Thirunangur 11 Garuda sevai experience

Prostrating at the lotus  feet of Lord Srinivasa , Adiyen wishes to briefly describe MANJAL NEERATAM AND ELEVEN GARUDA SEVAS HELD AT THIRUNANGOOR EVERY YEAR ON THAI AMAVASAI AND PRADHAMAI  DAY respectively.  May the Supreme Lord bestow me the knowledge to describe about the Garuda Seva.  Adiyen seeks the blessings of all the Alwars and Acharyas  and all SriVaishnavas.  Adiyen sincerely admits  that he is incompetent to describe about Perumal and Alwar’s vaibhavam and sincerely  requests the bhagavathas  to  correct the shortcomings .


Having  planned to visit other divya desams like Thiruaadanoor,  Thirupullamboothamgudi,  Thiurkandiyur, Kapisthalam, Thanjhai Maamani kovil, Mandangudi, Nathan kovil, Oppiliappan kovil, Thirunaagai, Thirukannapuram, Thirukannangudi, Thiruvelliangudi, Therezundur etc.  and  then go to Thirunangoor.

Having reached Chennai  we went to Thiruvallikkeni Parthasarathy Perumal temple.  It was Ratha Sapthami. The festival, which is celebrated in grand way at TIRUMALA.Here one can have darshan of Lord in all the vahanas in one day on Ratha Sapthami. It’s a festival not to be missed. It is auspicious to have a Samudra snanam as per Elders.  Due to lack of time, we could not have samudrasnanam.  Had darsanam of utsavar near the entrance itself. We immediately  went to Singa Perumal kovil via Guindy and Tambaram to take our Acharya Sri Sri Mudaliaandan Swamy’s blessings. As Acharya was not there,  we offered fruits etc with Swamy’s  shishyas at ashram.  we boarded Rameswaram Express to Kumbakonam

Reached Kumbakonam  at 4.30 A.M. , after refreshing ourselves left  at   7 A.M. Hired an auto to cover temples around Kumbakonam. Went to Thiruvelliankudi.  The temple was closed.  Left the temple at 10.30 A..M. and via Swami Malai went to Thiruaadanoor .Reached Thiruaadanoor at 11.55 A.M.  In this temple one can have  darshanam  of THIRUMANGAI ALWAR  with a sword inside the temple itself which is very rare. We  were fortunate to  perform  Archana (it was the grace of the Alwar  that the chance to perform Archanai to his holy feet was possible.) Further we went to Thirumandangudi, the birthplace of Thondaradipodi Azhwar, at 12.20. The sannadhi was already closed.  WE were told that all utsavams are performed for Azhwar only.   While doing pradakshinam, we came across a vigraham of the Azhwar.  From there, we went to Kapisthalam, the place where Gajendran was given moksham.  The story of Gajendran, the elephant is well known and does not need any repitition.  We were told that utsavam for Perumal is done for one day on Vaikasi Visagam day.   On Aadi Pournami, Gajendra moksham is enacted.  We were told that every year they bring an elephant from Swami Malai and a crocodile out of wood is made for the moksham ceremony.  Perumal goes to the banks of Kaveri on Garuda vaahanam and Gajendra moksham is recapitulated. Periazhwar’s pasuram starting with “PADAGAMUDALA VAAIPATTU, THOTTA MANIYOTTUM ETC, KOOTRAMKARA … FROM NAANMUGAN THIRUVANDHADHI ETC.” are recited. At the entrance to the temple on the gopuram, we can see Gajendra moksham beautifully carved .  The pushkarini is full of lotus flowers

Resumed journey at 3.45 P.M. and reached Thirukandiyur at 4 P.M.  Waited for the archakar to  arrive till 4.50 P.M.  Even at the ripe age of 80 above, the archakar came to temple and performed archanai  to Perumal.   Hope we also have the same type of attachment to Perumal like the archakar.  The moolavar here is known as HARASAAPA VIMOCHANA PERUMAL .  Had darshan of all azhwars outside the garbagriham.  We were told that utsavam will be performed for 15 days during Panguni and ends on Panguni Uthiram star. Left at 5.10 P.M. to Thanjhai Maamani Kovil.

THANJAHI MAA MANI KOVIL:  This is a cluster of 3 temples.  As Perumal had to take 3 forms to kill the asura, Perumal is seen in 3 forms in 3 temples.  It takes hardly 3 minutes to go to one temple from another.  In all the three temples, no thirumanjaname is performed for Moolavar.   Only on Aadi Ekadasi, Thaila Kaapu is done for the Perumals.

 First, we went to Mani Kundra Perumal kovil., We were  informed  that Garuda Seva is done on Panguni Uthiram day and during Thai and Aadi Fridays, oonjal sevas is performed.  Left the temple at 5.35 P.M. and went to Thanjahi Maa Mani Kovil (5 minutes walk)

In Thanjhai Maa mani kovil, the moolavar is known as Neelamega Perumal . We were told that Garuda Sevai is held on Vaikasi Visagam.  Perumal gives darsanam along with Andal and Desikar’s utsavam is performed for 10 days endingon Puratasi Sravanam. On Thai and Aadi Fridays, oonjal sevai is performed.

From there we went to Thanjai Yali kovil.  Moolavar’s Thirunaamam is Veera Narasimhar.  2 utsava murthis known as Narayanan and Narasimhar.  Perumal’s star is Chithirai Swathi.  On Aadi Pooram, Andal’s utsavam is performed,  Only in this temple, Pagal pathu and Raa pathu utsavams are conducted.

From Thanjai maa mani kovil, went directly to Oppiliyappan kovil  .  had darsanam of Perumal after neivedyam at 8 P.M.  Stood in front of Perumal for more than 10 minutes.  Bought Tulais, salt and pepper and cassettes.  Reached room at 8.40 P.M.

The next day  we checked out at 5.15 A.M from station and   boarded bus to Nagapatinam which is 50 kms away from Kumbakonam  via Tiruvarur  at 6.15 A.M.  Reached Nagapatinam at 8 A.M.

THIRUNAAGAI (NAGAPATINAM) –Dhruva Kshetram.  Had darsanam of Soundariyaraja Perumal to our heart’s content.  Perumal ‘s thiruvuruvam is still fresh in our minds.  We were told that 2 utsavams are performed –one in the month of Chithirai and one in the month of Panguni (Ratham on Panguni Uthiram –10 days utsavam).  In the months of Aani and Aadi, utsavams for Soundaryavalli Thayar and Andal are performed respectively.

 Later  we went to Thirunaagai (Nagapatinam) to have darshan of Soundaryaraja Perumal who blessed young Dhruva.  This kshetram itself is known as DHRUVA KSHETRAM.  When we were enquiring the bhattar about the route to Thirunangoor, some Srivaishnavites who had come to the temple volunteered to take us along with them in their van as there was place for 2 persons to sit.  Perumal once again came to our rescue by sending these Sri Vaishnavites.  Thanking Perumal for the timely help, we accompanied them and the rest of our journey was very comfortable which could not be described in words.  I take this opportunity to thank the devotees for the help they had extended to us.On the way to Thirunangoor, we visited Sikkal at 9.30 A.M. Thirukannangudi (10 A.M.), Thirukannamangai, Theruezundur,Oppiliappan Temple, Thirunaraiyur, Thirucherai, Thirukudandhai and other temples around Kumbakonam.   It was midnight when we reached Thirunangoor.   The sleepy village of Thirunangoor with no amenties was overcrowded with bhagavathas.  We all relaxed in front of a house near Thiruvaali-Thirunagari temple.

Suddenly around 1.30 A.M. in the morning, we were awakened by sounds of drums.  On enquiry, we were told that Azhwar’s purapaadu was about to start.  When questioned, we were told that as Kaliyan was a dacoit before becoming Azhwar, the system of going out in the midnight is followed even today.  I was told by the bhagavathas whom we accompanied that they would be joining the procession.  As I wanted to join the procession, Adiyen left my wife and children in the safe custody of the other bhagavathas in the bus itself, had a wash in a nearby bore well and joined the procession.  It was totally dark with no street lights and there were no proper roads.  Unmindful of the thorns and stones, all the bhagavathas were running behind the Azhwar.  I just recollected Raman mama’s words that it is difficult to carry children in the crowd and thanked Sri Parthasarathy Perumal for arranging van for my family.

 The intention of the purapaadu is Azhwar personally goes to each temple, glorifies the respective Perumals while going for Manjal Neeratam and personally invites them to come to Thirumanimaada kovil for the Garuda utsavam which will be held the next day.   Thirumangai Azhwar was seated in a well-decorated palanquin and the purapaadu started.  First, Azhwar went to Thirukuraiyalur, his birth place.It was 2.30 AM We could see thousands of devotees following the Azhwar.  The Azhwar literally runs and the bhagavathas also run behind the azhwar.  It may be mentioned that there are no proper roads and how the bhagavathas  run on thorns and stones is a sight which is not to be missed.  Leaving  my children and wife in the safe custody of the bhagavathas, Adiyen participated in the purappadu and ran behind the Azhwar.  The zeal cannot be explained.

