Monday, January 4, 2010

Yatra To Kanchipuram

Sunday, November 22 dawned very early for the eighteen of us. Students of Smt Jaysri and Sri Jeyaraaj, and their families, along with the Vainika couple, all assembled at their Mandaveli home by 5.30 and we set off with a prayer and a smile.

The journey was quite exciting –seeing the break of dawn, enjoying the cool breeze as well as going on the empty roads which we have always seen busy . We stopped in Tambaram to pick up some more members of our group. Soon we were experiencing the soothing sights of greenery after we left the city limits. We noticed many birds like parakeets, mynahs, bee-eaters, warblers, drongos and many, many kingfishers. The children especially enjoyed seeing these.

We reached the imposing temple of Goddess Kamakshi at 7.30am. After a brief stop at the office , we were led to the platform right in front of the sanctum sanctorum. Here we settled down, while some of us stood to be able to have a good darshan. We then sang "Kamakshi Kamakoti pitha vasini", "Kanjadalayatakshi" and "Kamakshim Kalyanim" there. After these, the Gurukkal requested us to sing more, and “Devi Brova Samayamide”, which we had to decline politely due to lack of time etc. We were then taken to the shrine, where the Gurukkal explained the significance of Arupa-lakshmi and Vishnu shrines flanking Goddess Kamakshi’s shrine. We offered Kamakshi’s kunkuma prasadam on Lakshmi as instructed by him. We then had the great fortune of seeing Deeparadhanai at close quarters and receiving Kunkuma prasadam and flowers. During this time we sang “Samaganapriye Kamakotinilaye”, a short but lovely Nottuswaram, and Smt Jaysri sang “Shringara Rasamanjari”. Being in the presence of the Goddess was an overwhelming experience even to us, so we could only imagine what state a Srividya Upasaka like Dikshitar would have been in. We then wound back to the entrance. Latha and later Arjun took videos of us near the entrance.

Since it was close to 9am, and we had many children with us, our next stop had to be breakfast. We went to Neo Rama Café, which proved true to its reputation. We were provided delicious idlis, pongal and coffee, along with attentive, quick service. Soon we were on our way to Kailasanatha temple, with renewed vigour.

In the beautiful Kailasanatha temple, unique in both its colour as well as architechtural style, we were introduced to many important aspects of the temple by the elderly, articulate priest. He explained the significance of the Praakara which is narrow, and only allows one person to go in at a time, and requires bending, crawling etc to come through. It represents the cycle of death and birth. Most of us went around it and we all received the prasadam and settled down to sing before the lord. We sang Kailasanatham Bhajeham in Vegavahini. Here too the Gurukkal asked us to sing many more songs, like “Siva Siva Siva ena raada” and we had to explain that we were on a time-bound schedule.

From Kailasanatha to Ekamreshwara : the maginificent and huge, ancient temple of Shiva, sung by the Thevaram trio and many other saints, welcomed us with its expansive corridor with its gigantic granite pillars. We went to the mandapam just opposite the sanctum sanctorum. Seeing the Lord in his form of the unusually shaped Lingam, as well in the Somaskanda form just behind that, we sang “Ekamranathaya” in Viravasanta, followed by “Ekamranatham” in Gamakakriya. We felt fortunate while receiving the Prasadams of Ekamranatha as well as Nila-tunda Perumal who is enshrined in the Praakaram.

Our final destination was the abode of Lord Varadaraja in Vishnu-Kanchi. This temple, famous for the shrines of Goddess Perundevi Thayar and Lord Varadaraja Perumal, is also known for the Thanga Palli (Golden Lizard), which people touch for good luck. Here we settled at the base of the flight of steps that lead to Perumal’s Sannidhi, and sang "Varadarajam Upasmahe"(Saranga) and "Varadaraja pahi vibho"(nottuswaram). Then we went up to see Lord Varadaraja, who was resplendent in all his finery. The receiving of Tirtham, Tulasi etc were made all the more heart-warming by the gracious welcome given by the Bhattar, saying that the lord was happy to see musicians, just as we were happy to see him. He also enquired more about the Vainika couple’s musical lineage etc.

The mission of the day accomplished, we had a nice lunch at Sangeetha’s and left. We were back in Chennai by 4.30 pm.

Report by Rajani Arjun Shankar


Dr. Vellore AR Srinivasan said...

Dear all,
Well...Such a musical pilgrimage is most welcome and also infuses power and sanctity. Let us all congratulate Veenavadhini on thislaudable effort.
Dr.Vellore A.R.Srinivasan

RK said...

Very interesting and heart warming. Pl keep up the wonderful work.

Best Wishes

B. Karthickeyan said...

What can be more fulfilling than sing in praise of The Supreme in His own abode ! I am sure whenever you ( members of the blessed team) sing any of the song you sang in this Holy trip, the next time, you will do it with greater reverence and thus pass this spiritual experience to the listeners. May Mother Kamakshi bless you all.

B. Karthickeyan said...

I wonder why you did not make a mention that Kanchipuram is Prithvi kshetram and you must have included the first Bhuloka Panchalinga kriti of Sri Dikshitar, 'Chintayamakandamoolakandam' in raga Bhairavi. Perhaps you are planning another trip !