lot of devotees coming daily to see the Lord and do Kainkaryams. We spend most of our lives running mindlessly in concrete jungles, catering to ourselves. Once in a while it is good to stop runing and live a couple of days for Him. For more information, please see Brochure below.
Update : The name of the place is Thondanur actually, not Tondalur as said earlier. Kindly forgive adiyean.
Once again Sriman Narayana blessed adiyean with an opportunity to visit some wonderful temples – the well known Melkote and the not so well known Thondalur in Mandya District, Karnataka (Please use the interactive Google Maps at the end of the post for directions).
Melkote Sri Cheluva Narayanswamy temple
Melkote is also known as Thirunarayanapuram. Though not amongst the 108 Divyadesams, Melukote is an important Abhimana Sthalam revered by Sri Vaishnavas. Swami Ramanuja stayed at Melukote for about 12 years after he left Sri Rangam due to atrocities of the Chola King Kirimikanda Cholan. Also the temple by itself is an very ancient one and Swami Ramanuja was responsible for renovating the temple to the present state. Infact it was Swami Ramanuja who retrieved both the Moolavar (Thirunarayana Perumal) & Utsavar (Shelva Pillai). And also, Melkote is also the place where the magnificent Vaira Mudi Utsavam takes place.
The story of Swami Ramanuja retrieving the Utsavar Perumal is an very beautiful story. Before the arrival of Swami Ramanuja, Melkote had been raided by the Muslim emperors. Along with many treasures, Utsava Perumal was also taken to Delhi by the emperor. Swami Ramanuja met the emperor and requested for the Deity. The emperor showed him a room full of deities looted from many temples and asked him to identify Shelva Pillai perumal. Swami Ramanuja lovingly called out “Shelva Pillai”, and the Deity instantly walked out to Swami Ramanuja, who is filled with boundless joy named Perumal as “Sampath Kumara“. This is another instant where Sriman Narayana listens like an innocent child to His devotees. The emperor’s daughter who had become very attached to the Shelva Pillai perumal, followed Swami Ramanuja to Melukote and came to be known as Bibi Nachiyar. Continue reading
Every now and then, Sriman Narayana blesses me with the opportunity to visit an relatively less known, but wonderful Divyadesam – Srimushnam near Chidambaram. Update : Srimushnam is not a Divyadesam. It is a wonderful temple nevertheless.
The stunning Gopuram
Srimushnam temple is an very ancient one with stunning architecture all around. The amazingly majestic Gopuram / Vimana welcomes you to the magnificently built temple. Inside the temple, resides the beautiful Bhuvaraha Swami, a small deity much in contrast to the largeness of the temple, but more wonderful. The Deity is one of the 8 Swayambhu Deities in Vaishnava Divyadesams. Ambujavalli Thayar is the Lord’s consort, and the very moment you see Thayar, you feel She is the very embodiment of affection. Continue reading
The Thiruadipooram Utsavam to celebrate the Thirunakshatram of Sri Andal is set to start on 25th of July. Here are the details of the Utsavam.
||Dwajarohanam / Kodi ettram
||16 Vandi Chapparam
||Sri Andal – Chandra Prabhai
Sri Rangamannar – Simma Vahanam
||Sri Andal – Thanga Parangi Narkaali
Sri Rangamannar – Hanumaar Vahanam
||Sri Andal – Sesha Vahanam
Sri Rangamannar – Govardhanagiri
||5 Garuda Seva
||Sri Andal – KanakaThandiyal
Sri Rangamannar – Yaanai Vahanam
||Sri Andal – Pushpa Pallaku
Sri Rangamannar – Kudhirai Vahanam
||Ekantha Thirumanjanam for Moolavar at 4:00 am
Thiruther at 6:00 am
||Rettai Tholkinniyan at 5:00
As said in the earlier post, here is the 2nd part of Alwarthirunagari Garuda Seva photos.
The entire village and especially the streets around the temple wear a festive look, awaiting the Lords. A dance troupe which initially had only a few onlookers, immediately gathered the attention of the people around and within moments a huge crowd gathered around to see the wonderful performance.
Wonderful performance by a dance troupe had the people mesmersied.
For the Bhaktas; a vendor selling savouries
Sriman Narayana & Swami Nammalwar once again blessed me with an opportunity to witness the grand Alwarthirunagari Vaikasi Visakam. I always wanted to shoot the 10-day event in High Resolution & good aesthetic quality. This year, I was blessed with a good DSLR camera and I did the best the shoot the Garuda Seva day in all its Glory. Due to materialistic commitments I wasn’t able to witness all the 10 days, and I had to be content with just shooting the Garuda Seva day. This first part has the snaps taken in the Garuda Seva day, when the Perumals of NavaThirupathi Divyadesams are welcomed by Swami Nammalwar. The second part (to be posted soon) will have the Garuda Seva that takes place at the night.
The very purpose of shooting the event is to share the Photos with all the people. Anyone who would like to have the High Resolution originals can always e-mail me (RamanujaDasan@live.in) or Leave a Comment indicating your requirement.
Navathirupathi Perumals in a Mandapam before entering Alwarthirunagari Temple
An old woman praying one of the Navathirupathi Perumals