Friday, August 31, 2012


A trip to this Holy place was being planned for some weeks. I am not sure why, but very depe in my heart, i had this strong urge to travel to this place. I started with some research on the logistics, travel plan, best path.

I had been to three temples in and around Mandya in the last few years. This time I wanted to combine it into a day trip. This, of course needed some planning given that all these places housed temples, and the temples had different worship times. nevertheless, some googling helped.

The plan was charted. We go to  Four places and  maybe visit 10 temples in a day.
1. Melkote - Selvanaraynar and Yoga narasimhar
2. Tonnur (Thondanur) - Nambi Narayanar, Gopala swamy, Narsimhar+ Shri Ramanujar
3. Sathyagalam - Kote vardharajaswamy temple , swami desikran & Madhya Rangam
4. Dodda Mallur - Aprameyer.

Instead of keeping this be an entirely religious trip, i added Tonnur lake and Shivasamudram falls also to the agenda.

We planned to pack some idlis for breakfast and start by 6.30 a.m.

The team : Prema, our little one Advaith, My Sis-in-law Sumithra, My Mom-in-law and My friend Mr. Netta boss.

We pretty much started on time.... like 7.20 a.m!. Drive thru the city on a saturday morning was certainly less painful. Nevertheless, the bad roads and metro work made it a difficult drive. we reached Maddur @ Gobbled up some idlis and stopped over at Kasturi for some Coffee. The place was decent, the service pathtic though, was manageable. The washrooms were just okay. I think they need to make betther facilities for the crowd they see on weekends.

I was doubting if we would be able to reach Melukote, our prime destination for the day, on time. So I decided to do a nonstop 100 kms next. Drove past Mandya and enquired someone on the road for the route to Melkote. Thankfully we had not crossed the diversion. Although I prefer to take a look at the Google maps for direction, Prema just cursed me for using that gadget instead of enquiring with someone on the road. The road from mandya to melukote is not so great. its a small road with lots of speedbreakers and pot holes. It took close to an hour to finsih that leg of the journey and reach the hillock. Up the hill and I was so glad to know that the temple remained open till 12.30 on saturdays and the Yoga Narasimhar temple remained open till 2 p.m. We had a very good Darshan of the main deity and utsavar Chella pillai.

The pattachariyar explained us the history of Shri Ramanuja and ThiruNarayana Perumal and I was quite moved. The History goes like this:

Shri Ramanujar moved out of Srirangam (Exile) and was in Tonnur ~about 18-20 kms from melukote. Thiru Narayana appeared in the dream of Shri Ramanujar saying that the deity /temple are deformed for several years/centuries and are buried. He was traced to this hillock. Shri Ramanujar reinstated the temple in melkote and resided there for 14 years. A lot of his disciples were with him.
Then Sri Ranaganathar commanded that Shri Ramanujar returns to Srirangam as the troubling Chola king had left. Just when Shri Ramanujar decided to leave Melkote, the residents of Melkote and his disciples were sorrowed. They requested Shri Ramanujur to stay back which Ramanujar could not refuse either. caught in sucha situation, Shri Ramanujar then decided to make a deity (vigraham) of himself and leave it in melukote while he goes to Srirangam.
The deity is Thanugarnda meni.(Or Thanana meni?). And the Moolavar in Gnana Muthirai in his right hand.

the exact words of the pattacharya who narrated this goes liek this, in Tamil, " Lord Ranganathar Shri Ramanujaroda kanuila vandu, "Chola mannan poittan, Ramanuja, nee inga vandudu da." I was very much touched by the annonyam of Shri Ramanujar and Lord Ranganathar! It is believed Shri Ramanjur considered Lord Ranganathar as his Father and ThiruNarayanar as his son... thats the name, "Chella Pillai" to Thiru Narayanar.

After such an enriching experience in the temple, we moved out just to be given a token for annadanam! Wat a day has this been uptil now. At the stoke of 12 noon, right after the darshan... a permit to free food.... i love this. We took about 10 minutes to go around the temple. I liked the structure of the temple.. the long but not so high, walk-ways within and outside the temple.

Just behind the temple, the Mutt was offering thathiardhanai (free food - annadanam). We offered prayers to the deity within the Mutt and at 12.45 we began the attack. Rice, sambar, Cabbage poriyal and then some nice tasty buttermilk. The food was served quickly to accomodate the next batch of devotees waiting outside the hall. I relished the food. Then the girls gand (Wifey, SIL, MIL) left to climb the yoga narsimhar temple. Mr. Netta heading the boys gang instructed that iw was important for the boys gang to complete the ceremonial afternoon nap. Under our leaders able guidance, the boys gang resorted to the age old practice of parking the car under a tamarind tree and playing some ilayaraja melodies and enjoyed the slumber.

The girls gang returned and it was about 14.30 hours. I have thoroughly been enjoying the trip. But I knew, we were behind our schedule by more than 2 hours. Anyways.. we headed to Tonnur. About 20 kms from Melkote. Netta boss was at the wheel. he has the ultimate knack of driving the car with no distraction or inconvenience to the passengers inside. With a pleasant 60kmph  I was only wanting to get the sticker in the Xylo  as "thanga ratham" or "kadal pura"inscribed!

We reached Tonnur with not much difficulty. This road from Melkote to Srirangapatna via Pandavapura and TOnnur is much better than the road from Mandya to Melukote. It was about 3.30 p.m and I was still doubting if all temples would be open. And to our pleasant surprise, the temples were all indeed open. Is this Praptham!?

The Nmabi Narayanar temple has a huge front lawn. The local boys were found playing cricket in the lawn. Two young boys maybe 12-13 years offered to be our tourist guide hoping to get some money in exchange. I was very particular to not hand them any money but  provided som efood that we were carrying. They were happy but not excited with this deal. They proceeded to narrate some story fo the place.

Here Shri Ramanujar reinstated the Nambi narayanar temple and venu gopalaswamy temple as well.
It is pity though thatthe Nambi narayanar temple had no lights inside the main sanctum. I could hardly see anything despite the little lamp there. But as I walked closer to the main deity the image grew clearer. I somehow began to enjoy the view of this Moolavar with no diturbing light and it looked as though the light was radiating from the deity!

The Venu Goplaswamy temple is right across the road and has an ancient architecture. It happens to be a protected monument too. The Darshan was fulfilling. The Moolavar is Parthsarathy and the utsavar VenuGopalasamy.

Subsequently we were lead to the temple of Lord narasimha in a small hillock behind the main temple.
This temple houses a sannidi for Shri Rmanaujar in Seshaavatar. It is an amazoing experience to have darshan of this Shri Ramanujar. His eyes look like that of a snake.... like a small marble.
The Hoysala kings offical emlem is on the temple (a lion) and also is there a glass box with the leaf (olai) basket that Shri Ramajuar had used. This temple needs you to climb about 40 steps. Not so difficult when you know what you would witness. The Lord Narsimha too has prominence as this has conenction the Prahlada story.

At 4 o clock, our little master wakes up in the car and we driving our way to the Tonnur lake  jsut 5 mins drive from this temple. But Netta boss drives through a narrow path and the rear right wheel of the xylo drops into a deep pit to our shock.