Friday, June 30, 2006
it sounds like wyoming .no,it is not in usa. it is in india. deep down south. a long six and half hours drive from chennai. the town is called kumbakonam. it is a temple town .famous for its oppilliappan temple and aaravamudan temple.both lord vishnu temples.the people of kumbakonam are supposed to be very intelligent. and cunning too .in the old days this word was incorporated in the oxford english dictionary and meant 'the act of being cunning'. and there is a flourishing silk trade in this dusty town.
my mama's last beti(he has five of them) got married on 28th june. on the 29th i had an important board meeting in kolkata .almost a hobson's choice. but then thanks to easier flying these days and good roads, i made it to both.
first the wedding. it was a typical iyengar marriage. welcoming the bridegroom, kasi yatrai,maalaimarthal,oonjalaadudal,palikai,rakshabandanam,kanyadaanam, mangalyapujai,mangalyadharanam,paanigrahanam,saptapadi,homam,ammi middittal and aashirvaadam.there were many emotional scenes,with my mama in tears during kanyadanam and hema sobbing while hari was tying the knot.met a lot of relations.had the typical kalyana sappadu and drove back to chennai.reached around 8.30 and was up early morning next day to take the kolkata flight.
i had never driven so much in the south at a stretch. and i passed through cuddalore,pondicherry,kaaraikaal, seerkazhi,chidambaram,mayalaaduthurai(mani shanker iyer's constituency). cuddalore was badly devastated on 24th dec 2004 when the tsunami hit south india. nagapattinam and velankanni also took the brunt. though i was in the heart of chettinad, i had no time to stop and savour the famous chettinad cuisine.pondicherry was a french colony,french is still being taught and is also spoken by some of the locals .and it is one of the best cities in south india.
it was a pity i couldn't visit the temples around tanjore due to paucity of time. i must visit them . my sister-in-law told me that she has already visited 106 out of the 108 divya deshams spread throughout the length and breadth of our country. for sri vaishnavas from the south it is an important soulsatisfying achievement. the other two divya deshams are not reachable in mortal form.thus ended my soujourn to the bastion of the tambrahms.tanjore.it has produced outstanding and brilliant people."it is the cauvery silt", said my friend kk.