A Friday in Kanchi – 1

24-Oct-08.

The asterism of Pooram, tamil month of Aippasi. The birth-star of Kamakshi amman.

Left Chennai around 9:00 am. Its been raining these past few days. And rains put on the brakes to Chennai systems. To turn in from Kathipara Junction onto the road leading to Porur proved to be a real test of patience. The roads are under repair (as it is), and were further battered by the monsoon. Some half an hour of test driving, and then it eased. Reached the turn to Kanchipuram by 11 am or so.  Kanchipuram announces itself in the skyline.

Here’s a picture taken from the narrow road that leads to the holy city.

Temple towers rising majestically in the background.

My first destination was Kozhiwakkam, the place of my forefathers. Known in Samskruta as Kukkutapuri, It is a small village by the banks of the Palar sand-bed. One goes onto the Wandavasi road, crosses the Palar bridge, and the narrow road to the village is on the right, a few kms past Aiyangarkulam – another small place, with an old temple of Sanjivarayar. This temple is said to be in a place where a part of the Sanjeevani hill fell. There is a temple of Rama, with Anjaneya as the pride of place. Next to the temple is a trough of land, once a lake  (kulam in Tamizh). Now it is lined with green weeds, grass, moss….The bottom is said to be hard stone and the sides are said to have fine stone carvings of divinities. All overgrown with plants now. Thats Kanchipuram now. The ancient and the extraordinary is so pervasive that it has been relegated to contemporary neglect.

The priest of the small temples in and around Kozhiwakkam stays in Abdullapuram. I went to his house. Had a tumbler of hot coffee. Then we left for the village. The first shrine we visited was the newly constructed shrine of Goddess Pralayam-katha-amman, the Goddess who saved the place from deluge. The idol had been nicely decorated. The priest offered worship with heartfelt involvement.  A young village boy and his mother stood by with folded hands. I chanted some Uma Trishati…

Here’s a picture of the amman idol.

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From this temple, we took a dirt path that led into the fields, towards the small temple of Mukthishwara – literally, the Lord of Liberation. The rains had made the path soggy, and we had to walk across some sludge and such to sight the temple.

Across a little pond, the temple was seen.

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Here is a close-up of the temple.

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The priest opened the temple, and we walked in.

The Muktishwara shivalingam in the sanctum-sanctorum was lit up by the rays of the Sun. Looked real nice. I had brought some Vilva leaves from Chennai. The priest offered them to Mukthishwara in Archana. Chanted some parts of Rudram. We then went to the shrine of Goddess Muktambal. She was adorned with fine dress and adornment. The priest offered worship there as well…chanted Durga Suktam…

Offered a veshti and Sari and a little vessel of Ganga water – for the Lord sand His consort, for Deepavali day, coming a few days hence.

The courtyard had a nice Vilva tree. In fact there were quite a few vilva trees around.

Time was around half past noon.

The ambiance was timeless…. Silence…Peace….

… To be contd….

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