Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pandyan Rockfort Exp faster from Nov 1

Palani Express will now officially run through to Udumalpet and Pollachi
No Train Services between Coimbatore and Madurai/Rameswaram despite the commissioning of the new broad gauge line earlier this year
The Tiruchirapalli bound Rockfort Express from Chennai Egmore will be faster by 15 minutes while its departure has been postponed by 1 hour effective November 1. 

Over the last 6 months, the train has been reaching the temple town of Srirangam too early in the morning of 3.30 am for the devotee passengers' liking. The train will now leave Chennai Egmore at 11.30 pm instead of 1030 pm and will reach Srirangam at 4.08 am (Trichy Junction at 5.15am). Similarly Mangalore Express which previously departed Egmore at 1015 pm and reached Srirangam at 315 am will now depart at 11.15 pm and reach Srirangam at 3.49am.

The departure timing of both Karaikal bound Kamban Express and Thanjavur bound Uzhavan Express has been preponed by 1hour to 10.15 pm and 1030 pm. Uzhavan Express will now reach Kumbakonam at 455 am. 

Madurai bound Pandyan Express will now be 35 minutes faster and will leave Egmore at 940 pm to reach Madurai at 5.55 am.

 The Tiruchirapalli bound Rockfort Express from Chennai Egmore has been speeded up by 15minutes while its departure has been postponed by 1 hour effective November 1. Over the last 6months, the train has been reaching the temple town of Srirangam too early in the morning of 3.30am for the devotee passengers liking. The train will now leave Chennai Egmore at 11.30pm instead of 1030pm and will reach Srirangam at 4.30am. Similarly Mangalore Express which previously departed Egmore at 1015pm and reached Srirangam at 315am will now depart at 11.15pm.

The departure timing of both Karaikal bound Kamban Express and Thanjavur bound Uzhavan Express has been preponed by around one hour to 10.05 pm and 10.30 pm . Uzhavan Express will now reach Kumbakonam at 445am. 

Madurai bound Pandyan Express will now be 35minutes faster and will leave Egmore at 940pm to reach Madurai before 6am.

Palani Exp extended to Udumalpet/Pollachi
An important formal addition is the extension of Central Palani Express to Pollachi ( in fact it has been extended to Palghat). Over the last year or so, this train had been unofficially extended to Udumalpet and Pollachi with passengers having to buy an unreserved ticket from Palani.

However a big disappointment this time around has been the non introduction of any express trains in the Coimbatore Madurai Rameswaram route. This was once upon a time a very important service with night express trains running full either way on this route. For the last decade or so, there have been no train services from Coimbatore to Madurai via Pollachi and Palani. With the broad gauge conversion complete, one expected the original express and passenger trains to resume on this route but not a single service will run between Coimbatore and Madurai leaving the passengers in the hands of the bus operators.

Chozhan Express remains slow
Also, one expected the Trichy Egmore Main line Chozhan express to be speeded up.  Since its re-introduction a few years ago, this train has taken 8  to 8 ½ hours to cover 401 kms via Thanjavur /Kumbakonam/Mayiladuthurai averaging just 45kms per hour on a lean traffic section.  This train will be faster by just 20 minutes when it should easily be able to cover the this distance in just over 7 hours given that there are minimal crossings in that section.

Palani Exp to run up to Palakkad
An important formal addition is the extension of Central Palani Express to Pollachi ( in fact it has been extended to Palakkad). Over the last year or so, this train had been unofficially extended to Udumalpet and Pollachi with passengers having to buy an unreserved ticket from Palani.

