When we heard about Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram happening between 12th Oct 2018 and 23rd Oct 2018 (both days inclusive) after 144 years, we caught up with an excitement and wanted to experience. 8 of us travelled on 12th Oct and reached Tirunelveli on 13th Oct 2018.
Tirunelveli is famous for Halwa. For a change, we wanted to taste as we enter. We bought hot Wheat halwa from Shanthi Sweets and had to begin our pushkaram trip. Needless to say that it was melting in the mouth. By the way, when we tried to buy on Sunday while returning, we were shocked by the crowd in front of Shanthi Sweets. We could get only Lala.
Back to the journey. With the help of locals, we changed our plan to take a dip in Papanasam instead of Tirunelveli. Later, it was found to be great decision. On the way from Tirunelveli to Papanasam, we saw some fine temples. Drive was scenic. Fortunately, we could drive up to Papanasam temple (Police was stopping 1KM before temple). On the long weekend ending 21st Oct 2018, heard that all vehicles were stopped around 5 KMs before the temple. Coming back to Papanasam temple & Thamirabarani river, entire place was filled with devotion, music and the enthusiasm of devotees. It was vibrant indeed. As Aarathi was about to start, we took our positions. Aarathi started. It was a feast for about 45 mins. With river flowing quietly in the background, whole scene was unforgettable. You may see short video below.
All of us enjoyed the holi tip in Papanasam Thamirabarani river. Fresh water coming from mountain with quite a flow, it was a soul touching experience. Again, we were fortunate to be in water for a long time and without waiting in queue and with very less crowd. Heard around 20th Oct, people had to wait for a minimum time of 1 hour in the queue to get into the water. Also, some of us who went to Tirunelveli Kurukkuthurai next day felt that Papanasam dip was 1000 times better. After a grand River Aarathi and a holy dip, every had a good darshan at Papanasam Shivan temple. With that we said very happy bye bye to Papanasam, headed back to Thirunelveli and on the we had a good dinner at Hotel Ambai, Ambasamudram. Overnight stay was at http://sreeannamalaiyarpark.com/. Every one of us liked it because of good space, ambience, and great breakfast. Strongly recommended.
Next day, some of us Kurukkuthurai for a dip. After that we travelled to Thiruchendur. Enroute, we stopped at Sri Vaikundam. All of us were stunned the Yazhi Mandapam for its sculpture. Amazing. Must try place.
Closer to Thiruchendur (Tirunelveli road), we stopped at small Kara Shev shop at Amman Puram (Mani Vilas). He sells just that snack. He has mastered over decades. It was an ultimate taste. Plus. he sells donut shaped Adhirasam (that’s different) and a tasty filter coffee. We loved it. Perfect Sweet, Karam, Coffee.
Thiruchendur was crowded as expected. Had to be in queue for about 2 hours (Rs.250 ticket) but had a good darshan. While coming back to Tirunelveli, we had rushed but tasty lunch at Saravana Bhavan, Punnaiadi.
With all all fine memories, we left for our destinations. Awesome trip indeed. Some comments from trip participants are given below.
– was a fantastic trip
– it was a very spiritual and memorable trip. Hope it happens again and again
– that was a memorable holy trip and holy dip, thanks to Mr Srinivasan for the yeomen services rendered ,
Photos courtesy: Murali, Srini.