Friday 29th Sep, saw one spend the whole day at Gurgaon.
Local-insight has it that it is wise to reach Gurgaon before 8:30 am. A minute later would mean getting caught in a car-eat-car traffic jam. Likewise, it is best to leave before 5 pm, or risk adding at least an hour or two to your return journey time. I found this quite surprising because lot of roadwork has been done in the past several years – long-long flyovers have come to be. But as I was to learn that day, local wisdom has it right. That evening, by the time I left office it was past 7 pm. And we got into one huge traffic sludge. It wasn’t exactly a jam – for the traffic was moving. But it was moving as slow as highly viscous metal sludge might – with the result that what took me less than half an hour in the morning, took me nearly two hours at night. Road planners and industrial-estate planners seemed to have worked on different plans…
So much for Friday the 29th.
Saturday 30th, saw one doing some temple visiting in the morning. First to Kamakshi Mandir, which is in the general region of RK Puram / JNU. Lovely temple with pristine performance of all puja. The priest beckoned me to come first to the Ganapathi shrine. It was Sankata Hara Caturthi day – sacred for Ganapathi. He waved the Arati, gave me some vibhuti, and then went over to the Adi Sankara shrine. After Darshan there, we went to the sanctum sanctorum – of Devi Kamakshi. Lovely chandana alankara.
From Kamakshi temple, I went across to Ramana Kendra at Lodhi Road Institutional area. The meditation hall was open. After spending some quiet time there, I walked across to the adjacent compound – the Ram Mandir. During my school days, I have witnessed this temple come up from scratch. Temple has grown and prospered since then. And lots of changes. For one, the temple of Rama has shifted to first floor now. The center sanctum in the ground floor houses the idol of Lord Hanuman, carrying the Sanjivani hill. I do remember the time, maybe early seventies, when this idol first came to the temple grounds. I remember the first Navaneeta (butter) Kaapu (decoration) as well, and the vadai-malai.
A nice crowd of devotees had gathered around the navagraha shrine. It was clear the Shani Bhagavan commands his own following. There were lots of North Indians as well, even a few Sikhs.
The first floor had the main shrine – that of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. A group of thirty of so devotees were sitting down and chanting ‘Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra’ – the thousand names of Lord Vishnu. Saturdays of this month (Purattaashi) are considered very auspicious for worship of Vishnu, especially Lord Balaji. Next to the main shrine, there was a shrine of Lord Balaji as well.
All in all it was a great Darshan.
When I came down, they had started the Abhisheka of Hanuman. The huge idol of Hanuman was being bathed with water, milk, curds, pancamrutam (cut fruits)…The attending priest and other devotees were chanting Tamil hymns while the abhishekam progressed. It was a beautiful sight.
Around noon, Ravi, a friend of mine called up.
He made an offer I could not refuse.
He asked me out for lunch….To Bengali market…
….To be contd…