Biggest Disappointment for Coimbatore 
However a big disappointment this time around has been the non introduction of any express trains in the Coimbatore Madurai Rameswaram route. This was once upon a time a very important service with night express trains running full either way on this route. For the last decade or so, there have been no train services from Coimbatore to Madurai via Pollachi and Palani. With the broad gauge conversion complete, one expected the original express and passenger trains to resume on this route but not a single service will run between Coimbatore and Madurai leaving the passengers in the hands of the bus operators.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vada Kurangaduthurai Dayanidheeswarar

Only Temple dedicated to ‘Dayanidhi’
Thiru Gnana Sambanthar praises the devotion of Vaali in his verses 
It is a road that links Kallanai in the West to Poompuhar on the Eastern Sea Shore. The stretch to Kumbakonam alone houses several ancient temples both Vaishnavite Divya Desams and Saivite Thevaram Sthalams along the banks of the Cauvery. Starting with Koviladi Appakudathan temple (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/11/108-divya-desam-koviladi-appakudathaan.html) near Kallanai, there are huge temples in Thillaisthanam (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/10/thillaisthanam-neiyarappar-temple.html) and Thiruvayaru (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2014/11/thiruvaiyaru-pancha-natheeswarar-temple.html).  Despite being praised by both the Saivite and Vaishnavite Saint Poets as glorious temples, the temples along the stretch to Kumbakonam now find themselves ignored with the priests constantly stretching their neck out of the Sannidhi to see if that elusive devotee makes his way into the temple.

One such temple is the Dayanidheeswarar temple in Vada Kurangaduthurai, a temple whose legend dates back to the Ramayana and to the penance of Vaali. This is the only temple dedicated to ‘Dayanidhi’ among the Thevaram temples. Ambal is referred to as Jataa Makuda Nayaki.  The Lord is housed in a huge complex surrounded by tall coconut trees in a beautiful Nandavanam but on a normal day, there is not a devotee around. Similar is the story of the Vaishnavite Divya Desam a few 100 yards West of this temple (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/05/108-divya-desam-thiru-koodalur.html). The Jagathrakshakan Perumal Koil in Koodalur too has failed to lure the devotees in big numbers in recent decades.

The temple architecture in its current form is said to date to back 1300 years. 

Vaali's strength, including of his tail, was so great that even Ravana feared his presence. Just his tail was many times enough to round out his opponents who would be circled and thrown many hundreds of yards away.  In the legendary episode from the Ramayana, Vaali in his last moments addresses Rama expressing regret that the son of Dasaratha did not inform him of his search for Sita. The very decision of Vaali going to Lanka would have forced Ravana to hand back Sita to her husband, such was the fear of Vaali in the mind of the Lankan King.

In one of the fights between the two, Vaali destroyed Ravana who to run for his life. In the process of this battle, Vaali had his long tail cut. It is believed that he came here to Vada Kurangaduthurai and performed pooja invoking the blessings of Lord Dayanideeswarar to secure back his tail in its full length. Hence the Lord here is also referred to as ‘Vaali’ Nathar. In memory of this episode one finds a sculpture atop the Vimana.

Thiru Gnana Sambanthar’s praise
Referring to this temple as being on the Northern banks of the Cauvery, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar in his verses on Vada Kurangaduthurai has praised Vaali and his devotion to the Lord of Vada Kurangaduthurai. He also refers to the Lord as Sadai Mudi Nathar. 

Provides Coconut Water to a thirsty devotee
A Chettiar lady, a true devotee of Dayanidheeswarar was on the verge of giving birth to a child. When she arrived here, ill health meant that the couple had to decide between the mother and the child. While the husband was away to secure food for the hungry wife, she surrendered to her favourite Lord and sought protection.  
With the husband not returning in time and as she could not contain her thirst, the Lord is said to have helped quench her thirst by providing coconut water and much to her husband’s surprise, she gave birth to the child without any complications.

It is believed that those who offer their sincere prayers to Lord Dayanidheeswarar will be absolved of all problems in life. To this day, there is a huge coconut grove around the temple complex.

Moksham to a devoted Sparrow
Another story goes that Lord Dayanidheeswarar provided Moksham to a sweet singing sparrow that had brought water for the Lord every day of his life from the nearby Cauvery river bank and one that would sit atop Lord’s head in joy. Hence the Lord is also referred to as Chittilingeswarar. 

