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Day 2 - Pondy Trip

Day 2 started with a visit to Tiruvanamalai' s famous Arunachaleswar Temple.  We planned to start early but ended up going to the temple only around 8 AM.   This temple is magnificient, majestic and these words really dont explain it fully.  I have been to Tiruvanamalai once earlier but that was many many years ago.  With the early morning Sun behind, the Rajagopuram looked divine.  I tried to capture it and photo is here. It is quite a big temple with couple of prakarams, four huge nandis and a Pathala Lingam(Shiva Lingam under the ground).   The temple is under the supervision of Archealogical Survey of India (ASI).   On the day we visited, the Lingam was beautifully decorated with flowers and it was a sight to behold.  I would have loved to stay on for more time for the peace and tranquility this temple brought in.  I need to visit this temple more often, atleast once a year.  Not a difficult thing to do considering the fact that it is just 180 kms from Chennai.  

From the Arunachala temple, we headed straight to the Sri Ramana Maharishi ashram.  Ashram has the samadhi of Sri Ramana Maharishi and his mother.  At the time we were there, the abhisekham for the Shiva Lingam was going on.  An interesting thing here was I found many westerners in traditional Indian attires like Saree, Salwar Kameez and Dhoti.   I understand that they live in the Ashram and they participate in the daily pujas.  There is a meditation room as well which Sri Ramanar has used when you he was living in the ashram.  I bought various books published by them which included a brief biography of Sri Ramana Mahrishi.  

The next stop on our trip was Sathanur dam.  This is a picnic spot but on a hot summer day you don't find these places amusing.  When others were busy doing boating, I read the biography of Sri Ramana Maharishi.  Among various other things which really astonished me was the fact that Sri Ramana Maharishi came to Tiruvanamalai as a 17 year old boy and didn't speak to anyone for 11 long years as he meditated in various places in Tiruvanamalai.  This included his mother and uncle who came to persuade him to return back to Madurai, his hometown.   Once he was found meditating inside Pathala Lingam room within the Arunachalaeswara temple.  The room had vermins which started eating Sri Ramana Maharishi's legs but he didn't get disturbed by them.  Finally he was found when the temple authorities went inside Pathala Lingam room to clean it and surprised to find the Maharishi meditating there with no signs of pain inspite of blood oozing from his leg.  Nobody knows how long he was inside that room.  That was his focus and concentration he forgot the pain, hunger and other natural things.    Need to read a lot more about his life and teachings.  

The lunch at Tiruvanamalai turned out to be a damp squib at Arunai Anantha, a resort kind of place.  We waited for 30 minutes to get served, with poor quality food and poor service.  After lunch, I felt really tired having already driven 400 odd kms in 30 hours.  Took a quick nap before we headed straight to Chennai.

The drive of 180 odd kms to Chennai was on the GST road which was much easier.  All along the route, I was terribly annoyed to find residential plot lay-outs every other km.  It is too much of real estate and I can't appreciate that.  

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