   First, we reached THIRUKURAIYALUR, the birth place of Thirumangai Alwar.  Alwar was received with due temple honours and mangalasaasanam starting with “VAADINEN VAADI” was done.  We happened to meet Azhwar’s descendants.  WE were told by the couple themselves that they are the direct descendants of the Azhwar and they do the “PUSHPA KAINKARYAM FOR THE AZHWAR ON THESE TWO DAYS”.  (We were excited to meet them at Alwar Tirunagari during Nava Garuda Seva  after two years )  After this , “Kesari” was distributed as prasaadam to all the devotees.

Without any discretion, all the residents of all the 11 villages participate in this function and the hospitality which is extended by the local residents cannot be described in words.  All the bhagavathas who attend this function  are sumptuously fed .  We can see the residents voluntarily offering us buttermilk, food etc.  They all consider it as their own family function. From there, Azhwar was  taken to Thirumangaimaadam, the birth place of Kumudavalli Thayar., who was solely responsible for transforming a dacoit into a Srivaishnavite. It’s a old temple and one has to see the Alwars vigraham which shares the feelings with the crowd. Tears roll when the incidents are revealed by the bhagavathars. Chakrapongal  prasadam was served .It was 3.30 AM .I think we must have easily walked 4 Kms .  From there, Azhwar was  taken in a procession to Thirukavalampadi, Thirumanikoodam and Thiru  Paarthanpalli.  All these temples are scattered in a radius of 10 to 12 kms and the Azhwar literally runs to cover all these temples.  The devotees throng behind the Azhwar  and the way the devotees run behind the Azhwar has to be seen to be believed.  The whole place was charged with religious fervour and was eye- captivating.   One must not miss to see bhagavatha’s bhakti for the Azhwar.  Due to Azhwar’s sheer grace, I was able to participate in the procession.  The procession was more or less like a running race.  It shows the Azhwar’s anxiety to have darshan of Perumal.  In each of the temples, the utsavar was very anxious to receive the Azhwar and was waiting  outside the garbagriham to  welcome the Azhwar.   I was overwhelmed with joy and at the same time I was  stunned to see an ocean of Srivaishnavas running behind the Azhwar.  All through the way, Perumal’s naamasmaranam was done and Azhwar’s vaibhavam was recapitulated.  Even the thorns and stones on the road do not cause any injury to the bhaktas.

Suddenly, they took a turn and went across fields and canals.  For a moment, I didn’t know what was happening.  I was told that it was Azhwar’s practice to go across fields, muddy lands and canals and that practice is followed even today.  It was a very thrilling experience.  Around 8-10 persons were shouldering the palanquin and by seeing the speed in which the procession was taken, I thought they would drop the palanquin. But I was corrected about my misconception by other bhagavathas that such incidents do not happen and Azhwar enjoys the procession to be taken in this way.  We could see the smile on Azhwar’s Thirumugam.   The Azhwar crosses agricultural fields, (keni kattu), canals etc.  The local people request the procession to be taken across their  fields because they strongly  believe that they will have a good yield if the procession goes from their fields.   WE were told that a local resident objected to this procession to be taken across  his fields and as a result of which , there was no yield that year.  The repentant person approached the Alwar for forgiveness and prayed to Azhwar for the procession to be taken across  his fields.   Took many photographs. I regretted for wasting my past years in not attending this festival. It takes about half a day for the Azhwar to cover these 5 temples.  After visiting these 5 temples, Azhwar is taken to the banks of Manikarnikarai.  On the banks of the canal, Azhwar do mangalasaasanam to his guru, Sri Naraiyur Nambi Perumal (Naachiyar kovil, Kumbakonam) who initiated him into Vaishnavism and mangalasaasanam to his favourite Perumal, Sri Ranganathar are recited.  The devotees stood in knee deep water and were reciting some pasurams. I was told that these pasurams were sung in praise of Thirunaraiyur Nambi and Sri Ranganathar.   The Azhwar took a quick dip in the water. Along with the Azhwar, the devotees also had a holy dip.   We were told that the Azhwar, when he was a dacoit, used to have bath in these waters for refreshing himself after he returned from his looting expedition.  Hence, the system of having holy dip in the Manikarnikai waters is still followed even today. After this, Azhwar was honoured with garlands and peethambarams which were adorned  by the two Perumals  of the divya desams previously.  These gifts were specially brought from Kumakonam and Srirangam with due temple honours.  After this,Azhwar was  taken to a nearby old mandapam for Manjal Neeratam.  The reason for Manjal Kuliyal has already been described.  Though I had read some books regarding this, I  felt that only due to the blessings of  Acharyar alone, I could see this event which is the most memorable event.

 Thirumanjanam was  performed for SINDANAIKU INIYAN ( idol worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar himself), Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar.  It is very interesting to note that Azwar is never separated from Thayar except on one occasion i.e. during THIRUVEDUPURI UTSAVAM celebrated on Panguni Uthiram day every year.

Only during this occasion, Azhwar leaves Kumudavalli Thayar alone for a span of 3-4 hours  as he goes to plunder Perumal’s properties.   We were told that every year 5 days before Panguni Uthiram, Kalyana Ranganathar goes for seeing the bride and their marriage takes place on Panguni Uthiram day Thirumangai manans four friends as described earlier go to see Perumal and Thayar adorned with most precious jewels and they go and inform Alwar of the bouty.They decide to loot so that they need not work for a life time.Alwar immediately rushes at Perumal riding a Horse and stops Perumal by showing his sword.He gooes around Perumal 3 times and loots all the jewellery. We were told that Perumal protects Thayar by covering her with his upper cloth.Alwar tries to remove Thayars metti and he is enlightened..This episode is recaptivated by the Vaadiyar who removes the metti and hides it. Immediately Alwar bursts into the beauty …VAADINEN VAADI … At that time Perumal and Thayar appear in Garudavahanam and give darshan to Alwar. After this incident both Perumal and Alwar return to the temple. Next day RATHOTHSAVAM is celebrated. The place is in a thick forest. The mandapam is Oh lord When will You grace me to see this festival I  look out ..We were shown the old mandapam where this festival is celebrated.

                                      Azhwar and Kumudavalli Thayar are placed on a big table and on top of them, a Sahasra dhaara plate is placed and on it the idol worshipped by Azhwar  whom he lovingly called SINDANAIKU INIYAN is placed.   Then Thiurmanjanam is performed to Lord Sindanaiku Iniyan and the same water flows through the Sahasradhaaram on Thirumangai Azhwar and Kumudavalli’s head.   After this , panchaamrutham,  chakarai pongal etc were distributed.  The Manjal Neeratam is still fresh in our minds.  May Azhwar bless us by giving us another chance to visit the function.

After this, we all had sumptuous lunch.  Around 3 P.M., the procession started.In the evening,en route to Thirumanimadakovil,Thirunagari, Azhwar visits  Thiruvanpurushotham, Thiru vaikunta vinnagaram, Thiru Sem pon sei kovil, Thiru Thetri ambalam, Thiru Arimeya vinnagaram and stays at Thirumanimada kovil for the night.  Adiyen  participated  in the evening procession  meantime in the afternoon I and other bhagavathas went to Thalaichankaadu and other divya desams..This is the only Divya desams one can find in a paddy field. The Vaadiyar is 95 yrs old man who has sons in one of the best positions but decided to stay alone in the temple at his holy feet .I was really surprised with the spirits he was performing Archannai. In the night, all of us halted at  Sinivasa Perumal kovil more popularly known as “Annan Kovil “.
Next day morning,  all of us assembled at Thirumanimada kovil for participating in 11 GARUDA SEVA.  On the way , we visited Anann kovil,, Thirupaarthnpalli, Thiruvaali-Thirunagari.  There is a  separate shrine forThirumangai Azhwar in Thirunagari temple.  The temple itself is very big.  The vigraham of Thirumangai Azhwar along with Kumudavalli  Thayar is eye captivating. It makes one recollect Manavala mamuni’s thaniyan on the azhwar.  Azhwar’s lips are slightly opened as if they are uttering THIRUMANTRAM.   Azhwar’s vigraham may be around 3 feet.  He is seen holding THIRUMADAL in one  hand .  There is also a spear with him.  In one leg, Azhwar is seen wearing anklet.  This anklet and Vel were given as gifts to the Azhwar when he won in a contest about Vaishnavism.  We were told that utsava vigraham of the Azhwar is adorned with the anklet for the festival.   From 10 A.M. onwards, divya desa Perumals from each temple started arriving.  A big pandal was erected for the Perumals.  The Perumals came in their respective palanquins.   We reached Thirumanimadakovil at 14 hours.  By that time, almost 7 Perumals had arrived .   After all the Perumals assembled, at about 4 P.M., the alwar was brought out from Thirumanimada kovil for receiving the Perumals.   The Alwar was waiting near the entrance of the temple.  Manavala maamuni was standing opposite to the Alwar.  , Manavalamaamuni was  very fond of Thirumangai Azhwar and he , as a disciple supervises the Garuda Festival.   The place was over crowded but fortunately we could have a clear view of the proceedings and were able to take out many snaps.  To enable the crowd to know about the proceedings, a big board was hung depicting the particular  Perumal’s Thirunaamam,  and Divya desam.

