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Monday, February 26, 2018

Chickmagalur Temple Tour Annapoorneswari Temple

15 February 2018: After coffee @ Cafe Coffee Day we left Dharmasthala around 8.00 am towards Horanadu a distance of 120 kms. We stopped briefly at Ujire for breakfast & kammarkund. We had to cross the Lakya Dam, Kudremukh. The Lakya Dam is a check dam built across the river Lakya, a tributary of the Bhadra river. The dam was constructed by Kudremukh Iron Ore Company. The dam is situated in a protected forest area inside the Kudremukh National Park.The route is marked by narrow winding ghats, dense vegetation and thick forests. We reached Horanadu by 11.00 am - The Malnadu area was swathed in bright sunlight and Annapoorneswari Temple is surrounded by captivating hills & forest cover. Annapoorni means Goddess of food and devotees who visit this temple must partake of the food served here as the offering of the Goddess. The deity is a gold idol and is said to have been installed several centuries ago by Sage Agastyar. We had awe inspiring darshan of this powerful deity who seems to have a magnetic attraction on devotees who stand transfixed during prayers. We did rice seva and and also consumed liberal quantity of "panagam" - an elixir comprising jaggery water, ginger,pepper,cardamom & lemon juice, an amazing thirst quencher. After a brief debate we decided to have the annadanam - free meal offered by the temple - a simple but incredible meal of rice, rasam,sambhar,butter milk & payasam. The visit over we clambered back into our Etios Sedan and departed for Shringeri.
Rich vegetation enroute to Horanadu

Annapoorneswari Temple
The sole Brahmanas that day for availing of Prasadam (Free Meals from the Temple Kitchen)
The Dining Room is spick & span
The Temple Chariot being decorated for a forthcoming festival
Plenty of accommodation available for pilgrims
The temple is surrounded by thick forests
The Bhadra Nivasa - a spacious complex providing rooms

Sunday, February 25, 2018

South Kanara Temple Tour - Dharmasthala

14 February 2018:  Enroute to Dharmasthala we stopped over at Sowthadka Vinayakar temple. A very charming and quaint open to sky temple festooned with brass bells of all shapes and sizes. The history of this temple goes back over 800 years. For more details you can log onto: Sowthadka Shree Mahaganapathi Temple : History of the Temple
An array of attractive bell souvenirs
Maha Ganapathi
After spending around 15 minutes we drove on and around 3.30 pm reached Dharmasthala, the abode of Lord Manjunathaswamy. We drove straight to Netravathi Guest House belonging to the Devasthanam and owned and managed by Veerendra Heggade the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala. Rooms were spacious, bed linen neat and clean and split air conditioners fitted above window level. The remotes were are not given to the residents and for any temperature control we have to inform the reception.  Presumably this is done to arrest disappearing remotes which purportedly the residents are secreting away as souvenirs :)
After a brief nap followed by coffee at a nearby cafe we proceeded for temple darshan.This is an 800 year old Hindu temple administered by a Jain Bunt family who are the hereditary trustees. There was hardly any crowd but we had to traverse through long winding barricades for nearly 15-20 minutes before we could reach the sanctum.The barricades had been put in place ostensibly to control huge crowd of devotees who must have descended on Dharmasthala for Shivaratri which happened to be yesterday. Once inside we had comfortable darshan and no jostling crowds to contend with.By the time we emerged after darshan it was dark - well past 6.30 pm. We meandered around the market place for a while trying to locate the (Manjusha Museum, Dharmasthala - Team-BHP)
where Veerendra Heggades incredible collection of Vintage cars is housed. However we were informed that the museum closed at 6.00 pm and disappointingly we trudged back to to our rooms.
Night dinner consisted of Kali Dosas,Set Dosas, Sevige & Goli bajji followed by coffee @ Cafe Coffee Day vending machine.
Selfie in front of Netravathi Guest House
Manjunathaswamy Temple at dusk

Illumination at night
Manjunathaswamy Temple at first dawn
Collection of ancient chariots collected from various temples exhibited in a raised parking lot - above and below
Veerendra Heggade's posh residence atop a hill - D. Veerendra Heggade (born 25 November 1948) is a philanthropist and the hereditary administrator/Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala Temple. He succeeded to the post of Dharmadhikari at the age of 20, on 24 October 1968 becoming the 21st Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala Temple.

