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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Aranmula valliya sadya


Aranmula Parthasarathy is a famous ancient Sree Krishna temple in South Kerala .

It's near to Chenganur and can be reached by road or Rail. 

From Ernakulam one can go via Kottayam in MC Road or via NH 66 via Ambalapuzha Thakazhi in Kuttanad ,Chakalathu kaavu and  Chenganur .

Aranmula temple lies adjacent to river Pampa .

The area has so many small villages nearby and in earlier times the river was main transport as no roads existed and it was thick forests .

The locals used long slender snake boats or valloms..Chundan valloms .

These were long slender smooth and had a rising edge on one side .

The oarsmen either stood or sat on it to row and sang songs in unison to help thier rowing .

The temple itself is said to be more than 5000 years back built  during Mahabharatha days .

There are many stories behind it .

The Pandavas after Mahabharatha war and winning it appoints one of thier children to rule thier  kingdom and travel south .

Each of them build temples nearby .

Arjuna chose the  idol of Vishnu as Parthasarathy the divine charioteer to install but it  was near Nilackal a thickly forested region hence a raft made of six bamboo poles is used to bring it to this spot  hence called Aru Mula or six bamboo raft .

Another story says Arjuna during Mahabharata war was assuaged by Bismapithamahas steady volley of highly powerful arrows. 

Krishna who was driving chariot for Arjuna gets angry and leaves his whip in chariot getting down and raising his Vishnu Chakra to finish off Bhisma , but Arjuana cautions God his friend ,and tells him that he Krishna had vowed he would not fight in this war but only drive the chariot and hence had to keep up his word .

Krishna agrees .

This place is said to be where it all  happened and Lord Vishnu as Parthasarathy is the idol here is all glory but without a whip .

Aranmula has three things which make it different from other temples .

Aranmula valla sadya

Aranmulla kannadi or mirror


Aranmula Vallamkalli or boat race .

We had come to Aranmula in 2020 september once .

Aranmulla kannada and vallamkalli I shall write later .

Aranmula sadya or feast goes on for more than a month in time with Astami Rohini or Krishnas birthday .

It starts end of July goes on till september .

Every day three or more people give sadya as an offering to God .

At present the  price is 65000 Rs for one offering and more than 300 bookings are on now .

There is a story behind it again .

Once upon a time there was a Namboodiri called Bhatathiri near Aranmula who served delectable sadyas or feasts ( vegetarian ) to many every day .

One day no one turned up and he was very sad .

A very handsome youth came in a snake boat rowing and said he wanted sadya .

Bhatathiri served him with so much happiness and love and youth too relished the sadya .

At its end Bhatathiri requested the youth to come every day to partake the sadya .

The youth laughed and said ha ha Iam busy you bring it to me to my temple and disappeared .

Knowing it was Lord Krishna himself who came to eat from him Bhatathiri started habit of serving sadyas to nearby villages and they would come to temple in thier snake boats .

They were recieved by bhatathiris people with great love and honour and they too would come up steps of temple ghat to go into temple where they were honoured with dhakshina and then go to lunch hall for lunch .

A minimum 64 items to 80 items was a must in the plantain leaf sadya .

And the boatsmen would sing in praise of sree Krishna and later while eating food would demand items of food to be brought to them all in verse and songs .

Whatever was asked should be given to them with a smile .

The inner meaning is Lord Krishna would be amongst the common boat people and one never knows who it is ,so all are seen as Krishna and served with love and hospitality .

The message is regardless of who it is see all living beings as God and serve with love to spread happiness and joy .

What a great message !!

After the sadya they would sing to bless the family sponsoring thier sadya and show thier delight in partaking it .

Our friend Asokh told us about another mutual friend Suresh whose  family was offering sadya today and invited us as guests .

We had heard about it but we were delighted at this divine oppurtunity.

So Asokh , myself.  premila ,our dear friends Raviettan and Ratna chechi drove in our Hyundai Creta to Aranmula .

We reached around 10.30 am .

Saw the para or offerings to Lord in temple by the family and went to ghat with them to recieve the boat men who were from a particular nearby village .

Nowadays they just row symbolically only all coming in bikes etc .

The river too has lot of sandbanks and without rain is shallow .

The welcoming is akin to welcoming a Bhaarath in a north Indian wedding .

The boisterous singing of the youth rented the air and we all saw them being honoured with dakshina and later went into hall nearby .

We were given a token to enter and managed to get in with the main invitees as Suresh saw to it we were seated comfortably .

Because more than having sumptuous food its the divine ambience and the songs that we could witness .

Each of us had in front of us a plantain leaf with many items served already .

The preparation would have begun previous night and it had lots of regulations on items etc .

The caterers also knew that the main guests could ask for anything during feast and it was like Lord Krishna himself asking it and family had to serve with a smile .

