My recent pilgrimage to Tiruvannamalai etc.

Swamy's picture

Average: 4.5 (11 votes)

Sai Ram. My friend Gopikrishna and myself returned from Hampi / Hospet on the morning of 27th September, 2009 and left the same evening by Charminar Express to Chennai. Kotamraju Srivinvas, another good friend and Sai devotee also joined us for this pilgrimage. We were heading to Tiruvannamalai, made famous by the sojourn of Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi. We did some bhajans, Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram and Sri Lalitha Sahasra Nama Stotram etc. My friends were singing aloud and I joined silently. We were joined by a lady sitting opposite (a fellow traveler), who seemed to know them by heart, probably since she is reciting them daily. I silently bowed to the Divine Mother in her.

We reached Chennai on the morning of 28th September. We were received at the train by the driver of Sri Satyanarayana, a childhood friend of Srinivas. We went to the house of Sri Satyanarayana in Tiruvanmiyur and were given a very warm reception by his family members. I knew Sri Satyanarayana's father and mother earlier in Hyderabad but did not meet him. I learnt that he was in Malaysia on his business work.

We freshened up, had a good breakfast so kindly prepared and served by the ladies and left for Pondicheri (Puducheri) via the East Coast Road, a beautiful highway. I traveled many times of course on that road when I was going on official work to Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, a few kilometers after Mahabalipuram. On the way, the driver showed us a nice Vishnu Temple, where we offered prayers. We reached Pondy as it is popularly called around 2 pm. We visited the Aurobindo Ashram where we paid our respects to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I felt good vibrations when I visited the hall, that had the furniture used by them.

Gopikrishna had a friend in that city and he (Dr. R P Raya) and his wife came to meet us and requested us to pay a short visit to their house near by. We went there and were treated very kindly by the couple and their two sons. He is a Professor and Head of Department in Management Studies at the Pondicheri University. My best wishes to them.

We took leave of them and proceeded to Tiruvannamalai. On the way, we saw a beautiful mandir for Anjaneya Swamy (Hanuman). We reached Sri Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai around 8 PM. We were given a good room in the Extension wing of the Ashram just across the road. We freshened up and had a light dinner with Shri Alan Jacob and Shri Ramesh Chivukula, our friends on Facebook, who were there at the Ashram.

On 29th September, we woke up early, had a bath and left for the Giri Valam (pradakshina, circumambulation around the Arunachala Hill) by about 4:45 AM. We chose to go bare-foot keeping the sanctity of the place and the tradition in view. By the grace of Sri Ramana and Sri Arunachala, we could complete the pradakshina, have darshan of Sri Arunachala and Sri Apeethakuchambika (Goddess Parvathi) in the Arunachala temple and returned to the Ashram. We had prasad (free lunch) served in the Ashram and meditated for some time and had satsang with our friends.

Next day (30th September), we had a simple breakfast in the Ashram and went, again barefoot to Skandashram and Virupaksha Cave about 1.5 km uphill. Sri Ramana did his tapas for many years there before settling at the present Ashram. We had very good mystical experiences on the way and at Skandasram. My restless mind found a new peace without any effort and I felt the grace.

In the afternoon, we visited Sri Seshadri Swami Ashram and the Ashram of Sri Yogi Ram Suratkumar near by. We found the vibrations very good in all these places. We left Tiruvannamalai at around 5 PM to Chennai in the same car, so kindly sent by Sri Satyanaryana, friend of Srinivas. On the way, Sri Karunakaran, the driver of the car showed us two beautiful temples, one of Adi Parashakti at Mel Maravathur and the temple of Sri Ram at Madhurantakam. We had a light dinner at a good wayside restaurant and reached the home of Sri Satyanarayana at around 10:30 PM. We had a good night's rest at their home.

On 1st October, we visited Nanganallur and had darshan of Sri Anjaneyaswamy (40 feet high idol) and then Srinivas and myself went to the temple of Shirdi Sai Baba at Mylapore. The temple was heavily crowded because it was a Thursday. However, we could sit in one corner comfortably (I got a chair by Sai's grace). Gopikrishna visited some other places and joined us there. We went back to the home of Sri Satyanarayana and took leave of his mother, his wife and his nephew etc. and left for Chennai Central Railway Station. We boarded Charminar Express and reached Secunderabad / Hyderabad.

All in all, it was a wonderul pilgrimage and my wish of visiting Tiruvannamalai pending for the last decade or so was fulfilled. I hope to visit again, Guru permitting.

Photos of this pilgrimage can be seen by clicking (or copy and paste in the bowser) the following link:

I will share details of our pilgrimage to Shegaon etc. in another blog.

shishmanidov35's picture


Facinating story as all your remarkable accounts about the pilgrimages in India. So thankful. I am planning to return to Arunachalain a few months.

shishmanidov35 | Sun, 11/29/2009 - 08:19
Rita Saraswat's picture


Guru Charno Mein

This is lovely and so beautifully explained that I too wish to visit this place soon.

Thanks for sharing.

Rita Saraswat | Sun, 11/29/2009 - 09:38
existentialist_mystic's picture


Out of curiousity, you mentioned that your group experienced " mystical experiences " while on your trip. Again, out of curiousity, what kind of experiences did you and your group experience ? Thank you for your time. :)

existentialist_... | Mon, 11/30/2009 - 14:25
Gilana's picture

What a treat!

How wonderful that you took the time to share this journey with us! I'm so new I have never seen these sights or read an account like yours. Wonderful! Thank you.

(I could see faces in the rocks, too.)

Gilana | Tue, 02/09/2010 - 17:30