We halt at the famous Guruvayur temple in Trissur, have a darshan in the eve. Owing to the sabarimala season the rush is high, still we manage to get through. The whole environment and the temple takes you to higher levels of peace and serenity. Reverbrating chants of 'Narayana' and 'Swamiye Sharam Ayyappa" fill the air. We check into Rugmini Regency for the day. Mom and dad are early risers....so they make it too see the nirmalayam. We then visit the Mammiyoor just a few mins away. Its a Shiva temple worshipped as Uma maheswara. A quick breakfast and we start our trip....to Palani.
Guruvayur to Palani
Distance - 190 kms
Time - 5-6 hrs with breaks
We reach around 5 pm. Palani Dandayuthapani temples is one of the revered temples of South India, in Dindigul district of Tamilnadu. This temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the elder son of Shiva. The town is always crowded, literally crowded, one will have to push their way through the crowd. Whole night I could hear people shouting and chanting. A too lively place. See the photologue for Car street, Rope way station of Palani.
In the eve we visit Palani Balamurugan Temple.
There are 4 ways to go to the temple on top of the hill: stairs, elephant walk, Rope way and winch. For the ropeway and winch, there are two types of tickets, one for Rs. 10.00 and the other for Rs. 50 (also called 1 hour queue). This one moves fast, we started waiting in the queue at 7 am and got into winch by 7:50 am. These winches can transport 36 people at a time. The winch operates between 4:00am to 10:00pm.
Ropeway is slower even if you have taken Rs. 50 ticket. 4 cars take 16 people at a time and that's the reason for slow serpentine line, we met a family who had to wait for 2 hours in the Rs. 50 queue. The ropeway operates between 6:00am to 9:00pm.
One will get to meet many agents who will promise to get you in without being in the queue and will charge Rs. 100 per ticket. They will also promise that they will help you with special darshan in the temple and will charge anything between Rs.600 to 1500. We were told that recently a businessman was cheated with Rs. 30,000.00 on the name of special Pooja and darshan. That person has approached court and taken a stay order on agent activity around and inside temple.
Palani Arumugil Dandayuthapani Temple.
There are 2 types of tickets available here one for Rs. 10, the line is long and will take lot of time to get inside the temple. There is another line for people who take darshan ticket for Rs. 100, the wait in this line is for half an hour and the darshan is the closest from sanctum sanctorum.
There is no restrictions on attire to be worn and mobiles can be carried however taking picture is restricted inside temple. It's advised not to take out wallet in front of priests standing inside temple, they will try to snatch the money, just carry the amount you want to donate and drop that in the hundi or give it to priests.
Agents will over charge you and will leave you at the stands where the line for Rs. 100 starts. They cannot help anyone to get inside the temple skipping the queue. AVOID HIRING AGENTS OR TOUTS FOR QUICK DARSHAN!!!!
The uphill winch ride.....downhill trek from elephant walk. Pictures of steps and few clicks of the town from top of the hill.
Spent the evening in Palani, pictures taken at Murugans courtyard while waiting for the golden chariot procession.
Kavadiyattam, a dance form dedicated to the Lord, danced in sync by both men and women on drum beats. Men carry a small bow richly decorated with peacock feather.
Towards the end two men were in trance!!
The golden chariot procession is a must see here. The place is crowded at the beginning however towards the rear side of the temple it's not crowded.
Palani to Mananthavady
Distance 300 kms
Time 7 hrs with breaks
pitstop on NH 209 to Nilambur, Kerala at Arul Shakti Hotel. Here we see the Nilambur teak plantation and the longest hanging bridge in Kerala. We halt in Mananthavady for the day. Its very cold for Mom as she gets inside the blanket and refuses to even peep out.
Tripping Wayanad via Gudallur
Trisillery Shiva Temple is 8 kms from Mananthavady on the way to Tirunelly( 4 kms inside from the highway). Before visiting Tirunelly Vishnu temple, pilgrims arerequired visit this temple and light a lamp (lamp with ghee). According to legend the Shiva linga is a sawyambhu (formed on its own), and the the bottom of the linga extends until Tirunelly temple.
Trisillery temple is considered the forehead of Shiva and Tirunelly is the foot. Paapanashini ( the stream that washes away all the sins) originates from here and flow through Tirunelly. It's said that this stream never dries up even during extreme summers.
Anyone who visits Tirunelly should visit Trisillery and take coupons for here for Bali arpan (rituals for the dead) at Tirunelly. The architecture is different with different avataras of Vishnu carved on the wall.
Mananthavady to Kushalnagara
Distance - 115 kms
Time - 5 hrs with breaks
A small detour, instead of Coorg, stopped at Kushalnagara. Visit Mattigodu elephant training camp. Elephants, wild-caught or captive-born, need to be trained in order to be managed and to perform tasks. Traditionally, elephants have been captured and trained by a few tribes who have in-depth understanding of the behavior and ecology of the animal. This knowledge, gained over years by living and working with elephants, is passed onto kinfolk thus keeping this tradition alive.
6 kms from Kushalnagara town is the Tibetan monastery. After the Chinese took over Tibet, the refugees here settled at Bylkuppe near Kushalnagar. Worth seeing here is Sera the educational institution, the smaller Tashilunpo monastery and Namdroling monastery. The statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Amitayus are the notable ones. We lived in a logde near the monastery.