A dummies guide to visiting famous South Indian temples!! – Part 2 [concluding part]

The previous post on this topic stopped at the point where all the darshan lines merge at a single point at the sanctum sanctorum! Simply put, you see a lot of heads, pushing and shoving to determine who gets in first!! The concept of line etiquette and patience is pretty much unheard of! So here is how you deal with the rest of your journey 🙂

Image Courtesy: Internet

Pray to God for mental and physical strength (as if you hadn’t all this time) as all of you try to get into a single file. Be prepared for the disdainful looks you may receive from those in the free darshan lines and the condescending looks from those in a line more expensive than yours…If it gets too much to deal with, do the following:

  • With a smug look on your face just start saying your favorite sloka loudly or
  • Start singling your favorite prayer songs or
  • Start saying “Om Namo Narayana” or something on those lines or
  • Do the “Govinda, Govinda” :-p

Just when the others are taken aback by surprise or irritation, you can get squeeze into the line! Oh and make sure you pull your spouse and kids with you! Especially the kids – what the heck, if the kids are small they can ride on your shoulders! As long as they look cute and say their prayers or even do the “Govinda, Govinda”, you will be ok…..

Just when you are wondering when this will end you find yourself right upfront  and the vaadiyar (priest) is in a hurry to get rid of all you! But wait you have seen only the feet of the main deity and not his face or any other facets of the marvellous being in front of you! The vaadiyaar is shouting at you to get out while you like others try to make the best of the opportunity to get a good look at the detity and submit all your prayer requests at that moment.

Now the best way to avoid the priests yelling at you, pull out a curreny note in the highest possible denomination you can afford and make sure that the vaadiyar can see it!! Bingo! Now that you have his attention…slide towards him to get the best seats to look at the deity and start praying…you might probably get an extra 30 seconds but then its worth it compared to just having 5 seconds!

Image Courtesy: Internet

😡 Be prepared for a lot of jostling as there are those behind and around you who feel that you don’t even have a right to stand there…..so there may be pushing (usually a lot of it),  some name calling (not anything outrageous, it is a temple after all), etc.,

When your 30 seconds are up, make sure you drop the currency note into the vaadiyar’s plate; don’t worry if you are lost in your payers! The vaadiyar will definitely remind you to drop off your dakshinas! 🙄  It’s all about the money baby!! Do budget for the Dakshinas too!!

If you are generous you can drop the note you have. If you feel that the vaadiyaars have no rights behaving the way they do by denying the rights of a devotee to see God in the first place or if you feel that they wanted to get rid of you anyway, you can pull out a smaller curreny note at that point and drop it in his plate and rush away from the spot before the vaadiyar can say “Show me the money!!” You know he can’t run after you…the crowd will get in his way if his stomach doesn’t! 😆

Trust me, getting away from the hullabaloo is always a walk in the park!  It’s  always easy to get out than it is to get in!

Image Courtesy: Internet

By now you will be filled with a feeling of exhilaration by your achievement of having seen the deity for whom access should have been easy in the first place! But then what can you do about the ways of the government, a population that  never shows signs of slowing down and the functioning of  temples which these days has become more business like rather than personal!

For the grand finale: you can look at the other poor devotees standing in line about to embark on the same journey that you have completed with a look of achievement and pity and then be off to embark on the next journey! To visit the next deity in the other part of the temple! But do hurry there are only 800-1000 people waiting in line. And make sure you have budgeted for the expenses and have an energy shot before you get into line!

Good Luck with your temple visits!!! As long as you have a sense of humor, you will find that these visits do rejuvenate your soul 🙂



  1. Wonderful post.. Loved it! But, on a slightly serious note, god & religion are perhaps the two topics, I am most confused about.. If god is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent as virtually every religion claims, what is the need to go to a temple, ask him/her for help, etc.. Is’nt he everywhere? Does’nt he already know what you want and if he could help, would’nt he have already helped? And, what’s strange is the temerity with which the vadiyaars and the man in charge of the ‘Jaragandis’ accept monetary favors right in front of the deity for a few extra seconds of darshan. Are’nt they afraid that god would ‘see’ it. Would’nt that disappoint and annoy god? Maybe it won’t.. Perhaps, god is empathetic and knows that while religion and prayer can satiate the soul, it takes more than that to keep the body alive 🙂

    • Thanks Arun! You are right about the questions you have raised. It is the classic chicken and egg story….we will never have an answer. I guess you are amongst many (including me at times) who ask these questions…True he is out there but we could compare him to a friend that we don’t get to see.. but sometimes the friend likes it if we visit his home or many homes in this case! Of course the vaadiyaars and jargandis – don’t even get me started! I threaten to blow a fuse every time this happens to me…maybe as you said God understands the difference between the body and soul! Or maybe we poor would owe these guys from some previous birth!! Another way of looking at the circle of life!:)

  2. LOL 😛 a fun read….
    Mostly made of true and i believe this as your part of experience…
    When i was kid, i was forced to attend few busiest temples of south India, LOl that QUE thing is damn true 🙂
    Good post 🙂

  3. Funny, I’ve always felt that the money I shell out to see gods at temples was never worth it coz i felt neither calm nor happy afterwards. It hurts when you see has happened to culture nowadays. and most of the priests at temples are poor brahmins who take up the job for want of something else to do. very few ones who have remained gen after gen.

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