Thursday, April 17, 2008

new tamil new year!

if you had celebrated the tamil new year on april 13th this year, you had violated a tamil nadu government rule. confused?

the dmk government, under the leadership of mr.karunanidhi, passed a resolution recently to shift the tamil new year to january 14th to make it coincide with the farmer's festival of pongal. it is no more 'chitrai varsha pirappu', it is 'thai (thy) varsha pirappu'.

the changing governments in tamil nadu like to bring about change in the life of people. so, they change the name of the city, name of roads, name of transportation services, name of the buildings, change the changes done by the old governments, and now - the date of a festival. not sure where this is going to stop!

the political commentator cho remarked - 'i suspect that those who endorsed the government's renaming quest must all be dmk supporters. if this government can do this, it can also announce new names for all the 12 months after periyar, anna, stalin, azhagiri, kanimozhi and so on...'

the latest change has brought about confusion amongst the tamil people! they have to choose between the age old tradition of celebrating new year in april, and the government declared tamil new year. even worse, most of my friends here in the 'uzhavar sandhai' (US) were oblivious to the change.

when april 13th arrived this year, people took the side of the tradition. the tamil television channels, barring the dmk's mouthpiece (note - karunanidhi tv and not sun tv), followed suit.

it would be fun to see what happens when pongal arrives. will people celebrate tamil new year again? according to me, only good thing about the new rule is the the fall back option it has created for celebrating tamil new year.

what is the long term solution? my bet is on change. when the government changes, the new government would bring about their own list of changes. hopefully, the new year date is present on the list!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the new 'golden temple'

during my march 2008 visit to chennai, i heard about this new 'golden temple' in sripuram. i decided to visit this place, and oh boy! it turned out to be a good decision.

sripuram is a tiny village, about 12 kms from vellore town, tamilnadu. its now being made famous by this golden temple with government plying 'golden temple' specials. it is a 3 hour drive from chennai on the chennai-bangalore highway.

all electronics, including cellphones, cameras, ipods are confiscated at the entrance to the temple. also, one can find a huge canteen that resembles a marriage-hall at the entrance. the temple is approximately 1.5 kms from here. seriously!

the walk to the temple is scenic with loads of greenery, and water fountains and flowing water. after a 400m walk, one enters a star shaped corridor that surrounds the temple. as one walks the star, one can fill one's eyes with the beauty of the temple. the corridor leads into a circular corridor that encompasses a pool of water. at the center of this water pool resides the Goddess Lakshmi, called Narayani Devi.

the sanctum-sanctorum is made from pure gold. the yellow metal is used liberally on the temple gopuram, pillars, ceiling and the sides.

the temple is constructed, managed and maintained by 30-odd years old shri narayani amma of sri narayani peedam.

overheard facts : temple is built on 100 acres of land, 600 crores rupees was the expenditure, 1.5 tones of gold used, 400 goldsmiths and copper smiths finished task in 6 years, the temple structure made out of copper structure on which 9 layers of gold was draped.

some tips for the visit : take the 250 Rs route to save on some time and also to get a closer n longer look at the deity, visit temple on a weekday, choose twilight time-frame for the visit get to see the temple in natural light and man-made light under a night sky as well. wheelchairs are available for elderly at the entrance, elderly can use the short cut route to the garbha-graha.

the temple is a man-made beauty. greenery surrounding the temple adds to the beauty. next time you visit chennai, do plan a trip to this place!