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Old 10th January 2016, 19:06   #16
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Default re: Travelogue: 71 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
+1 to DrVjy. What a thread indeed! People find it impossible to visit even famous ones around this region! And here he is looking at all the unknown ones. Forget the ones opened. He even calls the folks to open the closed ones, so that he can have a darshan! Great going indeed!

Looking forward to many more.

A couple of years back, I went around this region, but only visited the known ones (I mean the ones I know! ).

That included: Alagudi, Thittai, Thingaloor, Periya Kovil, Thirunallar Thiruvengadu, Keezhaperumpallam, Chavvai, Suryanaar, Kanjanoor, Gopalapuram, Thirunageshwaram, Uppiliappan, Swami Malai, Samayapuram, Thirupattur, Srirangam, Rock Fort and Thiruvanai Kaval.

(Basically we did the Navagraha circuit and saw some more which came on the way).

Some pending ones include: Chidambaram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darsuram, Peralam, Thiuvarur and some temples in Kumbakonam.



Dear Ampere,

Man plans, God disposes. It is just divine grace that has helped and worked through this trip, enabling us to implement to visit the Divya Desams and temples as per our plan.

You have already penned down the temples you want to visit and it will soon manifest. My best wishes to you for your forthcoming trips and I hope this travelogue helps in your planning.
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Old 10th January 2016, 19:13   #17
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Originally Posted by DrVjy View Post
I am struck by your perseverance and energy, sir. At 7pm, I would have began to call it a day, but you have begun another leg of 76 km from KalAzhagar to Srivilliputtur!

Would be great if you could also share info on road conditions, veg hotels, petrol bunks, etc. Thanks.

We had a target plan for each day that is what kept us moving.

Yes, I agree with you that by evening we normally intend to call it a day as we have been up by 4:00 am on all days without an exception.

Since this plan was a hectic plan with not much buffer time, every hour that we could stretch will give us more quality time to be spent at the temple.
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Old 10th January 2016, 19:15   #18
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Default re: Travelogue: 71 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

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Originally Posted by vittal View Post
You have already penned down the temples you want to visit and it will soon manifest. My best wishes to you for your forthcoming trips and I hope this travelogue helps in your planning.
Very true. Another circuit which I would love to do is Namakkal/Tirunelveli/Sriviliputtur and come back to Madurai before heading back home. Of course one just cant have enough of Madurai. I really get addicted to the beautiful temple architecture.

(Hence the reason for me to visit Gangaikonda Cholapuram (GKC) and Darasuram. I found out quite late that not only Periya Kovil (Tanjore), but even GKC is a UNESCO heritage property.

And yes Thirupullani is another temple which I love for its location.
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Old 10th January 2016, 19:18   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindrider2626 View Post
Kudos to you for making this trip.Having visited some of these temples, i know how difficult it is to make out the itinerary.In these times, when most people do not find time to visit these religious places, the effort taken by you and your wife is commendable.May god bless you both with health and prosperity.Looking forward for the rest of the thread.

Thanks vindrider for your kind words.

I spent lots of time in the planning phase and to find out about the temple, its location and matching name on google maps, cumulative distances, stay options.

It goes without saying about the excellent support from my wife on these trips which encourages me to plan for the next when we return !!

As we get up quite early each morning, I get to rest for an hour each day while my wife takes on the wheels and drives. As you know its not easy to drive in the highways and remote places with not so good roads, its quite helpful to get an extended supported from my wife.

Quote:
Originally Posted by itzvicky201 View Post
Mind boggling travelogue. It is also mine and wifey's dream to do all your pilgrimage trips. Have no further words to say. Can you pm me your number? Will need to speak to you to know your travel itineraries for your pilgrimage trips.

Hi ItzVicky,

My best wishes to you on all your trips and may God fulfill your dreams.

More than happy to share the information that will benefit you to travel to these places.