Mangalasaasanam on the particular Perumal rendered by Thirumangai Alwar was recited and Azhwar does pradakshinam to Perumal.  After  that, Alwar is gifted with parivattam and garlands previously worn by the Perumal. Alwar is lowered a bit and the gifts are accepted by the Azhwar.  Azhwar wears the garland given by Perumal and the parivattam is tied around Azhwar;s head.  After this, fruits etc are offered as neivedyam ot Perumal and then to Azhwar and later to Manavala Mamuni.  After this, karpoora aarthi is given.    and the particular Perumal gets inside the Thirumani mada kovil.   An interesting feature noted was there was a separate troop of  musicians who played naadaswaram, mela and thalam for each Perumal.  Finally aarthi with khumbham is given.  The sequence in which the mangalasaasanam to the Perumal is done is as follows:




4) SRI SRINIVASA PERUMAL OF ANNAN KOVIL (palanquin covered with blue and meron velvette cloth)

5) SRI PURUSHOTHAMAN OF THIRUVANPURUSHOTHAM (dressed in white and grey)- palanquin covered with green cloth (Note: All the palanquins were covered with cloth with sankhu, chakram and Thiruman embedded on it)

6) SRI VARADARAJA PERUMAL OF THIRUMANIKOODAM (silver crown, holding mace,  dressed in blue and red –palanquin covered with white cloth)

7) SRI VAIKUNTANATHAR OF THIRUVAIKUNTAM ( Adiseshan seen as umbrella for Perumal, blue and red colour  cloth covered over the palanquin)  (The alankaranam for all the Perumals especially, for Srinivasa Perumal, Vaikunta natha Perumal and Varadaraja Perumal was fantastic)

8) SRI MADHAVA PERUMAL OF THIRUDEVANARTHOGAI  (meron colour kreetam-dressed in yellow and red )

9) SRI PARTHASARATHY PERUMAL OF THIRUPAARTHANPALLI (dressed in printed silk cloth-silver umbrella –Maragadham visible  on Perumal’s  Thirumaarbhu-red colour palanquin

10) SRI RAJAGOPALAN of THIRUKAVALAMPAADI (dressed in pink and blue coloured silk cloth-red coloured palanquin)

While doing pradakshinam to Sri Rajagopalan (Sl. No. 11), Azhwar goes round the Perumal is “AADU PAAMBU” style.  After all the Perumals get inside, Manavala mamuni does pradakshinam to Azhwar in Aadu paambu style and the Alwar along with Manavala mamuni enter the temple.   The function takes place for about 2 hours.  Around 4.45 P.M., it was complete.   Inside the temple, each Perumal is allotted a separate place and Thirumanjanam to all the Perumals and Azhwar is performed in Ekantam. Then, preparation for Garuda Seva starts.   Arouund 10 P.M., amidst heavy crowd, leaving our children in the custody of Sri Govindarajan, myself and my wife went inside the temple, had darshan of all the Perumals and had theertha prasadam and thiruthula.  Sarangapani kovil bhattar was also there.  At 11 P.M. , the Garuda seva starts.  First Manavala mamuni goes followed by  Thirumangai Alwar and Kumudavalli Thayar seated on hamsa vahanam and  All the divya desa Perumals follow them.  The procession winds its way through the four mada streets of Thirumanikoodam.  It takes about 3 hours for all the Perumals to complete the oorvalam.  All the Perumals assemble in front of Thiurumanimaada kovil.  Alwar  thanks all the Perumals for having blessed all the sinners like us with their Divine Grace.  Manavala mamuni’s saatrumarai takes place after this.  After this, all the Perumals enter into the temple. Next day, all the Perumals leave to their respective places.  On the way to Thirunagari, Alwar visits Annan Kovil, Madhava Perumal kovil (Thirudevanarthogai), Thiruvaali and Thirunagari divya desams .  We were told that Narasimha swamy of Thirunagari temple eagerly waits near the entrance of Thirunagari temple to receive the Alwar who had gone out for a span of 3 days .  Alwar’s mangalasaasanam on this Perumal is sung and both Perumal and Alwar enter into the temple..  This marks the end of the two-day grand festival.

As we had to reach Chennai the next morning,  we all left Thirunangoor at 1 A.M. after thanking Alwar for blessing us to have a view of 11 GARUDA SEVA.  It was a dream come true for us.



Dasan Varadan



The appended link  which has been updated and explained in detail takes you completely for darisanam of the Eleven Garuda sevai and Manjal Kuliyal


