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Old 29th August 2010, 23:08   #61
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
We initially assumed that we could go to Panachikadu .................................................. ...................................
Finally we start around 8:08 after darshan & time for some breakfast. We go to Hotel Soorya in Kotayam around 8:58 ....by mistake thinking its Aryaas;
I have visited this temple around 15years back. Looks like lot many new construction happened in the recent times.

In hotel Soorya, the Chilli Porotta was one of my favourite dish. The same is available in Aryaas also.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
There are 5 temples which were supposedly built by Parasurama.
Sabari mala (Sri Dharma sastha - Ayyappa).
Kulathupuzha (he's a kid here - Balaka)
Aryankavu (he's an adult here - Ayya)
Achchankovil (he's a king here - Arasu)
Erumeli (he's sri dharma sastha here).
There is one addition to this list. The temple in my home town, Payyanur Subramanya swamy temple [ Subrahmanya Swami Temple Payyanur ] supposed to be started by Parasurama. In this temple Kshatriya families are not allowed to go the innermost (Nalambalam / sanctum sanctorum).


Thanks
Rajesh

Last edited by RajeshK : 29th August 2010 at 23:17.
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Old 30th August 2010, 00:00   #62
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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!
Excellent habit there Ampere. I used to swim in icy cold waters in college. 25 laps a day from 5:30 till 7 or 7:30. It used to keep me very alert and active the whole day. IT industry has destroyed my habit. Not the work culture. Being posted in US and UK, I slowly started using hot water for showers in extreme cold weathers. Then the swimming bit stopped.
Now in Pune I take hot showers. I feel like kicking this habit before it becomes too late.
In Thane I had access to a pool, so I used to go for my swimming sessions in the evening there daily. I could barely do 5 - 6 laps in an hour of swimming. That was 3 years back. That was the last I swam.
But I did do a bit of beating around in Tunga river as well as Thamirabarani river during my mega trip last dec/ Jan. Sometimes the cold waters of a river gets damn inviting for a dip. Let me make it a resolution to switch back to cold showers from the 1st of Sept!
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Old 30th August 2010, 05:30   #63
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Default Day - Aug 24 continued

The biggest surprise or rather disappointment was in form of the journey.
We enjoyed a great drive towards Malliyoor, Kadathuruthy & Vaikom
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-586.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-593.jpg

But then the roads started deteriorating. It soon became to worst condition & I couldn't keep more than 10 Kmph. Some hard core cyclists could easily overtake us
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-595.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-601.jpg

A big tree enroute
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-598.jpg

We spot this temple enroute
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-611.jpg

Signs of improvement only
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-613.jpg

A beautiful house
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-614.jpg

Some greenery; typical KL
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-616.jpg

And then we finally find Vaikom Shiva Temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-617.jpg

When we get in, there's even big surprise
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Old 30th August 2010, 11:30   #64
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Default Short break on the trip to pen down few words on Sabarimalai for SVB - continued

Previous read - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/2047013-post.html

From our third generation which is after 80's, things have changed drastically due to shortage of time & hence we started planning trips that we could complete in 2 days. However by then, we didn't have to halt at Erumeli actually; just do a courtesy visit, take blessings & keep moving. By then we also had roads plying from Erumeli.

So we still hired cars till Erumeli & then started walking from Erumeli towards Pampa. Now, there're 2 routes from Erumeli towards Pampa, however, I don't have much knowledge on other one as I experienced only one route for over a decade now. So people in our previous generation would be dropped off at Erumeli & they used to walk all way upto Pampa & then start climbing the sacred Sabarimalai hills. The walking served as a good exercise before taking up the sacred hill.

By this time, we never had to carry utensils & whole lot of kitchen because we'd seasoned hotels coming up. By seasoned what I mean is they were open only during the Nov-Jan period, beyond which they disappear.

Roads started appearing from Erumeli to holy Pampa through Govt's effort & KSRTC buses started plying, not sure if they were operated only for 3 months tenure. Also, we didn't have to wait at Erumeli for a company as we were certain to find some company enroute to holy Pampa.

