adiyen had an wonderful time visiting as many as 40 divya desams during June,July 2003 during my vacation. A brief note about my experiences has been described below.
Our divya desa yatra has commenced on 26th June four days after our landing at chennai. One thing to be noted here. We did not visit all the divya desams listed below in one round trip. We have planned many 2 or 3 day trips covering few divya desams during each trip. Good amount of time was spent at each temple. Thirumanjanam was performed at many divya desams. Before that on 22nd itself we went to the newly renovated Srinivasa perumal koil at Medavakkam. This temple was 400 years old it seems and recently it was renovated with the help of local public. There are sannidhis for Perumal, Thayar, Ramar, Krishnar, Sudarshanar, adhi varahar, lakshmi narasimhar and the temple is located away from the crowded town in a calm and quite surrounding. This is the first temple we have visited during this trip.
Fortunately on 26th morning our aaththu vadhdhiyar came home to discuss about the proposed sudarshana homam which was performed on 5th July. Adiyen took the opportunity to do yatra danam with his help and then commenced our trip.
Our first trip was to Sholingur. Every year during the month of November we used to perform thirumanjanam to Narasimhar Thayar and Anjenya. This time we thought of doing it during our visit itself so that we can also see and enjoy the thirumanjanam. Thirumanjanam is performed at Periya malai for narasimha and thayar only on Fridays and for Anjeneyar at chinna malai on Sundays only. It may be noted that the peria malai is bit steep and only by foot devotees can go up. All the required materials for the thirumanjanam have to be taken from down including water. So the devastanam has fixed these days but in any one is desirous of doing it on any other day then additional money have to be paid for making arrangements.
Till last year, my parents-in laws were living in Sholingur at the foothill of the chinna malai, which used to be very convenient for having good darshan after to rest (after having good lunch) after our tiring walk to the hilltop. But now the things have been changed. There is severe water scarcity in Sholingar esp near the temples and my in laws were forced to move out after the only water source called sanjeevi thirtham is also dried up last summer. Making deep bore wells also did not help, as the area is fully rockey and no sign of water even after 100 meter it appears.
Anyway that is history. Sri Govindan (who is doing madappalli kaimkaryam at chinna malai) who has purchased our in law’s home and converted it as a chaththiram for pilgrims to stay, (of course no guarntee for water) gave us a room with fan in the new chaththiram. Although the peak summer is gone, being a rocky place the house was like a furnace and the ceiling fan only makes it worse. Living there for two days eating only prasadam was a task by itself. The sad part is that there is no water in the thattan kulam, which never used to go dry. This year summer seems to be the worse on and the pilgrims are really struggling to bathe and drink without water.
On 27th we have started climbing the peria malai at about 5.30 AM and it was so nice to walk breathing fresh air in a calm atmosphere. The monkeys were still asleep so we could walk without any fear. They used to be a terror to me and every time they snatch my bag while climbing.
The thirumanjanam for Thayar has commenced around 7 AM and it was very pleasing to the eyes enjoyed it from very close quarters. Sri Raja swami who is the descendants of famous Sri Dhottachar swamy’s family was there and adiyen joined the gosthi reciting pancha suktam etc. His rendering of Thirumanjana gadyam for Sri Yoga nrusimha was a treat to listen. It contained many Upanishad passages and divya prabandham lines. It was very different from the one, which is recited in Thiruallikkeni. We have also offered new vastrams to Perumal and Thayar and the alankaram (saththupadi) was simply superb. We finally left the temple around 10 AM after partaking prasadams offered after thirumanjanam. Sri Raja swami was talking to us freely and he was indeed surprised to hear about the satsangh activities overseas in Gulf and USA. Sadly there are only few adhyabhakas in Sholingur today. He also invited for the proposed samprokshanam of Sri Varadarajar sannidhi at the banks of Thattan kuLam.( adiyen could not make it since it was on 13th July and adiyen wanted to attend the chaturmasya sankalpa utsavam of Srimad Azhagiya singar).
There is an interesting story behind this varadarajar sannidhi. Every year Sri Dhottachchar swami used to go to Kanchipuram for Garuda sevai. During his old age, once he was bathing in the thattan kulam at Sholingur and lamenting for his inability to attend the garuda sevai at Kanchi. Lo and behold! The Kanchi Varada gave darshan to Swami at the banks of Thattan kulam itself and it seems that the devotees in Kanchi could not see perumal during that time. To remember this event, even today Dhottahchchar sevai is performed at kanchi. This swami is an ardent bhakta of Swami Desika and he has written a work called Chanda marutham on the basis of sri desika’s Sata dhushani. Now there is a Varadarajar sannidhi at the banks of thattan kulam, where the Lord gave darshan to Sri Dhottachchar swami.
In the evening, we went to the temple inside the town and being Friday, there was Andal purappadu. Since the Thayar is residing at Peria malai itself the utsavams are performed for Andal. The prabandham goshti (3 persons) sang Siriya thirumadal and it was a so melodious. Since we are only used to see the book at recite, we are unable to participate in goshtis where we are permitted to join.adiyen feels that atleast the important parts of Divya prabandham should be memorised.
Next day we went to chinna malai and thirumanjanam was performed for Anjeneya. Since there was little crowd at that time (around 11AM) we could have peaceful darshan there. But here the monkeys are freely wandering inside the sannidhi also. One has to be very watchful with our offerings like flower and fruits because in a minute, the monkeys snatch it. Finally we came down at 12 Noon and immediately left the place for chennai. The twoday trip was memorable indeed and although adiyen has visited this temple many times earlier, this time adiyen enjoyed it throughly.
If any one of you wants to visit this divya desam, adiyen can arrange for stay and good darshan. Although you could cover this divya desam in one day visiting both chinna and peria malai in the morning and the temple in side the town in the evening, it will be hectic.
adiyen will continue my experiences to other divya desams in my next