Festivals
Panguni Uthiram is celebrated in a grand way. There is a special alankaram for Ambal on each of the days of Navarathri. The Lord goes to the Cauvery for Theerthavari on the occasion of Aadi Pooram.

The priest comes from Ganapathi Agraharam, a couple of kms West of the Temple. However Ravi Iyer, who manages the Madapalli lives near the temple and is available for the ‘surprise’ devotees all the time at the temple @ 93642 39391 / 70942 29391.

West of this temple is the Thevaram Sthalam at Thiru Pazhanam near Thiruvayaru http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/12/thiru-pazhanam-abath-sahayeswarar-temple.html

Administered by the Thanjavur Samasthanam, this is a very well maintained temple as is the case with most of the temples managed by the Sarabhoji Prince (a few examples of those include Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple and Thanjai Maa Mani Divya Desam).

How to reach
Vadakurangaduthurai is about 10 kms East of Thiruvayaru on the Kumbakonam highway. Buses ply on the Kumbakonam – Thiruvayaru highway, though this is infrequent. From Papanasam one can take a mini bus to Kapisthalam, from where, one can take the Thiruvayaru bound bus (8kms) to reach the temple.


Auto from Kapisthalam will cost Rs. 150.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Kanjanur Sukra Sthalam

The ancient Thirunavukarasar praised Agneeswarar Temple is dedicated to Sukran among the Navagraha Temples

Agneeswarar Gurukal and his forefathers have been performing aradhana for the last 400 years having seen through really tough times in the 20th century

Cauvery flows from North to South at this historic location
Auto driver Murugan has been a resident of Kanjanur, a historical Saivite Temple dedicated to Lord Agneeswarar one that has been praised by Thirunavukarasar, for almost four decades. He charges Rs. 100 for a 5 km drop to Aduthurai and says that such charges are possible only now. He recollects his childhood from the 1980s as being very quiet and completely uneventful at the temple.

There was no proper road to the temple that was surrounded by rough bushes and green fields. There would not be a single devotee after 6pm on any day including the weekend. It would be pitch dark around the temple as there were no street lights in this region. The Kumbabhishekam of the temple took place in 1890, 1964 and 2006, an indication of the troubled times that this temple had gone through over the last 100 years.

In the 1980s, the concept of this temple being a prominent Sukra Sthalam was just not there. In fact he says that none of the other navagraha temples had a devotee following like what we see now.

Back then, people did not visit these temples for liberations from doshams. Those few who visited were traditional devotees who saw this as a Saint Poet praised Agneeswarar temple. Just a couple of kms East is the huge towering temple of Thiru Koteeswarar in Thiru Kodikaval (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2013/11/thiru-kotteeswarar-temple-thiru.html), a Pancha ‘Ka’ Kshetram, that was then in a dilapidated state. It was a huge temple, one of the largest in the region and yet there too the devotees were few and far between.

In those decades, there was no public transport anywhere near these temples.  A bus would ply once a day in each direction, once in the morning and once back in the evening.

The Devotional surge in the late 1990s
And then quite unexpectedly, things changed dramatically in the late 1990s and the first decade of this century. There was a big wave towards liberation from doshams as a sudden belief in astrology saw a huge change in the mind set of the people. This astrological drive saw each of these temples gain in prominence. Focus on parikarams and a resultant positive change has strongly entered the mindset of a devotee. On a typical Friday, the main Sannidhi of Lord Agneeswarar remains largely closed for the devotees' focus is on the Sukran Sannidhi just south of the Agneeswarar Sannidhi.

Many of the devotees even seem to forget that this was a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva for they are lost in thought of getting Sukran, who is the GIVER among the 9 planets, on to their side.

Archanai bags make a huge business on Friday with a full plate selling for Rs. 150 and a mini coconut plus flower going for Rs. 50. The priest at the Sukran Sannidhi held 8 archanai plates in his two hands and found it difficult to manage the crowd that was in thousands.

