Saturday, October 11, 2014

16-hour long sleep on pilgrimage!

In November 1999, I had joined some relatives to visit Dharmasthala, Subramanya, Sringeri and Hornadu, all pilgrimage centres amidst the hills and greenery [see map at the bottom]. The group was quite large, consisting of us 2+2, my maternal uncle's 2+2, uncle, two aunts and a cousin, making a full dozen. 

First destination was "Kukke Subramanya". Ordinary bus, night journey starting 9 pm, no reservation.  Journey time was to be 7-8 hours.  When our bus arrived, the aisle was full of people in 'standing seats' and we were a dozen!  I watched all others squeeze through the door as people made way in funny ways to allow more passengers in.  Space creates itself!  I did not want to make the trip. I was the only one among the dozen not boarded.  But reluctantly I kept my foot up the step and I was pulled in. The bus was overloaded, but it is common here!  It started to move, maximum weight on its axles.  Even the eldest, my uncle and aunt did not get seats. We were to stand like all night this amidst a variety of odours emanating from a sea of people in a jam-packed bus or till some passengers alighted somewhere.  One hour, two hours and three.  It was past midnight. Status quo.  We were still standing, fighting sleep which was trying to get the better of us. The bus was to halt at towns on the way. Slowly, the crowd thinned down and one by one got seats, but it was only after half the journey was over all of us were seated. It was well past 1 am.  We alighted at just about dawn.

Lord Subramanyeshwara is the Snake God and the temple is dedicated to it, amidst pure hills and abundant greenery, fit for as sacred a place as this. We got a large dormitory room and soon went for a bath at river Kumaradhara. A visit to the temple followed, then lunch.

Our next destination was Dharmasthala, a 100-minute journey by another bus.  We reached there by evening.  My maternal uncle managed to get a large room in one of the hundreds of guest rooms.  All of us were very tired, a result of the difficult night journey.  Soon after a quick wash it was decided we get ready for the night meal [scheduled 8 pm] at the huge dining hall where hundreds eat meals.  It is an integral part of this holy town and the temple organizes this, twice a day.  It was about 6 pm in the evening.

When one by one woke up, the watch was showing half past ten.  We thought we missed dinner, but there was daylight outside!  It was the next morning!  Astounding as it is, none woke up for 16 hours!! Our sleep session was that long, perhaps my longest since I was a baby!!  It that had saved us from a dinner and a breakfast, although meals are given free. This had recouped energies in us as we had more travel!

Losing no further time, we headed for a bath in the river Netravathi and prepared to line up in the queue at the Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple. We had a peaceful view [ದರ್ಶನ] of the Lord's idol which has been worshiped for 800 years.

We stand in front of the Temple entrance.

Our next destination was Hornadu, where we visited the Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple.  We had arrived here just in time for the afternoon meal.  Here also, mass feeding is part of the service, an important one because the deity worshiped here is the Goddess of  food/grain/nourishment, Annapurna.  We could get a peaceful view of the beautifully decorated and bejeweled idol.

We left for Sringeri for an overnight stay.  Early next morning, we visited the Sri Sharada Temple and left back for Mysore, a journey of 8 hours. 

This is the route map.  

It was a good short pilgrimage, but what reminds me of this is the very long sleep all of us had.  
16 hours is something!  I'm glad there was no train or bus to catch early next morning!

1 comment:

ER Ramachandran said...

After a hectic pilgrimage getting totally fagged out is common, but a nonstop 16 hour sleep by the entire dozen is not so common! In a way it is happy state of mind what after visiting famous temples and having lunch at the temple itself. It is a happy circumstance to be in and this also shows God's blessing comes in many ways!