This year Independence Day gave a long weekend and I couldn’t plan anywhere as there were no tickets in train more than months back. My brother had come to home and we have planned to visit Golden Temple at Vellore. After checking the possibilities I found TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation) package is worth. Because even earlier we had many times went to different places by TTDC and had a good experience. They are up to the mark. Safe and reliable. On Saturday I had booked the tickets. TTDC Golden Temple package includes Ratnagiri Bala Murugan Temple and Vellore Jalakanteshwar Temple. With afternoon Lunch at Tirmalikodi ‘Anna Lakshmi Hotel’. All this @ cost 350/- per head.
From the Central TTDC office they dropped at Head office TTDC at Wallaja road and from there by 12 Seater 2 vans proceed to darshan by 7 am. Breakfast at your cost, by 8am stopped at a good hotel ‘Sree Motel Highway’.
1. Arulmigu Balamurugan Tirukkovil, Rathinagiri –
Extract form http://ratnagiri.org
Rathinagiri Bâla Murugan Temple was built around the 14th century. Over the passage of time an ordinary sand structure was converted into a stone shrine. The 14th Century poet Arunagirinathar has sung about this temple as ‘Rathinakiri Vazh Murukane Ilaya Vaaramarar Perumaley’, which means ‘Murugan, the God of Devas resides in Rathinagiri’.
The Omnipotent Power manifests His Blessings to mankind in three forms:
- 1. In the form of idol in the shrine.
- 2. In the form of the guru.
- 3. In the form of the devotee.
Of these three, Lord Balamurugan manifests himself at Rathinagiri in two forms. The first is in the form of the deity with his two consorts Valli and Teyvanai. The second is in the form of our Guru, Swami Balamurugan Adimai. He is the person behind today’s Rathinagiri glory.
Tavatiru Balamurugan Adimai’s own account
“(Until that fateful day) I was not so fond of bhakti, but I used to pass by this way every day to reach my office work by 9 am. While passing by I would offer worship just like other people.
But on that 20th March 1968 I climbed the hill to have darshan. I asked the priest who was doing puja to burn a little camphor for aradhana. He said, “We have no camphor and no incense.”
I felt like crying. I came out from the moolasthanam and went for pradakshinai (circumambulation) and worship seeing the Deity.
At that moment I lost all my other concerns and made up my mind to have a vow to make the poor sanctum of Rathinagiri to be as glorious as the Lord’s Aru Padai Veedukal.
Then from my heart the inner feelings rose up addressing Lord Muruga, saying, “Oh, what a Deity you are! I heard that you have six Padai Veedukal where you enjoy pujas six times daily. All the devotees visit you there full of confidence in you. At those places you are as a Deity. Here also you are a deity, but what a pitiable situation for you here.”
“One day in his 27th year, while on his way to work as a clerk in the Electricity Department, he climbed the Rathinagiri Hill to offer his prayers. There was neither camphor nor incense available at the poor and delapitated temple. He walked around the shrine with a heavy heart and was suddenly overcome with divine awakening. He fell in a faint to the ground and on waking up was unable to remember his own self. He dressed himself in a loincloth. He took a sacred vow not to leave until the temple was restored to its former glory.”
The beauty of the temple cannot be explained by words it has to be swallowed by eyes personally.
- Temple is kept open between 6 am to 1 pm & 4 pm. to 8 pm.
- Abhishekam timings: 6 am to 10:30 am & 5:30 pm.
- Temple office working hours: 9 am to 1 pm & 3 pm to 6 pm
2. Vellore Fort Sri Jalakanteshwar Temple
Next stop from Rathinagiri went to historic Vellore Fort. Which houses a Architecture marvelous temple of Lord Shiva as Jalakanteshwar. Built around or before 1566 AD during the time of Veluri bommi Nripati called as also Chinna Bommi Nayaka. The temple which has been built in the Vijyanagar Style, comprises the main shrine and closed ambulatory passage around and the integral maha mandapa with a northward projecting sub shrine deemingly for Nataraja contains also a subterranean chamber below…It was a double prakara circuit. The kalyana mandapam the south west,espicially a gem of late Vijayanagar style in embellishments and the art motifs of its Pillars, ceilings, and plinth moldings’….(courtesy : Monument Vellore).
Had the peaceful darshan and took the beautiful carvings, gopuram snaps and left the fort. Now Vellore Tourism has also organized a boat ride around the Vellore fort canal.
3. Sri Narayani Amma Shakthi Peetam -SRIPURAM
By 12.30 pm we reached Sripuram – Tirmalaikodi around 8 kms from Vellore where the prestigious, religious powerful shakthi peetam and a man made wonder the pure Hindu Golden Temple. A beautiful place, neat and very well maintained. While proceeding towards the sanctorum one has to pass through the star shaped patch surrounded by Narayana Vanam, full of Sculptures, Thoughts, greenery, landscape are marvelous. All with the blessings and power of Amma.
Once you enter the temple entrance you have to deposit all your belongings, Slipper, Camera, Mobil phone, Hand bag etc at the specified counters and walk along the queue , after first security check you will be entering a cage type hall, same replication of famous Tirumala Tirupathi. These cages are opened every half an hour and till the main temple you have to walk around a 1 ½ kms in line before entering the golden temple. Surrounded by a water, one has to pay Rs100/- per head to have a close darshan of Amma. For 100/- you will receive prasadam and kumkum, bhasma and a small photo. Every day lakhs of people throng to the temple to have darshan. A very well maintained by the temple authorities. For us it took 2hrs to have the darshan.
In front of the Main Gate after crossing the road Maha Lakshmi temple is there. Actually this is the moola stana of the Amma. Don’t miss to visit this temple also.
Then we had a delicious lunch at Anna Lakshmi on the temple premises and left to Chennai. A well organized trip by TTDC with good driver, who took us carefully, smooth driving on highways.