Last edited by ampere : 10th January 2016 at 20:05. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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Old 10th January 2016, 19:53   #20
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Day 7: 30-Dec-2015 (Wednesday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 173 Km (Sri Vaikuntam to Nagercoil)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 3 Divya desams and Thiruchchendur, Suchindram
  • Places visited – Tiruchchendur, Tirunelvelli, Nagercoil
  • Hotel Stay at – Nagercoil



108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-7-sri-villiputhur-nagercoil.jpg
Day 7 – route map from Sri Villiputhur to Nagercoil, covering Divya Desams

  1. Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple, Tiruchchendur. From Sri Vaikuntam we drove to Tiruchchendur, distance 33 Km. We had an early start from Sri Vaikuntam as usual. Thiruchendur is one of the Aaru Padai Veedu temple of Lord Subrahmanya. We could not cover earlier when we visited with our parents and this being very close to Divya Desam we decided to have darshan of Subramanya swamy. I am yet to take my parents to visit this temple and need to plan it separately (My mother kept reminding me that we are yet to take her to this temple).

    Though there was lots of people and crowd in the temple, today we had lovely darshan of Tiruchendur Murugan, the sea shore temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0625.jpg



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0612.jpg

    One of the Aaru Padai Veedu – Tiruchendur Murugan




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    Lots of people at the temple beach – this photo taken early in the morning at 7:00 am after having our darshan



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    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0635.jpg
    Palm Kazhangu being sold at the beach, the lady mentioned that it is sweet to taste, we did not dare try it out early in the morning, so just clicked a pic.



  2. Thiruvaramangai Vaanamaamalai (Nanguneri) - Sri Thothatrinatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 99). From Tiruchchendur we drove down to Thiruvaramangai Vaanamaamalai (Nanguneri), a distance of 64 Km.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0637.jpg

    Not so good roads that we traveled in the morning


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0647.jpg

  3. Thirukkurungudi - Sri Nindra Nambi Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 105). From Thiruvaramangai Vaanamaamalai we drove to Thirukkurungudi, a distance of 15 Km.

    It is sad to see the state near some of the Divya Desam temples specifically those in the villages which are not visited by many devotees that the watchman and temple cleaners do ask the devotees for some tips, as we enter or leave the temple. We also found a young lady seemed well dressed also ask for money to do kainkaryam or offering to the lord and to have tea. This has happened many times in these temples, that it distracts us from worship also as they follow us around the temple with some pretext until you part with money. Instead of having our energies and focus on the Perumal, we start wondering what will follow us in the next temple premises and what challenge we will face outside the temple. I wish the situation improves in these temples and we are allowed to pray peacefully in these temples.




    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0657.jpg
    We ate Tirunelveli halwa – is too smooth and ghee oozing from it. We just tasted small bit each – too much calories but yeah… thrill of tasting original cuisine from its place of origin.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0660.jpg

    During our Lunch, we were also told by a fellow traveler that it takes almost 5 hours to reach Trivandrum in the evening and preferably avoid travelling from Nagercoil in the evening due to heavy traffic and the highway was narrow. The normal time taken is around 2:30 hrs during early morning or in the afternoon. It happened the same way with us and we decided to stay back at Nagercoil and leave early next morning to Trivandraum (Kerala).


  4. Suchindram Thanumalayan Temple. From Thirukkurungudi we drove to Pattiswaram temple and found it to be closed. So went to have our lunch at Arya Bhavan, Nagercoil wherein the owner is a follower of Isha foundation. It was a nice ambience in the hotel and the food served was satvik, good cuisine and we had proper full meals lunch. We also found heavy traffic in Nagercoil. After we had lunch, we went to Suchindram. We had conversations with fellow travelers and devotees waiting there while the temple was opened at 4pm. We went around the praharam and saw the musical pillars (if you bang these pillars, the Saptaswara or each of the 7 notes are produced in these pillars) and darshan of 22 ft hanuman. We recited hanuman chalisa in front of the idol. In the temple we found lots of tourists coming from Kanniyakumari & other nearby locations.

