Friday, 1 February 2008


One of the few temples that Dr JB and Bhama had not visited during their many trips is the Sri Venkatesa Perumal Temple in Varahur. This is the temple where another great composer Sri Narayana Theertha Swami had composed and sung the Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini, about 300 years ago.

The temple is on an immaculately clean street and seems to blend in with the houses. When we reached the temple abhishekham was going on, and young boys were reciting their Veda lessons. It is said that a boar led the Swami to this place and hence it is called Varahur.

Varahur is right next door to Thirukaattupalli and Ranganthapuram, my mother-in-law’s native place – all separated by barely a few miles. Having heard her talk of all these places had sharpened my interest.
The greenery of the area simply takes your breath away.

At Ranganathapuram, which my husband has visited in his student days, we looked round for his grandfather’s house, though we knew that the cousin who looked after it was away. And we found it. It looked a bit ramshackle, since nobody lives there anymore, and was locked. But we could see it was really a large house, taking up the space of three doorways on the street. The street itself looked abandoned.

Once upon a time, when my husband’s grandfather lived there, he owned a lot of land, which were then left to his sons. Over the years the acres have dwindled.
But I can imagine a time when there would have been green fields everywhere and children coming home from school at Thirukaattupalli, the nearest town, and playing and calling out to one another.
I have been recently reading my mother-in-law’s autobiography again, which she wrote for her family, and the chapters came alive for me there.


Kamini said...

I've been thoroughly reading about your travels - riveting reading! The Brihadeeswara Temple in particular is one I really, really want to see, and you've only sharpened my desire! Lovely writing and photos - thanks!

Kamini said...

Oops I meant to say, thoroughly enjoying reading about your travels!

Groucho gawks said...

Interesting read though sorry to see the ramshackled state of the house. You should show this to Ambi Periappa. I think he lived in this house for a couple of years and schooled in Thirukattupalli.

Karthik Narayan said...

back to the past with a blast... :)

Unknown said...

Good - both written content and photos.
About the house - sometime back a knowledgeable person told me that a house too can have a horoscope which would indicate the events that would take place there and the destiny of the building itself. The person who said this is no more.
I mentioned about this in something that I wrote, perhaps in a short story.

Unknown said...

I have been 'holding' all these weeks not to comment on your trip to Ranganathapuram. But I can hold no more.
My eyes turn to wet saucers when I see the picture of the house, of my beloved grandfather.It looks like that the house was hardly mainained by those who lived there lately.
It is very very sad and disappointing that the wealth he acquired by sheer hard work, I know, he taught me about the glory of hard work, has gone down the drain literally by the future generations.
He was very prudent and did not beleive in waste. I can vividly recall an instance, when I was a little boy visiting the village from Thirukkattupalli, when he asked me to consume the left over cooked rice I had used to paste some old newspapers to make a kite!. He did not want even the left over rice to be thrown away!
He was a very scholarly man, very humble.He had a tremendous positive impact on my life and I remember him often with gratitude.
The memories are fresh in my eyes about the many many trips I had made by foot from Thirukkattupalli High school to Ranganathapuram, passing through green paddy fields.
I can NEVER forget the kindness showered on me by my sister who was at Ranganathapuram.
It is sad that the village is deserted.
ambi anna