Post No. 11,079

Date uploaded in London – –    4 JULY 2022         

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I went to Kanchipuram on 9th June 2022. This is not my first visit. Even during my pre-Covid visit to India in 2019, I had been to Kanchi. But one remarkable coincidence is Lord Vishnu of Yathokthakaari Temple was not lucky enough to see me! We went there at 11-45 am in the morning and the priest was closing the door. Hearing our ‘noise’, he just removed the curtain for 30 seconds in Andal shrine, and Andal was lucky to see me. Main shrine was closed before 11-45 am!

I am not writing this out of arrogance (Vishnu was not lucky to see me). Someone must regulate these Vaishnavite temples. They open them and close them according to their whims and fancies. Last time, I covered lot of temples in the morning and wanted to have Darshan at the same Yathoktakaari temple. Someone told me that the temple will be opened at 5 pm. I was waiting in the car for three hours chatting to my taxi driver on various subjects. Now it was 5 pm. Someone opened the big door in the front. I got excited. But no one opened the temple until 5-30 pm. And I left eaxactky at 5-31 pm. Perumal/ Vishnu was not lucky to see me even in 2019. Myself and driver emptied two Coke bottles and two Fanta bottles within the three hours. One good thing happened. Just to spend the afternoon we went to Sakunthala Memorial Museum. (Please see my blog about it written in 2019.)

But I should not blame only Vishnu temples. Most famous Abhirami Amman temple in Thirukkadaiyur also do the same. Previous night (28/5/2022) we had the darshan of Goddess Abhirami in a crowded atmosphere. So just to avoid crowd, I took my bath at 5 AM next day and entered the temple at 6 AM. All the gates were opened except the main shrines of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati/Abhirami. I was waiting until 7 am. Then on my enquiry someone told me Abhirami Shrine will be opened at 7-45 Am after the Deepa Aaradhanaa at Shiva’s shrine at 7-30 AM

What a shame! In those days I had Darshan of gods and goddesses in Madurai even before 6 AM. Someone must regulate these temples.

Is it justified?

Priests are not machines! They must also work for 8 hours a day. Not more than that. In temples like Yathokthakari (Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal), someone told me that the temple do not get enough devotees and so the priest opens it for a few hours. It is a million-dollar question or a chicken and egg question.

Does it get less devotees because it is open at irregular hours? Or is it opened at irregular hours because it gets a few devotees. My honest opinion is that it should be opened at regular hours so that more devotees will come.

A few years ago, I wrote an article listing all the 108 temples in Kanchipuram. So people come there to see all the temples. The auto rikshaw drivers take you to as many temples as possible for Rs.400 (2019 rates) within four hours.

Talking about Abhirami temple, why do they open the main shrines at 7-30 and 7-45 AM. I visited there twice or thrice in my 74 years of life. Only the local people would tell us the stories. I saw group after group entering the temple with all Mela Thalam (Drums and Pipes Music) with garlands around the couples. Thousands celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries of their weddings inside the temple . Probably the temple had few priests and so they open it late. But there is no justification for late opening. All Hindu temples must open at 6 AM at least. Closing time may be 1 PM. Again 5 PM in the evening is good.

My own Madurai city also disappointed me this time. Once upon a time we used to play hide and seek in the deserted dark corridors of the temple. Now I see unimaginable crowd. So we went there at 5-45 am to beat the crowd. But we waited in the ‘Q’ for two hours like Tirupati. The reason told to us by a temple staff was that they closed the shrine to do Six Kaala Pujas together. Six Time Puja for all Hindu Gods in Tamil temples are done from sunrise to late night (Palli Arai Deepa Aaradhana= Bed Room Arti). But how come they do it 7 am? Have I been given wrong information? But the fact is Goddess Meenakshi shrine was closed (curtain down) until 7-30 am. Why? Why?


What is my decision or New Year Resolutions?

Never visit the same temple again and again unless it is your Family Deity (Kula Devata).