Friday, February 23, 2018

South Kanara Temples Tour - Kukke Subramania

We reached Managalore by West Coast Express on the morning of 14th February 2018. Our train was originally scheduled to reach Mangalore Central around 4.30 am but arrived at 8.00 am only - late by 3 and 1/2 hours. We alighted and after crossing the overbridge reached the a/c waiting room on platform 1. We had a quick bath ,changed into fresh clothes and had some light breakfast at the Railway restaurant. Then we hopped onto the waiting taxi (a Toyota Etios) and were on our way to Kukke Subramania - our first place of pilgrimage on this temple tour. We reached our destination in about 90 minutes. Our friends from Bangalore, Kumar & Padmini had alreachy reached Subramania by a direct train from Bangalore and checked into Hotel SLR Residency. We met them there, had a brief coffee & conversation session and then immediately proceeded to the temple for darshan.We first visited the Adi Subramania Temple and then to the main temple and joined the queue. Chappals had to be deposited in a separate counter. Men had to remove shirts/banians before entering the sanctum. We were a few feet into the temple when we suddenly heard loud clanging of bells. We turned our head only to find an elephant squeezing in through the narrow entrance and then walking rapidly towards the sanctum. It was terrifying to see an elephant suddenly appproaching us without warning at such close proximity. We squeezed against the balustrades and let the elephant pass. We then offered prayers to Subramania,Vinayakar & Uma Maheswara when we encountered the elephant again. He(or she) was actually a gently young calf who was tethered to a corner and blessing devotees with his trunk. Later we exited and sauntered around in the open in the blazing sun, visiting souvenir & hanukkai shops and clicking selfies before repairing back to the Hotel for nice thali lunch.
After a brief rest we checked out and departed for Dharmasthala, a distance of 110 Kms.
Selfie time - Above & below
The Temple elephant below
The serpentine darshan queue
The burgeoning crowd of devotees waiting for free meals offerred by the Temple
Selfie in bright sunlight
The gopuram or entrance tower
Selfies outside the souvenir shops
The colorfully decorated chariot
The souvenir shop

CSI All Souls Church (Coimbatore)

Upon completion of construction, Bishop Gell consecrated All Souls’ church on January 27, 1872 and the reverent Henry Pope was the first resident Chaplain. Podanur and Palghat outstations were also assigned to him. All Souls’ church was formerly affiliated with the Church of England in India.
The Church and the adjoining building have the characteristic feature of an anglican church. Cruciform shaped, its chancels accommodate the choir on one side and the members on the other side. The chancels have low wooded roof, double side gabbled entrances supported by a single column and two pointed arches. The arched openings lead to a 12 feet wide hall culminating to the raised sanctuary. A king post truss spans the steep tiled timber rafted roof. The walls are ashlars stone masonry. Pointed arches reflect the gothic revival style; huge stained glass windows and a profusion of smaller arch windows create an effect of space and light. The steeple houses the belfry.
With the turn of the 20th century All Souls’ family became a cosmopolitan mixture of congregation of Indian and Eurasian origins.
With the promulgation of Indian Church Statuary Rules, 1940, all the protestant churches in South India and Sri Lanka are affiliated to Church of South India on September 27, 1947. The last English Chaplain of All Souls’ church was Rev. Roy Martin who served from 1969 to 1980. This era witnessed tremendous growth of the Church with a multilingual complex Tamils, Malayalis and others, along with some Europeans and Africans who came to study in leading institutions in Coimbatore city. Rev. Roy Martin took the initiative to educate the children in Christian virtues and started the All Souls’ Junior Church.
A wedding in progress