    While we waited for the Thanumalayan Shiva sanctum to open my wife sang a few shiva songs “Bho Shambo” in Raga Revati, a composition of Sri Dayananda Saraswasthi. Also a few other compositons of dikshitar and Thyagaraja. It was a peaceful darshan.

  5. Thiruvanparisaaram (Nagercoil) - Sri Kuralappa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 76). After having Hanuman darshan at Suchindram, we then came back to Pattiswaran temple and found traffic jam on the way. We thought it would be clear when we return back. After having darshan when we reached that place, we were told that the axle of a truck had broken down on the bridge, blocking the road and hence the movement of traffic was restricted. It took us almost an hour to travel this 1 km through traffic jam.


We wanted to go to Thiruvattaru but due to the long wait for an hour at the traffic jam, we decided to check into a hotel and reached Sree Krishnnaa Inn at Nagercoil by 7:20pm. We wanted to go to Arya bhavan but as it was far we had dinner at Gowrishankar, near the bus stand.


Today we did less number of temples than initially planned due to evening traffic jam at Nagercoil and staying here. We took lots of scenic route photos enroute in the interiors of TamilNadu.


We then retired to sleep for the day after our planning for the next day with an excitement to travel to Kerala by road for the first time ever. The excitement of entering God’s own country on our vehicle kept our energy levels high.
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Old 10th January 2016, 21:28   #21
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Great trip and nice clicks. Also proud to say my native place Moozhikulam (thiru Moozhikulam) in Kerala which houses Sri laxmana temple is one among 108 divya desam
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Old 10th January 2016, 21:40   #22
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Day 8: 31-Dec-2015 (Thursday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance traveled during the day – 244 Km (Nagercoil, Trivandrum, Chengenur)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 6 (2 Divya desams in the morning and 4 Divya desams in the evening)
  • Places visited – Nagercoil, Trivandrum, Chengennur
  • Hotel Stay at – Hotel Raj International, Chengennur


The previous day we met few locals who were mentioning about the traffic jam, narrow roads from Nagercoil to Trivandrum. They suggested that the best time to travel is either early morning or in the afternoon otherwise it could take about 4 to 5 hours. We planned to start early in the morning around 5am.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-8-route-map-nagercoil-chengannur.jpg

Day 8 Route Map - Nagercoil to Chengannur


  1. Thiru Vattaaru (Marthandam) - Sri Aadhikesava Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 84). From Nagercoil hotel we drove to Aadhikesava Perumal, a distance of 29 Km which took us almost an hour. We started from Nagercoil at 5:20 am and reached Thiru Vattaaru at 6:15 am. We had the darshan of utsavar as the temple was under renovation and the moolavar idol was being built. Though the temple is in Tamilnadu, being in the borders of Kerala this temple has influence of Kerala both in architecture style, the offerings, Pooja being performed and chandanam given as prasadam to devotees. The low roof temple had tiles and not gopurams as commonly seen in various Divya Desams temples in Tamilnadu.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0682.jpg

    The board at the temple Thiru Vattaaru of Perumal and temple timings.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0683.jpg





    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0690.jpg
    The sign board welcoming us as we entered into Kerala today at 7:00 in the morning.




    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0699.jpg

    As we entered Kerala, it was breakfast time and finding a pure vegetarian restaurant in Kerala seemed a big task. Finally we found one restaurant near Krishna temple at Neyyatinkara and had Aapam for breakfast.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0701.jpg


