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Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie

Navaratri Experiences-2

The 30th was officially the first day of Navaratri, and wherever I went, I could see people bringing home the Devi. It signals the beginning of a hectic week, where we have to carry out our normal routines, while making time for prayers and Parayanams, attending Bhajans in the colony, and also finding time to visit the temple. Things were further complicated with Samhith’s classes, as well as my sister’s birthday. I had to have a quick darshan at the temple before rushing off to Thane to wish my sister.

The decoration at the temple depicted the Devi as LALITAMBIKAI, at the Thirumeeyachur temple, near Kumbakonam. This temple is about 13 Kms from Mayiladudurai, on the Mayiladudurai- Thiruvarur road, and is home to 2 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams (i.e. 2 songs sung by the saints). The main deities here are Aruneswarar and Lalitambikai, who were worshipped by Surya the Sun God at this place. The Lalita Sahasranamam is said to have originated here from the Devi herself, and hence this is considered one of the holiest temples in this area.

From Miscellaneous

Thanks to my visit to my mother’s place at Thane, I can share photos of a beautiful ‘Bommai Kolu’ with all of you.

The kolu is an elaborate affair at my mother’s place, and you can see that the whole room is covered with toys made of mud. To begin with, here are the traditional five steps……..

From Miscellaneous

The top step (the fifth) is dedicated to the Devi in her various forms. At the outset, I must inform all readers that this is not the traditional way of distributing the images on the steps. In our house, it is simply an attempt to classify the idols we have and fit them on the shelves.

From Miscellaneous
The fourth step has the main Kalasam, accompanied by the images of Men and Women made of wood, Over the years, my mother and aunt have collected enough such wooden dolls to fill a step by themselves. They put in a lot of time and effort to clothe and decorate these dolls, and the results are there for all of you to see and enjoy

From Miscellaneous
.The third step is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his various forms- the central idols are of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati and his consort Padmavati. All the other idols are of His various incarnations, and the smaller idols in the front depict the Dasavatharam.

From Miscellaneous
On the second step is the family of Lord Shiva- the central idol is one of Dakshinamoorthy. He is accompanied by images of Shiva and Parvati on the Rishabha Vahanam, and also images of His sons- Ganesha and Karthikeya. There is also an idol of Shirdi Sai Baba.
From Miscellaneous

The first step has small images of gods and goddesses, mainly Ganesha and Gowri.
From Miscellaneous

Due to lack of place on the steps, other idols have been placed all over the room – this table has been covered with images of Krishna - as a cowherd, with the gopikas, and even killing Kamsa.

From Miscellaneous

This shelf is coved with the Chettiar Bommais – the grocers and merchants, with vessels and all kind of grains.

From Miscellaneous

This one is of a snake-charmer……..

From Miscellaneous

And this one is of a king of Thanjavur - Manu Neethi Chozhan, who was famed for his justice, and who made the right judgement for anyone who rang the bell outside his palace. When his son ran over a calf while riding his chariot, the cow came and rang the bell asking for justice. The righteous king judged that his son should be run over the same way in order to atone for his deed. The Gods, who had tried to test him this way, were pleased, and returned his son alive, as well as gave him a place in Heaven.

From Miscellaneous

And finally, this one is of a group of musicians and performers.

From Miscellaneous

With this I can call an end to the first day of Navaratri. Lets wait and watch what the forthcoming days bring.........


  1. What an eloborate Golu, Golu is very well celebrate festivities at my place, Feeling very much nostalgic hehe :) and U have shiradi sai baba!


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