Our Recent Temple tours

Part 1: Kukke Subramanya and Dharmasthala:

To see all the pics we took during Kukke Subramanya trip,  click here

We had been planing to visit Kukke Subramanya swamy temple from the last year , One: because it is our ‘family deity'( Kula daiva, mane devaru ) and then Secondly we wished to see and enjoy the scenery in a leisurely train journey.

We started off from Bengaluru-Yeswantpur Raiway station at 07.30 am in late May by Train which has been newly introduced to benefit many eager and grateful travelers like us ,as the train passes through some of the most beautiful lush green hills from Sakaleshpur down to Subramanya (TR No 16515-Yesvantpur-Mangalore Exp).

From Hassan onward, the nature in its lush green luxury beckons you and exhilarates you; It is a certain break from the routine humdrum of City life.The only complaint you have is on the total lack of catering on this train,  a ‘day train’  is expected to provide, .. Absolutely no  proper lunch is available during lunch time even at Hassan or Sakaleshpur ( between 12 to 2 pm) and you are left to make do with some Puliyogare or curd rice available in limited quantities on the platforms…Pack something at early morning from Bengaluru if you can!
But then, that apart, you have no time to complain on hunger as nature feeds you  abundantly with some spectacular shots of ghat section often whisking through 40-odd tunnels en route…Many co-passengers including my children spent most of the time at the door of the bogie happily clicking away on their Cameras…

The train reaches Subramanya Road station by 4.30 pm .You can take share jeep service( Rs 25/ per head) which we used to reach Kukke Subramanya town. Taxis are available for those who need it..The jeep too passes through some lovely curvy gentle hill roads in the 20 odd minutes it takes to reach the temple town..Really Nice!

As we had booked our room in advance at SLR Residency, a decent and comfortable hotel ( Rents from 500/- onwards), we relaxed for some time and went over to the temple.
We had a beautiful evening darshan of the Lord..There is an elephant there too which does various tricks the mahout has taught, and entertains the young devotees.

Free Dinner is served from 8 pm or so , usually there is a long queue for public, and a small exclusive Dining room for Seva karthas and Guests. Of course, the same simple tasty meal is served everywhere…
After the meal, outside on the small shanty shops,you either buy some knick-knacks , souvenirs for back home and friends.. Or just go back to room and hit the sack..Usually you need to get up early in temple towns anyway, esp if you have a packed schedule, so sleeping early is not a bad idea at all…..
Next morning , wake early, get dressed and munch on some tasty Idly-vada dipping in Mangalore sweet sambaar in the Hotel( How different from the spicy, unsweetened Chennai sambaar!), swallow Mangalore bajjis if you will and then leave for the rest of Kukke subramanya darshan..

The Adi subramanya temple in the backyard accessed through a small winding road, then visit Kukke mutt and the Samputa Narasimha swamy temple on the external fringe of the main temple, visit the Sthala Devi (Hosaligamma ) temple and we embarked on the next visit- the famed Dharmasthala some 70 Kms by road..We opted to take a separate taxi for 4 of the family considering at the rush for Bus, and time limits we had before starting back that night…
The roads to Dharmasthala are undoubtedly lovely, dotted with green winding landscapes and gentle hills , the journey being not at all serious to cause any travel-sickness..

You reach the holy town after nearly 1.5 hours travel..We got ourselves, special darshan tickets at Rs 200 each ( Children like my daughter below 12 yrs exempted) and had a very quick and satisfying darshan of Lord Manjunatha swamy. The famous  free mass feeding at the huge Lunch hall, which has created some records in the genre, is an awe-inspiring scene and the food is simple and tasty and served at jet speed!..
oh, WOW! Thumbs up for the efficiency!

We returned soon after and managed to have a leisurely Evening darshan at Subramanya and left for catching the night train back to Bengaluru. (16518 Yeswantpur Exp at 9.50 pm)
 This train is alright too, you spend the night asleep after being tired, but it reaches Bengaluru a little later, 7.30-ish, coming through Mysore route

All in all, a wonderful trip to the family deity in the hills..!

Part 2: Temples around Chennai

On an impulse , more because of a personal need, I undertook two temple visits today, two ancient, holy and splendid temples in the suburbs of Chennai…

Here is the travelogue: with titles  linked to their detailed websites!

1. Pozhichalur Agatheeswarar Temple,  where Moolavar being Lord Shiva, with Shanishwara also being worshiped here…
2. Thiruneermalai Neervannan Perumal temple near Pammal, where the Lord Vishnu as Rama avatar presides…

To see all the pics of the two Chennai temples above,  click here
1.Agatheeswarar temple

I had head that the first ancient holy shrine is well known in TN as ‘Vada Thirunallar’ or as the ‘second, mini Shani shrine’ of which is there near Karaikal, Puducherry!

I took a Local train trip from Guindy station to Pallavaram, the nearest rail head. From there I haggled with an Auto-rickshaw driver that I needed a Round trip from the Station to these two temples and back to the station..He came up with a figure which as a Chennaiite, I felt was in order and hopped into the auto-rickshaw.

The winding dusty roads across the other side of  GST Highway lead to Pozhichalur a non-descript residential area near Pammal. You get off near the seemingly inoccuous Temple entrance without much fanfare or teeming vendors..( Again today being a working day!)

The Lord Shivan is being worshiped a a Medium sized Black stone swayambu- (self evolved) Lingam ..Being a working day, 9.30 am, there were hardly anyone and I had the priest to all by myself. The Shaniswarar faces opposite to the main deity ( who is facing East) and Thayar Aananthavalli faces South.
 After participating in the Ashtottaram to both Shivan and Shani, I came out to visit  the small shrine of Hanuman..
I recited Hanuman chalisa there and prayed.

That’s it and I hop back into the Autorickshaw for the second leg of the journey.

We move through some more winding small dusty roads in Pammal and come up bang in front of a fairly green field and small hill with  two newly painted temple gopurams atop it shining in bright sunshine..Oh, you do not expect such sights anywhere in Chennai’s flat terrain!( except maybe St Thomas mount)… So I was pleasantly surprised and clicked a photo.

The temple at the bottom is Neervanna Perumal temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu who showed himself in Rama avatar and I heard the sthala puranam from the nice vaadhyar there in chaste Tamil..I did manage to get the gist of it.. ( You can read it in the linked website above anyway!)…The Lord’s idol is lovely, medium sized and decked up in bright silks and sparkling jewels..Some sight that!… I witnessed ashtottaram and Mangalarathi…

There are two small temples for Thayar and Lord Rama too, but being a working day 10.30 am, both were locked, but had grills , so I did manage to have some darshan there too..

On coming out you see long flights of red and white painted stone steps leading up the hill…to Lord Narasimha and Ranganatha temples which I had seen from a distance en route. But I lost my confidence learning thare were 200padi( steps) and today being a rather hot sweaty day nearing noon,  I did not venture to go up but prayed to the deities from below and left back to Pallavaram Station , to return home..

 I had consumed some 3.5 hours totally ( 8 am to 11.30am) , all the way back..So that’s how long it takes from the heart of Chennai to these two temples..Worth visiting for devotees of Lord Shiva, Shani and Vishnu in and around Chennai..


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