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Old 29th August 2010, 19:46   #46
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Default Day 4 - Aug 24 continued

Kadathuruthy is name of the place & the temple's name is Thaliyil Shivan Kovil. Thaliyil is another name of the place within Kadathuruthy.

The inviting roads all way from Malliyoor to Kaduthuruty
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-533.jpg

We reach Kaduthuruty by 10:55 & still never knew it closes by 11:00 when the ODO clocks 46814.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-543.jpg

Mother, Wifey & children go towards sanctum of temple while myself & cousins are in shooting spree. Then a young priest seeing our spirits comes to us & says politely that the temple is about to close & asks us to come in & have darshan; its like saying, "please come in to have darshan" & I was blown away with his words. I mean, why on earth someone would invite us saying this. All of a sudden my respect towards this temple has grown two fold.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-544.jpg

We get in & have good darshan and then continue our photo session.

A big tree inside the temple premises
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-548.jpg

A pigeon
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-558.jpg

Help requested - Can someone identify the name of this bird? In KL, we call this as uppan.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-560.jpg

Mother comes around & gives us the aravana prasadam. Upon asking where this is being distributed, Mother gives a another surprise. It seems some old lady approached my Mother & wife, asked them if they like to have aravana prasadam. Again, why on earth should we refuse? So she hands over the hot aravana prasadam. So I wanted to see that old lady & ask my Mother where she was; When my mother pointed out, I could only see the direction & not the lady, even Mother was surprised as the old lady could not have moved so fast away from us and all these happens in less than a minute. I still have a doubt if the old lady was for real human being or God sent.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-563.jpg

Drinking water facility; I deliberately shot this picture to show the pollution level. Atleast a decade ago, we used to draw water from well & drink, no filter or nothing. But now?
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-564.jpg

Then comes a good scene of this big bull. The bull keeps watching us & one of my cousin wearing a red shirt. I mean, it literally kept moving its heads with all its eyes on us. I was little scared even standing about 20 foot away from it. Somehow I picked up courage to shoot this mammoth bull.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-565.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-566.jpg
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Old 29th August 2010, 19:57   #47
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Sure we will give you time aargee. But then don't take too much time. Else I'll start posting
You're welcome to post what you've come across; I'll add our family's experience as what has been passed to us. Anyway, I wouldn't take a week to post 8 days log , as you can see day 4 has been completed in 24 hours.
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:03   #48
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And aargee starts this post saying he isnt good at writing and doesnt have the patience to do all this, and what have we now ! a well written post, with nice pictures bringing to life the many temples.

Aargee - thanks to you, i now am recollecting my own experiences around these places.
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:04   #49
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The uppan is called Crow Pheasant.
Incidentally the misconceptions still continue. Cows and bulls are colour blind. They don't see red (literally).
It's not only in India that we still think that bulls chase people upon seeing them wear red. Even the famed bull fight of spain shows a person shaking a red cloak at the rampaging bull, who is actually colour blind! It's not the colour silly. It's the movement of the cloth!
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:07   #50
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one small correction...shouldnt it be 48 days instead of what u said(45days)
of penance.....its called oru mandalam which is 48 days fasting
pls correct me if i'm wrong
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:10   #51
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Well, there are 3 different counts there benzbala. 41, 45 or 48. We used to do the 45 days penance.
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:20   #52
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Yes there is, I'm not yet done with my writings for you, that was just another break & is not over yet. Here's something that I intend to cover...
- The journey of previous & current generation
- How ideally one should visit Sabarimalai & a scientific explanation as why
- What is the significance of the 41/45/50 days waiting period (there's always a part of brain thinking in this angle )
- Should you undergo or not on the waiting period
- Last but not the least, what am I actually witnessing at Sabarimalai after the strenuous waiting period

Just give me some more time to write-up on those area
argee those 48 days fasting was to get u accustomed to the strenous pilgrimage to see lord iyappa.

