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>.