Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kavariars

not sure what the reasons are, but it looks like the Gods are also vying for the mindshare of mankind.

Recently i had been to chennai and visiting a relative after many years. their house was close to a 'mariamman' [local village goddess] temple. this was one of those temples that had become very popular over the years. i remember that during my school days, it was quite neglected and used to have some activity only on special days.

that day seemed to have been a special day. there was a lot of crowd in front of the temple, waiting to get in. there were people carrying some 'kavadis', accompanied by their near and dear ones. effectively, the road was completely blocked - which was otherwise a two way street.
the police personnel watched and cajoled raffic and the people to keep on moving and after about 10 minutes, somehow, we were able to get on to a side street and take an alternate route.

I had a similar experience the next day in front of a sai baba temple, also in chennai.

the following day, we were driving back to bangalore from pondicherry via tiruvannamalai. it was a full moon day. i was told that the tiruvannamalai town could be crowded, as many devotees undertake a 'giri valam' - circumambulating the mountain, barefoot. so, we wanted to cross the place well before evening.
but, unfortunately for us, it appeared that they decided to block the main road a little earlier that day - as they probably anticipated a larger crowd.

we were approaching the town from the east, needing to go west. we were asked to turn back and take a detour.no further details or instructions, even from the policemen. there were no signs. a couple of auto drivers we asked for help, started arguing amongst themselves if we would be able to find our way, as it was a very narrow road, that had most of the length dug up.

we decided to brave it amd followed a bus to salem, assuming that he would know the way.
after a couple of kilometes in the wilderness and a very small village - where we could see a peacock, with its feathers spread out, that posed for us, to take  pictures..
we got on to a main road that took us back to tiruvannamalai!

this time, we were approaching the town from the south. another detour and a few kilometers later, we were guided to take another road - a paved one this time, but just about as wide as the car! with hardly a soul insight, we would stop whenever we saw someone, just to reassure ourselves that the road did have an end on the other side, and connected to a larger road that would eventually take us towards our destination.

it was also very interesting to listen to how the people we crossed gave us directions. from the language - with a strong local dialect, that had some words that we could not understand - to the asumptions they made about our knowledge of the local topology as well as simplistic directions that we have to take three turns forward and two turns that would bring us back to almost where we were [or at least that was what we understood] and then the second turn would take us to the road connecting to the main road!

anyway, we finally crossed tiruvannamalai after spending more than an hour and about 12 kilometers, to crossed a distance of about 2 kilometers in 10 minutes.

with this experience, when i heard of the kavariyars that go to haridwar, i was somewhat relieved that what we went through was much milder.

while this is a regular event, it was not clear why the authorities have not managed to find a traffic regulation pattern - as i was told that all roads to haridwar would be completely taken over by the kavariyars and nobody can predict the delays.

the same question that crossed our minds about tiruvannamalai - as to why that could not have been managed better - as that seemed to be a regular occurrence, every full moon.
when we can manage kumbh mela without any major incidents, i am sure this should be a cakewalk.

when i wanted to check out more on the kavariars, google turned up with just one result!
that i could not register it as a googlewhcak was a disappointment,though.
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