in sabarimala, the best place is to have bath in river pamba, which is ice cold most of the times so thats why during the fasting periods ppl used to get up early and bathe in ice cold water
spices and onions are supposed to be stimulants, so they are avoided during the fasting
you got to climb the hills barefooted, so for you to get accustomed, you got to walk barefooted during the fasting
smoking, alcohol is bad for health, particularly hill climbing activity so it also shd be avoided and liquor leads to ruin which also should be avoided during fasting
according to our vedas. oru mandalam means 48 days which one should abstain from all earthly pleasure and seek the blessings of god
during fasting, your not allowed to sleep on bed or mattresses cos ur body should be fine tuned to sleep on rough ground
the main purpose of this fasting is to cleanse your soul, so you symbolise it by not even shaving or even trimming ur beard or mush until you finish your penance
have so far listed things which we commonly know, shall keep you posted on the remaining do's and dont's during the 48 day fasting
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:49   #53
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Ha ha benzbala. It's all not about accustoming. There are reasons for the practices which I shall outline here.
1. Cold water bath is very beneficial. Cold water bath accelerates blood circulation in the body. Blood circulation is also for keeping the body warm. When we take a cold shower the body heat is lost and to strike a balance we have enhanced blood circulation. Converse slow down the blood circulation which means that toxins still stick in the blood stream.
Kanchi seer himself had stated that the healthy way is to take bath in cold water and drink warm water. Sadly people do it the other way round.
Now during abstinence, we keep out onions and garlic as they are supposed to be high on aphrodisiacs. And incidentally these two are also supposed to help reduce toxins in the blood. So take bath in cold water to improve circulation.
Even otherwise when one takes bath in cold water, the body is rid of toxins. So during the mandala penance, it's not just the soul that's clean, it's the body as well.
2. spices are not avoided altogether, but kept in moderation. Read the bhagavad gita for rajas, tamas etc in food. Onions and garlic as mentioned are avoided as they tend to be aphrodisiacs.
3. We stay away from footwear because, one reason is that there are so many organisms which get killed under the feet when we walk. The Jains keep sweeping the floor while walking. Another reason is that leather is made from skin of animals. We can wear wooden padukas, but that's not in vogue anymore. So we walk barefoot. Even now, in many temples of Kerala leather bags/ belt is not allowed in.
4. Smoking, Alcohol is bad for health. Period. Whether one climbs hills or not. So atleast during he vrat, one is supposed to abstain from these vices. Sadly, the current group I see that flock a 200 temples enroute to sabari mala happily smokes beedi. Still there are people who are austere. But a few give a bad name.
5. Anything to do with hair is sensual. We abstain from haircuts or shaves so that we don't give in to the pleasure associated with hair/ think of cosmetic beauty but mull on cosmic levels. Further, post shaving/ haircuts the shampoo and aftershave tends to work on pheromones. so we abstain from all perfumes as well.

The vedas don't prescribe mandalam as 48 days. It can be 41 (again 40 or 42 is another ambiguity here), 45 or 48.

During these period, one is supposed to stay away from anything that caters to the senses, including wearing flashy clothes. Hence black, blue or saffron plain cloth is worn. And the devotees wear the mala and regularly chant the name of god morning and evening. They live such a pious life that they are regarded as ayyappa swami and are worshiped by others.
Truly, when one enters through the 18 steps, the board greets them says as Tat Vam Asi (you are that).
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Old 29th August 2010, 20:58   #54
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Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
And aargee starts this post saying he isnt good at writing and doesnt have the patience to do all this, and what have we now ! a well written post, with nice pictures bringing to life the many temples
Did I? Well, I'm glad then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The uppan is called Crow Pheasant.
Incidentally the misconceptions still continue. Cows and bulls are colour blind. They don't see red (literally).
It's not only in India that we still think that bulls chase people upon seeing them wear red. Even the famed bull fight of spain shows a person shaking a red cloak at the rampaging bull, who is actually colour blind! It's not the colour silly. It's the movement of the cloth!
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one small correction...shouldnt it be 48 days instead of what u said(45days)
of penance.....its called oru mandalam which is 48 days fasting
pls correct me if i'm wrong
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Well, there are 3 different counts there benzbala. 41, 45 or 48. We used to do the 45 days penance.
@MX6 - To all your multiple post, there's only one answer I can give, it depends on people who're following. Wait until you read my entire thread. All these penance is not observed in KL in form of walking bare foot etc. It has become a mere fashion especially in AP & TN, though I'm not sure of what is prevailing in KA.