Thus what was a 4-5 days affairs have been turned into 2 days effort & this was during the 80s.
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Old 30th August 2010, 13:16   #65
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I used to swim in icy cold waters in college. 25 laps a day from 5:30 till 7 or 7:30. It used to keep me very alert and active the whole day. IT industry has destroyed my habit. Not the work culture. Being posted in US and UK, I slowly started using hot water for showers in extreme cold weathers. Then the swimming bit stopped.
Now in Pune I take hot showers. I feel like kicking this habit before it becomes too late.
In Thane I had access to a pool, so I used to go for my swimming sessions in the evening there daily. I could barely do 5 - 6 laps in an hour of swimming. That was 3 years back.

Swimming continues for me too! When I re-started it was real difficult getting one lap. Now it comes naturally and the ICY cold water, really give a wonderful feeling!
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Old 30th August 2010, 13:49   #66
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Default Short break on the trip to pen down few words on Sabarimalai for SVB - continued

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
I have visited this temple around 15years back. Looks like lot many new construction happened in the recent times.
Yes, the temple is undergoing reconstruction

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
In hotel Soorya, the Chilli Porotta was one of my favourite dish. The same is available in Aryaas also.
Well, the Aryaas that we intended is not the same one where I took the pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajeshK View Post
There is one addition to this list. The temple in my home town, Payyanur Subramanya swamy temple [ Subrahmanya Swami Temple Payyanur ] supposed to be started by Parasurama. In this temple Kshatriya families are not allowed to go the innermost (Nalambalam / sanctum sanctorum).
Thanks for the info; we'll try visiting this temple next time as there're very less Lord Muruga temple in KL

What goes into Irumudi
In order to take the 18 steps at Lord Ayyappa's temple, one has to carry irumudi; Iru means two & mudi means knots; though its called 2 knots, there are several things that goes into it & finally tied up as 2 knots for balance. Without irumudi, it is not possible to take the 18 steps for Lord's darshan. However, without irumudi, it is still possible to obtain Lord's darshan, only drawback being, one cannot step over the holy 18 steps.

The irumudi now days is available as a long piece of cloth that has been stitched at both the ends like a bag & has a small rope to accomodate things & tie up the irumudi. Earlier, they used to make the bag at home.

I'm not sure how things were in the past with carrying things in irumudi; but we've been doing this since my first visit a decade ago, atleast for last 7-8 times.

A. 2 coconuts are used for filling in ghee; the way in which they're filled is to punch holes at one of the eye of coconut & pouring in the ghee. This is to be provided in the temple for abhishekam (cleansing Lord Ayyappa with ghee). After donating the ghee, the coconut should be put on the burning fire at a separate place in the temple. These 2 coconuts should be cleansed very well to remove all the husks surrounding the hard shell. After filling in the ghee, the hole is closed using a bottle cork & wet appalam (wet with water or rose water) & then apply ash & kukkum over it. This will prevent the ghee from spilling over.

B. 2 normal (no polishing required) coconuts that are to be used at Erumeli & one at sharamkuthi (enroute hills)

C. Jaggery, Cashew, Raisins, Cardamoms, Honey, Beated Rice (using mixie) & dal, Agarbathi, ashes & turmeric powder, Sandal wood tablets & Camphor goes into one pack.

A & C will go into one bag, while B will go into other & balance the weight.

The ghee is usually filled in a temple along with group along with devotional songs; next comes part C where the rice can be filled by close relations also (like Bro, Sister, Parents, Grandparents). Once these is done the irumudi is being tied completely.

Internet source - Ayyappan.info:: The Sacred Irumudi

Last edited by aargee : 30th August 2010 at 13:52.
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Old 30th August 2010, 14:43   #67
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Thanks MS and Aargee for bringing back my memories on sabarimala. Time for me to plan my 6th year trip, may be I will do this by this year end.

Waiting for more....

Last edited by ranjith.rajaram : 30th August 2010 at 14:50.
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Old 30th August 2010, 14:55   #68
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Good writeup.Dont think have seen pictures of Sabarimala this close before,so thats a first.Waiting for more.
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Old 30th August 2010, 15:13   #69
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Thanks MS and Aargee for bringing back my memories on sabarimala. Time for me to plan my 6th year trip, may be I will do this by this year end.

Waiting for more....
More in the evening or tomorrow

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Good writeup.Dont think have seen pictures of Sabarimala this close before,so thats a first.Waiting for more.
Ranjit - sorry that I was unable to make up to Madras hotel or talk to the owner due to a lost evening in car locked in garage; however I got few updates for you.

Madras hotel is considered to have worst food may be because there are others who started providing good food; pics of Uthraalikaavu comes on day 6; private buses have become more aggressive in driving & do not issue tickets;
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Old 30th August 2010, 19:54   #70
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Default Day - Aug 24 continued

That was just the arch at the entrance; we drive further towards the temple.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-618.jpg

This is the actual entrance of the temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-619.jpg

When I park the car the time is 12:05 precise & the ODO clocks 46828
This pond is next to the temple & ofcourse belongs to temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-621.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-628.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-626.jpg

Here's the parking rates, but no one comes to me asking for parking fee neither when I parked nor when I drove off.
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-624.jpg

After entering into the temple, the left side
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-636.jpg

Entrance to the pond through the temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-637.jpg

Another view of temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-638.jpg

Top of the structure (Kalasam)
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-640.jpg
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Old 30th August 2010, 20:05   #71
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Default Day 4 - Aug 24 continued

Entrance of the temple
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-653.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-654.jpg

Then I notice that camera is not being allowed & hence I send everyone while I wait outside for someone to come back after darshan. My cousin comes back after darshan & I hand over the camera to him & run inside & only to find out the doors are closed
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-670.jpg

So I get on to shooting spree; tried different combination & this is what I liked the most to give that old touch
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-647.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-664.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-666.jpg

Some more
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-655.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-656.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-673.jpg
My trip to Sabarimalai and other temples in Kerala-sb1-650.jpg

Summary of the distances on day 4 trip
MVPA to Ettumanur : 46747-46708 = 39 Kms
Ettumanur to Panachikadu : 46769-46747 = 22 Kms
Panachikadu to Kottayam : 46783-46769 = 14 Kms
Kottayam to Malliyoor : 46806-46783 = 23 Kms
Malliyoor to Kadathuruthy : 46814-46806 = 8 Kms
Kadathuruthy to Vaikom : 46828-46814 = 14 Kms
Vaikom to MVPA : 46877-46828 = 49 Kms
Total distance : 46828-46708 = 169 Kms

Last edited by aargee : 30th August 2010 at 20:14.
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Old 30th August 2010, 20:54   #72
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Aargee, you have really packed it up with details! More than half of the temples are new for me! Never visited them! (Neither heard about)

Great info. Thanks.
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Old 31st August 2010, 08:59   #73
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Default Short break on the trip to pen down few words on Sabarimalai for SVB - continued

Previous read - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/2048014-post.html

A decade back when I started my maiden trips along with my Uncles things have drastically changed & we used to manage in 24 hours; but again this was only 1 or 2 times after that...let me not break the suspense for now as I'll reserve it up for next posting.

Usually we're a weekend visitors, so it starts by Friday morning; myself, cousins & Uncle go to nearby temple & then start observing the penance for one day, which is since Friday morning. Then the entire day we don't speak much & get isolated from people. Reason being that, we don't want to get involved thinking or doing anything unpleasant.

Friday evening, Grandfather organizes a big time pooja & it keeps going for about nearly 2 hours. At the mid of the pooja the irumudi is taken care & the fillings occur. By night, we take bath, have dinner & go to sleep; past midnight, we wake up & have another bath & by then we'll have the car that we hired for the trip waiting for us.

We then, leave home via backside (reason unknown) of home; first we visit temples that are close by, offer coconuts & then flag off to Sabarimala. Those days we usually took the TDPA-Pala route as the Kanjirapally route was steeper & was not as good as what it is now.

We would reach Sabarimala by around 5:00 AM; then we take bath in Pampa, have some breakfast & start walking uphill & reach by around 8:00 AM. We usually have some known source overthere to bye-pass the queue, take a quick darshan & go to take the blessings of Thanthri.

Once we're back we would give our ghee & take the abishekam ghee (as exchange) & then visit Maaligapuram for darshan. Then the usual stuff to burn the ghee coconuts that are broken & go to buy prasadam.

By now the time turns more than 10:30 or so. Now we start walking down hill & reach by around 12:00 PM. We take the car & drive towards Pampa valley. Pampa valley is a place located about 15-20 Kms from Sabarimalai on the way from Erumeli to Pampa. Nothing big deal here except that for the good flow of the river to take bath. People like Ampere & MX6 can enjoy a cold bath here. After the bath, we visit some local shop to have Kappa puzhukki (boiled Tapioca) & onion chutney which tastes like heaven. If anyone is interested in making this, a good recipe is over here.

Then we return back home by around 5:00 PM of Saturday. Thus 2 days affair turned out to become a day's affair.

Coming up next...Adi Shankara Janma bhoomi Kalady
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Old 31st August 2010, 11:06   #74
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Just finished reading all the 5 pages! Excellent thread, aargee

There's so much information. This is like a guided tour
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Old 31st August 2010, 11:53   #75
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Default Short break on the trip to pen down few words on Sabarimalai for SVB - concludes next

Previous read - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/2049383-post.html
Our trips were lasting not more than a day. We started off by midnight & come back by next day evening, which means, roughly about 18 hours.

Owing to the speeding lifestyle, our last trip in 2006 was done in about 12 hours

All the rituals on Friday remains the same, right from visiting nearby temple & wearing the holy beads chain (I'll talk about this in short while) until evening pooja & filling the ghee coconut & tieing up the irumudi. However this time, we start by 2:00 AM after taking bath, hired an car & went to Pampa by 5:00 AM. Then took bath, promptly skipped breakfast & started walking uphill. Had darshan & were back at foot hills at holy Pampa by 11:00 AM. Then we headed home & were back by 2:00 PM. The entire trip was done in about 12 hours flat.

This time, we didn't undergo the irumudi also & skipped the Friday rituals & hence the reason for not taking the holy 18 steps; however we'd a good darshan of Lord Ayyappa, which is what we consider the ultimate. This time, we did the trip much relaxed & got it done around 12 hours.

So what used to take 3-4 days affair is being brought down to 12 hours affair. Hope in future, my Son avails the proposed helipad facility & does it in 6 hours flat!!!

Wearing the holy beads chain (mala)
The penance starts with wearing a chain made up of tulsi beads or sandal wood or an equivalent that can be affordable. I've seen people wearing with small beads made up of even pearl or good looking beads. Not sure how to explain, but make a point to wear good looking ones. This is usually done in a temple along with the group in the presence of Guruswamy. Every group has a group leader who's called as Guruswamy; a Guruswamy is the one who has visited Sabarimalai for atleast 18 times.

After this, it is believed that Lord Ayyappa's presence is felt in one's own heart; hence the person wearing the chain, has to observe the penance by living, eating, wearing simple; basically he should live humble & observe cleanliness on all aspects; bath 2 times a day, visit temple every evening. Since the person undergoes the penance period, most people also respect them & their humbleness.

This humbleness is what has become fashion, especially in TN. People observing penance go all the places bare footed & wear black clothes, but don't take bath twice; avoid non-veg food, but smoke; remain simple, but show off their simplicity; make hell a lot of noise in the train compartments & causing disturbance in public; instead of reading good books or keeping quiet, play rummy. Frankly, I don't know what are the other attitudes that will keep adding in the forth coming years!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post
Just finished reading all the 5 pages! Excellent thread, aargee
There's so much information. This is like a guided tour
My pleasure sharing the information with you guys. Thanks @Kiku.

Last edited by aargee : 31st August 2010 at 11:54.
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