Saturday, August 31, 2013

A visit to Maha Prathyankara Devi Temple - Kumbakonam

We reached Kumbakanom around 7 in the morning by bus and took a room at Hotel Sivamurugan near the bus stand. The hotel decision was based on the review from a small roadside tea stall. The tea stall anna said the hotel is newly built and the rooms are very clean. Since that was the only constraint(clean rooms) we decided to check that hotel which is in walkable distance from the bus stand. Truly, the hotel rooms are very clean and the tariff is very cheap. We took a Standard Non AC room as we wanted the room just to take bath and get ready. Kumbakonam is a very hot place and you may need an AC room. But for us, it was okay with Non AC as it was hardly two hours stay early in the morning before the sun came up scorching. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast for 2 for 1000 Rs. room (Thank God!!)

We took the hotel cab for Rs 2000 per day which would take us for sight seeing in Kumbakonam the whole day and finally drop us off at Tanjore that night as we booked our return ticket from Tanjore.

Post lunch, we visited the Uppiliappan Temple which was hardly a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Then the driver anna asked us if we wanted to visit any other temple. He gave us an option to choose between two temples - a devi temple and some other temple( I don't remember exactly what he said).

At that time, we were not sure who that Devi was and just said we wanted to go to Prathyankara Devi Temple. The temple was again a 20 minute drive from Uppiliappan Temple. He drove us through some villages and finally we reached the temple. Just like any other temple, there were some small shops in the entrance that sold baby toys, diyas, Prathyankara Devi pictures and devotional books. 

By the time we reached the temple, it started drizzling and the sky became very dark with rain bearing clouds. As we hurried into the temple, we found some people reading something on the board very seriously with all their attention arrested towards the board. 

It was completely shocking to read what was written. Here it goes -

Pray to the Devi properly. Else all bad things are sure to happen to you.(Eeeeeeee!)
This temple is surrounded by grave yards on all eight directions. (Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)
No pooja items like the lemon or chilli is to be brought from outside into the temple. (Eeeeee!)
No pooja is offered in this temple for the Goddess. (Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!)
Devotees are requested not to keep idols or images of Prathyankara Devi in their homes. The temple committee has been receiving a large number of idols and images back saying bad things happened to the Devotees after placing them in their homes.(Eeeeeeeee!)
The Prathyankara Devi is very powerful and the Pandavas visited this temple and prayed to Goddess Prathyankara Devi. (eeeeee !)

All these words didn't seem any normal to me and my husband. We just went inside the Prathyankara Devi Temple and prayed to her and came back. We didn't ask much about the temple to anyone there as we were too scared. Only on our way back did we realize that there were other Gods too in the temple and there was Lord Shiva too. While it started raining heavily, my husband stood near to those small stalls in the front. I just took a quick visit around the temple and we started off. It was raining heavily.

On our way back, we talked about Prathyankara Devi Temple to the driver anna hoping that he must know the history being a localite. From his words--

Prathyankara Devi is a very powerful God and the Prathyankara Devi Temple is known widely for the reversal of black magic.
On all new moon days, homams are conducted and red chilli is offered to Goddess Prathyankara Devi.
To sit closer to the homam, people pay 10000 INR or more.
Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister Selvi J Jayalalitha had visited this temple.

After we reached Bangalore, we googled for Prathyankara Devi Temple and found lots of interesting information.

While I was happy to have visited that temple, my husband made it the talk during his office lunch.

(Okay, I wanted to posted an image of the Goddess but now my husband says NO :) So surf around) 

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