The young men would break into songs on vegetable curry or Sambhar or pappadom or butter they needed or ask the family to grace them with hand held fans !!

It was all fun and symbolic and there were smiles laced with love and divinity .

It was a very vibrant ambience there and the food was delicious ,warm, tasty and one of the best I have had .

There were all items in a Kerala sadya .

There were different fried upperis like Kaya varathathu ,chena varathathu ,Sarkar upperi mango ,lime pickles, one big and two small pappadam Pazham  ,pansaara and so many side dishes before hot red unhusked rice was served with dhal and ghee , later Sambhar Rasam ,mor kootaan,Avial varatha aracha elisseri ,ollan , four types of Payasams .

We could hear the boatsmen demanding certain items to be brought and the family scurrying to obey .

It was a once in a life time experience to partake a sadya in his divine presence which was felt there and our hearts glowed with happiness and gratitude at being given a chance to do so .

It was a most memorable day indeed .

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

An Elegy to the Parotta

 An elegy to kerala Parotta 

You punch it you beat it 

You throw it You mould it

You make it soft and fit

Thin and make it sit

It's not healthy

Say the wise and wealthy

It's not safety

Say the eastie and Northie

But in.malludom

It rules the kingdom

It's eaten in wisdom

It's taken in random 

It's soft and fluffy

It's chewy and Buffy

It can be taken hot

It can be with what not 

It's brown or white

It's layered and bright

It's got egg and butter

It has no clusters

Mutton fish vegetable curry

You can cover it and burry

But it goes best with beef

Roast or fried in plantain leaf

You throw it like a pizza

You have it for a tizza

It's dime a dozen

Comes in Gulf frozen

It's punched and beaten

With fists before eaten 

And once it's cold

To eat you need to be bold 

I love my kerala parotta 

So do most mallu terrata 

Parotta is a passion

Not a momentary fashion 

Eat your maida delight

Make your day more bright

Chew it for lunch or dinner

And You are no sinner 

 just a mallu parotta lover 

And need no cover 

All you need is savour 

It as a mallu flavour 

Long live parotta

Monday, August 22, 2022

Adhu anginne aanu baaai

 Adhu anginne aanu bai

That's the way it is buddy
My last day in the job ..mine 20 Aug 2018 ..I wrote before I left Brunei.
Though not for many years for the last 5 years today was my last day in The Brunei Cancer Center now under Pantai Jerudong specialty center Brunei Darussalam.
Before this, I had the last day in Lakeshore hospital Cochin 12 yrs back and one in Tawam hospital Al Ain UAE 5 yrs back.
The last day last prescription and shutting down the desktop has a sort of finality for the phase.
It's the full stop of one chapter.
I have no plans for the next, in fact thinking back I never had grand strategies in my career.
I wasn't ever pushy never the typical A-type achiever.
The Alpha male no never ever.
I just did what I knew best as honestly as possible .
I always answered to one person , no no not to God or any celestial being but to my inner mind .
Somehow cheating him wasnt easy though I did try on off .
But I have been lucky too to get into places and work with people who were like steps for me to climb up my career .
Maybe if I was more hard working less diverted more focussed on my chosen career instead of indulging in my passions I may have reached higher peaks .
Now I did just climb small hills but I enjoyed the climbs as I had time to gaze at the scenery I had pauses to smell the flowers and I could taste the raindrops .
And I have a blank slate for the future which I am sure has an etch which will reveal in time like hidden writing.
So I am looking into the future with the wide-eyed innocence of a child
Maybe with the foolish vision of an idiot with no strategies but as I gaze into my past I find I hadn't been much different before too.
My career like my writing or my cooking has been spontaneous and impulsive with no punctuation and I just let go so that invisible something shapes my destiny as i am too lazy to do it myself.
Not an inspiring example for youngsters but as they say in Malayalam
Adu anginne aanu bai
Which means
it's like that buddy.
May be an image of 1 person, office and indoor

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Mookambika Shethram North Parur

Dahskina Mookambika temple is in North Parur also called Paravur in Malayalam .
There is a South Parur in Kottayam dt .
And I think another Parur somewhere near Kasargod not sure .
The place is around 18 km from Ernakulam and is on NH 66 the narrow highway to Guruvayur and beyond .
It's also a nidus of historical happenings and becoming a tourist center under Muziris project .
The intertwined of local history that of Cochin kingdome its attacks by Samorins of Calicut ,Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ,Portuguese and Dutch finally the British .
The advent of Jews early in century the earliest mosque in India Cheraman mosque is in Kodungallur not very far from Parur .
The migration of Gowda Sarawath Brahmins from Konkan area due to Portugese persecution was from here down to Cochin .
The temple itself was built 500 years back by local king 
Paravur Thampuran an ardent devotee of Mookambika devi in Kollur Dakshina Karnataka .
As he becomes aged he feels sad he is not able to travel to Kollur to worship in his favourite temple and the Godess appears in his dream tells him to build a temple for her in his place and she would be there too .
And so this temple was constructed 
It's a small very cute temple and faces a huge temple tank .
The sanctum sanctorum is in middle of a lotus pond and devotees walk over a small bridge to pray to Devi .There are smaller idols of Maha vishnu  ,Subramanya ,Hanuman ,Yakshi ,and Naga Devata.and Veera Bhadran .
Every day at 7.30 pm Kashaya Nivedhyam to instill wisdom is given as Prasad as Mookambika Amma is Godess Saraswati who is Godess of learning and intelligence and creativity .
The daily Pooja  are conducted by thanthris  of Puliyanoor mana of Thripunithura 
Navratri Puja is main festival and Vidyarambham most important date in year .


