Visiting any famous South Indian temple is nothing short of a marathon and when it is a temple like Srirangam, Tirupathi it definitely is! A popular temple is one where the minimum waiting time to see the main deity 1 hour at any given point in time! In case you are planning a temple visit gear up and be ready to be physically jolted and have your patience meter tested! Here is a dummies guide to survive the ordeal! The challenge begins as you enter the temple:
As you enter the temple be ready to get accosted by flower vendors [or any kind of vendor] who will try to sell you their over priced flowers and garlands to the extent that you may trip on their baskets of flowers as you try to get away!
Be doubly aware of the savvy ones that will tell you that there is hardly any crowd inside the temple and that your flowers and garlands will definitely make it to the Lord!! Now, you need to be on alert and grab your spouse and kids and make a run for it! Make a dash for the lines leading to Rome [I mean the inner sanctum] avoiding any other tricksters on the way who might make you loose some of your precious time
There is a 98% chances of being part of a paid line at most popular temples. If you are in a race against time, you may want to invest in tickets to see God the earliest. Do budget for ticket costs inside the temple.
Armed with the tickets, you will find yourself standing behind a harangued devotee who is behind at least 50-100others…the number of devotees in line will increase depending on factors such as day and time…..evenings are crazy and Fridays and weekends nuts! If you have a love for adventure and enjoy jostling with a crowd where someone invades your personal space and you repay the honors, you should definitely opt for Fridays and week ends! 🙂
As the line moves at snail’s pace, find something to keep yourself occupied with. Here are some choices:
- Read a book
- Converse with your group
- Admire the architecture, frescoes and murals, if you are into that kind of thing
- If you are some kinda of fashionista you can come up with catty comments and phrases to describe the fashion sense of fellow devotees
- If you are a blogger you can think about what your next post would be!! 😈
Be on the look out for folks who will try to line jump. Some will also succeed! If you decide to confront them and send them back to the end of the line where they should be in the first place, be prepared to deal with the audacity with which the line jumpers will converse with you because in their world it’s perfectly legitimate to line jump….so good luck with that…
After about 45 minutes (or maybe more) of being a snail, you will find yourself standing some 50 -100 feet away from the main deity!! Ah haa!!!
Now pay attention as this is very important: Start trying to get a glimpse of the Lord as best
as you can from this point itself. Yes will see only about 100 heads in front of you and a few bodies blocking your entire view as they try to stand on railings and put up their hands “Govinda Govinda” style!! But never give up..if someone digs you in the ribs ignore the pain and be focused on your goal! If you are lucky you might get to see a finger or some jewellery of the main deity! If you are tall be prepared to be accused by the rest of the shorties behind you…if you wanna bug em put up your hands “Govinda Govinda” style!! :-p
In between all the fun you realize that you are about 25 feet away from the main deity!! Yes….that’s it! But then follows the “Oh oh…..” moment. It is the point where all the lines merge…the free darshan lines and all categories of paid lines.
Now what are you going to do??? 😯
Part 2 of the dummies guide to visiting famous South Indian temples will be completed in the next post 🙂