One of my uncles who is at Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu tried his best to persuade me to visit him once since I had not been to his place after I moved back to India from the US. Like many other of my relatives, he must have lost all hopes and stopped calling me. He must have been dumb-founded, when suddenly I called him up to ask if he will be free for Vijaya Dussami holidays which fell on a Monday.
He said "I will make myself free! How long will you stay here?"
"One day..hee hee"
"ONE DAY!.....well....I should be happy that are even visiting me"
Before I knew, I booked my tickets for one hectic train journey! Boy, what a journey it was!
My ticket (yes! Indian railways allow to buy tickets online..no hassle..Kudos!) read
Hyderabad - Chennai central Dep. (Dep Sep 28 Arrival at 6:00am)
Chennai Egmore- Virudhurnagar (DEP Sep 29 7:30) (Arrival Sep 30 5:00PM)
Virudhunagar to chennai Dep. Oct.1 7:30 PM Arraival Oct 2 6.00 AM
Chennai to Hyderabad Dep Oct 2 6.00PM Arrival 8:30 AM
It was an journey full of emotions..feel-good factor when I helped a blind, poor dude to an auto-stand and paid for his auto expenses..ab-crunching light moments when I met spanish unmarried "husband-wife" in Guruvayur express and their India-tour stories....irritation when I met Chennai-hating morons from Tuitorin. One jouney that I will pay a fortune to go through once again. But the best experience of the journey was when I visited Rangamannar (Lord Ranganathar in full costumes of a king when he "lands" at Srivilliputtur with Lord Garuda as the flight to marry Andal)temple at Srivilliputtur, about an hour from Virudhunagar.
One of the 108 divyadesams of Vishnu, it has its own "you-can-see-it-nowhere-else"
- Only temple in the whole world where you will see Lord Garuda, standing beside Lord Rangamannar, instead of in front of him
- Only temple where there is a well with in within temple, (not with in the outer wall, but with in the actual temple's main building, right outside the sanctum-sanctorum, right by the Hundi!)
- It is the only temple which has a statue of lord krinsha with two shoulders and four hands, one pair hold the Sargni (shakam) and sudarshana cakram, and the other pair busy playing his flute. (Oh! the temple's art form are simply unmatched!)
- Only place where Lord Ranganathar appears with all his five weapons (a little hard to believe, but thats what the temple in-charge said!)
- All too familiar gopuram in Tamil Nadu's emblem is the gopuram of this temple! The largest until Rajagopuram of Srirangam was built!
- This is the birth place of the famous Andal, the only female Azhwar who have translated Vedas into Tamil (and who are the root-cause for Vishnavism)!
- The only temple that I have seen so far, that has the main sannidhi in the first floor rather than ground-floor!
- The inner walls of the temple is adorned using the remains of the temples "Ter" or the car that got burned in a fire mishap (as narrated by my much relieved uncle..who finally got to see me at his place!)
- If you are a connoissueur, this place is very well known for its milk sweet. Some that I couldn't personally endorse since that day all the milk sweet went out of stock.