Chennai, The City That Caught Me By Surprise
Trip Start Jun 17, 2010
57Trip End Jun 29, 2010
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Where I stayed
Upon check in, we had a quick breakfast in KLIA and went on board the flight on time. The flight touched down in Chennai on time at 7.30 am. The moment we got off the plane and came over to the immigration counters. Got our passports stamped on time and cleared that level to go the the baggage collection counter.
It definitely takes a long time for the baggage to come down. It took almost 30 minutes for the baggage to arrive. The entire airport was dirty and smelled of urine, sorry to say that but that is the actual truth. Then came our bags and my brothers bag locks were cut off. I cant imagine anyone trying to steal clothes just within such a short time, but I guess thats India. After clearing customs, we walked out and were greeted by our driver, Mr. Parameswaran and the tour company official.
Luckily our guide was a senior man in his 50's and he was very helpful with us all the way. No need to say, the entire airport was crowded.
From the airport, we went to check in to the hotel. Reached at 8.40 am. Checked in to the room. Gosh, the room was bad, small and not too clean. But what to do, as I have already paid for the hotel from Malaysia. Just had to bear with it for a night.
That was the itinerary for the day but I did not want to just stay in the room and negotiated with him to visit some temples in Chennai. He agreed for a rate of Rs. 1500.
At 10.30 am, left the hotel and the first destination was Mangadu Kamakshi Amman Temple. This is a very old temple and of course like everywhere in India, we had to pay to pray. :( I bought the VIP entrance which was Rs. 10 which beats the free crowd and we get to see the deity in around 1 hour. The que took us exactly 1 hour and once reaching the sanctum sanctorum, we only had around 5 minutes. After getting what we came for, we left for another temple at 12.30pm.
A short brief of this temple is as follows:
In this Mangadu the Goddess Sri Kamakshi came and started her penance standing on the PANCHAGNI in the midst of forest of Mango trees. Then Lord Siva appeared before Goddess Kamakshi and married her at Kancheepuram. In the same way, if any unmarried Girl, comes and offers vows to Sri Kamakshi, she gets married very soon.SRI KAMAKSHI IN MANGADU Siva and Devi were sporting in their garden in the Mount Kailash. Devi in her playful mood closed the eyes of Lord Siva. Immediately the whole creation fell into eternal darkness. Goddess craved Siva's pardon. Lord Siva directed Goddess to the earth for performing severe penance. Goddess came and started her severe penance on the Panchagni in Mangadu. Goddess performed penance on the Panchagni, resting the left leg on the Panchagni,folding the right leg. Her left hand is raised above her head, holding a jabmala. This can be seen in this Mangadu Temple as Tapas Kamakshiamman.SRI ARDHAMERU SRI CHAKRA When Goddess Left the place without extinguishing the fire the whole area suffered from the unbearable heat for a long time. Sri AdiSankara of Kaladi came here and installed SRI ARDHAMERU CHAKRAM and extinguished the fire. SRI CHAKRAM in Mangadu is very rare in India. The Ardhameru Sri Chakram is the cheif divinity in this temple. Kumkum Archana is performed and no abhishekam for Sri Chakram, since it is made up of herbals. Sri Adhi Kamakshiamman (in Panchalogam) has been installed in the sanctum by Sri Kanchi Paramacharya Swamigal.Maha KumbabishegamFirst Maha Kumbabhishegam was performed on 8th July of 1987 with a newly built seven storied Rajagopuram and again on 3rd June of 2001. Both were performed in the presence of His Holiness Sri Jeyendra Saraswathi Swamigal and Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal.
We then went to the Thiruverkadu Karumariamman Temple. Prayed in the temple and the same VIP access applies. We arrived at this temple at 1.00pm and left at 1.40 pm. A brief of this temple history is as follows:
One day Devi Karumari took the form of an old nomadic lady and went to Sun to forecast his future. Without realising her as Devi Karumari, he simply neglected her. Devi Karumari immediately vanished. The Sun had lost its brightness' and his glory starter declining. Realising his mistake, he begged Devi Karumari to forgive him and celebrate Sunday as her auspicious day going forward. The Devi accepted it. He had also got permission from her to pour on her Sun rays twice in a year in the month of Pangguni and Purattasi, Thus, the sunlight, falls on her twice a year on these days.
After this went for lunch in Saravanabhavan restaurant in Chennai. Food is more expensive in Chennai compared to the price in Kuala Lumpur. Was actually surprised. I thought it should be cheaper. 3 sets of Tali Meals came up to Rs. 440 . Had a good lunch and left at 3.00pm.
Then we went to Vadapali Temple and arrived a little early at 3.30pm but the temple only opens at 4.00pm. We just hung around outside the temple until the had opened the temple. As usual, we bought the VIP tickets for Rs 100 and were taken in straight to the main altar. We wrre in this temple until 4.30pm and left for Besant Nagar.A short history of Vadapalani Temple is as follows:
Built about 125 years back, this much-hallowed and regularly frequented Lord Muruga sannidhi has emerged from a thatched shed, an unostentatious one enshrining a Murugan picture only, and established for itself a name on par with ancient places of worship. Around 7,000 couples are married here each year. According to the sthalapurana, one Muruga devotee by name Annaswami Nayakar with his limited means built a small thatched hut and kept a Murugan painting for his personal worship primarily. During his meditation and worship, he used to experience some divine power entering his body and inspiring him to utter some mysterious things—whatever he said in his trance was found true. His utterance went by the name of arulvak and relieved people in several ways, like curing diseases and getting jobs, solemnising marriages, etc. There are very many sannidhis in the vast courtyards of the temple, like Varasiddhi Vinayaka, Chokkanāthar, Meenakshi Amman, Kāli, Bhairava, Shanmuga with Valli and Devasenā, et al.The moolavar in standing posture resembles the Palani Muruga in every respect. In the inner prakara, there are many niches housing Dakshina Murti, Chandikeswar, Mahalakshmi, et al. It has a spacious hall used for conducting marriages and religious discourses. It is one of the most-frequented Murugan shrines in the city of Chennai.The entrance to this temple is crowned with a rajagopuram adorned with several stucco images depicting legends from the Skanda puranam. In front of the temple is the temple tank. The eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. The 108 bharata natyam dance gestures can be seen on the eastern tower as well.Upon arriving Besant Nagar, first we went to Pamban Swami Samadhi and Temple, then after that we just relaxed briefly at the Besant Nagar beach.
From there we went to Ashtalakshmi Temple near by and Aarupadai Veedu Complex and prayed until 7.20 pm.
Leaving at that time, we can only expect the jam in Chennai and only returned to the hotel at 9.00pm. Along the way, made some photocopies of the passports as most of the hotels require a copy of the passport and visa to be submitted upon check in.
We then ordered dinner in the hotel itself and had a quick dinner and slept off early as the next day we planned to wake up at 3.30 am to leave the hotel at 5.00 am for our next destination.