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Friday, October 23, 2009

Temple visits on Skanda Shasti day 2009

Dear Members:

With immense pleasure I am sharing this with you all.....

I was planning something "special" for this Skanda Shashti, and by God's Grace, I could manage a trip to Valli Malai - the mystic hills that is believed to be the birth-place of shri Skanda's consort Valli. This Hill has been stated to be a Siddha bhoomi by spiritual savants like Shri Thirumugua Kripaananda Vaariyaar (of Revered Memory).

Goddess Valli - the Divine Consort of Shri Skanda - who was born in a hunter's tribe (hence called "Pulinda Kanyaa"; in fact there is a name for Shri Skandaa called "Pulindakanyaa BhartrE namah" meaning "Husband of the Tribal Maiden!") and Lord Skanda had many Divine Plays in this Hill region as per lore associated with this hill. The Hill is relatively easy to climb (some 400 odd steps which is not much compared to other such mystic hills!), and even my 3 year old niece Pragati, and my mother who has severe knee problems made it to the Hill Shrine at the top without much problem [I am writing this to encourage other pilgrims to take up the trip boldly without feeling intimidated about whether the Hill will be accessible to those who are not too fit physically]. The ambience in the rock-cut temple at the top is to be experienced! It was so cool inside - without any fan or A/c, even though our visit was around mid-noon and the weather outside was quite hot. It is during visits to places like this (the other one that I can relate to is the Virupaakshi cave at Tiruvannamalai which will be cool even in summer) that we often wonder whether the cave man was living more luxurious than all of us; no A/c can ever equate that natural cool sensation in the caves....or possibly, it is because of the Benevolent Spirit of the Mystic Hills that ensures such coolness to the pilgrims who brave the harsh weather outside to visit these Divine Places....whatever it is, the ambience of that simple Hill temple carved out of rocks is to be experienced - words won't do justice to that! The temple tank at the base of the Hills is clean though the foot-steps near the water-line are slippery due to weeds and you need to step carefully to avoid slippling into the water or worse, injuring yourself by falling on the granite steps. Shri Kripananda Vaariyar - it seems used to say that every person born in this world should visit Valli Malai at least once and have darshan of Lord Murugan......I definitely second the words of that great man wholeheartedly and would raise a similar appeal!

Other places of interest on this Hill are Tirumalgireeshwarar Lingam at the peak of this Hill (you have to walk further than the Hill shrine to reach this), Valli Swamigal Thirupugazh ashramam, the natural formation of Lord Ganesha on the Hills, the Jain caves and the hill spring at the top (called Kumari Theertham). At the base of the Hill also you have a subramanya swamy temple, and near the foothills (in a drive of about 5 mins) you can visit the Valli Thava peetam established by Thirumuruga Kripaananda Vaariyaar swamigal - the great exponent of Spiritual upanyaasams.

On our way back, we had darshan at Tiruttani temple and offered special prayers for Universal peace and for the welfare of our Paaraayanam group members.

Planning to do more austerities after this write-up (it is only evening here as I write this and I still have time ahead before this day ends!)

May Divine Grace bless us all.

PS: Travel direction for those travelling from chennai to Valli Malai : Take the MTH road, cross Tiruvallur, touch Tiruttani, then Sholingar, and keep travelling along the same route and enquire about Ponnai and Vallimalai; people will guide you (you have to take a short diversion to your left after crossing the Ponnai river and travelling along that route, you will reach Valli Malai. ). Vallimalai is roughly 30 km from Vellore town. There is another famous Shiva temple at Thiruvalam near this Vallimalai. I am sorry if this route indication is not clear; it is the best I could manage!

Astrological and Remedial Consultant

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