Sriman Narayana Charanau Saranam Prapathye Srimathe Narayanaya namah

Sri Kumudavalli sametha Thirumangai Azhwar Saranam Prapathye

Srimathe Ramanujayah namah

Sri Dasarathaya namah

Sri Vara Vara Muniye namah

Offering obeisances to asmath Acharyar, Sri Mudaliandan Swamy, Adiyen wishes to share our experience at Thirunangoor this year. Due to acharyar’s kataksham, adiyen could participate in Manjal kuliyal after a gap of 11 years and also have acharyar’s darshan. We reached Sirkazhi at 11.30 P.M. and took an auto to Annan kovil for refreshing at Sri.Balaji’s swamin thirumaligai, we got ready to go to Thirunagari temple, the place from where the procession starts, and reached Thirunagari temple which is about 12 kms from Annan kovil. In the village of Thirunangoor near Sirkazhi, every year Thai Amavasya and the succeeding 2days are celebrated in a grand manner. On Thai Amavasya, Thirumangai Azhwar is given Manjal Kuliyal(holy bath with turmeric water) which is being celebrated for more than 12 centuries, on the next day, 11 Garuda Seva is celebrated which is more than a 100 year old festival. The third day marks the return of Azhwar to Tiruvali-Thirunagari temple. Srivaishnavas make it a point to participate in these festivities. Many bhagavathas had gathered in front of the temple and several autos were parked near the temple. Usually, devotees engage a vehicle to go to these temples which are located in and around Thirunangoor within a radius of about 40 kms.and participate in the festivities. Blessed are the devotees who go behind the Azhwar by foot on that day. To cover all these 13 temples, the auto drivers charged app Rs .900/- As this is celebrated every year, Adiyen wishes to narrate the happenings of the day in brief in present continuous …..(for many thousands of years to come, this has to be celebrated and cherished by bhagavatha bandhus) On Thai Amavasya (no moon ) midnight, at sharp 0130 hours , Azhwar along with Kumudavalli Thayar accompanied by the deity worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar himself named “Sindhanaiku Iniyan”(one who is sweet for contemplating) and a small vigraham of the diety and Sri Ramanujar’s vigraham seated in a well decorated palanquin leave the Thiruvaali Thirunagari premises. To mark the arrival of Azhwar, crackers are burst and trumpets blown. The temple elephant leads the procession followed by a horse and azhwar’s palanquin follows. The procession leaves thirunagari temple and heads towards Thirukuraiyalur, the birth place of Azhwar situated about 12 kms at 1 .AM . It takes more than one hour for the procession to reach Thirukuraliyur.. The procession winds its way through narrow, rough, dislevelled, stony roads in the dark. There are no street lights. As Azhwar used to start in the midnight for his hunting expedition, this system is followed. The palanquin bearers about 20 persons literally run through these roads carrying the Azhwar unmindful of the stony path. With the routes cleaned with water and kolams drawn , the residents both young and old alike eagerly wait to receive Azhwar . The procession stops at few places and mangala aarthi is given to Azhwar. Finally the procession reaches Thirukuraiyalur temple , the birth place of Azhwar. The presiding diety, Lord Narasimhar eagerly awaits Azhwar’s arrival. Upon arrival, amidst mangala vaadyam, the Azhwar is received with full temple honours. The temple priest approaches Azhwar with Perumal’s parivattam , garlands etc and welcome him. Azhwar accepts the same and in return the priest is given a gift of garland and parivattam adorned by Azhwar. Azhwar’s procession enters the temple. In this way, Azhwar is received at all the temples and this procedure is followed at all places In one temple, Hare Krishna maha mantram is sung whereas in another temple, musical fest is performed. Azhwar faces Perumal. As this is the first temple, the prabhandham starts with the recitation of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, followed by Azhwar’s Thaniyan and the 1st decad of Peria Thirumozhi- “Vaadinen Vaadi”.. is recited in chorus by nearly 200 srivaishnavas. Then food offering is made to Perumal and then to Azhwar. Karpoora aarthi is given to Azhwar and Saatrumarai is recited followed by Azhwar’s Vaazhi Thirunaamam. Prashad is distributed to the assembled devotees(usually sweet and pongal). Devotees have darshan of Thirumangai Azhwar’s moola vigraham in the temple prakaaram . ( In this temple, Azhwar is alone whereas at Mangai maadam, Azhwar is with Kumudavalli Thayar.) Leaving Thirukuraiyalur, the procession marches its way to Thirumangai maadam, the birth place of Kumudavalli Thayar. It takes about 30 minutes for the procession to reach this place. At Thirumangai maadam, the reception is more grand as it is Azhwar’s in-laws’ place. Here the presiding diety is Sri.Veera Narasimhar. Inside the temple towards right, a small vigraham of Azhwar with his kumudhavalli nachiyar welcomes. Azhwar is received with full temple honours . Mangalasaasanam to Lord Narasimhar is done by reciting the decad of pasuram on Ahobila Narasimhar from Peria Thirumozhi by the assembled bhagavatas . Later food offering is done to Perumal and then to Azhwar and saaturmarai and vaazhi thirunaamam are recited. Rice upma and Pongal offered to the Lordships is distributed to all the assembled devotees . The above two temples are the birth places of Azhwar and Nachiyar. From Thirumangai madam, Azhwar starts visiting the 11 divya desams in and around Thirunangoor. On the first day morning, Azhwar visits 3 divyadesams-Thirukaavalampadi, Thirumanikoodam,Thirupaarthanpalli, 5 temples in the evening-namely, Thirumanimada Kovil, Thiruvan Purushothaman Kovil, Thiru Vaikunta Vinnagaram Kovil, Thiru Sempon Sei Kovil, Thiru Thetri Ambalan Kovil, Thiru Arimeya Vinnagaram Kovil. and 3 temples ,namely, Thiruvellakulam (Annan Koil), Thiru Devanar Thogai, and Thiruvali and reaches Thirunagari.on his way back to Thirunagari. At each divyadesam, Azhwar is received with full temple honours- mangala vaadyam is played, the corresponding temple priest bears a plate containing Perumal’s parivattam and garland on his head, the Perumal’s umbrella and other insignia etc .is brought forward. Azhwar adorns Lord’s parivattam and garland and Srisatari is offered to Azhwar. Azhwar felicitates the representative similarly and enters the temple. Mangalaasaasanam on that Perumal comprising of 10 stanzas rendered by Azhwar is recited . This is followed by Neivedyam and saatrumarai. Azhwar leaves Thiurpaarthanpalli at about 10 A.M. and reaches Manjal kuliyal mandapam in an hour’s time. Azhwar ‘s procession is taken thru canal to reach the place (this route is not accessible by vehicles hence they take a different route). In the meantime, at Manjal Kuliyal mandapam which is on the banks of Manikarnikarai(a tirubtary of Cauvery), a group of samartha Vaishnavas glorify Azhwar and sing important pasurams from Peria thirumozhi- Vaadinen Vaadi…., Thaaye Thandhai endrum….” and other pasurams set to mind rapturing melodious tunes accompanied by musical instruments like harmonium, kartaal. The entire area is electrified with bhakti. Few devotees dance in ecstasy. The entire area surrounding Manjal kuliyal mandapam wears a festive look- we can see vendors selling books, CDs, photos,toys, tender coconut etc while few residents engage in offering buttermilk to the assembled devotees. All the 11 villages gather together and organize a large scale feast to serve the bhagavatas. The residents of Thirunangoor feel very pleased to serve the bhagavatas. WE can see many residents stopping us on the way and request us to have hot milk offered by them and thank us when we fulfill their wish. They follow Azhwar in serving bhagavatas and opine that Azhwar would be pleased with them only when they serve the bhagavatas. We can see the residents irrespective of age doing this service. In the afternoons, they offer buttermilk. Few residents have the practice of offering food to 1000 srivaishnavas once in a year even today . they are unmindful of the rising prices and are keen only on serving the bhagavatas and thus obtain Azhwar’s mercy……This can be seen only at Thirunangoor. On reaching Manikarnikarai, the palanquin bearers literally jump into the cool muddy waters along with Azhwar . While they stand in knee deep waters, pasurmas rendered by Azhwar on his acharyar, Thirunaraiyur Nambi are recited along with pasuram on SriRanganathar. The muddy water is splashed on Azhwar’s thirumeni. Azhwar is honoured with the gifts sent by Sri Ranganathar and thirunaraiyur Nambi. A priest from Srirangam temple brings forth Perumal’s parivattam and garland (uduthi kalaindha peethaga aadai and soodi kudutha maalai) with a golden umbrella and offers the same to Azhwar. With the sole desire to construct the surrounding walls of Srirangam temple, Azhwar resorted to wayside robbery and plundering wealth. To honour Azhwar for the various kainkaryams done by him like constructing walls, starting Thiruadhyanautsavam etc.,, Ranganathar sends parivattam and garland. Likewise, Lord Thirunaraiyur Nambi of Nachiyar kovil, Kumbakonam who is considered as Azhwar’s guru (as HE gave him the mantropadesam) feels pleased with HIS student and sends parivattam etc. After this, Azhwar is taken to Manjal kuliyal mandapam for giving holy bath,Thirumanjanam. Azhwar alongwith Kumudavalli Nachiyar is placed in the centre, to the left, Lord Sindhanikku Iniyan along with Ubhaya Naachiyars and silver utsava murthi is placed .to the right of Azhwar, a small vigraham of Sri Ramanujar is placed. Thirumanjanam with water, milk, curd, tender coconut, turmeric water etc .is first performed to Lord Sindhanikku Iniyan, then to azhwar and lastly to Sri Ramanujar. After this, the silver utsava murthi of Sindhanaiku Iniyan is taken to Manikarni karai and given a holy dip. This marks the end of Manjal Kuliyal. A curtain is drawn and after few minutes, the devotees can have darshan of Azhwar along with Nachiyar adorned with floral garlands. Thirumanjana theertha prasadam is offered to the assembled devotees and once again the curtain is drawn for decorating the deities which takes about an hour or so. Meantime, most of the assembled devotees are served prashad in the nearby school premises while few devotees get the opportunity to have prasadam in thirumaligai. In almost every house, Thadhiaaradhanai is done (serving bhagavatas). At about 6 P.M., Azhwar reaches Thirumanimada kovil popularly known as Narayana Perumal kovil. It is here that 11 Garuda sevai is performed. The garuda vahanams of all Perumals are kept here in designated mandapams. Azhwar is greeted as usual and pasurams comprising of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, respective pasuram from Peria Thirumozhi are recited followed by neivedyam, saatrumarai and vaazhi thirunaamam. Azhwar then visits Thiruvanpurushothaman kovil where professional musicians entertain Azhwar by exhibiting their talent in playing nadaswaram and mrudangam . After mangalasaasanam, Azhwar visits Manavaala maamunigal sannidhi in the temple precincts. Azhwar was one of the favourites for Manavala mamunigal mamunigal organizes the 11 garuda seva on the following day. From there, Azhwar reaches the remaining temples and returns to Manimada kovil after midnight. On the succeeding day,all the divya desa Perumals arrive in palanquins from their respective places and reach Thirumanimada kovil.. In the evening, Thirumanjanam is performed to all the deities who are later well decorated. The deities occupy their respective Garuda vaahanams . At about 1030 P.M., the much awaited Garuda sevai begins. Manavaala mamunigal in his parangi naarkali comes out first and receives Azhwar seated on Hamsa vahanam. One by one all the Perumals arrive in Garuda vaahanams. Mangalasaasanam sung by Azhwar is recited and after due honours, the Perumal goes round the 4 mada streets.. On the third day, after all the divyadesa Perumals leave to their respective divyadesams, Azhwar also leaves Manimada kovil.. On the way he visits Annan Kovil where he is received grandly as he is considered as their “Maapillai”(son-in-law”). Finally Azhwar reaches Thirunagari where Vayalaali Manavalan-the presiding diety of Thiruvali-Thirunagari temple waits near the entrance on Garuda Vaahanam to welcome Azhwar . Perumal and Azhwar then enter into the temple together. This marks the end of the three day festivities at Thirunangoor which is celebrated for more than 140 years. Due to materialistic commitments, Adiyen could participate only in Manjal Kuliyal. Adiyen begs the bhagavatas to bless me to once again participate in all the three day festivities. Azhwar graced Adiyen by allowing me to visit Singaperumalkovil and have darshan of Sri Ranganathar, Pataladri Narasimhar and our Acharyar. Adiyen concludes this travelogue and profusely thank the bhagavatas for patient reading and advise this insignificant, ignorant soul who is groping in darkness attempting to find a way to enlightenment. Our previous NAVA GARUDA SEVAI TRAVELOGUE IS IN THIS BELOW LINK Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

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Srimathey Ramanujaya namah

bhadri vishaal

Sri Kumudavalli sametha Thirumangai Azhwar Thiruvadigaley saranam

Sri Aravindavalli Nayika sametha Sri Badri Narayanaya namah :

——————————————————————bhadri Saptha BAdri are a a group of seven temples dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu which are  located in the Garhwal Himalayas. (Some consider ARdha Badri as one of the Sapta Badri and omit Narsing Badri) . However , the entire Garhwal Himalayas are BhadriNarayana Kshetram. The area spreading from Satopanth 24 kms above Badrinath to Nand Prayag is known as Badri Kshetram as this area was once Badri vanam and as these temples of Lord  Maha Vishnu are in this area, they are popularly known as Sapta Badri Kshetram.

badri map

The Seven  temples  are listed as below •

Badri Vishal- the main temple which is located at 3133 mtrs.-23 kms from Yogdhyan Badri

Yogdhyan Badri – enroute from Joshirmutt to Badri Vishal at Pandukeshwar at an atltitude of 1920 mtrs.