  2. Thiruvananthapuram - Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Divya Desam no. 75). From Thiru Vattaaru we drove to Padmanabhaswamy temple a distance of 47 Km, reached the temple at 8:00 am and found that the parking was 300 mts away. We parked our vehicle in the devaswon parking lot, walked down to the temple. We found there were lots of commercial vehicles coming from other nearby tourists spots. At the temple they didn’t allow us to take the mobile phones etc. inside the temple premises and we submitted the same at the temple cloak room. Again there in another round of checks when we enter the temple premises wherein the carry bags are opened and people are sent back if they are in possession of headphones or umbrella. There was a long queue at the entrance and they told us to go via the northern gate which did not have queue. We stood in the queue and realized that it was a ticketed queue and we bought the ticket for Rs150 (for a family of 2). Probably this is the 1st Kerala temple we are seeing which has ticketed queue but this is a common practice in other state temples. We even noticed that couple of the people were trying to cut the queue. It took us over an hour to have darshan in this paid queue. After the darshan we took prasadam from the counter.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0705.jpg
    Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram



    From Trivandrum to Chengannur is 123 Km and we happened to take the highway and found heavy traffic with jams etc. Usually it takes 2:30 hours as per google map whereas for us it took almost 5 hours. Although scenic green and beautiful Kerala, we realized roads were narrow with ups, downs, twists and curves.


    On the way we were recommended to have lunch at a vegetarian restaurant Suprabhatam whose ambience was nice but the hospitality was not upto the mark. They told us that they would serve satvik food but both the food quality specifically Chapati and dal was very bad and to our surprise the food was not satvik and hence felt cheated.


    We had pazham pori or banana bajji on the way and drove down to Changannur. We also had Chen Kadali banana which was filling and sweet and had a distinct taste.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-8b-route-map-divya-desams-covered-chengannur.jpg
    Day 8 Route Map - Chengannur Divya Desams covered in afternoon


  3. Thirupuliyoor (Chengannur) - Sri Maayapiran Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 79). We then drove to Chengannur and arrived here at 3:00 to realise that the temple opens only at 5pm. We then decided to check into a hotel at Chengannur, Raj Intl which was about 5km from this temple location. We then freshened. We came back here at 7:30 pm after visiting other temples of the day to realise that the temple closes at 7pm. We then enquired that the temple opens at 5:00 in the morning. We had two visits to this temple today and had to wait for next day to have Perumal darshan.

  4. Thiruvaaran Vilai (Aranmulla Temple) - Sri Parthasarathy Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 87). We then drove down from the hotel to Aranmulla. The temple was so peaceful. The beauty in the temple is that there is nobody to disturb you and one can pray in peace. We found this to be drastic difference in the Tamilnadu Divya Desams visited and the Divya desams of Kerala as there was silence, systematic counters for pushpanjali and archana etc at this temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0715.jpg
    Thiruvaaran Vilai - Aranmulla Temple

  5. Thirucchenkundroor (Chengannur) - Sri Imayavarappa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 80). From Thiruvaaran Vilai we drove to Thirucchenkundroor a distance of 11 Km. Here the pooja is performed only for moolavar. Today the Perumal had flower alangaram. We found there were only 2 people in the temple. A very beautiful temple with the pond in front and an arch of the temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0717.jpg

    Thrichittattu Mahavishnu Temple or Thirucchenkundroor at Chengannur

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0726.jpg



  6. Thiruvanvandoor (Chengannur) - Sri Paambanaiyappa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 93). From Thrichittattu Mahavishnu Temple we drove to Thiruvanvandoor Pambanaiappan Temple a distance of 5 Km.



    After having darshan, we returned back and had curd rice for dinner at Hotel Arya, a pure vegetarian restaurant.
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Old 10th January 2016, 23:25   #23
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Day 9: 01-Jan-2016 (Friday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 160 Km (Chengannur to Kalady)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 6 (3 Divya desams in the morning and 3 in the evening)
  • Places visited – Chengannur, Chottanikara, Thirukkaatkarai, Near Cochin, Kalady
  • Hotel Stay at – Kalady



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Day 9 Route Map - Chengannur to Thrikkakkara

  1. 3rd attempt of Thirupuliyoor (Chengannur) - Sri Maayapiran Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 79). From our hotel we left for Thirupuliyoor a distance of 4 Km. Early in the morning we made our 3rd attempt to visit the temple and yes!, it was open. We had a very good darshan on Perumal and the aarti and theertam energized us. We had teertham and chandanam which was given with the techhi, mandaram and tulasi.


