Gorgeous Guruvayoor

By Akash Lakshmanan

“Gods own country”– the tag line to Kerala tourism; Wondering why they gave it? Probably you will not realize until you visit the place.
And so my journey started at the Chennai central railway station. Our train was bang on schedule (exactly 11 hours to Kerala). Though the journey through AC coach may also seem tiring, especially when your seats aren’t together with your family, I had to stay awake the entire night so that we could get down at the right station. And right through the night over the quarrel for berths, I ended up foot boarding till I found myself reading the station board at Shoranur at 2, early morning. As the train slowed to stop at the station where I was supposed to get down, I collected my bag and headed out of the train.
Lucky through the journey, the mix up of the seats had helped my parents gain new travel friends who later helped us get a cab to Guruvayoor from Shoranur. And for few minutes on the platform, my parents received all the advice they could get from their travel friends and then we departed with a warm good bye. I did feel lucky about the fact that the day we were to visit the Guruvayoor Lord Krishna temple, happened to be an auspicious day.

As I got into the cab, I was skeptical the cab driver would take a longer route to extract money from us. But he proved me wrong. He was very genuine and through the deserted roads of Kerala early morning, he maneuvered through the streets without disturbing the citizens with honking. And through his skilled driving we crossed 50 km in less than 40 minutes to check-in at our hotel for that day at half past four in the morning.
As it happened to be really early in the morning, we ended waking up couple of people; one being the receptionist and another being the watchman. The watchman was a steady man and was wide awake doing his duty. But the receptionist seemed to have dosed off well into sleep when we disturbed. Through the tedious process of filling up the entry form when you’re really looking to shut your eyes for some sleep, we obtained our room keys and dashed into our rooms.
Not even five minutes had gone past as I relaxed my back on the bed, my parents ordered my sister and myself to freshen up as we were to head to the temple straight. My eyes were really tired and felt tortured. I started to raise an argument saying there wouldn’t be much a crowd in the temple and thus delayed them. But it happened so as they were all ready and I was the last person to move myself into the shower. Thanks to the heater, I dint have to deal with the freezing cold water.

The shower too dint help much in making me fully sober. But we had to go to the temple. Dressed in traditional costume of Dhoti and vastra, we headed towards the temple only to surprise myself of the line of people in front of me. I was dumb enough not to expect crowd on an auspicious day. It happened so in a cage, where people were made to wait in columns. And guess what, there were fifteen columns and I had just arrived at the temple. But even then I expected to be allowed into the temple soon. God just gave a slap cross my face for thinking like that.
There I was waiting in the queue four nearly four hours, just to be allowed into the temple. There existed a queue even within the temple which I wasn’t aware off until I entered the temple. But those four hours in the queue were real testing of our patience. At some point I just sat on the ground and slept when my father took the stand and vice versa did occur.


Later, we entered through the gates where the people just squashed me and made it difficult to breathe. And as time elapsed in pushing and pulling in the stuffed crowd inside the temple, my fear of my dhoti going down was increasing. I did manage to hold that in hand just so that it wouldn’t get me embarrassed.
Through the crowd, I entered a very narrow door to glance at Him, smiling at me. His face was so magnificent and was so luminous that every torture I had suffered all this while had vanished into thin air. His smile was the smile of million people on this earth. He who created us has always been looking after us. I just wished I was allowed to look at him for even longer, but the queue management committee was enrolled to push me out as fast as they could. I took the blessings of the Lord and came out satisfied and peaceful.
The walk around the temple was hard as the scorching sun had heated the cement floor and the time was something close to noon. I felt my stomach crying for food since I had not eaten anything or drank anything since the previous night. We found ourselves a restaurant named Saravana bhavan (not the HSB group!). We ended up having morning breakfast (at lunch time) there and returned back to the hotel room to snore away the fatigue.

It was about five in the evening when we woke up. We had decided to explore the place and see if we could go to other temples in the area. We walked along the main road and found a board after the KTDC tamarind hotel saying “Way to SRI VENKATACHALABHADHI TEMPLE”. We followed the route down the road and to our marvel; as the roads became narrow, the trees became bigger and denser and the entire place was fresh green moist. Just as fantastic as it could get, we ended up reaching the Guruvayoor railway station. The station was deserted as well. There wasn’t a single train on the platform and it happened to be a terminus. We then read a board saying “Take left after the railway crossing to reach SRI VENKATACHALABHAHI TEMPLE”. But to our confusion, there weren’t any railway crossings there. We assumed that they meant the foot over bridge and crossed over to the other side of the station. We then followed the road only to find an empty ground and to the right of the ground was the entrance to the temple. I think probably because of the improper sleep, I had a bad headache right then and since I was wearing shorts on the occasion I wouldn’t be allowed into the temple. So I sat outside the temple along with my sister and was looking at people; few young men chatting on the ground. The ground had been netted for volleyball game but it looked like none of them were willing to play. After fifteen minutes my parents returned from the temple. They offered the sandal powder mix from the temple for applying it on the forehead. We then returned through the same route and as it was time for dinner, we found a Brahmin hotel and had good chapattis. We returned to our room and halted for the night.
I was disturbed early in the morning at 2 by my mother. She insisted on going to temple again that day. And to the surprise she had already dressed up to leave along with my sister. My father decided to go along with them and here I was still sleepy. I refused to go along with them and opted to sleep in the room. At about 3am I was woken up to lock the door of the room and then I returned to sleep in the cozy bed. I woke up at 5 am and took a shower and dressed up to vacate the room as soon as my family returned. It was the time for the return journey!

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