A devoted Gurukal
Agneeswarar Gurukal has spent all of his four decades at the temple. His is the 8th generation that has been performing Aradhana at the temple. He says that while a typical period of Sukran is 20 years, not all may reap the benefits of this entire period. 
With financial goals of people increasing manifold, devotees have been thronging the temple in an effort to increase the presence of Sukran in their lives.

As Agneeswarar Gurukal, who is extremely well versed in Vedas and Agamas having learnt from the renowned Aruna Jatesa Shivacharya, sits inside his traditional styled home with a Thinnai at the entrance, his small 120 page note is fast filling up on the Friday afternoon. Those with wedding issues, job issues and business growth are reaching out to him seeking his help to perform the parikaram to turn their fortunes around. He issues a small token to them and asks them to come back after 5 archanai weeks.

Agneeswarar Gurukal’s grandfather Aruna Jatesa Shivachariyar had been the asthana archakar at the temple having performed aradhana at the temple for over 8 decades. He was single handedly responsible for this temple gaining the current popularity. He died a decade ago at the age of 98.

A heartening feature at the temple is the presence of a number of young archakas fully committed to take forward the devotional traditions at the temple. Festivals are celebrated right through the year in a grand manner.

Kamsa Puram - Grand 16 day Brahmotsavam
Historically, this place was known as Kamsa Puram after the king who converted this from a wild forest into a beautiful small village housing Lord Agneeswarar after he was liberated from a disease. He also introduced the Brahmotsavam which is now celebrated in a grand way over a 16 day period in Maasi with great involvement from the villagers.

Appar’s Praise of Kanjanur
Saint Poet Thirunavukarasar in the 6th Thirumurai has sung 10 verses in praise of the Lord.  Praising the place as Kanjanur in each of these verses, he says that he was delighted to have had darshan of Karpagam at this place.

A staunch Saivite Devotee finds Lord’s blessings
Born into a Vaishnavite family, Sudarashan turned out to be a sincere devotee of Agneeswarar from a very young age. Turned away by his father for placing the sacred white ash on his forehead, he showcased as to what a true devotee is by surrendering himself to Lord Agneeswarar at Kanjanur. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord anointed Sudarshan as Hara Dutta and initiated him into Vedas and Puranas. In memory of this great devotee, to this day, Hara Dutta is taken out on the street processions along with Lord Agneeswarar.

நாரணனும் நான்முகனும் அறியாதானை
நால் வேதத்துருவானை நம்பி தன்னை

Devas liberated from Sukran's Curse
Having deceptively lost the nectar to the Devas (through Mohini’s presence and play), Sukrachariar, the preceptor of the Asuras cursed the Devas to lose their powers. Vyasa, the son of Parasara Muni who had undertaken penance at Kanjanur, brought them to Sukran to redeem from the curse. As directed by him, they invoked the blessings of the Lord here at Kanjanur and were liberated from the curse on Vaikasi Visakam. Appar refers to this in his verse:

மலையானை மற்றொபாரில்லா தானை
மதிகதிரும்  வானவரும் மாலும் போற்றும்
கலையானை கஞ்சனூர் ஆண்ட கோவைக் 

கற்பகத்தை கண்ணாரக் கண்டுய்ந்தேனே 
Appar also refers to Sukran in his praise.

இமவான்  பேதையோடும்
இனிதிருந்த பெருமானை ஏத்தவார்க்கு

Sundarar in his praise refers to Kanjanur alongside the temples of Nannilam, Kandiyur, Velur and Nellikka.

நாளும் நன்னிலம் தென் பனையூர்வட கஞ்சனூர்
நீள நீள் சடையான நெல்லிக்காவும் நெடுங்களம்
காள கண்டன் உறையும்ங் கடைமுடி கண்டியூர்
வேளூர் நாட்டு வேளூர் விளத்தூர் நாட்டு விளத்தூரே

Vada Cauvery opposite the temple
A special feature of the Agneeswarar temple is that Cauvery flows from North to South. Hence having a bath in ‘Vada Cauvery’ is considered even more sacred. The Raja Gopuram is also facing south towards the Cauvery.