  2. Thiruvalvaazh (Thiruvalla) - Sri Kolapira Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 82). From Thirupuliyoor we drove down to Thiruvalla a distance of 13 Km. The previous day at Thirupuliyoor, we met a group of pilgrims from NCR who were on Divya Desam tour only of Kerala. They mentioned that Thiruvalla closed at 8:30 am due to which they missed the darshan of Perumal the previous day. We made sure we reach early and had a lovely darshan in the morning.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20160101_063815.jpg

    Thiruvalvaazh (Thiruvalla) temple


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20160101_064007.jpg


  3. Thirukkadithaanam (Changanassery) - Sri Athpudha Narayana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 86). From Thiruvalla we drove down to Thirukkadithaanam a distance of 9 Km.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8869.jpg
    Thrikodithanam Temple


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20160101_073011.jpg
    Inside Thrikodithanam Temple


    We did not get a vegetarian restaurant in the morning and we bought bread from one of the Bakery. We were carrying Jam and butter so were safe to have bread for breakfast.


  4. Sri Chottanikara Bhagavathi Temple. From Thrikodithanam we drove to Chottanikara a distance of 74 Km. We found a long queue for darshan at the temple. We met a lady from Tripunitara who accompanied by wife in singing devi songs. This made our wait easier. It took us an hour to have darshan of Bhagavathi. The afternoon Alankaram of Chottanikara Bhagavathi was of mahalakshmi. The various alankarams are Morning saraswati, afternoon mahalakshmi and evening is durga alankaram. My wife sang the song “Amme Narayana, devi narayana, Lakshmi Narayana, durgai Narayana, badre Narayana”. We then came to keezhu kaava wherein the goddess is in the form of Durga. We performed the vedi vazhipadu (crackers) on behalf of my father for our family and another for my co-brothers family.


    We then drove down to Thrikkakkara temple where we reached at 11:40 am but the temple had closed at 11:00 am. We decided to have lunch and drove down to Vegitos which was 1.5 Km from the temple. The food was good and we had meals with red rice. It was an AC restraurant where we spent some time planning for the evening over the lunch.



  5. Thirukkaatkarai (Near Ernakulam, Edapally) - Sri Kaatkarai Appa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 77). We later came back to Thrikkakkara Temple which had a huge premises with parking area. It also has place for taking rest known as Naimisharaniyam. We parked our car under a tree and took rest. The deity represents the Vamana avatharam of Lord Vishnu.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0737.jpg
    Thrikkakkara Temple



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    Day 9 afternoon Route Map - Thrikkakkara to Kalady


    We drove via Alway and Cochin. There were lots of vegetarian restaurants and lots of big shops making fresh banana chips on the highway. It was my wife’s wish to purchase fresh fried banana chips from the time we entered Kerala, but considering our priority to be next temple timing and the traffic on the highway so we gave the chips a miss and proceeded further.

  6. Thirumoozhikkalam (Near Cochin Int Airport) - Sri Moozhikkalathaan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 78). Here it is believed that Lord Vishnu gave advices to Hareetha Maharishi through his sacred words or "Thiru Mozhi" and hence the name Thirumozhi kalam.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0746.jpg

    Thirumoozhikkulam Sree Lakshmana Perumal

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0749.jpg




  7. Kalady Shankaracharya Birth Place. From Thirumoozhikkulam we drove down to Kalady a distance of 20 Km. We left around 6:30 pm and reached Kaladi at 7:30 pm. We were lucky to find that the temple was open.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0757.jpg