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Temple wear

Temple wear
In Kerala temples have dress codes .
Generally up to central Kerala pants are allowed for men but no lungi or at times half shorts or jeans one exception being Padmanabhapuram temple in Trivandrum where dhoti or mundu is a must.
In most north Kerala temples dhoti is a must no pants allowed.
Guruvayur is well known for this .
But Thriprayar just 20 km away allows one to wear pants .
Today I wore mundu or dhoti till the Akilanam Siva temple near Pattambi .
But when I reached Dhanvantri temple in Nelluvayi in Thrissur dt pants were fine.
Generally, all temples of Kerala insist men to remove shirts in sanctum sanctorum or inner temples,Guruvayur and Padmanabhan Swamy temples can be entered only with a bare chest .
Women too have dress codes like churidars are not allowed in Padmanabha Swamy temple Guruvayur etc saree or mundu worn by females like a sari.
No head cover is needed unlike in Gurdwaras or mosques.
Of course no slippers or footwear in any temple.
Wearing a dhoti on travel has so many practical issues if one isn't used to it it could slip at inopportune moments which even God won't like to see 😳
But seasoned wearers like me that is hardly the issue, I am long beyond that phase as I can fold unfold retire all with just one hand unless you are running away from a dog and you slip on your dhoti its accident-free with excellent ventilation.
The advantage of pants is its pockets, where one can carry the wallet the handkerchief, comb, and maybe some emergency snacks! Of course mobile in it .
Now I hear dhotis with pockets are available.
The shirtless phase makes one wish for less lard and more muscles
I look more like a lump of butter
Shirts do hide all those grotesque fat globules of the upper half of body.


Akilanam Siva Temple

 Akilanam Siva Temple

Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.
Akilanam Siva temple is located in a pristine green picture-postcard locale near Pattambi in thirummuttacode one hour drive from Guruvayur.
We went there as part of our recent weekend temple visits from Guruvayur .
We left early in the morning and it was drizzling,
Kerala is beautiful when wet as the green swathe of nature takes over and the smoky atmosphere of a hazy rain added to its visual awesomeness.
There are a lot of places in Kerala waiting to be discovered tucked in remote villages but with good roads reaching them and so many temples waiting to be discovered.
We were told of this temple by a friend, as it had a very unique factor,

It had a swayambhu lingam something that came on its own , that itself is not unique as there are plenty of such idols in India but the fact that the lingam has been growing slowly over many years was definitely unique.
Over the years the linga has grown from a small one to almost the height of the priest but it's very slow and is not visualized, the previous priest they say used to sit and do puja rituals while the present one had to stand and even tiptoe!
Even in his time here, he is sure of it growing steadily,
The temple itself is surrounded by paddy fields,a green pond lovely bright flowering plants, and lamps .its cobblestone paths and its quaint gopuras are all bewitching indeed.
We were told to wait for the dhara or ablution of an idol to see the lingha fully, this was a long puja of about 45 mins but can be seen by all,
the Lingha was almost six feet or four feet with pedestal and a just a stone projection, the Namboothiri priest hailing from Kasaragod entoned his Sanskrit scriptures and the place was filled with vibrations of spirituality and he continued the ablutions,
Another unique quality of the temple is whatever the temple needs it gets from its own properties like milk from its cow's paddy from its fields etc .
Most temples in Kerala were like this but after politicians took them over post-independence, many lands have been taken over and a lot of property was stolen from temples,
many temples have no money for upkeep and have been destroyed,
In the past the kings used to give lands for the upkeep of temples, even now the income from big temples can easily take care of smaller ones but the Dewasom who manages most temples use the money for all wrong purposes, that is the sad part of Kerala temples and most Hindu devotees are not even aware of all this or even if they continue to support the exploiters,
I am sure no other religion will allow such abuse of their places of worship
One of my aims in bringing out rare temples is to highlight how our temples are misused by political parties in Kerala.
We went to a nearby Bhagavathy temple almost a km and more on a narrow road it too was wonderful before we returned via Dhanwantri temple which I had posted already
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