20. Sri Konganar Siddhar Thirukoil, Pon Uthiyur Maalai, Uthiyur
We had not considered going to this place until Yuva remembered that she was asked to go. Bala then included this too in our iterinary. We arrived early in the morning on the outskirts of the small town Uthiyur. I recalled the place were Tavayogi and I had began the climb – the Vinayagar temple and the stairs. Bala told me that the boys had began the climb further up on their last trip. I suggested that we follow Tavayogi’s path. We alighted and prayed at Vinayagar’s sannadhi before climbing the stairs. The stairs brought us to a run down Murugan temple that was closed. It was closed the last time I came with Tavayogi too. Then it was a an earthen track all the way, often encountering boulders and rocks. The jungle path took us to the samadhi of Sri Chetti Thambiran, a disciple of Konganar. As we climbed the flight of steps made out of boulders and rocks we saw that the temple was dark. It was very early in the morning and the temple was built into the rocks. Bala and I wondered how we are to see the sannadhi. As we took a step on the flat surface in front of the cave temple, to our surprise the lights came on! Bala and I shouted out in amazement! Thinking that someone had on the lights and were preparing to open the sannadhi, we moved towards the grilled gates. But to our amazement there was no one there!
We prayed and then entered a neighboring cave and took a moment to sit in it. Soon we came down and back the same way and continued on another path leading to Sri Konganar’s Temple. Seeing a signboard carrying the temple personnels telephone numbers, I asked Bala if we should call the temple and inform them that we were coming. Bala immediately called and spoke to them. They asked us to hurry as they were about to leave the temple. And so we hastened our pace. On arriving at the temple there we several people having their bath and washing up at a well. The temple priest and others welcomed us and told us that they had been there for days and only decided to leave for town that morning. We were indeed blessed to catch them before they left. The priest asked us to pray at the cave first while he prepared to performed the puja. So we walked up another track to the caves just above the temple.
We had to enter a rather small opening to the cave. There was a large painting of Konganar and many oil lamps strewn about and litter scattered all over. We decided to clean up the place before we sat down to sing the Siddhar Potri. The talk at that time was that we did not bring earthen lamps to light up. Then someone found an unused lamp. We became excited. Then we found another and then more. There was now eight pieces; we needed another one piece so that all nine of us could light up the lamps. Then we found the last one too! We could not believe our eyes that there was nine pieces of earthen lamp ready for all nine of us. Now what about oil? To our surprise there was a little oil, sufficient for the nine lamps, available in a large container! What about the Vilakku Thiri or cotton used in lighting lamps? There was a new bunch of Thiri waiting for us. We were overwhelmed at the play of the Siddhas!
Each one of us lighted the lamp and we began singing the Potri. On completion we waited for Dyalan to come out of his meditation. We began clearing the cave off plastics bottles and litter. Seeing us with these trash in our hands, the monkeys came down and made a ruckus. We sent the girls out of the cave the way we came in and down the hill accompanied by Shanga while Bala, Sugu and I waited for Dyalen to come out of his deep meditation. Once Dyalen woke from his meditation he informed us that both Agathiyar and Konganar were there and that they had blessed us. He asked if we felt their presence through the breeze and wind while inside the cave?
We then come out of the cave using another opening and could hear the temple people calling out to us to hurry up. Puja was done and the priests explained lots of things about the temple. They gave each of us the muligai rasam that is made on pournami days and given out to the public. We bought back some bottles too. The aids then suggested we come down the hill using another way that was quicker. This was the path Bala had used on his earlier visit.
We asked a favor from these kind people to inform Sankar to pick us up at this new point as Sankar could not be reached by phone. Soon Sankar picked us up near Sony Metals and we headed to Karur for breakfast.
21. Arulmigu Subramanyaswamy Temple, Sivanmalai
The Subramanyaswamy temple on Sivanmalai saw a through cleaning going on after the month long Karthigai puja and in preparation to usher the first day of Margazhi the next day. Walking through the flood of water and oil we waded to Sivavakiyar Siddhar’s sannadhi and moved on to the outdoors guided by the priest to conduct a puja. Puja was done to the Utchava Murthy temporarily.
22. Arulmigu Subramanya Swamy Temple, Chennimalai
23. Natadreeswarar Temple, Erode
Next stop was Nattadreswarar Temple in the centre of Kaveri in Kangayapalaiyam in Erode. See my earlier post at http://agathiyarvanam.blogspot.my/2016/12/the-nattadreswarar-temple.html
24. Sri Agathiyar Gnana Peedham, Kallar
We arrived at Kallar Ashram just as the Vasthu puja came to an end. We bowed to Tavayogi and Mataji and got their blessings and shared the highlights of our amazing pilgrimage. I came to meet many devotees of Agathiyar from all over whom I only knew through the social medias until then: Mr and Mrs Sanjiv Malhotra and his sister from New Delhi; Scientist Suresh from Gujarat; and Vinod from Chennai. I met Dr Ram Subramanian of Thirunelvelli, the man behind the ashram, having worked hard in collecting all the herbs for the Yagam; Saravanan who manned the kitchen and served us well each time we were at the Ashram. I knew them both through my earlier visits to Kallar. We were later joined by Srinath and Karthi from Singapore that night. Suren from Malaysia had arrived much earlier at 5.30pm.