I believe love gives life meaning but travel gives it context
Faraway places have beckoned to me for years; listening to the sirens call, dreaming of experiences in places like standing in front and admiring the Eiffel Tower, sipping coffee in the Brassierie in Champs Elysees, riding out on an African safari, climbing the Great Wall, meeting a Tibetan monk and sailing on the Nile. I wanted to do them all. And I did some in the last 20 years.
I discovered traveling to be wonderful and lovely; sometimes there was a loss of equilibrium. Yet I realized that if I could be flexible and keep a sense of humor, I could find my balance. The trials of travel brought delight and novelty.
I saw the fantastic and the dreadful places. I met warm and hospitable people. I also got reacquainted with myself.
If you're considering spending a significant amount of time and money to travel, I urge you to GO.
because it widens your vision because the people you'll meet enrich you because everyday brings a new surprise because "it's there" and no matter how much you read, how well-rounded your imagination or how connected your soul is, you can't possibly get "there" from here
By God`s grace, all my dreams have always come true!
Remember, I wrote in my previous travelogue, about my wish to go to the temlples in Thrissur.
Inspite of the distance of about 7000kms,The merciful
Lord of Guruvayur,gave me one more chance to worship Him, within a span of one month!
Muthuswamy Chithappa, Alamu Chithi & Prasad had come
for a "Poonal" ceremony in the Josier family on May 17,2002.
Prasad told me about their plan to go to Guruvayur and the
temples in Thrissur, the very next week and invited me to join
them.I had goose flesh all over my body, when I thought of
the LORD with the MAGIC FLUTE.
Whenever I/ we are in Palakkad with my parents-in-law
Chithappa, Chithi, Prasad, Sheela & Dhanya make it a poin to visit us with delicious goodies! Sheela, my mouth still waters for the chilled rose milk you served us !!!!
As planned, Chithappa, Chithi, Prasad, Sheela & Dhanya ,picked me
up at VDY and we drove to Guruvayur , stayed overnight in a very comfortable
hotel in EAST NADA,VANAMALA KUSUMAM. Devotees from all over India come to Guruvayur and as usual, it was very crowded with pilgrims.There were cultural programmes going on in the stage outside the temple and as we were standing in the queue,we could watch
the BHARATHANATYAM ARANGETRAM.
After having "Darshan" of the LORD in HIS "Bhooloka Vaikuntam",
in the KALIYAMARDHANAM Vesham,we sat in the outside "prakaras".
On one side,young couples were giving their kids their first official food-
ANNAPRASANA.Yet, at another,many people young and old,were lining up for
fulfilment of THULABHARAM vows.WHAT A FAITH !!!!
As per Amma`s wish, I did a "Panchasara" Thulabharam for myself
and offered a "Kaal Roopam" to the Lord, UNNI Krishna !
to be continued.......
Om Namo Bhagavathe Vasudevaya !!!!
Pleasure indeed for me was to accompany Chithappa, Chithi,
Prasad, Sheela & Dhanya to Guruvayur.
I could once again feel the togetherness, I am also one among in the family who has had the great
opportunity to stay in PKD for two years during my youth. Chithappa`s call of "Jayathilakam" and " Jukka" still reverberates in my ears! Chithi`s delicious cooking, her generosity in serving the food, her motherly touch while doing plaits of my long hair etc.
We had lovely "Puliyodharai", curd rice, banana chips, "Veppilai katti", packed by Chithi & Sheela. As I write this, I fondly remember our European tour, packing all the above mentioned food stuff, last year to Switzerland, Belgium, Holland & Germany. (Prasad, Sheela, Prakash, Preetha, - you must be remembering too!)
Back to the temple- We stayed late in the temple after the "Atthazha Puja", for the "Siveli".The one elephant offered by TN CM Smt.Jayalalitha was to carry the LORD for the procession.To my surprise, I found Sivaram Chithappa and Vasantha Chithi(josier family) in the temple.As usual, Chithappa was chatting with me and they preferred to be with us in the temple.
Early in the evening, Prasad did "Sayana Pradakshinam" and Chithappa accompanied him.
We also went to "Punnathurkotta",where all the elephants of the temple are kept. The main attractions were "Guruvayur Padmanabhan",who has the majestic looks of "Guruvayur Kesavan",the baby elephant offered by film actor, Suresh Gopi and the elephant offered by Smt.Jayalalitha, after she became CM once again.
It seems, Sri.Suresh Gopi`s 2 year old daughter died in a tragic car accident. (his first child).This elephant has the child`s name.After the prayers, he and his wife are proud parents of 4 children now !!!
in the "elephant house", it is written that "Sale
of elephant tufts forbidden".
Good thing indeed, because,when we went last time, a mahout was behind us to sell "AANA VALU" for Rs.100/-It really pains the poor animal while plucking the hair! It is cruelty against an animal !!!
The richest family of India, the Ambanis have done renovation work in the temple. You can see this in the front "Mandapam". Please also notice the very beautiful "mural"paintings around the "Srikovil", next time you go to Guruvayur.
HARI JAGANNATHAN PARAN NARAYANAN ARIKIL UNDALLO THUNAYAYI EPPOZHUM.
(When everyone abandons you there is Hari, the Lord of the
Universe, Narayana always by your side.)
I couldn`t meet all of you in Thrissur on the day I promised.
There are no excuses for not writing
on the glory of LORD SIVA.
On our way back from Guruvayur,we had "darshan" in Vadakkunnathan, Paramekkavu & Thiruvambadi temples.
I was reminded of Mohan`s colleague in UNIDO,Zürich when
I went to Vadakkunnathan temple. Beatrice (French) used to
say that she doesn`t believe in spending money to
keep the body fit and healthy, by going to Gyms, Aerobics etc. She used to go for swimming in Zürich lake & cycling with her German Shepherd.
The temple compound is soooooo huge that if the devotee takes
just 3 rounds of "Pradakshinam" outside, that day`s
execrcise is done.No wonder, the temples were built that way
in olden days.
If a devotee visits the temple everyday,he/she can be mentally and physically fit!
We could see lots of women, men and children in the temple, all dressed neatly after a morning bath.
Somehow, the LORD`S town called as THRISIVAPERUR came to be known as THRISSUR and Trichur.
The Sivalingam is very tall with many "Chandrakalais"(crescent
moons). Is this not a proof that Arabs were Siva worshippers?
They still consider crescent moon very holy.The Muslim
countries have RED CRESCENT for RED CROSS. (Hope all of you saw in TV , RED CRESCENT volunteers helping the earth quake victims in Iran-LAND OF PARASURAMA.)
There is a Vyasa Mandapam, where devotees can write with fingers on sand-"OM HARI SREE GANAPATHAYE NAMAHA".Sheela and myself wrote the sacred line.Life is a continuous journey of learning and age is no barrier to aquire more knowledge.
The "Samadhi" of ADI SANKARA is also in this temple.
I prayed in this sacred place and wished that we could make
a pilgrimage to KALADI, the birth place of the incarnation
God willing, we will make a pilgrimage to HIS Janmabhoomi Kshethram on our next India trip.
The Mother Goddess was all in her beauty in Paramekkavu temple. The temple was crowded, because it was a marriage "Muhurthanal."
The idol of Lord Krishna in Thiruvambadi is all BLISS. Imagine
the artists who made these idols! We Indians, have a wrong
thinking that only professional people like doctors and engineers
have intelligence.IQ is necessary in all fields of studies, in languages,in sports, in arts, in science,in maths.To bring out such a beautiful sculpture from a piece of stone is not an easy task!
We returned to SRIVARI for lunch.