7 December 2012

Animal Girivalam

Those that have been following Arunachala Grace, already know of my great love for animals. I have six of my own doggies and also daily feed dinner to a number of local doggies -- much to the intense jealous rivalry of my own brood.

As well as having my own doggies, I also feed hundreds of birds who daily visit my garden compound which is located adjacent to the wilderness area of the Samudram Eri. So the below Animal Girivalam -- is all about my love of animals.

Over Deepam Festival I was asked by Yoges, a good friend in Malaysia to look after two of her compatriots, who needed a mentor during their stay at Tiruvannamalai.

On one day during their stay, we rented an auto rickshaw for 4-5 hours to enjoy a nice leisurely auto hill round. During the hill round made sure to stop off at some special Temples to explain to my visitors the mythology connected with the Temple and sometimes just talked about local gossip surrounding various Temple compounds.

Although I had my camera, wasn't really in the mood to take many snaps, except for the below photographs which were of animals we saw at some of the Temples we visited.

Right click to see nesting birds: Adiannamalai Temple

The below extract is from my posting on Adiannamalai Temple on my website Arunachala Samudra.

"Birds nesting at Adi Annamalai Temple 
When entering the Temple Compound of Adi Annamalai during bird nesting season, you will often be met with clouds of parrots and doves on fly-past. And looking up you will spot the occasional sleepy looking owl standing sentry at the doorway of its nest.

With careful attention to detail during renovation of Adi Annamalai Temple, the little openings at the top of the compound walls surrounding the Temple were preserved so they could continue to remain as nesting places for: parrots, doves, pigeons, sparrows, owls and bats."

Mating Rose Ringed Parakeets: Adiannamalai Temple

To read more about the Rose Ringed Parakeet which is found in abundant numbers in the countryside around Arunachala, please visit my Arunachala Bird Blog, at this link here.

Its been a long time since I visited the developing Balaji Temple (Lord Venkateshwara) near the Kubera Lingam on the South East side of Arunachala. It is the perfect place to bring young children, because as well as enormous statues of various Gods housed in individual shrines throughout the grounds of the Temple, the Temple is also home to a donkey and horse sanctuary. Below a lovely new-born at the beginning of his sweet life.


Best place for junior -- right next to Mum

Another Temple which has a fascinating history and mythology is the recently remodelled Pachaiamman Koil. On a personal note, I preferred the Temple previous to its remodelling -- but obviously I am in a minority, as the Temple is very popular as a wedding venue for local couples. Which was delightful for all the local monkeys, as it meant plenty of snacks and fruit for the day.

For a fascinating narrative on the history of this Temple, visit my website at this link.

Monkeys in the Shade!

Munishwaras (Guardians)

Excerpt from my Website Narrative
"A legend of Pachaiamman (an aspect of Parvati) has it that after completing her penance at Kanchi, the Goddess started off for Arunachala. She travelled with 7 rishis and 7 virgins (Sapta Kanniyars) as part of a protective entourage. Halfway from Kanchi to Arunachala, the entourage stopped and made camp at the village Vazhapanthal. At that place the local king tried to molest the Goddess and the 7 rishis became as munishwaras (guardians) and killed the king. 

In the Pachaiamman Compound there are 14 statues of Pachaiamman’s warrior guardians set out in two lines, with two representations of each warrior." 

--- oOo ---

With our Animal Girivalam complete, my two ladies from Malaysia and I continued on our auto hillround and stopped off at several other fascinating, mythology-rich Temples - and a very nice time we had of it!


Divya said...

An excellent opportunity for visitors, to have your knowledge during a tour! Nice pics, thank you. It is nice seeing all the animals, adjusting to the squatters on their land (humans!).

Janet D. said...

I am inspired to visit the donkey sanctuary from your photograph of the young baby donkey. What a lovely creature.

Ravi said...

I' am from Malaysia and I intend to come to Chennai on November 16th. I want to come to Thiruvannamalai . But what is bothering me is I have medical problems which would not enable me to do girivalam on foot. Is it possible for me to get some form of transport to go round the arunachala hill? Of course I intend to stop at various temples along the path. What is the best date to come as I know it will be crowded during the 10 days deepam. I'll be in India for two weeks. I need your advice.
Thank you.
- Ravi

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Thanks for your message Ravi. Deepam in 2013 is November 17. Unless you have a prebooked reservation do NOT try to come to Tiruvannamalai when you arrive in Chennai on November 16 as it will be impossible to get accommodation here.

If you need help with accommodation, you need to do it now. You can email me at the address left top of this Blog.

Yes, many people decide to get support on their hill rounding. You can rent a rickshaw or car to take you around and stop at all your preferred stops. However this will not be possible over Deepam.

It will be very busy in Ramana Nagar (near the Ashrams) from about November 15 to November 18. But the Town will be busy for even a longer period, because of twice daily processions and Temple events lasting over 10 days.

You can come on the 16th (if you have a reservation) and spend your time in the Ramana Nagar area and in the Ashrams of Ramana Maharshi, Seshadri Swamigal and Yogi Ramsuratkumar. After the 18th, you can then perform a quieter and more peaceful girivalam.

If you want more details, or to make a Deepam reservation email as mentioned above.

Meenakshi Ammal

Ravi said...

Thank you for the important information. I will be travelling to Thiruvannamalai on Nov 25 th., putting up a night there and intend to travel along the girivalam route in a hired transport on Nov 26 th. the last day of the Deepam. Will it be possible? Please advice me.

Thanking you

Meenakshi Ammal said...

The night of the lighting of the Deepam is November 17, 2013. Then the Deepam is on the Hill for some days. The amount of time that it is alight, depends on the Priests' calculations. It can be anytime from 7 to 13 days. I think last year it was about 13 days. It varies.

There will only be a small amount of people performing circumambulation by November 25, and there shouldn't be a problem for you to go around the Hill in a rickshaw or car. Make sure to fix the rate and time before you start off. If you want to stop at the Asta Lingams and some Temples 3-4 hours is good.

Hope it works out.