Sunday, February 05, 2006

In search of Meenakshi

Date: 04 Sep 2005
Trichy - Madurai - Trichy
Distance on road: 394kms
One more trip that i made alone, this time it was Madurai. Left early on 3rd morning
at 5:30. There are two routes to Madurai from Trichy - one slightly longer but good
via Dindigul and the other shorter but not as great via Melur. I decided to take the
Dindigul road for the forward journey and return via Melur.

I don’t know how, but I lost my way somewhere before Dindugal. Didn’t take me long to figure that out. After pronouncing some tongue-twisting town names, I got back on track. The road from Didugal was great, it is also the route from Bangalore to Madurai. I also passed thru Kodai road, so-close-still-so-far. Kodaikanal is about 75kms from there. There were loads of hills on the way, many times it felt that the road ended in those hills. It’s a great feeling to ride straight into some mountains. With some of them kissing the clouds, it was very to take the route to Kodai, that will happen too, someother time – not alone for sure ;-)

Reached Madurai at 9:30. An apple I had on one break, kept me alive. The temple was first priority now. One guy on a pulsar saw me asking for directions and directed me a long way. It was the KA registration that was the link. His bike was from Bangalore too, the big bike connect! The temple was great, lots of ppl, pillars, sculptures, etc, etc. Always make sure you take the special entry ticket, it saves time and you can get to see the deity from close quarters, proximity also means more blessings. The goddess Meenakshi looks really beautiful. The other deity there is Sundareshwar.

I left the temple so that I have time to make it to the Thiruparamkundram temple before it closes at 12:30. Almost all temples have this closing time between 12:30 and 4:30, incorporate this in your schedules, in case you plan to visit any of them. Thiruparamkundram temple is one of the 6 adobes of Murugan. It is on a granite hill, a huge temple that climbs along the hill. It wasn’t far and I got back to Madurai near the temple complex by 12. I did a second visit of the Meenakshi temple, had a quick lunch of curdrice and milkshakes at Arya Bhavan.

Next on the list was Azhagar Kovil, about 20 kms from Madurai. This is on the Azhagarmalai hill. Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhgar'. The temple was closed when I reached there at 2:00. It would open at 3:30 they said.
Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill, about 4 kms above. This temple was open throughout and I visited that first. A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bath, is located here. A small trek takes you to the originating point of the spring. I went till I could continue no more and then turned back. The trek brought back those kumaraparvata, sakleshpur treks streaming back. Good times those.

When I left Azhagar Kovil by 4:00, there were huge dark clouds looming up. Rains in this part of the country pour like mad. I now had to race a unusual competitor – the thinderstorm. It did catch up with me, thanks to my stopping by for photographs. I rode about an hour in the rain, till it became impossible to see where I was going. I stopped by at some abandoned shack, with a cowshed across the field it faced. I was drenched all the way down to… After about 20 odd minutes when the rain receded a bit, I started off again. In effect, I rode about 3 hours in the rain and later when in reached Tirchy, in traffic and high beam headlight to reach my guesthouse at 6:30.
One helluva experience that was!
check out the snaps on in a all new format, thanks to prakruthi.

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