24 December 2014 (Wednesday)
Started from Serene Idigarai, at 5.30 am. The driver came ten minutes late. The group comprised of Ashok, Avaantica, Aditya, Ashok’s mom and dad and my mom and of course, me.
The Coimbatore station and the staircase:
There were the dirty steps to climb and reach the platform and then get into the dirty Shatabdi.
Amma, daddy and mummy were taken special care to climb the steps.
They seemed to be much better off than any of us.
Jan Shatabdi Expres, Chair car wore an old dirty look.
Train journey was fine. I bought newspaper that were sold at the platform. When he saw me coming in with the pile of newspapers (Hindu, Indian Express, Times of India and Mathrubhmi, Kumudham and Vikatan) Ashok’s daddy asked, ‘why did you buy these newspapers. We will get it free.’
FYI, you get nothing free in Jan Shatabdi. Period. Certainly not in this Shatabdi!
Reached Kumbakonam by 1230. Inside the train we had vada, coffee etc.
Hotel Raya, looked good from outside but not so good from inside.
It was lunch time, so went to a nearby restaurant, hotel Padmavathy, vegetarian restaurant which was good for labour-class people which Lalitha and Iyer had praised sky high – garlic in every damn thing. Ughhh
Then after reaching the hotel, Ashok and me went around looking for a better place. But all the hotels were fully booked with Malaysians and Singaporeans.
At our hotel, we met our would-be driver for the next three days – Hariharaputhran.
After resting for a while, we set off at 5pm. The vehicle was a white Xylo – comfortable and roomy.
Thiruvalamchuzhi – our first stop. The Vellai vinayagar temple as it called. Cute little Ganesha and the temple is big.
Not too far from our hotel. We wanted to start off the temple visit with a Ganesha temple.
The Swetha Vinayagar Temple (: Vellai Vinayakar Koil) is a Hindu temple situated in the village of Thiruvalanchuzhi (also spelt as Thiruvalanjuli) near Swamimalai. The presiding deity is Kapardiswarar, a form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Brihannayaki. The temple is associated with a sage called Herandar who according to legend, is believed to have gone through an underground passage to the nether world and brought the Kaveri River to the earth to flow into the Bay of Bengal. Since the river took a convoluted direction in its flow, the place is called Tiruvalanjuzhi.
En route to this temple, Hari showed us a Shirdi Sai temple. Good Lord….!I was so happy to see that.
So after Vellai cute vinayagar we went to the Shirdi Sai temple. As we got out of the jeep, a group of dogs surrounded us and one big nice dog was keen to follow us and he followed us but only till the entrance to the temple.
There is a Dhuni (bonfire), just like in Shirdi which you have to visit first and then go to the main hall to have darshan of Shirdi Sai.
We finished that went to Pateeshwaram.
In Pateeshwaram, first visit was Thiru Sakthi Mutham
Parvathi devi did penance standing in one leg and the Lord appeared as a huge column of fire (Jyotiswaroopam) in front of her. Knowing that the Jyotiswaroopam is nothing but the Lord Himself, she embraced Him. There is also the Shakti Vaneswarar temple here. Beautiful, peaceful and blissful atmosphere. Simple life…
From here, we went to Patteshwaram Vishnu Durgai and Dhenupureeshwarar temple.
The huge corridors lined with pillars on which scary and expressive images are carved out stand out in our memory.
Avaantica and Aditya were looking at the images and were wondering aloud how anyone can walk in these corridors in the night, alone. That said, they joined us never to stray alone.
The temple visits for the day was over and we drove back to our hotel, but not before stopping by a decent restaurant for dinner. We were staying in Raya but then there is also a Raya Grand which looked really good and it had a good restaurant, veg one, called Rice and Wheat.
We had dinner there…Dosa, Batura, orange juice, etc etc.
Back to hotel Rayas. Before going off to sleep, we requested the reception to send us breakfast the next day morning. Idlies and vadas.
Next day was going to be long….and hopefully satisfying…!