Though I intend to post it sometimes later, I think its more appropriate to post it now; this is to SVB as well.

The ideology of penance, call it 41, 45, 48, 50 or whatever started in a different way; for simplicity I'll call it as "X" days. One can recall the cine industry famous Mr.M.N.Nambiar who was a great devotee to Sabarimala Ayyappan & we can still see a building donated by Mr.M.N.Nambiar.

In the past, walking up & down hill was a real tedious task (even till date), but one should remember that, there wasn't any proper path or even light those days. Hence what people used to do was, they stayed at Pampa river bank, walked up the hill every morning & evening & thus the walking exercise started for over "X" days. During the peak makara vilakku time, usually falls on Jan 14, they could easily climb up & down the hill. Moreover, the temple was being opened only during Nov-Dec-Jan period & hence there weren't any way. So walking over this hill everyday produces a narrow path.

Once the temple started gaining popularity with people donating liberally, first thing to appear was stone laid paths. I was being told once that one of our great grandfather donated a stone & it carried his family name. I'm 101% sure those stones have been buried somewhere deep inside the hill by now with the advent of concretes. So during this period, there was no necessary for exercising the path, so people choose to walk from Erumeli as alternative for exercising. However, the penance period still was followed at home instead of river Pampa's bank.

In the modern days, no one even has time to walk from Erumeli & hence all the breath gasping exercise is being experienced while climbing & getting down the hill.

I'll give you a classic example from our own family as how the travel has changed. I'd given the oldest stories about our generation that we've been told on trips to Sabarimalai, I'll move with the third generation in quite sometime to show how things have changed & how we're even cutting short of things.

Last edited by aargee : 29th August 2010 at 21:00.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:07   #55
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It's all not about accustoming.
Yes it is partly about ac-customization too;

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spices are not avoided altogether, but kept in moderation. Read the bhagavad gita for rajas, tamas etc in food. Onions and garlic as mentioned are avoided as they tend to be aphrodisiacs.
Rightly said

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
3. We stay away from footwear because, one reason is that there are so many organisms which get killed under the feet when we walk.
Err...even with bare foot the organisms get killed isn't it? I think it was for a different reason altogether; The hill was considered in sacred & hence people avoided wearing sandals over the hills.

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Even now, in many temples of Kerala leather bags/ belt is not allowed in.
Oh!!! which temple is that? I guess I need to visit that temple.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
4. Smoking, Alcohol is bad for health. Period.
Rightly said. But things have changed so bad these days. Pls don't provoke me to talk on this subject now, I'll reserve it later.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
5. Anything to do with hair is sensual. We abstain from haircuts or shaves so that we don't give in to the pleasure associated with hair/ think of cosmetic beauty but mull on cosmic levels. Further, post shaving/ haircuts the shampoo and aftershave tends to work on pheromones. so we abstain from all perfumes as well.
I don't have a say on this. I have never observed anything with respect to physical; its more to do with mental & there's a huge debate that can go on with this. So, I'd better keep off anything on this for now.

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During these period, one is supposed to stay away from anything that caters to the senses, including wearing flashy clothes. Hence black, blue or saffron plain cloth is worn. And the devotees wear the mala and regularly chant the name of god morning and evening. They live such a pious life that they are regarded as ayyappa swami and are worshiped by others.
Rightly said.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:18   #56
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Thanks benzbala, MX6, aargee for different perspectives
i think each one of these perspectives are right.

For me, i understand these rituals as below, again this is a simplistic view, i am not as well read and knowledgeable about these practices anyway.


1. number of days 40, 41, 42, 45, 48 could simply depends on how far one's home is from the temple, in ancient times transport being an issue, different people from different parts might have bee using different lead times.

2. Avoiding Onion, Garlic etc during those days : it might be impossible to get these things for cooking on the way. so people used to cook without using these ingredients. now due to faster transports, the journey times have shrunk, but the ritual or habit has continued.

3. Avoiding Alcohol, Smoking etc : Travellign throught the forests need utmost attention, survival skills would need people not to be intoxicated in any manner. Thet might be the simpler reason to stay away from the alcohol or smoking.

4. Cold water baths and twice a day: on the move anyway hot water was not available and due to day long walks, people needed to take bath to get freshen up prior to the cook the dinner.

