Saturday, 14 September 2013

A journey to Mantralaya

We decided to visit Mantralaya for a day. It was December 24 and the next day being Christmas, we thought we could spend some time at the temple town where Raghavendra Swamy entered Brindavana.
Since we had decided to visit Mantralaya only a day before, we did not get any train or bus ticket. We, therefore, decided to hire a taxi. We opted for an Toyota Innova since it is comfortable and we were not sure of the condition of the roads.
The travel agency from whom we booked the care charged us Rs, 10.50 per kilometer apart from a bhatta of Rs. 250 per day to the driver. As we chose a seven seater, we had to pay Rs. 1,000 as tax when we entered the Andhra Pradesh border.
We began at 4-30 a.m. and quickly left the city behind. There was not much traffic and whatever little we saw were mainly two wheelers going to the Nandi Hills and vehicles bound for the Airport. Once we cleared Nandi Hills, there was not much traffic till 7-30 a.m.
The road to Mantralaya till Gooti is superb. We had to pay toll at several places and ended up paying upwards of Rs. 200 as toll. However, the road becomes a single lane state highway once we cross Gooti and head towards Adoni. It is from here that the traffic thickens and farmers place their produce right on the road for vehicles to travel over it so that the chaff is separated from the grain. This not only slows down the vehicle but also leads to decreased speeds.
Anyway, we halted for breakfast at a petrol station at Penukonda. That was our only stop. We then travelled at more than 100 kms per hour and were in Mantralaya by noon.
We hunted for a lodge and settled on Brindavana Guest house which is adjacent to the matha. Since it was a Dwadeshi, the matha had closed early.
We came the matha at 4-30 when the temple opened and had several darshanas of Rayaru. The first darshana was the Dharma darshana. The second was from an inner opening and the third was the VIP darshana where you have to buy Rs. 1,000 tickets for an entry.
My suggestion is that you can spend Rs. 1,000 for the closest look of Rayaru. Our family took several such tickets and we went in again and again and saw the Brindavana of both Raghavendra Swamy and Vadeendra Theertha at close quarters. We also did the mangalarthi of both the brindavanas and collected Mantrakshetha.
You can take the Dharma darshana if you are wearing pants. If you want to have darshana from the next two entry points men have to wear Panche and Shelya. If you want Mrithike of Raghavendra Swamy Brindavana, you have to contact e priest of the temple. The Mrithike is readily available in his house and you can collect it from there.   
By the time we came out after having Darshana, it was almost six and we waited in the sprawling angala or courtyard for the charriot procession.
You can purchase tickets for seves and pooje either at the counter just before the entrance of the temple or the small counter inside the temple to you right when you enter the matha.
The building adjoining the matha serves lunch and even dinner. You can either sit on the floor or even sit on a chair as the matha has made provisions for people with ailments to sit on a chair and eat from a table.
After visiting the Brindavana, you can take time off to visit Bichale and Panchamukhi Pranadevaru, both of which are in Karnataka.

While coming back, if you have time and are interested in seeing other places, take the Raichur route. Raichur has many religious, historic and tourist spots to offer. From Raichur you can go to Gangavathi and from there to Anegundi where you can see the Nava Brindavana and Hampi. You can get back to Bangalore by the Hospet-Chitradurga-Tumkur road. 
We came back to Bangalore the next day itself.              

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