Narasing Badri– also known as Thirupiridhi  vaishnava divya desam.

jaiSome consider this as one of the Sapta Badri kshetrams

. • Vridha Badri– located at Animath village between JOshirmutt and Helang. About 7 kms from Joshirmutt on the way to Urgam

Dhyan Badri-located 1 km from Urgam village.

Bhavishya Badri– 20 kms from Joshirmutt near Tapovan by vehicle and from there 6 kms trek up the hill at an altitude of 2744 mtrsTHE FUTURE BHADRINATH temple will be at this place .

Adi Badri is located 17 kms from Karna Prayag. The cluster of 16 temples constructed by Adi Sankaracharyar. Dhyan Badri and Narasing Badri(Joshirmutt) are not included in Pancha Badri kshetrams. Yogdhyan Badri,Vridha Badri,Dhayan Badri, Bhavishya Badri can be accessed from Joshirmutt as base.

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Badrikshetram also has Theertha mahimai as the Pancha Prayags –confluence of holy rivers are located in this area. An important information is except for the main temple, Badri Vishal the other temples scattered in remote villages remain open all through the year because they are at a lesser altitude.

Badrinath is one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams located in Garhwal Himalyas , referred as Gandha Madhana Parvatham in our scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam.

It is also one of the 108 vaishnava divya desams glorified by Thirumangai Azhwar in his 20 pasurams .

In one of the pasuram ,   Azhwar advises us to  seek  and have a darshan of  Lord Bhadri Vishaal in  our youth itself , as

later the KALA (TIME) swallows our  age invisibly 

thus it will be  too late   for an old person  to visit   the holy bhadri   

associated  knee pain , joint pains and  the body does not cooperate making a mockery of ones self for wasting ones  precious life .

Here Lord  incarnated as Narayanan and graced the sacred ashtakshara mantram upadesam to Naran. Naran and Narayanan are believed to be meditating at this place for the welfare of the world.


The temple is situated on Urvashi peetam between Nara and Narayanan mountains on the banks of River Alakananda.


The temple is open during April-October (starting from Akshaya thrithiyai and closed during Deepavali) and is closed during peak winter. Ganesh Gufa, Vyas Gufa, Mata murthi temple, Vasudhaara Falls, Satopanth,Bhim pool, origin of River Saraswathi are near Badrinath.

There are jeeps and cars plying from Badrinath temple to visit the above places which are situated in Mana village-the last village on Indo-China Border. It takes 3 hours to and fro to visit Mana village. There is a Mata Murthi temple is on the way to Mana village.

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As per legend, Dharma and Murthi were the parents of Naran and Narayanan (who were the incarnations of Lord Vishnu).

They transformed themselves into mountains to avoid distraction. To fulfill the desire of HIS mother Mata Murthi, once in a year, the Lord visits this temple. Uddhavar who is considered as the utsava murthi in the temple is brought to this place with paraphernalia.


The famous Vyas Gufa is the place where Sage Vyasar compiled the four Vedas, recited Mahabharatam while Yaanai Mugathaan(Lord Ganesha) penned the same while the former dictated. Ganesh Gufa is beside Vyas Gufa. Nearby, we can find the origin of River Saraswathi who flows as Antharvahini till she reaches Triveni Sangamam. River Saraswathi darshanam can be had here only .

There is a small temple dedicated to the River Goddess. The flow with which she appears on this earth in inexplicable.

Near to Badrinath temple , Bheem Phool and Satopanth are places associated with Pandavas . Pandukeshwar,also known as Yogdhyan Badri is on the way to Badrinath is the birth place of Pandavas. Vyas Gufa and Ganesh Gufa are related to Mahabharatam. Pandavas along with Draupadi on their way to Swargam (satopanth) reached this place and when Draupadi could not cross River Saraswathi, Bheem is belived to have thrown a boulder across the river to enable her to cross over.


This is Bheem pool. This is located on the way to Satopanth- Draupadi,Sahadeva,Nakula, Arjuna, Bheema left their bodies on the way whereas Dharmaraja Yudhistira was able to go to Swargam from Satopanth. VAsudhaara Falls is about 3-4 kms from Mana village on a higher altitude. Villagers believe that if a drop of water falls on us, we get redeemed from all our sins. It will take about 4-5 hours to go to Vasudhaara Falls and return to Mana village due to the altitude and climatic conditions.


To visit Vasudhaara Falls, we must allocate one full day.WE planned to visit Vasudhaara Falls from Badri but due to time constraint,we couldn’t visit. But the ever merciful compassionate Perumal blessed us by giving HIS darshan in the evening and to watch (Abhisheka seva) Thirumanjana seva.

Our pilgrimage  lasted for  about  five  days

First day :- Entire day driving from Haridwar to Joshirmutt-Night stay at Joshirmutt

Second day :- Entire day at BAdrinath

Third day – Visited Badri Vishal, Yogadhyan Badri, Vridha Badri,Dhyan Badri, Narasing Badri, Vishnu Prayag-Temples

Fourth day :- Visited Bhavishya Badri, Karna Prayag Temples-night stay at Karna Prayag


Fifth day – Visited Adi Badri, Nand Prayag, Dev Prayag  temples and reached Haridwar –


We had darshan of Sri Bhadri Narayana Perumal during 2003 but were not conversant with the other temples . The travel details was done in pdf format for piligrims convenience and is available in the below link


We boarded the evening flight to New Delhi and reached Delhi at 10 P.M. The flight was delayed by half an hour. From airport, we took a Metro to New Delhi railway station to board Dehradun AC train at 2355 hours. Reached Haridwar at 4 .M. Our cab driver , Narendra was waiting to pick us up at Haridwar station.

Chinnajeeyar visit to Bhadri (9)

 We had already booked a cab and fixed the tour plan. We drove to ISKCON, Haridwar where we had actually planned to check in and then go to Hari Ki Pauri for purification .  Being a small ashram and as there was no response from ISKCON, we straightaway drove to Hari KI Pauri which was already crowded.. After purification and cow_puja, we drove to Rishikesh as we wanted to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara Swamy before proceeding further.


Wayback in 2003, only after praying to Lord Srinivasar, we could get bus tickets to go to Badrinath and on our return, we stayed at Andhra Bhavan for 2 days and participated in all the sevas. So, this time also we wanted to take the Lord’s darshan. Reached the temple at about 9 A.M., performed archanai and paid for the next day’s abhishekam to the Lord. On the way, we stopped at Lakshman Jhoola to take printouts of our accommodation and for recharging Airtel mobile as BSNL network connectivity was poor.

Hari Naam sankirtan was continuously played in the car all through our journey. Chanting the holy names of the Lord and contemplating on the Lord while admiring the nature’s beauty-the tall peaks covered with thick trees trying to touch the sky and the gentle flowing Alakananda on the other side as if guiding us to her place of origin…. I wish I were a poet to describe the scenic beauty.


WE were happy to note the developments in this lORD’s holy land –construction of Hydel Power projects, dams etc….We learnt from our driver that only experienced and specially qualified persons to drive in the ghat region would be permitted to drive and they are strictly supposed to wear uniform and carry their permit with them always.

After driving for about 2 hours , we reached Dev Prayag about 70 kms away from Rishikesh located at an altitude of 618 m at mid-noon. As the temple would be closed, we proceeded to Rudra Prayag which is about 2 hours drive from Dev Prayag, stopping for a while at Srinagar to fuel our car. GHMVNL has guest houses at all important places.


We had to turn on the AC becoz we couldn’t withstand the sweltering heat . We thought the drive would be pleasant as we were in Himalayas but it turned out to be otherwise. Added to this, construction work was going on all through the way and so there was pollution. Enroute we halted for a while at Rudra Prayag to have lunch and then proceeded with our journey. Reached Joshirmutt and checked in at GMVNL Guest House located in Main Bazaar at about 6.30 p.m..From Rishikesh upto Rudra Prayag , the route to chardham is the same .


The route to Badrinath diverges at Rudra Prayag. Joshirmutt always has floating population of pilgrims and mostly pilgrims halt at this place. So, we can find innumerable lodges in this congested area . As we had prior booking, we checked into this guest house where we were allotted a compact deluxe room which had no ventilation and fan.


WE wanted to have a bigger and better room but as the rooms were not available, we had no option and retired for the night. Joshirmutt is basically a cold place and the rooms are constructed in such a way out of wood with limited or no ventilation so that the room is kept warm. There is no provision for ceiling fans as there is no requirement. The room rates are high during the peak season depending upon the demand.

