This post had been in “draft” status for almost 5 months now, here it goes “publish”ed! 🙂
Last year, I got to celebrate my birthday at the Navagraha temples around Kumbakonam, a major temple-hub in Tamilnadu.
Our neighbours-friends-family, Shwetha and Vivek had planned to go these temples on the 29th and 30th Oct’11, and had asked us a week back if we would like to join in. But, Prasanna and I had booked “tatkal” tickets to go to Chennai. Prasanna, all of a sudden on 28th morning, wanted to pay a visit to these temples. By this time, I too had the same desire. 🙂 So, within an hour, the route changed from Chennai to Kumbakonam and bus seats booked. Yes, we do donate money to Indian Railways every year like this. Happy Railways!
On my birthday, we reached Kumbakonam at around 6 am, booked a cab, got ready, had breakfast, Kumbakonam degree coffee ( 😉 ) and we set off! We decided to start with the goddess Divine, visited the Lalithaamba temple at Thirumeyachur, she is said to be the embodiment of all Gods and Goddesses. The statue of the Goddess was so beautiful, she was decked up so well and it was as if She was sitting there!This temple has its story of a devotee seeing the Goddess in dreams and She asking her to adorn Her(statue) with anklets. The devotee had taken the anklets, the priest told her there was no provision in the devi’s statue for the same. But, when he went to the shrine, to his surprise, there was a small gap exactly to fit in the anklets! 🙂 We sat there, sang a few devi bhajans, meditated, felt blessed and grateful :-). Really beautiful temple.
After this, we went to the Shaneeshwarar(Saturn) temple. It was a Saturday and we wanted to attend the special pooja with Abishekam for Shani bhagawan that happens every Saturday. One of my well wishers-astrologer-friend-guide had mentioned that Shaneeshwarar plays an important role in Prasanna’s and my jaatakam(horoscope). That made Him all the more important. When people talk about Shaneeshwarar, they usually create fear – as if He is sitting just to watch us and punish us. But, in this temple, the planet God is in the peace blissful blessing form, they call Him “anugraha murthy” here. The temple was super crowded as expected, with nearly 1000+ devotees in long queues. The best part is the darshan there! Among these 1000+, how we got the best darshan, is something I(we) wonder! Somehow we were sent close to have the best darshan of the abhishekam, archanai and aarathi. The best part did not end there… The place is close to the sea, so it was hot and sultry the whole morning till… Just as we came out of the temple after the amazing abhishekam, archanai, lighting sesame oil lamp, having prasadam – there was a soothing cooling drizzle! – as if all the Gods, Goddesses, including Shani bhagavan blessed us from the heaven! waaaaaahhhhh! I felt sooo blessed, grateful, contented! After this, the climate of all the places that we visited changed from being hot, sultry and tiring to cool, breezy, and refreshing!!!
By this time, it was afternoon and we had stopped at Karaikal to have lunch. The driver had mentioned to us that we will have nothing to do for the next 2 hours as usually, in Tamil Nadu, the temples are closed during this time – 1pm – 4 pm approx. and This being the case we might not be able to make it to all the 9 temples of the planets by the next night. But, after lunch, he suddenly remembered that the “Ketu shtalam” (temple of South Lunar Node), is open on that particular day during that time, because of the “yamagandam” time between 1:30-3:00pm! We reached the place, Keezhaperumpallam, in an hour and the time was 5 minutes to 3 pm :)! We were just at the right auspicious time, for which people usually plan and visit that temple! What a ‘divine’ planning!!? 🙂
After Ketu, we went to the Budan(Mercury) temple, Thiruvenkadu (or Swethaanranya in Sanskrit means Sacred White forest). This is one temple that all of us loved for the way it was built! It is built over a HUGE area and there are 3 temple tanks inside the temple compound.Just as we went close to the temple, we felt very good. The soothing cloudy climate with a light drizzle added more flavor to it. This temple has several shrines that have their own amazing stories. Budhan is responsible for knowledge, music, intelligence, healthy brain and the nervous system, charm, and many other things. Among the 9 temples, where the main deity is Lord Shiva, this one specially has a shrine for Lord Narayana or Vishnu. It is said that Budhan is the son of Chandran, the Moon god, and Lord Vishnu rules over Him. Budhan is the planet Mercury and in Seven days, Wednesday is His :-). Budhan is said to have meditated in front of the temple tank “Chandra teertham”. It is an awesome place to meditate. We spent quite a good amount of time in the shrines, especially one of the devis here, “Bhrahma Vidya Nayaki” – one would feel that She is just sitting there for giving the highest knowledge!
After spending 2 or 3 hours in Budhan temple, we went to Vaideeshwaran temple. Here, Lord Shiva is said to cure all types of illness in the health. Planet Mars, or Chevvai(God of Tuesday) is regarded as the God of physical strength and valour and he is also believed to cure any type of prolonged diseases. He is said to be the Son of Earth and is ruled by Lord Subramanya. Lord Rama had also been to this place and had performed the last rites of Jatayu, the vulture, who had tried to protect Goddess Sita from Ravana. We had a beautiful darshan at all the shrines here.
A lot about these temples is available online, each temple has many stories. Best to experience them!!! 🙂 I had been to these temples once before when I was in college. One remarkable difference of then and now is that I had a BIG list to ask for then, but this time, I just felt so happy, grateful and contented(tears), I had to think hard if I really needed something… Sadhana-Seva-Satsang has made a difference! 🙂
Next posts on rest of the planet Gods and some realization that I had :-)…