The temple is open between 7 am-12.30 pm and 4 pm-9 pm. Contact Agneeswarar Gurukal @ 97873 29460.

How to reach
Kanjanur is about 5kms from Aduthurai (Kumbakonam- Mayiladuthurai route) a km East of Suryanar Koil. Mini buses ply every 15mts from Aduthurai. There are also buses from Mayiladuthurai (21kms) via Thiru Kodikkaval.

Auto from Aduthurai bus stand/ railway station will cost Rs. 100.

When here also visit Suryanar Koil and Thiru Kotteeswarar temple at Thiru Kodikkaval.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Srirangam

Bhattars and Parijarakars lived amidst Snakes and Skeletons at this temple till the 1970s   
Will the Srirangam temple authorities run a shuttle service everyday to this temple?
Period in the 1970s and 80s was a dangerous one at ‘Kaattu’ Azhagiya Singar Koil, the temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha, east of the Srirangam Railway Station. It was a dense forest. No one dared to go there.

Venkatesa Iyengar has been the cook at the Madapalli for the last 35 years. He is also the Manian 
(Time Keeper) at the temple. 

His father late Srinivasa Iyengar had been performing similar service at the temple for several decades since the early 1940s.  Each day, he would walk all the way from Therku Vaasal in Srirangam (from near the Ranga Ranga Gopuram) to Kaattu Azhagiya Singar temple crossing the then old fashioned Srirangam Railway Station. Past the railway line it was a small muddy one way path with big thick bushes on either side.
Snakes and Reptiles and Skeletons too!!!
In addition to housing Lord Azhagiya Singar, the temple played home to venomous snakes, Udumbu and deadly big Scorpions. Similar to the twin temples of Erettai Tirupathi in Nava Tirupathi (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2017/02/erettai-tirupathi-transformation.html), the prakara here too was filled with bushes and one could hear the hissing snakes.  

Rarely would a devotee visit the temple in those days.  The moment they informed about leaving for a darshan of the Lord at Kaattu Azhagiya Singar temple, the residents of Srirangam would caution them and the trip would usually end up being cancelled. Only the real brave ones and the die-hard Narasimha devotees and those that had serious problems to contend with in life dared to venture into this area.

There were no utsavams at the temple. Up till the 1970s, there were no houses in the area. The temple was flanked by a burial ground in the North and green fields in the East and South. There were no lights anywhere in the vicinity of the temple. The only noise came from the Steam engines that passed through the Srirangam station. There were even skeletons seen around this ancient temple that pre dates the Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam.

Between the two rivers
In ancient times, this Kshetram was referred to as Velli Thirumutham. Only much later, after the construction of the Ranganatha temple, this place came to be called Thiruvarangam. Lord Narasimha is seen in a seated posture facing the West (towards Srirangam Ranganatha temple) with Lakshmi to his left.

Surrounded by the two rivers on either side, Cauvery to the South and Coloroon to the North, and inhabited only by the rishis and their families, wild animals would attack the families of the rishis and consume them for a meal. While the rishis had the power to burn the animals just by their looks, they would not forego the fruits of their penance by killing these wild animals. Instead they undertook a more severe form of penance invoking the blessings of Lord Narasimha.

Pleased with their prayers, Lord Narasimha appeared here providing darshan to these rishis. As per their request, he stayed here with Goddess Lakshmi protecting the lives of all those who offer their sincere prayers at this place. As the Lord appeared here in the middle of a forest and stayed back to protect the devotees, the Lord came to be called ‘Kaattu’ Azhagiya Singar.

Namperumal’s Annual trip on Vijayadasami
The big day in the year was on Vijayadasami when Lord Namperumal made his annual trip to this temple. Ahead of his visit, a hereditary community near the burial ground would clean the path and clear the bushes to make way for the Lord. There would be a few devotees who would come along with the Lord on this day from Srirangam.

