MOOKAMBIKA- A TEMPLE MOST SACRED

WRITTEN IN DEC 2007

For more than 1.5 years now, my mother had been insisting that we gave that long overdue pilgrimage to  Kollur Mookambika Devi. Commitments related to job and other things not withstanding,  plain indolence prevented me from giving a go-ahead. But for the past  2 months, I myself have been feeling that it is high time, Mookambika was visited and so immediately consented  the next time amma suggested. Legend has it that, only when Mookambika Devi Herself wants you to visit Her, the trip will be materialised. Perhaps….clip_image001

So finally it was, the Friday-30th of Nov, I boarded a train from Chennai at 5pm, planning to reach my amma’s native place near Kannur, at around 8 am the next day. Being almost 3 years, since I visited amma’s place where many a  holiday had been spent in gay abandon with 8  cousins,  it was a nostalgic trip, as I made sure to soak in the scenic  scenes which only the Kerala countryside can offer. Had consciously booked the lower-berth in preference to my nowadays-favoured upper and was as adamant as DennisTheMenace when a fellow had seated himself in my window seat. Got up at 6 am, to be enchanted by the rising sun, beautiful backwaters with coconut-trees proliferating the banks, lush green fields and the cool wind blowing on your face. The beginning was good…. clip_image002

Reached my uncles’ place where the usual comments regarding kids having grownup and having no time to visit with a job in hand, were uttered in good humour.  None of my cousins were in town owing to education and jobs. Was informed/warned (rather) to get ready by 10:30, when a  Tata Indica of a friend of my Uncle, would come and 5 of us including me, my mother, 2 uncles and one of my aunts would have to be fitted in the Indica, along with the driver. As many of you would have guessed, the Indica can comfortably hold 5 people and maybe 6 if everyone were like those size-zero models, nowadays being aped. This was not the case and so doubts were expressed by amma and aunt regarding the feasibility of undertaking the 6 hours+  trip to Mookambika, in the Indica. These doubts were not without reason as 4 of us frequently shifted positions in the back, and my Uncle in the front having a good time neither, with the sun relentlessly beating down. The Tatas were unanimously derided as our good Ole Amby(which had now been sold), on which the 4 previous trips to Mookambika were undertaken, was celebrated as the ultimate Road-Machine. Who said Amby’ time has run out? Nostalgia does strange things, I tell you. Agreed, the Amby was   spacious and sturdy, but ask those (me that is) who had to sit infront besides the driver and some cousin ; not only was the heat of the engine unbearable, a semblance of a  conversation could be exchanged only if the other person is sitting on your lap, which he was ,almost.

Crossed one landmark, Mangalore at around 1:30pm, and reached Udupi, famed for its Krishna Temple, at 3: 15pm. Dined at the usual Woodlands Restaurant, where the service was rather poor. Forgot to mention that I was the sponsor for the entire trip, now that the kid-was- earning. Small change, I tell you when compared to the goodies and joys enjoyed over the years at Uncles’ homes.

In between, the much abused Indica   added further disrepute to her stock, as the cooling tank/radiator leaked some sort of green liquid. A mechanic from the highway was brought, and the car was taken to the shop, with my uncle and driver. Time passed slowly as the remaining 4 of us waited , with no update coming from the other end. My uncle having forgotten his mobile with aunt, the wait was getting increasingly exasperating as it crossed 6 pm. BTW  amma was engaged shooting her usual prayers to Pillayarappa and Guruvayoorappa, to bring the car ASAP. This being a pilgrimage to a temple, the perceived implications associated with a bungled trip are obvious.

At 6:15 pm, the newly christened “OTTAI CAR” finally arrived , and the trip was resumed with renewed haste, having to reach Kollur before 9:00 pm when the temple closed. Though we had booked rooms near the temple, and were planning to stay overnight to have Darshan of Devi the next morning too,  we were obviously anxious to finish one darshan that day. The remaining 75 km, in 2 hours, not a big deal , you might say, but factor in night driving, traffic, bad-roads(really bad,  trust me!) , and on top of everything else, an unreliable “Ottai Car”.

MISSION MOOKAMBIKA: SUCCESSFUL

entrance

It was a close call. Reached Kollur at 8:15pm, and after a quick wash (no time for bath) in our room, were in the hallowed temple premises by 8 :30, fervently hoping that one will be experience real Bhakthi ,atleast for some fleeting  moments when infront of Mookambika Devi, forgetting mundane  banalities.

Mookambika

MOOKAMBIKA DEVI

The prayers did not go unheeded and even the imitation of the real thing for some brief moments was overwhelming enough. The Devi in her full attire and splendour is really resplendent and dazzling to look at. The moderate crowd and the pleasant breeze, added to the aura and the elders felt the car-breakdown was not such a bad thing after all. Faith and religious fervour can sugarcoat anything!clip_image001[1] While the elders collected the “Kashaya Thirtham”, a special consecrated concoction of medicinal herbs distributed to the pilgrims only at the end of night session, I was insouciance personified, as I roamed around the vast and familiar corridor around the sanctum, housing the other deities/Parivaara Devatas: Sri Veerabhadra Swamy, Panchalingeswara, Shri Paarthesara (different manifestations of Lord Shiva), Lord Subramanya and Devi Saraswati. On the left of Shri Paartheswara shrine is the temple of Shri Panchamukha Ganapati — the five-faced Lord Ganesha. There is also an image of Anjaneya/Hanuman, said to have been installed by Madhwa Acharya, Sri Vadaraja Swami.

