Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Honeymoon Diaries: Part 2: Lost and Found

One day – one aim: Tirupati! We were on the very auspicious soil, but had to wait for one night to finally set off for Tirumala. Right early in the morning, we started our pilgrimage and took not more than two hours to reach the top of the hills. They allow vehicles right to the top, and walking all the way is an option many pilgrims still go for. We vowed, too, to walk the whole way the next time we will be here.

We set out unbathed from the home, considering we had to go to Kalyan Katta first. Kalyan Katta/tonsuring booths are for those who want to offer their hair to the Lord. One could also offer 10-15 strands from their head, if they don’t want to go for the complete shave. We chose the latter option.

Having participated in the auspicious task, we freshened up, changed and moved on to the Kalyan Mandapam, in Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple, to perform Kalyanotsavam. Srivari Kalyanotsavam is performed to the utsava murti of the Lord Sri Malayappa swami and his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi in the marriage hall. The wedding ceremony is held amidst recitation of the vedic mantras and pronouncing the family pedigree of the brides and bridegroom. A purohit conducts the marriage and an archaka is consecrated to perform other rituals on behalf of the bridegroom. Only grihasthas (married couples) are allowed to perform the seva and they are given prasadams and clothes at the end of it. It was, indeed, blissful to attend God’s wedding in proper Telugu traditions. Getting overwhelmed by the puja, my husband expressed his desire to get remarried in Telugu style some time in future! J We had a Punjabi wedding, considering the fact that we didn’t face any opposition to the same from the groom’s side.
After Kalyanam, we headed for darshanam of Lord Venkateswara. Chanting ‘govinda govinda’ while still waiting for our turn, we didn’t realize when we actually entered the boss’ house! From where you stand to the actual place for darshanam, you would hardly get 3-4 seconds to have a glimpse of the God, but the visual delight is incomparable. We forgot everything, including ourselves, and entered a trance mode – experiencing complete relief and solace. This was my first visit to Tirupati and I was all charmed and satisfied with life. It was like, I was lost at the moment and, then, I found a new ME.
Lord Venkateswara's Temple
After collecting the prasad (the yummy laddoos), we bade adieu to the Lord and thanked them for the great darshanam. Thereafter, we set out for Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, some 28 km away from Lord Venkateswara’s temple. Goddess Padmavathi is the consort of the Lord and, yet, lives away from him. There’s a legend behind this, that she was angry with the Lord and decided to immerse herself in river Swarnamukhi. After thirteen years, Goddess Padmavathi emerged from a golden lotus as a reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, the distance. The blissful feeling we had experienced earlier, reentered us in the finest of its forms. Gleefully, we marched on to Sri Govindarajaswami Temple.
Padmavathi Ammavari Temple
Sri Govindarajaswami were the elder brother of Lord Venkateswara. This temple was right next to where we were staying, and, thus, we decided to visit it the last. There are 18 sub-temples in this temple, and we visited each. The poojas and sevas we conducted inside the temple were relaxing and extremely comforting. Despite being tired, we were able to connect with God with our fullest selves.
Sri Govindarajaswami Temple
We had a train to catch at 8:30 PM for an overnight journey to Vishakhapatnam, so we decided to munch on Hotel Bhimas’ in-house restaurant. Again, delicious food there made us munch a bit extra, pushing our usual appetite to the edge. But the food here couldn't beat Mayura's standards. We walked to the station, right next to our hotel having thanked everyone at the hotel for a wonderful treatment, and boarded the train! What happens in Vizag will tell the next addition in this series. J

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