Skip to main content

Featured Post

2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Temple Procession

Yesterday was Kumara Sasthi, a day special for Lord Karthikeya, who is also known as Kumara, Muruga or Subramanya. 

Muruga at Enkann Temple near Thiruvarur

Among the legends of Karthikeya is the story of how he, as a child, asked Lord Brahma the meaning of the word 'Om'. Brahma, affronted at the idea of such a question from a small child, ignored him. The young Subramanya imprisoned the creator, and creation came to a stand still. The Gods were aghast, and searched for the cause, which led them to the abode of Shiva. Shiva reprimanded Muruga, and asked him to release Brahma at once. Muruga refused, explaining that Brahma did not know the meaning of the word Om, and thus did not deserve to be the creator. Shiva was stunned, and asked the child if he knew the meaning himself. Muruga replied that he did know, but if Shiva wanted him to explain, he would have to take the place of a student, and give him (Muruga) the place of a teacher. Shiva agreed, and Muruga explained to him, the meaning of Om. Shiva and Brahma humbly accepted that the child was right, and blessed him. This legend is associated with the temple at Swamimalai, near Thanjavur, and is the story I grew up hearing. 

However, there is another version of the same story, one where Brahma is imprisoned, and then released at the instigation of the Gods. However, Muruga has to pay a price for imprisoning the creator. He is transformed into a snake, and disappears from Kailas. Parvati is upset at her son's disappearance, and prays for her son to be restored to his former glory. After weeks of dedicated prayers, her efforts bear fruit and Muruga appears before her in the form of a snake. The other gods appear too, invoked by the power of Parvati's prayer, and in front of them all, Muruga is restored to his original form. This story is associated with the temple of Kukke Subramanya near Mangalore, and this day is celebrated as Kumara Sashthi with great pomp and splendor. 

Next door to our house is a temple managed by the Kukke Subramanya Mutt, and every year, this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The celebrations begin almost a week in advance, but for 3 whole days (including the days before and after Kumara Sashti) we wake up to the sound of Panchavadhyams and go to bed amidst the clanging of the temple bells! Year before last, I had posted about the Lord taking a tour of our colony during the Kumara Sashti procession, and today, I bring you a video of the procession as well as a few photos....

Firecrackers lit up the night!

These were certainly the highlight of the procession!


More posing.....

And some more!


  1. It looks so very colorful and Smahith must have had a good time.

  2. Delightful festival, loved it! Many Thanks for sharing.

  3. Samhit's last pose is wonderful with bent legs and hand resting on his waist. A year ago I too did cover Swami Malai in my Hindi blog with the story.

  4. An exciting and beautiful festival. I enjoyed reading the stories. Great pictures and video.

  5. oh yes! he was out for the whole procession! i just went to click pics towards the end!

  6. He will be thrilled to hear that! is always posing for the camera these days!! yes, i remember reading about Swami malai on your blog.. it s a nice temple... we had been there almost 4 yrs back!

  7. It is nice to live near temples that celebrate these important days in the calendar. You are lucky that way. I guess Samhit wants his signature in all your posts :) Nice shot that!

  8. Your blog provides a fresh look at the subject. Nice pictures.

  9. Nice post. remember last year's post too. Kukke Subramanya temple I could not visit.and came to know the legend thru' your  post only. thanks.

  10. Its nice indeed to live amidst these celebrations, but it feels even worse when we miss so many celebrations simply because the temple is so near and we are caught up in other things and unable to visit! and as for samhith, well, he manages to get seen everywhere!!!

  11. Thanks chitra! i didnt know about this earlier either! came to know abt it from the temple only!


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

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