Harivarasanam – A religious tryst


Six Swamis embark on a holy trip

Swamiyaaaeee Sharanamayyappa!

I did not get much sleep the previous night. Been waiting for 15 long days for this very moment. I anxiously kept checking my mobile on the bed, 4 am; 420; 500; 530am. I jumped out of my bed, freshened up, took a good long bath and visited 3 temples. My cousin was due to arrive from Muscat; the phone rang at 0930; my cousin had reached home. We decided to meetup at 11am.

Scenic hills of Pathanamthitta

Our house was in a mess with all the work going on and I scrambled out with all I needed. Clad in a saffron mundu, the lamp was lit at home, and the women blessed the men for a safe journey – we drove over to the temple to get the Sacred Irumudi Kettu ; marked the beginning of the journey breaking a coconut. Swaaamiyaaaaaeeee Sharanamayyappa!!

Swami

This year’s trip turned out be a day affair unlike last year, when we did most of the travelling in the night. Our first halt was at the usual restaurant in Kottarakkara where we had ‘Oonu‘ [Meal]. After around 2.5 hrs drive, we reached a place called Manimalayaar – here we usually take a bath to cleanse our body before we begin the climb from Pamba. 4 of us were below 30s and as always the older Swamis had to force us out of the water to head back en route to Pamba.

Swami

After a half hour swim there, we were back on track and after another 1.5 hours, we had reached Pamba. The roads were much better than I anticipated and the ride was not too bumpy. Usually the moment we pass the toll booth, there would be plenty of vehicles lined up, however with 2 days still to go for the festival to begin, the crowd was surprisingly less. We took a dip at Pamba, and embarked barefoot on a 1hour 45min climb up [chanting Lord Ayyappa hymns and songs] to reach the Sannidhaanam. During the climb, one delicacy I just simply can’t seem to avoid are the Pineapple slices sprinkled with chilly-salt powder mix. Not only hydrates, but gives me a lot of energy for the climb.

Religious tryst

At around 640pm, we managed to reach just outside the temple. There was not much crowd and we did not have to wait perennially in the aisle leading up to the body scans. The Padi Pooja is something I had never witnessed before. It was an amazing feeling to sing the 18 padi pooja song while the Pooja was being done, and the feeling can’t be put to words.

This is only the second time that I have been to sabarimala, but clearly I was happier to have had a much longer darshanam this time around. The stone hard Unni appam alongwith the Aravanam were bought. We climbed down the mala and reached Pamba at 1o30pm, a little too late for dinner anywhere. Eventually we halted at a ‘Thattukada’ at Adoor and finally reached home late at 2am.

March has so far been a very kind month to me. Managed to visit both Guruvayur and Sabarimala. Will end this post with my favorite quote
Work as if everything depended upon Man and pray as if everything depended upon God 🙂

Kollam Pooram


When it comes to Pooram, the name that pops up in any Malayali’s head is Thrissur Pooram. Well Kollam Pooram is the equivalent of it in South Kerala.

I was able to attend it the last couple of years and been yearning to blog on it.  A half day holiday is usually given for all schools and offices the day following Vishu, the Malayalam New Year [mid April]. The whole event occurs at the Ashramam ground, in sync with the annual festival of Shri Krishna Swamy Temple.

Around 15 temples in and around the city take part – Anandawalleshwaram, Puthupally Madaswamy, Asramam Sree Maryamman, Pattathanam Sree Subramanya Swamy, Kadappakada Sree Dharma Sastha, Thumbara, Erattakulangara, Sree Sankarakumarapuram, Uliyakovil Kannamathu, , Kollurvila Bharanikavu Koikkal, Uliyakovil Sree Durga, Sree Narayanapuram Subramaniyam, Thiruvadivattam and Chekodu.

Pooram Ezhunallathu

The tuskers from these temples set out early in the morning to participate in the pooram. On an average around 50-60 elephants take part ranging from the little ones, to the old tuskers. All the tuskers are then bathed and readied.

 

 

 

Thirumumbil Melam and KettuKazhcha

Kollam Pooram 2010


The tuskers then line up in the temple ground, and we are treated to some wonderful percussions by the Chendamelam and Panchavadyam groups

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Kudamaatam

Following the melam, the tuskers are dispersed, except the two teams participating in Kudamaatam. Invariably the two teams come from Thamarakulam Maha Ganapathy temple and Puthiyakavu Shri MahaBhagavathy temple. The two teams are then paraded to the Ashramam ground where the eminent guests [Ministers] will officially kickstart the pooram celebrations. The two teams display a multitude of umbrellas one after the other, and the team with the better innovation wins.

Fun and Frolic

As we always religiously wait indefinitely for the arrival of the ‘Guests’, a multitude of eats, fun toys, balloons and objects of interest will keep us occupied till the event kicks off. Thousands of people crowd up the entire Asramam ground on the day to be a part of the big event.

 

 

 

Fireworks, Programmes

The kudamaatam is followed by a 30min long fireworks, which, well hasn’t impressed me as much [I have seen better ones at my college campus, but then Manipal is Manipal]. The evening is further lit up by the presence of some wonderful stage programmes by movie|tele artists to wind up a wonderful day of celebrating the start of a year.

I plan to blog in detail of the events this year hopefully if I get time to attend it.

 

 

 


 

In the Name of GOD


Finally bought myself a bicycle and been more than happy to drive around town and capture photos. As a part of my effort to list the important places of Kollam on the world map [Google], here I begin with some easily accessible places in and around Kollam town, kickstarting off with a few churches and temples.

P.S. To see my uploads on panoramio, go here.

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Shiva Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.883307, 76.586230

Shree Ganapathy Temple, Thamarakulam – 8.881030, 76.591570

Puthiyakaavu Temple, Opp. Railway Station – 8.885167, 76.594124

Vasudeva Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886023, 76.588416

Ooramman Durga Devi Temple, Vadayattukotta – 8.886161, 76.588204

St. Sebastian Church, Convent Road – 8.886890, 76.585602

Velankanni Shrine – 8.889608, 76.585205

Mahadevan Temple, Anandavalleeshwaram – 8.89334, 76.573248

Shree Maha Ganapathy Temple – 8.890806, 76.574879

Moorthy Temple, Ammachiveedu – 8.889343, 76.572864

St. Antony’s Church, Vady – 8.882946, 76.573951

St. Peter’s Church, Moothakkara – 8.882660, 76.577148