A Financially Difficult Life
As the Manian, in charge of the temple service and poojas, Venkatesan was not able to give even 25paise a day to the archakas for their service ‘We would literally beg for a small quantity of Ghee to light the lamp at the temple. It was also a difficult task to secure even 50gms of Manjal - Such was the state of the temple till the 80s!!!’ 

'I would walk around the temple complex to the fields to sell the prasadam as lunch to the farmers in the afternoon to make some money for our daily survival.' 


Despite the financially stressed life, Srinivasa Iyengar’s consistent message to his son throughout his childhood was to give positive messages to devotees who came to the Lord with problems and to create the belief that the Lord would take care of them if they invoked his blessings with sincere devotion ‘It is our duty to make them happy when they are here at the temple.’

Infrastructure Improvement from the 80s
Things began improving from the late 80s. A Tar Road was created east of the railway station. Street Lights were installed. A few houses were built.

Into this century, with increased ‘devotion’, this entire region has been transformed. As with the modern flats on the Melur Road, West of Srirangam, this location East of Srirangam too has seen a number of new constructions. The green fields have been replaced by modern apartments.  There are no sign of bushes anymore.

For the new gen, it would be difficult to believe that this entire region around the temple was a forest area and the domain of animals just a few decades ago. 

Bus Service from Srirangam?
The devotee crowd is much better but constraints remain. Not all those who visit Srirangam come to this ancient temple.  There are no bus facilities to the temple. The authorities at the Ranganathaswamy temple could run an hourly shuttle service between these two temples. In fact, the authorities could also look to run at least a weekend service from Srirangam to all the nearby Divya Desams covering Thiruvellarai, Uthamar Koil, Anbil, Koviladi and Uraiyur.

It still remains a difficult task to visit all these Divya Desams in one go given the lack of public transport facilities connecting each of these temples. It is hoped that the authorities will take action to facilitate this for the devotees visiting Srirangam.

The temple is open between 6.15am and 12noon and between 5pm and 8pm. There are special poojas and Thirumanjanam organised every month on the Swathi Nakshatram and Prathosham days. Also, Saturday is an auspicious day to visit this temple.


Contact Manian and Madapalli Chief Venkatesan @ 81447 21248

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Srirangam Namperumal Vijayadasami Procession

When Lord Namperumal stood waiting at the entrance for 1 ½ hours for the sake of Puratasi Devotees 
The Lure of the Rs. 250 ticket Collection does it again at the Srirangam temple
September has been a great month financially at the Lord Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam. And the HR & CE authorities are sure to be delighted!!! 

However, the big marketing exercise in recent decades of darshan on a Puratasi Saturday took its toll on Lord Namperumal, the Utsava Processional deity at the Srirangam temple. Having picked up an unexpectedly huge collection of over Rs. 2 crores during the fortnight of the earlier non- existent festival of Cauvery Pushkaram (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2017/09/srirangam-krishna-jayanthi_16.html), the Rs. 250 counter at the temple saw a huge queue once again yesterday Saturday (Sept 30).

With the Vijayadasami day coinciding this year with the Puratasai 2nd Saturday, it was going to be a tall order for the temple authorities to manage the return of Namperumal from his annual trip to Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2009/07/kaattu-azhagiya-singar-srirangam.html) and the big crowd that was witnessed through the day at the Ranganatha Swamy temple to have darshan of the Moolavar.

And clearly authorities showed where their priorities lay.

Four Hour Procession 
In the morning, Namperumal began his annual trip to Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil half hour early (as against the scheduled time of 630 am) to facilitate the Moolavar darshan (a big crowd had already gathered outside the Arya Bhattal Vaasal).

After his routine stop over at many places on the way including at the Srirangam Girls High School, Lord Namperumal reached Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil at 10 am. 
After the devotees had had darshan through the day till 5 pm, the Bhattars began the special alankara for the evening. 