    In the temple, the praharam has Saraswati mandir, the tulasi planted where the month of Shankaracharya was cremated, the sthambam kept where Sringeri Shankaracharya found this place with his drishti or powers and established the mutt, the house where Adi Shankaracharya lived has his idol.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0754.jpg


    The places to see nearby i.e. adjoining places are Krishna Temple, Advaithya pathshala and Crocodile River ghat.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0761.jpg
    Krishna Temple

    My wife felt blessed to sing Sharada bhujanga ashtakam, a composition of Adi Shankaracharya in Kalady.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0765.jpg

    The Crocodile ghat has a story associated with Shankaracharya when he was young, 9 years old. It is told that Shiva came in the form of crocodile and caught the young lad who in turn asked permission of his mother to allow him for taking sanyas or renunciation.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0766.jpg




    As we entered the temple, it was being maintained by Shringeri Mutt. We got accommodation in the Mutt and the room had a wooden cot and reminded us about Shankaraya mutt at Kashi. It was a high ceiling room and we even switched off the fan as it became cold during the night. We dined alongwith the Vidyarthis or students of the pathshala. One of the students distributed chocolates as it was his birthday. It was humbling experience, simple conveniences to stay in the place where Adi Shankaracharya took birth, have satvik food, very holy ambience atmosphere and students chanting vedas.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8876.jpg

    This is a common view to spot in Kerala

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Old 11th January 2016, 10:50   #24
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Day 10: 02-Jan-2016 (Saturday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 261 Km (Kalady to Palghat)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 2 Divya desams in the evening and other temples
  • Places visited – Thriprayar, Guruvayur, Melpatur, Patambi, Palghat
  • Hotel Stay at – Hotel Ammbadi, Palghat



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Day 10 Route Map - Kalady to Palaghat


We visited couple of places today that were not in our original agenda but was subject to availability of time & covering the other Divya Desams in our trip plan. Though Thriprayar and Guruvayur are not a Divya Desam, we decided to have darshan on Sree Rama & Krishna as these temples that were enroute.

  1. Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple. From Kalady we drove to Thriprayar a distance of 65 Km. We got up quite early by 3:45 am and left Kalady by 5:30 am. After a lovely darshan, we had breakfast at Lakshmi café at around 7:45 am on the nada of the temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0770.jpg
    The entrance gate of Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple, busy road



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0771.jpg
    Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple




    Guruvayur. From Thriprayar we drove down to Guruvayur a distance of 25 Km. Guruvayur is one place that normally attracts us and we try to visit the temple whenever we get a chance. Though having lived in northern of India for so many years, we did manage to have darshan of Guruvayur 4 times. So we decided not to miss this opportunity as our route to the next Divya Desam was via Guruvayur and that too no detour! Guruvayur attracts many devotees throughout the year and holds a special place for pilgrimage going to Sabarimala, wherein devotees first have darshan of Guruvayurappan before proceeding to have darshan of Ayyappan. Hence we were mentally prepared about the long queues & time to be taken for darshan, being the mandalam season where in lots of Sabarimala devotees have darshan at Guruvayur.

    We parked our car in the parking lot being run by Devaswom board at around 8:50 am, near the West Nada and closer to Panchajanyam. We stood in the huge line which actually went to the next nada. The queue was very well followed by the devotees and we actually did not notice any volunteers. There was nobody breaking the queue or trying to join in the front. A very patient crowd of devotees which is amazing to be seen in Kerala temples. It took us almost 3:30 hrs for having darshan. One thing we found that when we reach near the temple railings, the temple authorities allow lots of people from the queue to gather near the temple entrance door. I wish even this was managed in a queue to avoid push & pull.


    We also noticed that there was a special queue for Sabarimala devotees and for ladies. Otherwise there is no separation of queue or ticketed queues in Guruvayur.


    The day we visited Guruvayur seems to be an auspicious day for marriage apart from being part of a long weekend after New Year. We witnessed and saw atleast half a dozen newly married couple (i.e. on that day) in the temple premises, alongwith their group of family members, friends and well-wishers.