The minimum rent is about Rs.1000/-per day. We can find the room tariffs displayed in the reception mentioning the room rents during various seasons. We practically experienced the impact of global warming. We didn’t have any choice other than having dinner in the restaurant itself. On 15th June, we started our journey to Badrinath at 7 A.M . Had to wait for sometime for the gates to open . Reached Badrinath via Pandukeshwar , Deva Darshani. The snow clad mountains were shining when the sun rays touched them which is a feast to the eyes. We went to Chinna Jeeyar Swami Mutt which is near Ambani’s guest house where we were allotted 2 rooms for Rs.450/- each.


We met Sridhar Swami who was referred by our friend and expressed our desire to go to Vasudhaara Falls after having darshan of Lord Badrinath. Sridhar Swami informed that it would take minimum 2 hours to have darshan in the temple due to heavy crowd and it would not be possible for us to go to Vasudhaara Falls which is 4 kms beyond Mana Village as the weather there was unpredictable and it would get dark by 5 P.M.


He said that it would take one full day to go to Vasudhaara Falls and return. So, we dropped the idea of going to Vasudhaara Falls with a heavy heart thinking that he was trying to demotivate us.


With a set of clothes for changeover, we left the Mutt at about 11 A.M. and went to Tapta KUnd in our vehicle to have bath. It is customary to purify ourselves in the hot springs of Tapta Kund before getting inside the temple for darshan. There are separate bathing places for ladies and gents and separate rooms but the entire place was over crowded. Seeing the crowd, we felt as if we were in Tirumala during Brahmotsavam!. We were shocked to see serpentine queue for darshan. While adiyen went to buy some seva ticket, my daughters joined the queue. WE learnt from the authorities that during day time, there is no special ticket and darshan is common for everyone and that the temple would close by 12.30 and everyone would get a chance to take darshan of the Lord. We joined the queue and finally had darshan of Lord Badrinarayanan for few minutes who was beautifully decorated with flowers. One of the pujaris looking at the tilak on adiyen’s daughter’s forehead, allowed her inside for darshan.

How fortunate!!!


While we were reciting Sahasranamam, a saintly person whose dressing resembled that of Jada Bharathan(he had jadai and was wearing soiled clothes but his face was glowing ) approached us and advised us to have the Maha Prashadam which would be distributed shortly. WE purchased 2 paper plates for Rs.2/-each and joined the queue . We realized the Lord’s ever compassionate quality when we ,the most fallen souls, were given the mahaprasadam comprising of rice, dal , curry.


With tear filled eyes, all five of us partook the prasadam. Adiyen approached the nearby counter where tickets were being issued for special sevas. Tickets for Gita Paat and Nirmalaya darshan were already sold out but only one ticket for Abhishekam for next day morning was available. We booked abhishekam ticket for next day morning seva in which 2 persons are allowed and Sahasranama Archanai Seva for children in the evening. Went back to Chinna Jeeyar Mutt at 2 p.m. and had prasadam. The reporting time for Sahasranama archanai seva was 5 p.m. and hence we didn’t visit Mana Village Instead , we Went to the temple at 5 P.M. for darshan.


There were long queues for various sevas to be conducted in the evening. While our children joined the queue, aidyongal sat in front of the utsavar sannidhi and took a sankalpam to recite Vishnu Sahasranamam atleast 11 times. The utsava murthi who is a replica of the moolavar is made of silver with chatur bhujam. The temple management has recently constructed a separate sannidhi for the utsava murthi within the temple precincts .

The new clothes given by devotees to the diety as part of their offering are hung in the sannidhi. Hardly we completed 6 rounds, a group of ISKCON devotees from Delhi entered the temple singing Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. The electrifying kirtan went on for about one hour while everyone present was dancing and chanting in ecstasy the holy names of the Lord . We profusely thanked Perumal for this association to chant the holy names at the holiest place on the holiest day,Ekadasi. After making few purchases, we retired for the night.

On 16th June, at 2 A.M. adiyongal went to Tapta Kund and entered the temple for participating in Thirumanjana seva . The reporting time for the seva is 4 a.m. and we joined the organized queue.


WE felt blessed to be in one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams (where the Lord’s image is not sculpted by anyone but Lord out of HIS free WILL manifested in this place) Perumal appeared in this place in Padmasanam posture with chatur bhujam- the two lower hands resting on HIS lap and the remaining 2 hands holding sankhu and chakram. And as he was in meditation, the ever inseparable Thayar (Agalagillene Irayium Endru…) appeared as a badri vruksham to protect Perumal from the harsh weather. Hence, Perumal is known as Badri Narayanan.


Lord descended from Sri Vaikuntam to the bhooloka to give mantropadesam to naran(human) at this place. Shiva who was meditating at this place moved to Kedarnath. Lord bestowed a boon upon him that a devotee visiting this place must first have darshan of Siva and then take HIS darshan. Hence , we find a small Siva lingam in front of the temple. This idol of Badri Narayanan was recovered by Adi Sankaracharyar in 8th century from Tapta Kund and was duly installed by him. Also, there is a sannidhi for Adi Sankaracharyar as he retrieved the vigraham.


Before entering the temple, we visited these shrines . Vaikuntanathan resolved to preach the sacred Ashtakshari Thirumantiram to the mortals (Naran) and appeared as Naran and Narayanan- the sons of Dharma Devathai(Yaman) and his wife (Murthi). As they didn’t want to get disturbed and distracted by anyone , they assumed the form of 2 mountains and meditated on the banks of River Alakananda. Indra tried to disturb the penance and sent apsaras from Devalokam little realizing that Perumal is beyond all such illusion. Out of Perumal’s will, a beautiful lady emerged from HIS thigh who surpassed everyone’s beauty and presented her to Indra. As the damsel appeared from Perumal’s thigh, she was known as Urvashi and the place where Perumal meditated is known as “Urvashi Peetam” on which the present day temple is existing .


AS Lord Krishna mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Narayanan imparted the sacred Tirumantram to Naran at this place. Hence this place is renowned as Ashtakshari kshetram and chanting of the mantram give thousand fold benefit. Contemplating on the Lord and reciting Tirumantram, we waited in the queue until we were ushered in by the authorities.

There are about 15 deities inside the garbagriham.

All through the day, the beauty of the Lord is hidden as HE is fully bedecked with jewellery and flowers . Only during Nirmalya darsanam and during Thirumanjanam , the Lord’s pristine beauty can be enjoyed. During Nirmalaya darsanam which is the last seva in the night, jewellery is removed and Lord is adorned with fresh chandan and flowers. During thirumanjanam, even those are removed and the dhivya mangala swaroopam of Perumal can be enjoyed. Devotees throng to have these darshans.


 At the Centre we can have darshan of  Lord Badri Narayanan in meditative posture. As HE is a tapasvi, Thayar is not physically present but is present as Badri Vruksham which cannot be perceived by mortal eyes  On    HIS right, we  have darshan of  Garudar-  Kuberan on HIS right – the demigod incharge of wealth. Kubera’s capital is Alakapuri which is beyond Badrinath. The materialists usually place few coins in front of Kubera and bring them back for worship. He is predominant amongst others as he is decorated in silver.ON the left side in the front, we can have darisanam of Uddhavar who is treated as Utsava murthi in this temple.


He is taken in palanquin to Maata Murthi temple once in a year as Perumal’s representative. In Srimad Bhagavatam, it is mentioned that Lord Krishna instructs Uddhavar to go to Gandhana madhana parvatam (the present Badri Kshetram) and do penance.On the left side, behind Uddhavar , we have Deva rishi Naradar ‘sidol who appeared in the nearby Narada Kund. It is believed that Sage Naradar eternally lives in this place always contemplating on the Lord.Nara- Narayanan –becoz of whom this place became sacred. Lord Narayanan gives darshan with naachiyars- Sridevi, Bhudevi,Niladevi, The deva loka damsel Urvashi who appeared from Lord Narayanan’s thigh is beside Niladevi.

bhadri moolavar

Rewal, the celibate  Keralite Namboodri head priest  is the only person who is allowed inside the garbagriham. (He is like Ekaangi in Tirumala , the bachelor who alone is allowed to touch the divine Thirumeni of Perumal). The Rewal draped in a dhoti and black long thick Kurta and with his mouth covered with a cloth is the only eligible person to touch the divine idol of the Lord.

He removed carefully the flowers from the Lord’s thirumeni and carefully removed the chandana kaapu from the Lord’s thirumeni and gave it to his assistant. We were fortunate to get some chandan from him. Thirumanjanam to the swayambhu Perumal and HIS associates started amidst chanting of Pancha Suktham by the pundits who were sitting on either sides near the entrance on an elevated seat .


The Rewal , ( priest) who was now playing the role of an affectionate mother Yasodha, gently anointed Til oil to the divya Thirumeni of Perumal and others. Later holy water was poured through sankhu followed by milk ,curd, honey . The dhivya mangala swaroopam of Perumal can be clearly seen doing milk thirumanjanam. Adiyongal recited softly Neeratam pasurams after the priests completed Pancha Suktam recitation .The REwal gently pressed a silk cloth to wipe the Lordships. During alankaram, the priests recited Vishnu Sahasranamam while the Rewal applied sandal oil to the Tirumeni of the Lord and dressed them in new silk clothes. Within no time, the Lord was beautifully bedecked with fine jewellery. The Lord was smeared with chandana kaapu and decorated with flowers. All this is done in the devotees presence .


