The Fifth Friday of ‘Aadi’

Today is the last Friday of the Tamil month ‘Aadi’. And like all Fridays of this month, this day is considered sacred – especially for worship of the “Energy” aspect of God, the feminine aspect of the Supreme, Amman…

I took a chance and visited Mundaga-kanni amman temple at Mylapore. Sure knew that it would be super crowded, but the morning air seemed to have a whiff of optimism, so I decided to chance it, have a distant ‘darshan’ if possible. It has been raining whole of last night, and so the narrow street that leads to the temple would surely not be the most inviting of pathways. And on such festival days, the traffic police would block the road just opposite the temple as well. But I was trusting the whiff. Somehow the gravity of Karma made it look easy, and after getting off a short distance away from the temple, I jumped across a few puddles, waded through a few more, and there I was, in front of the temple. Managed to jostle through the crowd and buy a nice garland of roses.

The temple was packed choc-a-bloc with devotees. It looked quite impossible to enter. The ceremonial-procession-chariot of the Goddess was parked outside, ready to roll. The ambience at the temple was incredible. It was a furnace of energy, ‘shakti’. Women devotees by the hundreds, in bright-fiery dresses, were assembled all over the small temple…hundreds of ‘kudams’ (‘kalasha’ – metal pots of water) were lined up on the corridor around the sanctum, and devotees were sitting around. It is scarcely possible to describe the tremendous vibrancy …

By some miracle, I managed to get a ticket and enter the sanctum-sanctorum. The idol of the Goddess was daubed with sandalwood paste. Managed to mumble a few prayers and offer archana. Got nice ‘prasaad’ of flowers, tamboolam, turmeric paste, consecrated water, vibhooti, kumkuma.

Coming out, I wanted to circumambulate the sanctum. But there were people parked everywhere. Could hardly find any place to walk. But then I saw a group of devotees mowing their way through and I just followed. At the back of the temple, scores of ladies were preparing hot food offerings, over makeshift firewood stoves. The drum-beats of the folks music orchestra was setting up a passionate pitch, sending all minds’ molecules into dance mode. Devotees with some special prayers, had pierced their cheeks etc, and were seen balancing long-sharp instruments across their face and mouth, circumambulating the shrine. “Om Shakti’, and other chants resounded in the temple…

How is one to describe the feeling?

As I stepped out of the temple, it felt as if I had entered a special celestial volcano, and had come out charged and blessed…Oh, the wonder that is India!


6 Responses to “The Fifth Friday of ‘Aadi’”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    Good! What by the way is ‘mundaka’? Forehead?

    > How is one to describe the feeling?

    Please describe

  2. ramanamayi Says:

    Such a wonderful account! For those of us who cannot travel (just now) to these temples and other sacred places, your descriptions are certainly the next best thing to actually being there.

  3. gkamesh Says:

    Thanks Ramanamayi.

    Srinivasa: Mundaka is “head”.

    And attempted the “describe” (…the volcano…)…

  4. Srinivasa Says:

    Please favor us with a sthalapuranam

  5. gkamesh Says:


    You are correct. mundaka means ‘lotus’ too…


  6. Smitha Says:

    That was, indeed, a very vibrant and colourful piece. Gave me a whiff of India.

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