    We had our lunch at panchajanyam wherein they served Satvik food with payasam.


    In our previous trips we have been to the places nearby Guruvayur like Mammiyoor Shiva Temple, Parthasarathy Temple, Thiruvenkatachalapathy Temple, Punathur Elephant Palace. Hence, we decided to proceed further to our next destination of Divya Desham after having darshan of Guruvayurappan.


    We left Guruvayur at around 1:30 pm after my wife did some shopping of buying Guruvayurappan photo, chips and other snacks from Nambisan store east nada.

    We took it leisurely to drive from Guruvayur as the next temple in the next destination would open only at 5:00 pm. We took lots of photos on the way or Kerala backwaters, banana plantation and also tasting local food.





    On the way, we spotted a man selling panam nongu (Palm kernel). He also served us the juice of panam nongu which is called neera. He made a special dish in a boat shape bowl with the palm leaf. He put the very tender kernel of the palm, topped it with a glass of into neera in the boat plate, the concoction was really sweet and tasty. We are drinking this for the first time and it was so refreshing, giving relief from the heat.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8900.jpg
    In preparation – the palm fruit and neera



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8911.jpg
    The finished product – quite tasty



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8907.jpg
    A spoon as well made from the Palm fruit


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8918.jpg
    Lots of people buying the Palm Kernel and this local person bought 3 dozens


  2. Melpatur Samarakam. The drive from Guruvayur to Melpatur was a distance of 59 Km. We entered into Thiru Naavaya and I mentioned to my wife about Melpatur which was just 3 to 5 km away. Melpathur is the birthplace of Narayana Bhattathri who composed the famous Narayaneeyam 100 cantos in praise of Lord Guruvayurappan. Chanting these had healed Bhattathri and continues to heal people till today. The route to Melpatur reminded us about our Spiti Valley trip were the roads were not only narrow and going ups & downs, but also broken & in bad shape. So my wife gave the steering to me within a Km of driving through this road.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_9019.jpg
    A small board on the main road (could be easy to miss)


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_9020.jpg
    The small road leading to Melpathur is adjoining the Chandanakkavu Temple which cannot be missed. Hope this helps our fellow travelers to locate the place.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8963.jpg
    The road leading to Melpathur Samarakam


    We found that the Samarakam was actually at a distance of 6km from Thiru Naavaya. At a point we had to ask a local for the direction which was just in the cross road 100 mt away!


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8992.jpg
    When we reach the place, we found it to be a huge area with nobody inside. Luckily the gate was open and we went inside and sat near the Samarak and chanted a few shlokas of Narayaneeyam.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8966.jpg
    The Samarak has the idol of Sri Narayana Bhattathri which is enclosed & covered. It is still required that people to be aware of such a place so that many can visit the Samarak. It is a little deserted place may be as we reached there in the afternoon time.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_9025.jpg
    Its snacks time at 4:30 pm at Smart Bakes


  3. Thiru Naavaay (Near Kuttippuram) - Sri Naavaay Mugundha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 81). We drove from Melpatur Samarakam to Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple a distance of 7 Km.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_9031.jpg
    We spent some time in the river next to the temple. We had a friendly energetic chat with a chirpy child Jitin who was swimming in the river water.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_9046.jpg
    We went and had darshan on Naava Mugundan. There is facility to stay here with rooms available of the Thirunavaya Devaswom board. They also have a temple website which gives details. http://www.thirunavayatemple.org/




  4. Thiruvithuvakkodu (Near Thrissur, Pattambi) - Sri Uyyavantha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 85). We drove from Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple to Tirumittacode Uyyavantha Perumal temple a distance of 40 Km. After reaching Thiru Vithuvakkodu, we again met the group from NCR / Chennai who were coming out of the temple when we reached. The temple was so beautifully lit with chutthu vilakku. The temple is actually situated high on the river bank, but the river currently dry. The entrance door to the temple was a stone wall about 3 ft, which is seen in such old typical Kerala temple. My wife had to sit and climb inside to enter the temple. Such peace in this temple, the temple aura spread truly meditative and celestial experience.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0853.jpg