The holy water was later distributed to the assembled devotees and a small prasadam pack comprising of few sweets, tulasi , chandan etc were given to the participants. The entire process takes about 60-90 minutes. While doing pradakshinam, we purchased a small bottle of holy water for Rs.20/- which is being sold inside the temple . We Came back to Chinna Jeeyar Mutt and after honouring prashadam, left the holy abode with an intense desire to revisit the dhaam in the near future. Sridhar Swamy was very kind to pack lunch for us. Left Badri Vishal at about 8A.M. and drove to Pandukeshwar which is 20 kms away from Badrinath on the way to Joshirmutt. Yogadhyan Badri –one of the Sapta Badri Kshetrams is located in Pandukeshwar at an altitude of 1829 mtrs. .

yogdhyan badri

To reach the temple, we need to get down off the main road , and climb down the steps to reach the temple. This is the place where King Pandu along with his wives,Kunti and Madri did penance and is the birthplace of Pandavas. Pandu who was cursed attained salvation here and after Mahabharata war, the Pandavas after handing over their kingdom to Parishit ,did penance at this place to atone for their sins. This temple was constructed by Pandavas. In the sanctum sanctorum, Lord Lakshmi Narayanan is in the centre with Sridevi towards HIS right and Bhudevi on the left. To the left of Bhudevi is Madri’s idol. We were told that there is a Shiva linga worshipped by Pandu beneath inside the garbagriham.


From there, we visited Vishnu Prayag- the confluence of Alakananda and Dhauli Ganga.

vishnu prayag

This is on Badrinath-Joshirmutt route in Chamoli district at an altitude of 1372 mtrs. As per legend, Sage Narada did penance and Lord appeared at this place. After having darshan of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Kubera who is on the left side of Perumal , we went down few steep steps to the actual place of confluence to collect the holy water but in vain as the force was more.


Driving past Joshirmutt, on the Joshirmutt –Rishikesh Road, between Joshirmutt and Helang near Pipalkote , we reached Animath village which is about 7 kms from Joshirmutt to visit Vridha Badri at an altitude of 1380 mtrs.. This is on the way to Urgam, our next destination. We had to trek down few steep steps and occasionally climb and get down to reach Vridha Badri.

It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk down from the main road. This temple is neatly maintained surrounded by beautiful garden tended with great care by the priest family. We could see a wide range of beautiful flowers which are used for worshipping the Lord. Lord Vishnu appeared to Sage Narada as an old man and hence this place is known as Vridha Badri. We offered dry fruits to the Lord and the pujari honoured us with tulasi leaves . The serenity induces everyone to meditate on the Lord calmly without any distraction. Here Lord Badrinarayanan is alone in standing posture holding Sankhu, Chakra,Gada Padmam .


We proceeded to Helang and from there drove to Urgam village at an altitude of 2135 mtrs. The roads on the regular route from Rishikesh to Badrinath via Dev Prayag, Srinagar,Chamoli, Joshirmutt are broad, well maintained and secure but the roads on the other parts are not yet developed to that extent. This can be seen while going to Dhyan Badri. One needs to take a diversion from Joshirmutt-Rishikesh road to visit Dhyan  Badri.


Here the muddy ghat roads pose threat and driving is challenging due to unleveled roads and obstructions caused due to landslides like boulders on the sides. There are no “taar roads” and a strong wind is enough to engulf the glass with dust and thus obstruct our view fully. The roads get blocked due to the debris caused by landslides which are not immediately attended to by BSFs as there is not much traffic. Occasionally, jeeps and local buses ply from this village to Joshirmutt and nearby villages .Like in Nepal, these buses are over packed with people literally sitting on the bus.


The bus tilts towards one side unable to bear the weight. From Urgam , we can visit Dhyan Badri , ARdha Badri which is about 2 kms from Dhyan Badri and beyond 5 kms is Kalpeshwar-one of the Pancha Kedar temples. The drive was really challenging . Our hearts nearly skipped a beat when our driver had to put a sudden break while turning. A chill ran through my spine when the driver pointed to a six seater white car which had a fatal end just recently claiming lives of 5 people. The Lord’s holy names were constantly on our lips which eased out our tension .

dhyanbadri route

We reached Urgam at about 1 P.M. We relaxed in a nearby tea stall . The inmates made some hot rotis for us to have along with puihora prasadam given by Sridhar Swamy, At about 2 P.M., started walking down amidst green fields for about 15 to 20 minutes to reach Dhyan Badri temple which is about 1-1.5 kms from Urgam. The stony path is well laid though it is narrow.


Watching the green fields surrounded by peaked mountains, we reached the temple which was closed. There is a very small pond inside the temple compound which reminded us of the holy Saligramam pond near Melkote which was sanctified by our Acharyar.


DHYAN ENTRANCE   A teenage boy who happens to be the pujari’s son opened the temple doors to enable us to have darshanam.


The garbagriham houses the main diety of Lord Narayanan in sitting posture in the centre. There are also vigrahams of Lakshmi Narayanan, Kubera and Siva lingam. Beneath we can find small idols of Lord Ranganatha with Sridevi and Bhudevi. Perumal appeared to Shiva who was meditating at this place. Perumal also did penance (dhyan) at this place before manifesting HIMSELF at Badri Vishal. Hence, this place is known as Dhyan Badri.


On enquiry, we learnt that Ardha Badri is a small temple which would be closed for darshan now and hence we returned to Urgam. As we were tired, we didn’t visit Kalpeshwar. WE came back to Urgam and drove back to Joshirmutt and reached the temple at 5 P.M. Joshirmutt is considered as one of the 108 divya desams , known as” Thirupiridhi”. Some count this as one of the sapta badri Kshetrams instead of Ardha Badri where there is only half figure ). Whatever it is , we wanted to have Lord Narasimhar’s darsanam .


Fortunately, the temple was open and the priest offered our dry fruits to Perumal. Here, Lord Narasimhar is in sitting posture and it is believed that when HIS left wrist wanes , the Badri temple would be permanently closed for darshan and Lord would manifest HIMSELF at Bhavishya Badri near Joshirmutt in near future. There are various idols in the sanctum.

jai naraasimha.jpg

From right, we can find Chamundi,Kubera,Udhavar, Badri Narayanana, Narasimhar in the centre, on the left is Garudar, Lakshmana, Rama , Sita . Lakshmana and Goddess Sita are in white whereas the thirumeni of Lord Rama is in black(shyamaa sundaran). The utsava murthi is Narasimhar Hanumar. During winter, when the main shrine at Badri Vishal remains closed for 6 months, the utsava murthi is brought down to this temple. This temple remains open all through the year. We then visited Vasudevar sannidhi who is believed to be the divya desa Perumal. Lord Vasudevar is in Nindra Thirukolam (Standing posture) holding Lotus and Gadam in HIS upper right and left hands and sankhu and chakram in HIS lower hands. There are also sannidhis for Sankarshana, Shiva, asthabhuja Ganesh, Kali and Bharivan around the temple. We were happy to note that one of the pasurams from naalayira divya prabhandham about this divya desam is written in Tamil and hung at the temple entrance.

While we were coming out, we happened to have darshan of one of the Shankaracharyars appointed by Adi Sankaracharyar to take care of these temples. WE checked into GMVNL guest house at Main Bazar and fortunately this time we were provided a better accommodation. Thanking Perumal for allowing us to have HIS darshan at 5 places in Badri kshetram, we retired for the night. ON 17th we checked out by 7 .A.M. and drove to Saldhar which is about 19 kms from Joshirmutt. The weather was pleasant and chilly and we were reminded of Tirumala ghat road.. We saw an arc mentioned as Tapovan. This is a serene place for meditation. Driving ahead, we reached the starting point of our trekking. Bhavishya Badri is located in Subhain village and one has to trek the hill for 6 kms in a lonely path . We just found a small arch mentioning Bhavishya Badri.



We five of us were in a lonely place. Initially there were few steep steps laid as a pathway for about a kilometer. Singing Annamacharyar keerthanas and chanting the Tirumantram, we prayed God for HIS darshan in this lonely place and started trekking. There are no sign boards, no indication about the route . The Lord seated as Antharyaami was guiding us..


We didn’t even know whether the route taken by us was right or not. We were enthralled to see a villager from whom we enquired about the route. Felt happy to note that we were on the correct path and as per his directions, we continued our way. Beyond the first settlement, there is no pathway at all. There was greenery everywhere and the different varieties of wild flowers which had blossomed were so colourful and pleasing to our eyes impelling the children to burst into some song. WE could see chameleons, colourful butterflies, squirrels , forest ants and humming sound of bees from far. However, we realized that the forest shrubs and plants which were growing on either sides of this so called tiny footpath was hostile. The leaves were sharp and accidentally if our hands touched the leaves, that part in our hand which came in contact with the leaf would get swollen immediately. WE had to be cautious while trodding the path so as to avoid stamping on some forest snail/snake/ant etc.

