Found this link in digg.com : http://www.instyle.com/instyle/makeover/ & my wife was keen to try out various hair styles :-)
and experimentation on me:
Mom had prayed that she will get me and Pallavi to MelMarvathur (Om Shakthi) temple after marriage. Again, I wasn't too keen, but had to... initial plan was to goto chennai and then visit this and spend remaining of the weekend in Chennai. But as we enquired about details, we came to know that going via Thiruvanamalai is better and we can visit Vellore while coming back.
So we left early at 5:30 on 7th March, and then headed to the Thiruvanamalai. Stopped over at Krishnagiri to have breakfast. Reached Thiruvanamalai at 9:45. Booked a room in Hotel Arunachala which was supposed to be the best hotel there. MelMarvathur was about 100kms from thiruvanamalai but the route was supposed to be good. So we left immediately after having breakfast and we reached around 11:50. saw the temple, prayed for sometime and headed back to Thiruvanamalai. Reached at 3:00 - had lunch, and then went to Girivalam (the route with temples all around the base of the hill). After visiting few temples around the hill, (we missed most thinking we will find bigger ones).. we went to the main temple - since I misjudged the queue, didn't take the special darshan tickets and hence had to spend considerable time in the queue. But we had a good darshan and came out at 8 PM. did some shopping, had dinner and slept off.
Got up in the morning, visited the temple again - visited girivalam again and more temples this time. We also met a famous sadhu who predicts and gives blessings. Then left 4 Vellore.
Visited the golden temple there (in sripuram). All splendor - the interesting part is the way they have explained why spending so many crores (6000 crores) on temple makes more sense than removing the poverty of so many places. We took special entry tickets of rs 100 each to avoid the queue. There were interesting slogans all the way to the park. Pallavi was disappointed that we didn't take a special pooja ticket, but I somehow don't get a feeling of god in such grandeur temples. Temple was beautifully done and the god's statue was good. The swami (though male, called as Amma) was with the god everywhere. After darshan of god and a Puttu in front of this temple, we headed back to vellore. Visited the Vellore fort and temple inside.
Then we headed to an interesting place called "ratnagiri", a small village about 15 kms from Vellore which has child Subramanya temple. we have to climb around 300 steps (or has a road to goto the top). Temple was excellent. Prayed for some time and then headed home. We reached back at 9:30 but had already finished dinner at Krishnagiri...
Ph0t0s below: <http://picasaweb.google.com/bschandramohan/Thiruvanamalai>.
Last time I went to TIRUPATHI was with my family - grandma, dad, mom, lathakka, kavi and a small small divi :)..
Wasn't too keen to go there again, but it so turned out that Pallavi had prayed that she will get her husband there and that too to climb the seven hills barefoot and visit the god :(...
I reluctantly had to agree and decided on a Saturday and Sunday with Pallavi's parents and brothers.
We left on friday night by KSRTC Airavath -11:30 bus and it reached at sharp 4:30. We checked into a hotel in Tirupathi and got ready and headed to Ticket counter to get the tickets. We were able to get the Archanananthara darshanam tickets for next day morning at 4 Am. Booked a Innova and saw few temples around: Kanipakam (Lord Ganesha's temple), Srinivasa mangapuram and Alamelu Mangapuram. Food was okayish in tirupathi. After visiting the temples, we decided to start the climb to the top of Tirumala where the world famous Lord Venkateshwara resides. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
So we started around 6PM, so it was chill and we won't be sweating much. Pallavi's bro Bharath had climbed previously in 2.5 hours and Pallavi was saying she had climbed it in 3.5 hours. For record, this was bharath's 6th, Pallavi's 3rd, Pallavi Mom's 5th I think :)... I was thinking I could ape their speeds and we should be done in 3 hours time.
The initial climb is difficult with steep steps and the first 1700 steps are continuous. It was a hard task and I was drained out before I could complete that. Took a long break - had juices, hot bajji (they tasted so yummy after the tiring climb), took a long breather and then started.
The climb after that was less tiring in that number of steps were less, but the walking part too was draining out the feet. Luckily there were places to wash our face and legs, the cool water hitting the burning feet was like drinking amrutha ... okay bad analogy but that was really refreshing :). There was some deer park in-between where we fed some carrots and food items.
We finally managed to reach the top around 10:15.. 4 hours.. not too bad... We had to hunt for food to eat and place to sleep and finally we thought no point in sleeping and spent an hour chatting and then started getting ready. By 4:30, we were at the entrance of the queue. It took about 1:30 hours to get the 30 seconds darshanam and we came out tiring to find our slippers stolen!.. And the worst part is since it's a holy hill, people don't sell slippers. We had to walk barefoot from then on until we came down to Tirupathi and bought some cheap roadside slippers .. something to wear.. we then dozed off after having a quick breakfast. Got up in the afternoon, went to govindaraajpattinam temple and then headed to a sick telugu movie. Supposed to be a comedy but it was just passable. After the movie, we had dinner and headed to KSRTC bus stand and returned by Airavatha,
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