Tirumittacode Uyyavantha Perumal temple


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0854.jpg


After having darshan of the Perumal, we thought of proceeding further to Shornur or Palghat or a nearby place till we are able to drive. We both were tired by evening after having darshan as we had a long day, getting up early in the morning at 4am, driving for 260 Km during the day and also standing in long queue at Guruvayur for 3 hours.

This is the day when we had this hearty laugh due to the route of Google map.
One interesting incident that happened with us was while coming from Patambi to Palghat, the map rerouted us to travel through village road. We would have travelled in that road for about 500 mts and just to be doubly sure we asked a local on a bike. He was surprised and asked us, who directed you to take this route (apparently not a chosen route) to Palghat. To which my wife casually mentioned it was google map which routed us and we then had a hearty laugh. We retraced back for a Km and took the correct road leading to the highway for Palghat. Google maps for marg darshan have been extremely useful to travel through these remote places, villages & also to locate the temple without seeking for guidance from the locals. However, a word of caution is that we can’t be 100% dependent on the maps.
Note: it’s best to have the google name of the Divya Desam Temple which makes it easy to have an exact location on the map.

We drove from Tirumittacode Uyyavantha Perumal temple to Palghat a distance of 65 Km. We were happy to stay at Palakkad which is our native, yes my wife definitely wished to stay there for a couple of days, but we had to get home.


The various scenic photos taken enroute during the day.
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Old 11th January 2016, 12:11   #25
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Default re: 108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue

Thanks a lot Sir for this excellent photologue of Divya Desams.Very well explained and is a boon to would-be travellers like me.
If you have any photos of other Divya Desam trips along with details,kindly share with us.
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Old 11th January 2016, 13:16   #26
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For the benefit of people who wish to have prior info about divya desams, the following pdf file is enclosed herewith. Hope it helps

Divya Desams.pdf
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Old 11th January 2016, 13:47   #27
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Any reason, why you didn't do Thirumeyyam-Thirupullani-Madurai Temples? You could have saved quite some driving time on Day 6 if you had done this. Also ideally Day 6 you could've stayed at Tiruchendur.

I did the Navatirupati cicuit during New Year Time of 2012. Could easily be done in 1/2 to 1 day time. I did discover that Divya Desams do close much earlier than usual during Margazhi. I did a sprint to Tiruttangal on the return, reached like 1155 for what I thought was a 1200 closing time. But apparently they close at 1100 during Margazhi month alone.

I should do Tirukkurungudi and Nanguneri sometime, missed those 2 during that trip.

It was during that trip that I stumbled on Hotel Saravana Bhavan's hometown branch, which became our breakfast/lunch/dinner stop
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Old 11th January 2016, 15:08   #28
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That's one amazing trip, thanks for capturing the details and is going to be helpful for people planning a similar trip. I did Bangalore, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Dhanuskodi and crossed to Kerala (that's my home state) via Munnar and did Kalady ( I am lucky to be born here and spent my childhood on the banks of river Periyar), Kochi, Pattambi, Nilambur, Gudallur, Kanakpura, Bangalore covering 1850 Kms. As your rightly mentioned, these trips helps to cleanse you and give a rejuvenated feel
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Old 11th January 2016, 15:47   #29
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Awesome trip Vittalji, Lord Mahavishnu was with you throughout the trip and no wonder it was memorable. Only had a dream of making such a trip but after reading your travelogue, I am inspired to make it a reality with wifey. Hope to contact you for details later this year.

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Old 11th January 2016, 19:41   #30
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Wonderful write up Sir. Its kind of a virtual experience when going through this. I would be referring to this while I plan for similar kind of trip with my family.
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