One of my most memorable vacation experiences is the Pazhani trip. I have gone to many places with my parents and my younger sister. But this trip was different. On this trip not just my parents but my cousins were also with me. My cousin brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and my parents planned to go to Pazhani in April. The most interesting thing was that no one except my father had gone there. So it was a double excitement for me, firstly it was for the first time that I’m going a long trip with my cousins and secondly, I was going to a place where I have never gone but have always longed to go.
We started our journey in a traveler bus at 4 O’clock in the morning. I, my brothers and sisters occupied the last seats and my uncles were occupied in the first and second rows. One of my uncles gave company for the driver with an additional intention of ensuring that the driver doesn’t sleep. Though it was a pilgrimage, it was more like a family get-together.
It was 5.30 and the sun gradually started chasing our bus like a glowing red ball. Hot coffee and tasty homemade ‘unniappam’ were supplied by my aunts. That really refreshed all of us.
Pazhani is in TamilNadu. When we entered TamilNadu so many small houses close to each other were seen. Vast areas of land with a number of windmills were a peculiar sight there. On both sides of the road there are popcorn fields and banana cultivations. All these sights were really a treat to my eyes. As were closer to our destination, we could see the temple on the top of e high hill from the road itself. In fact, the temple is situated 60 km from Dindugul in Tamil Nadu. It is located on the top of Sivagiri Hill which is 1500 ft above the sea level. 690steps need to be climbed to reach the temple!
We reached the place and got 2 rooms in a lodge. It was surprisingly neat, clean and spacious with attached bathrooms. After refreshments we set out for the temple. From our room itself we could see the temple on a high rock. We had to walk a bit to reach the main entrance of the temple. On the way , my eyes ran from one shop to the other which were on either side of the road. Shops with toys, dolls, bangles, brass lamps etc were really mind blowing.
Then we ran the main entrance of the temple. There starts the 690steps! It was really a great challenge for my eldest aunt to climb the whole steps. But as we started climbing up the steps with the divine figure of ‘Sree Muruga’ in all our hearts, it became an easy task. Climbing 1008 steps all at once was a great experience for all of us. It was really amazing to view the whole city on top of the rock. Then we entered the temple in a queue and prayed to the ‘Lord Muruga’ whole heartedly. After some poojas we got the ‘prasadam’. Around the temple there was a lot of space. We rested there for some time enjoying the beauty of the city from such a great height.
While resting there, my uncle told us the story of Pazhani Temple. “Once the sage Narada visited Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. He gave a fruit to Lord Shiva and told him that it was a unique one, the ‘fruit of wisdom(in Tamil it is called Gnanapazham). Lord Shiva decided to give the fruit to his children - Lord Karthikeya and Lord Ganapathi. But the sage advised that the fruit should not be cut because its power would be reduced. Consequently, a competition was arranged to get the fruit. The competition was that the son who first surrounds the earth would get the fruit. Without delaying , Lord Muruga started his trip around the world on his divine vehicle, the peacock. But Lord Ganesha who believed that his parents were his world, just surrounded Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi and claimed the fruit. On returning , Lord Subhramanya found that Lord Ganesha had already won and felt that he was tricked. He decided to leave the Mount Kailash and reached Tiru Avinankudi at the foot of the Sivagiri Hill. Lord Shiva and the Goddess tried to appease their son by saying that he himself was a fruit (pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge; ’Nee’ means you. For this reason, the place was called ‘Pazham Nee’ or Palani or Pazhani”. The story was really interesting. I felt that the story made our pilgrimage complete. With that satisfaction we got down the steps. Stepping down was much easier than climbing up. As we were getting down a number of Shabarimala devotees were going up to see and experience the divinity of Lord Muruga.
While walking towards the lodge, myself and my sister became slow as we reached near the shops of toys and bangles. My father bought me some lovely bangles and my sister got a cute little doll. After reaching our room , what everyone had to talk about was their excitement of climbing 690 steps. With that excitement and heart full of excitement all of us had a sound sleep that night . Then we returned back home the next morning with a hope of visiting there again.
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