Soon after, everyone went to the Bhojana-Shala, where a very simple, though tasty meal comprising of rice with rasam,sambar and mooru/watered curd was partaken by the vast assembly of Bhaktas irrespective of caste, creed,status and other alleged differences. It was a day well spent as we retired to our comfortable room with me being the last one to leave the temple premises as the watchman gave a mild shouting.

DAY 2: THIS IS PEACE

Woke up a trifle late at 6am, and was most eagerly looking forward to the morning darshan.

frontview

The temple, situated as it is between scenic hills (please see link below), presented even more of an  spectacle, with the sun reluctantly peeking from the  hills. I have always preferred early morning darshan immediately after a bath as the perceived feeling of purity/cleanliness and calmness of mind is at stratospheric heights, I have observed. The feeling was not betrayed as the experience was nonpareil, I tell you. Our family was in a vantage position as we witnessed the morning deeparadhana, which goes by a name, Alankara Darshan. The Devi was attired as Saraswathi, I believe.

Witnessing the earnest faces of the devotees coming from various parts of India and abroad, one had a lump in the throat. A thing to be noted is that in Mookambika, there is no restriction that only Hindus can enter the sanctum. Infact I observed 2 foreign ladies meditating near the Shankara-Peeth, where Mookambika Devi is said to have given darshan to Adi Shankara. A most apt place to go inward, since the whole vicinity of the hills is said to be loaded with spiritual power due to the penance of many sages, in particular Kola Maharishi.

I circled around the sanctum inside the main temple, and was directly behind the main deity/idol of Mookambika Devi, with the Shankara-Peeth behind when I looked up the sky. The mild sun rays seemed like kissing the premises of the temple and blessing all. The gentle sun pooled with the discreet chillness of  the morning, and synchronizing  with the mild breeze brushed my bare-chest, as I instinctively realized that this was the moment, the defining moment, which gave meaning to the whole trip. A moment which nostalgia had not yet colored and magnified its significance. The moment, when one did not in the least doubt that, God did indeed exist.

Sorry about getting a little carried away, but  to quote Albert Einstein: “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

AMMA STUMPED

As we came out of the sanctum and were worshipping the Parivaara Devatas, a sanyassini in ochre orbs, a foreign lady, very graceful looking with velvet skin and hair knotted in the form of a jatai like a sage,captured the attention of all. All of us were infront of the Anjaneya image, when the sanyassini muttered to my mother,”That is Hanuuman, a Rama devotee. right?” My not so well-read mother was mystified as to how a foreigner could know these details. More was to follow.

Foreign Sanyassini : Hanumaan flew to Lanka and burnt the city.

Amma: Whoa !! Whoa !!! clip_image001[1]What the  VakrathundaMahakaya ??

RETURN BACK HOME: INDICA SINKS TO A NEW LOW

At 10am, we were back on our way home  planning to stop at Udupi, visit the Krishna Temple and having lunch at the temple itself. Reached  the temple at 12, had darshan of the most beautiful idol of little Krishna.

udpi krishna 2 udupi krishna

Actually, a separate post itself can be written about the history, legends and the sanctity of the Udupi temple, one among the ‘Seven Mukthistala’ sites in Karnataka, the others being Kollur,  Subrahmanya, Kumbasi, Kodeshwara, Sankaranarayana and Gokarna. Had to  wait a long time for the lunch to be served.

Finally at around 2:00, the Indica was on the way back home to Kerala.  Everything seemed OK, as  everyone fell  asleep. When I woke up, noted that the car was moving  slowly on the highway.“Car has a snag. Clutch is not working” explained the driver. Ahem.. Ahem.. with my limited knowledge of cars, I knew, the clutch was indispensable to change gears. We had not even left Karnataka with home atleast 3 hours away.That day being a Sunday, no mechanic shops were open either. To cut a very long story short, we went in 2nd gear for a long while, car was forced to stop at one point, passerbys had to push it to restart. Some adhoc work to the clutch was done by taxi drivers once we entered Kerala ,after which the driver rode like a man possessed. It was nothing short of a miracle that the 3 railway crossings spared us and the usual traffic at the sinuous steep slopes was absent. If the Indica had been stopped at those slopes, would have caused one hell of a traffic jam, I promise you. By now, the Indica was the butt of all jokes and everyone agreed that she epitomized everything wrong with automobiles.Finally reached home at 7:30. Inspite of the car,the overall experience was not  bad, rather an adventure after all clip_image001[1].

For other snippets , please click: trivia , souparnika, kutachadri , adi_shankara

For furhter info please visit www.mookambika.co.in

P.S.

1. The Tata Indica was not all being maintained by her owner, it seems. She could have been reliable otherwise.

2. Do not have a digi cam, the pics were got from the Net.

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12 Responses

  1. surrender completely to her feet she will take care of you

  2. Coming back happily after Darshana at mookambika.

  3. Can any one give me the phone number of swami’s son for predictions? My email id is umajunnarkar09@gmail.com

  4. I’m a big believer of Mookambika amma, she has given me a second chance in my life and as always been my strength.

  5. Mookaambika is my mother she solved my problem.want to connect with mother every second.

  6. have u been to bangalore temple of Devimaa. Miracles after miracles happen.
    Devimaa is everything for me.

  7. Devimaa my life,she has brought peace in my life.i luv devimaa truly.surrender self to her wholely.

  8. mookambika amma is my life.
    preethi

  9. mookaambika is everything for me.I am very lucky for worshiping mookaambika.she solves all problem.without she whole world is zero.

  10. i love my sri mookabika amma

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