The path is slippery and my daughter who made a wrong choice of wearing heels had to remove her slippers and walk bare footed all through the way. Of course all these didn’t matter because we were focused on our destination. Once in a while, when we came across some passerby , we used to take directions from him and proceed on our adventurous trip. As we are not used to altitudes, we treaded slowly taking occasional rests . Somehow we were all energetic singing the glories of the Lord and enjoying nature’s beauty. In lighter moments, cracking jokes on each other once in a while to ease out the stress, we kept on ascending the hill. While trekking so, we suddenly got confused as the so called footpath was leading to two ways and we didn’t know which one to take. My niece found a Lays wrapper and suggested that the path would be inhabited. Children were enjoying the adventure guessing the route,pulling each other….It was a real holiday for them. We were imagining as to how Thirumangai Azhwar would have reached Badri Vishal which would have been unexplored like this at that time. There was no one to enquire and we were getting nervous as to whether the path taken by us was right or not. After walking for about half an hour, we met a lady who said that the route taken by us was wrong and she volunterred to take us to the correct path. We felt that it was God in disguise who appeared to help us out. We were once again left to ourselves and continued with our journey. After trekking for about 2 hours, we were exhausted and were searching for a place to relax. Luckily, we found a shop on the way . As we wished to remain light while trekking, we didn’t have breakfast and now the children badly needed something to re-energise themselves. The shop provided all sorts of snacks, cool drinks , medicines, water etc.

After replenishing ourselves, we continued onwards our 2 kms trek journey. This particular settlement was much better compared to other isolated places. We continued trekking and once again left with no one around. WE could not locate any path way and didn’t know which side to take-left or right!! WE took the wrong path and after some time, we saw a person down the hill and screamed for help. He informed that he is the temple priest and he was also going to Bhavishya Badri. Our joy knew no bounds. He accompanied us for some time, and as we couldn’t cope up with his lightning speed, he gave us directions and left. He said that the temple was only one km away . WE were now on a bigger plain surface. Surrounded by snow clad high mountain peaks on all sides, sun rays falling through the tall eucalyptus trees and gentle breeze full of medicinal properties accompanied by Dhauli Ganga flowing as a small stream , green vegetation in the surrounding places and the sound of cuckoos as if welcoming us , we were in ecstasy looking at the marvelous creation of the Lord. We have seen this in movies but now we are here experiencing them with our own eyes but for deers and peacocks.


Even after trekking for hours, we were still energetic and bubbling with joy as we were near to our destination. Two local women farmers were passing by us suggested us to taste the crystal clear cold water from the Dhauli Ganga stream. Pure unadultered tasty water was like nectar. They accompanied us to the temple. We reached the temple past noon.


AS the pujari met us on the way, he was waiting for us.


All of us had very good darshan of the Lord. The pujari explained to us that 10 years ago, there was only a sketch mark on the rock but now we can see the Lord’s figure emerging out of the cave.


The Lord is in the form of Narasimha bhagavan. The pujari pointed us to the various features in the half emerged idol attributing its form to that of Lord Narasimha. How fortunate and blessed we are to have Lord Narasimhar as Bhavishya Badri Narayanan. In the present Badri Vishal, the Lord is in the form of Narayanan whereas here HE is going to assume the form of Bhakthavatsalan, Lord Narasimhar whose avataram is for the sake of devotee. JAI NARASING DEV!! WE offered our dry fruits to the deities and did kirtan for about half an hour.



 A mahamantra sticker is at the entrance which was pasted by ISKCON PAADAYATRA troup who visited this temple some time ago. WE were imagining that when Thirumangai Azhwar visited Badri Vishal few thousands of years ago, that place would have been similar to this one now.


After spending about an hour, we started our return journey which as per the locals would take half the time, but for us it took almost 3 hours to return. WE came down at about 5 P.M. and proceeded to Karna Prayag which is about 3 hours from Saldhar at an elevation of 1450 mtrs.. Checked into GMVNL guest house located near the confluence itself and retired for the night. Excellent room . This was the best guest house where we stayed in our trip. On 18th morning, after witnessing the confluence of River Alakananda with Pindar river , proceeded to Adi Badri which is about 19 kms from Karna Prayag and takes about one hour drive. Adi Badri is not on Rishikesh-Badri route , one needs to visit Adi Badri via Karna Prayag. Adi Badri is the oldest temple comprising of 16 temples . While Adi Sankaracharyar was residing in Himalayas ,somewhere near Karna Prayag, the Lord appeared in his dream and told him about HIS whereabouts and ordered him to construct a temple for him. The place where the Lord appeared to Adi Sankaracharyar is presently known as Adi Badri and is considered as one of the Sapta Badri Kshetrams.

Adi Sankaracharyar spread Hinduism from this place and built a temple. Out of the cluster of 16 temples, many were built under the guidance of Sankaracharyar and about 5 temple were built later during Gupta era. In the olden days, when approach to Badri Vishal was tough, people worshipped Lord Vishnu here. It is believed that in future when Badri Vishal becomes inaccessible and Lord manifests in Bhavishya Badri, Bhavishya Badri would be known as Badri, Badri Vishal would be known as Adi Badri and the present Adi Badri would be known as Yog Badri. The temple is on the main road itself and it is easily approachable. All the temples look similar.


From there, we drove to Dev Prayag and reached the place at about 5 P.M.


We visited Raghunathji temple at Dev Prayag which is one of the 108 divya desams. While ascending the 100+ steps, we recollected our earlier visit to this kshetram along with my father and shared the Lord’s pastimes. Had darshanam of the mantapam where the utsava murthis are placed for public darshan, the banyan tree which is considered to be the one not affected by Pralayam and after thanking Perumal for enabling us to visit Saptha Badri kshetrams , especially Bhavishya Badri , we left the place. The confluence of Alakananda with Bhagirathi at Dev Prayag is eye captivating.


Reached Haridwar at 10 P.M., and after settling the accounts with the car driver, we had our dinner in a nearby Jain hotel and were waiting for our train recollecting our trip to the holy abodes. It was like a dream come true. Boarded Dehradun-New Delhi AC train in the wee hours 0040 hours which was supposed to reach New Delhi at 5 A.M. and take the onward flight to Srinagar at 9 A.M. and return back to Delhi by 3P.M. flight and take the connecting flight to Hyderabad at 7 p.m. Due to technical snag in the train, it was delayed by almost 3.5 hours. WE landed in New Delhi railway station at 08.30 a.m. and rushed to the nearby Metro station to take the train to airport. Reached airport at 9 a.m. and by the time the formalities were completed, we missed the flight . As we availed LTC, it was mandatory to produce Delhi-Srinagar-Delhi boarding passes and hence we had to be in Srinagar at any cost. WE were left with no other option than cancelling this ticket and book in the next flight. The scheduled departure of AI flight was at 11 hours and it takes about 2 hours to reach Srinagar. As we had a breather of an extra hour, we booked the tickets. To add to our dismay, this flight got delayed by 2 hours and now we were really perplexed because if we miss the Delhi bound Srinagar flight at 1500 hours which was the last one, we would miss our connecting flight to Hyderabad!!. Tickets were not available for the next 4-5 days as it was end of LTC season..!!The authorities were surprised to note that we wished to return on the same day without visiting Srinagar. Had to inform that we had visited Kashmir earlier and as there was an emergency, we were constrained to leave on the same day. They informed that it would not be possible for us to take the 3p.m. flight as the formalities would not get completed. I literally pleaded with the top most authority to help me out . He was kind enough to issue a Delhi Boarding pass (which would be issued at Srinagar) from Delhi itself which is against rules using his power. Thanked him for his gesture. Reached Srinagar at 3 p.m. . The scheduled departure of the 3’o clock flight was delayed by half and hour because the same flight returns.

wp-1480341473937.jpegWithin this 30 minutes, we had to compulsorily go through all the formalities (especially in Srinagar, there is strict security norms which cannot be skipped)-we had to come out and again get into the airport. We were stopped at the entrance because the time was up and were informed that the time for taking boarding pass was over. When we produced the Boarding Pass, the authorities were surprised and doubted us. Meanwhile,we could hear our names being announced to board the flight as it was about to depart… We were quickly frisked by the authorities and our luggages were put in a hand driven trolley . An official took me aside to enquire as to who issued the boarding pass which was against the rules and I had to request him that due to an emergency , I had to rush back while my perplexed wife was eagerly waiting to join me. The flight didn’t take off for 20 minutes until we boarded it. We safely reached Delhi by 5.30 p.m. and boarded the Hyderabad bound flight at 7 p.m. without any hurdles. Reached our home Thiruvengadam at midnight and the first thing what we did was to open the altar and fall at Divya Dampadhigal and Acharyars’feet for making this possible. holy-feetaaa1


Please check all the clips for a clear darshanam of the holy dhaam

Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan