Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Madurai, Marriage and Meenakshi...


Last weekend had to travel to Madurai for attending cousin's wedding. Started by Pandian Express on friday night. The coach was filled with quite a few relatives of mine, two thirds of whom were senior citizens. That meant lot of musical chair for the lower berth and being the youth (appa youth nu prove pannitom) had to take upper berth. Since the coupe was full of senior citizens had to retire early. Morning got off at madurai by around 8:15am, thanks to the train for running late by over 2 hrs. Had to make sure everyone alighted with all their luggages, especially my perimma who has a problem with her foot that she doesnt have the strength in it to rest it on floor and walk on her own. She has a splint attached to one of her foot and walks with the help of the walker.


Cousin came with the car and van to pick us all up. Went straight to the wedding hall where rooms were arranged for all of us. We straight hit the dining hall and had a wonderful breakfast and then set out to the room settled and got ourselves ready. We wanted to venture out to Pillayarpatti and Thirukoshtiyur but then the train delay spoilt it, so we had to stay put. All we could do was chat, eat, chat, eat...till the evening when the nichyadhartham and jaanavasam started. For the first time for a tamil brahmin wedding i saw band and elephant arranged for the jaanavasam. While returning from the temple on the road we all performed a proper kuthu dance for the band tunes. That night i was made watchman for all the patti's (what a luck) in the wedding hall and hence had to sleep in a room on the jamakaalam(carpet) and a fan @ 25RPH(rotation per hour). To add to the woes, had severe headache as well due to indigestion (pinna ippadi kaanadhadha kanda maadhiri thinna).

At 4am the samayal fellows(cooks) came knocking the doors "Maama coffee ready...Maaami coffee ready". Seriously a special note on these samayal fellows is a must. First thing i noticed, was that they were going around serving the breakfast without shirts asking "innoru vada podata? Dosai podata??". I was like "Modhala poi oru sattaya podu". When we went for lunch "Presto..." everyone were in uniforms. I was thinking probably they heard me. Then all of the 2 days they kept coming around asking "Tiffin saptaacha??", "Coffee ready", "Lunch sapada vanga" reminding me of some Vijay movie where a couple of guys keep coming and asking "Tiffin saaptacha na??" "Coffee saaptachanaa??"

Then finally was forced to get up @ around 5:15am with severe headache and had to take a tablet with the first coffee. Then got ready for the muhurtham. In tamil brahmin wedding's we have so many rituals, and once upon the thali(mangalsutra) was tied..me and my cousin with his wife set out to Pazhamudirsolai and Azagar Koil. We had booked for a cab and we started off discussing about Annan Anja nenjan and his latest stint as cabinet minister and the effects(ill-effects) on the temple town of Madurai and nearby. Cab driver (guess he follows a different party ;-)) had lotsa stories to share. My cousin being newly married was goin gaga on everything to his newly wedded wife...I was little scared to look at him thinkin will i become like this after marriage..but then consoled myself saying.."no ways, you're practical man"(seri seri vera enna panradhu...). When we reached azagar koil, we decided to head straight uphill to pazamudirsolai (sixth abode of Lord Muruga). Had a very good dharshan(Rs.100 special darshan) and was watching all the monkey's doing their pranks. Trust me the monkeys here have the adocity to come to people and snatch everything they had in their hands..more like highway robbers.It kinda reminded me about politician from that area. From there we came down to see Kallazagar on the foot hills and had a good darshan there as well. Coming out of the temple had the famous "Mapilai vinayagar soda" (panneer soda). Then came back to Wedding hall. Had sumptuous lunch and slept for sometime before heading to Meenakshi temple.

Trip to Madurai without a visit to Meenakshi temple is unimaginable. My perimma wanted to visit too and she was requesting us to take her. So, me and my cousin took the responsibility of taking her safely to the temple and back. We set out in a car to meenakshi temple,got down near mela maasi veedhi where they have the battery operated carts for elders and physically challenged folks. But the cars, autos were stopped at the end of a street meaning we have to walk almost 400 metres with my perimma(she cannot walk without walker). Then i asked my cousin to stay with her walked and explained the battery cart operator paid the ticket amount(yes they charge Rs5 for 60+ and Rs10 for others) and got the vehicle to the place where she was standing. We reached the entrance that takes us straight to portamarai tank(tank with golden lotus) by around 3:15pm. There was a large queue waiting for the temple door to open @ 4pm. We explained a security cop and made her sit in the front and went and picked up a wheel chair. Once the temple opened we took her in the wheel chair and got special dharshan tickets(100Rs) and had a wonderful close darshan of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar. The walk along the corridors to get to the sanctum sanctorum had so many humps (on the entrances) which meant perimma had to get down everytime there is a hump and walk with her walker and then again sit on the wheel chair. Thankfully the temple staff helped us to go straight to Sanctum sanctorum.We were able to save atleast couple of hours since there was huge crowd waiting in the queue. Here, i really have to appreciate the efforts temple authorities have put up. Be it the battery operated car, the facilities, or the way they help physically challenged. It would be even more great if the temple has ramps for physically challenged that way they dont have to get down from the wheel chairs everytime a hump comes. Overall the service was awesome.

Meenakshi temple always has the aura surrounding it with all those special feeling and energy you get when you see those 4 temple towers and the tank and the goddess in particular with her Green stone nose ring. Thanks to her she obliged to give us a darshan (coz my mom couldn't as the temple wa closed for some mishap the next day when she went. Poor her, she is still cribbing). She was wearing a awesome pink saree with her nose ring glittering and the hazy picture of her holding a parrot in the dark sanctum lit only with oil lamps. Felt so so humble at that moment.

We returned back to attend reception and catch the return train to chennai that night. The return journey was irritating. First i was given a side lower berth right at the entrace of the coach, so i got excellent ammonia fragrance for free and to add to my woes, a security policeman coolly sat near my legs on my berth and started serious chatting with couple of cops. I kicked him 3-4 times (of course with a sorry, ellam oru bayam dhan) thinkin he would get up and move, but he was upto the challenge, accepting my apology with a graceful smile everytime. I had to resign to my fate and manage to catch some half sleep and came back home.

So my weekend trip ended with paprika colored eyes and full tiredness out of the sleepless travel.


Some pics from my trip...
The train i traveled....
Sun rise...

Mundhi mundhi vinayaganae...
Entrance to meenakshi temple...
Gopuram...
Azhagar koil....
Pazamudhirsolai....

11 comments:

Shylu said...

Seeems like u had a good trip Chan...
It is kind of you to take ur periyamma along all the way to the darshan... :-)

The Rat... said...

was watching all the monkey's doing their pranks.

ha haha.. one monkey watching another monkey... :P

and man... i have never been to Madurai Temple... i have crossed Madurai so many times to get to my native but never could pay a visit.. i so so wish to :(

Chan said...

@Shylu, yup it was a nice trip.
@Rat, Romba Thx...odanae oru trip podunga madurai kku..

Srivats said...

That was nice write up chan :) supera ezudhirukeenga.Kavalaye padaadeenga After marriage neengalum apdi dhaan avinga :)
Ayio paneer soda , epavey kudikanum pola erukku :( . Azagar kovil and pazamudhir solai has got its own charm. So sweet of you to take care of ur perimma and help her to take darshan. Thanks to the authorities as well.

//She was wearing a awesome pink saree with her nose ring glittering and the hazy picture of her holding a parrot in the dark sanctum lit only with oil lamps. Felt so so humble at that moment//

Felt very humbled, May she bless your perimma with good health and heal her legs, May you get a fulfilling career. Thanks for the darshan :)

Almost forgot , Congrats to your Cousin

Swetha Guptha said...

Marriage trip clubbed with temple tour is the most hectic thing.... hope u r feeling better now.

Chan said...

@Srivats, thanks mate..very nice of you to pray for us.
@Shwetha, Yup i am feeling gr8..thx

Satish Nagasubramaniam said...

Maams felt like as if i took a virtual tour around Meenaakshi Amman temple, nice write-up. I will / hope / pray that GOD permits me first to take a vacation, it is just not happening for some reason and I hope EFGH (Everything For Good Happenings)

Manisha said...

Chan, You have explained the whole trip so beautifully.. be it the travel, the food , the cooks, the temple visit everything...
And with the pics attached.. i had taken a trip along..!

God Bless the Newly Wedded!!

Chan said...

@Sats n @Mans, Thanks for the comments. Hope i hv shared the blessings with you all too :)

Sandy said...

@Chan
My first time here! Very nice write-up... It's been really long since I visited Meenakshi amman. And thanks for the pics!!! :-)

Chan said...

@Sandhya, Thx 4 the comments and Welcome 2 my blog!

I am a proud

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