Never do any Archana (with coconut and bananas and flowers). Because the crowd makes it impossible to do any Ashtottaram= 108 names of God for every devotee. Each one comes with a long list of their family members with their birth stars. Priests are not machines. During this visit to India, I went into the kitchen of a wedding hall to take pictures. The chef showed me a big plate which makes 42 Idlis (steamed rice cakes)  at one go. Unfortunately, we have not yet invented machine that do 42 Archanas at one go!

Go to ancient temples, where there is less crowd.

If the priests do not get enough salary from the government, give them money instead of putting it into the Temple Hundi/Money box.

Regulate all the temple opening times and display them in the websites and boards at the entrance.

If I go to big railway stations or airports in a western country, I see a display board or information counter with small letter “I”. We need such things in crowded temples.

Another important resolution, don’t go to temples during Kartikai month, when the temples are thronged by unruly Ayyappa devotees. Some of them are not devotees at all.


Back to Kanchipuram again

During this visit on 9th June 2022, we had the Darshan of Gods and goddesses in Kanchi Kamakshi Temple (Kaamak kanni in Sangam Tamil Literature), Ekamreswarar Temple (One Mango Tree God Temple), Chitraguptan Temple, and ‘closed Yathokthakari’ Temple.

In addition to the temples, we went to Kanchi Mutt. The temples were crowded because it was last few holidays for students enjoying Summer Vacation. But we managed to see the gods (Shiva) and goddesses in Tirupati Style ( for 30 seconds only).

In the Mutt, Shankaracharya was not there, because he was on a Yatra to Andhra Pradesh. But the Mutt was crowded because of Samashti Upanayana (Low cost Punul/sacred thread ceremony for Brahmins). All the boys come under one roof and get the initiation and get the feast in the Mutt. It was a good arrangement.

We also had the Darshan/Viewing of Adhistanams (Samadhis of Kanchi Paramacharya and his junior Sri Jayendra Sarasvati).

In short it was a trip with difficult darshans. But all the shortcomings were compensated by the hospitality of Venugopal Krishnamurthy of Kanchipuram. He became my friend through my blogs and facebook (?). He had been inviting me for long. So just before leaving for Chennai, we visited his family and we had a feast there, who I met for the first time. His son Raghavan, just before flying to Melbourne took us around the temples. I was surprised to see hundreds of plants in his house. Venugopal Krishnamuthy’s hobby or service is to plant Bilva trees in Shiva temples and Tulsi plants in Vishnu temples. There are enough good people in the world to do positive things silently, without expecting name and fame. Only through his son, I came to know that some of the Vilva/ Bilva trees planted by him have grown to enormous size inside the temples. He is also printing Stotra (hymns) books and distribute them free.

One surprising thing I noticed in the Ekambareswarar Temple ( Eka Amra Eswara) is they put a fence around the famous Mango Tree and built a shrine there. Several years ago the tree was standing on its own without any compound wall.

(Since I wrote about the temples in 2019, I did not give the details this time)

kanchipuram | Tamil and Vedas › tag › ka…

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4 Apr 2019 — There are 108 Divya Desams, i.e. holy temples of Lord Vishnu in India. Out of the 108, 14 temples are in Kanchipuram. This is the highest number …


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9 Apr 2019 — ((posted by AND … 14 IMPORTANT VISHNU TEMPLES IN KANCHIPURAM! (Post No.6226) April 4, …

பள்ளிகொண்டானும் பல்லிகொண்டானும் (Post No.6231)April 6, 2019In

காஞ்சிபுரத்தில் சகுந்தலா ஜகந்நாதன் மியூஸியம் (Post No.6244)

Kanchi Mutt | Tamil and Vedas › tag › kanchi-mutt

Sri Kanchi Paramacharya (1894 – 1994) on the throne. Written by London Swaminathan Post No. 1097; 10th June 2014. Guru and God are one.

Story of ‘Dumb Poet’ Mooka Kavi | Tamil and Vedas › 2014/06/07 › story-of-dum…

7 Jun 2014 — Muka Kavi means dumb (turned) poet. He used to go to Kanchi Kamakshi temple and prostrate before the statue of the goddess every day.


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