5. Restriction for Women folks and Celibacy : This was basically could be due to the fact that accompanying women folks on such long and tedious journey through forests etc was next to impossible. hence they were left behind at homes and Celibacy was natural consequence of that. 15-50 age profile might be due to the fact that this age group is more prone to attacks from the robbers and dacoits.

over the generations, decades, centuries and centuries after, the simple reasons become practices, habits, rituals and eventually religion and faith.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 29th August 2010 at 21:22.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:21   #57
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Default Day 4 - Aug 24 continued

After crossing the bull, we near to the exit & the temple is almost closed. We now have to go to Vaikom temple which is quite some distance & we were assuming that Vaikom closes by 1:00 PM so we were not much in hurry.

Approaching the temple exist towards the steps
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-568.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-583.jpg

One last shot on the entrance of the temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-579.jpg

Overall, I loved this temple than any other temples I visited because...
1. Not much crowded
2. I felt some unexplainable happiness inside the temple premises
3. The aravana prasadam was one of the best one I'd

Next surprise awaits at Vaikom temple

Last edited by aargee : 29th August 2010 at 21:25.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:36   #58
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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
i think each one of these perspectives are right.
This is the real fact

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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
1. number of days 40, 41, 42, 45, 48 could simply depends on how far one's home is from the temple, in ancient times transport being an issue, different people from different parts might have bee using different lead times.
Right & none of us have observed this type of fasting or penance, atleast not much people from KL do this. With the approaching season this year, just go to railway station to see the pilgrims boarding train towards Sabarimalai. You can see atleast one of them...
1. smoking
2. uttering a bad word
3. reading some nonsense book or novel
4. fighting among themselves
5. using pan/beeda

I've even seen someone ordering egg biriyani for dinner in train for the fact that egg is considered as vegetarian.

Then what is the point in observing penance? The ideology is they get so pure that God himself settles within their heart during this period. If they're not pure, then why observe the penance?

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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
2. Avoiding Onion, Garlic etc during those days :
Those days!!! Today you can find the hotels selling parota/veg kuruma or masala dosa at Pampa's bank & you can always see a group always dining over there.

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15-50 age profile might be due to the fact that this age group is more prone to attacks from the robbers and dacoits.
Good thought, but the age limit is from 11 to 60. Basically MX6's points is what I would reiterate on this.

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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
over the generations, decades, centuries and centuries after, the simple reasons become practices, habits, rituals and eventually religion and faith.
Exactly what I'm trying to convey. Things have become much simpler now & the fasting period has become a fashion, walking to office without shoes or slippers in the name of God & no one can question on this; not wearing a helmet during this time on motorcycles & getting away becomes easier.

These are some of the reason why I don't follow the penance. The first visit of mine occurred without any plan & I didn't like to be there without the penance, but on realizing the miracle after the first attempt, I understood what this is all about.

Last edited by aargee : 29th August 2010 at 21:38.
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Old 29th August 2010, 21:52   #59
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Forget miracles. I used to feel rejuvenated after visiting sabari mala everytime undergoing the austerities.
It has been ages. Most of the practices is easy and can be done with a bit of effort. But mind control is something that is very difficult. One is supposed to dwell on god hood and not let carnal feelings creep in.
I keep wondering how I managed the penance in my school days. Now with so much of much in media and the kind of society we interact with, I'm not sure whether I can do that penance without a single moment of thinking of such things!

Coming to the whole hill that's divine, tell me which part of the universe one doesn't find god. For the pious he's everywhere.
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Old 29th August 2010, 22:49   #60
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Amazing temples! I esp like the ones in Kerala for their architecture. My personal favourite is the Vadakkunnathan Temple.
(Maybe I need to see more!)

No comments on the discussion, I am a silent reader.

Not sure of the other aspects, but I can tell you I follow the principle of cold water bath just like that: to the dot.
Got used to it more because of constraints in college hostels. Hence continue having cold water bath even in hill stations at near zero
(in spite of hot water being available). As MX said its the best for bettering one's blood circulation and its one hell of a feeling after coming out of the bath!

Last edited by ampere : 29th August 2010 at 22:50.
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