An hour later, he rode out in a majestic princely posture atop the Golden Horse Vahana to destroy the negative evil forces at the ‘Vanni Maram’ with his arrows much to the delight of the devotees. 

Expanded Railway Station forces a change in processional route
Through the whole of the 20th Century, Lord Namperumal rode back on the Horse Vahana through the Srirangam Station. However with the recent expansion of the station into four platforms this annual route has now been blocked and the Lord had to make his way through the railway gate at the far Northern end of Srirangam. 

Wide Range of Flower Garland
By 7pm, Lord Namperumal was all set to enter the Saathara Veethi, the wholesale flower market of Srirangam/ Trichy. 

Usually the action in the street begins only at 11 pm but this was one day in the year when the Lord of Srirangam provides darshan to each of the flower vendors and the entire street was abuzz with expectation of a grand entry of the Lord on the Horse Vahana.
In a welcoming gesture to Lord Namperumal, they had decked up the entire street with a wide range of garlands comprising of different varieties of flowers that they use round the year for the various festivals of the Lord. It is the ‘Saathaanis’ that work tirelessly through the year to make relevant garland for the Lord and Thaayar.  

Every house had a special garland to showcase - the mix of flowers both in terms of the quantity and the variety, the shape and design of the garland - each had a distinctive feel to it. As the Lord passed each of the flower vendors, he was delighted to find a very different garland. 

Each of the residents savoured with devotion the presence of Lord Namperumal for over an hour last evening at their doorstep. 


A Long 90 minute wait for Namperumal
Just after 815 pm, Lord Namperumal made his way back into the temple through the Therku Vaasul. He had had a long day out – a four hour procession in the morning and now over a 2 hour trip from the Kaattu Azhagiya Singar temple and there was a Thirumanjanam to cool him down. However, he was in for a rude shock.
With crowd thronging the temple on the 2nd Saturday of Puratasi to have darshan of the Moolavar deity, Lord Namperumal had to wait patiently outside the Ranga Vilas Mandapam for an hour and a half. Unlike most other Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu, where the Lord is placed on stools during stopovers, in Srirangam, the Lord is carried continuously on their shoulders by the Sri Patham Thangis right till the time he is back at his abode.
  
Srirangam Temple Joint Commissioner Pon Jayaraman made his way to the entrance of ‘Therku Vaasal’ at around 9 pm to have a darshan of Namperumal and went back quietly as the Rs. 250 tickets continued to be issued near the Arya Bhattal Vaasal. It did not occur to him that it was not appropriate to make the Lord wait this long almost outside the temple!!!!

It was well after 9.30pm when the Moolavar darshan was closed for the day by which time Lord Namperumal had stood for well over an hour at the entrance of the temple awaiting the green signal to be allowed entry back into his abode. However, relief came to the Lord only at 945 pm.

The Vethals / Sri Patham Thangis had shown remarkable patience to shoulder the Lord for 90 minutes standing stationary in front of the Ranga Vilas Mandapam. 
Rarely in the history of the temple has Lord Namperumal been insulted thus being made to wait at the entrance of the temple. The temple Manian ( the time keeper of the temple activities/ festivals), who is now a Government employee, was helpless as he kept checking through the hour for updates from the Arya Bhattal Vaasal if the Moolavar darshan was closed for the evening. And it just seem a never ending exercise for he received a 'No' through till 9.30 pm. 

Many of the devotees who accompanied the Lord during the procession wondered as to why the Lord was made to stand in one place for this long, especially at the entrance of the temple.

The lure of Rs. 250 collections and boosting the kitty has now become far more important and it does seem okay to even make the Lord stand outside for over an hour. It almost seemed on the night that the Lord was 'seeking' permission to be allowed back to his abode but the authorities stood firm as the collections through Rs. 250 tickets reached unprecedented levels on the evening.

Finally he reached the Santanu Mandapam at 10.15 pm and the Thirumanjanam went on till well past midnight before Lord Namperumal went back to his abode at 2am!!!! What a long day and night for the Lord!!!