27 May 2008
Guruvayoor, about 40 minutes ride north west of the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur, is best reached by bus. But I took the train from Ernakulam which was coming from Chennai Egmore and as the flashy LCD screen at the station said, 122 minutes late. The D4 was packed like a II compartment and after wading through masses of humans and baggage I moved to claim my seat which had been usurped by an old man whose english vocabulary seemed to consist of just two words: 'Next Station'. Well, he did get off at the next station and I moved quickly to occupy the seat. The scenery outside was typical Kerala, rural but not quite so, with the almost incessant row of houses. After two and half hours the train reached its terminating station, Guruvayoor, where yet another LCD screen diligently showed the delay at 133 minutes. Its nor difficult to find the temple, just follow the unending stream of people and you will hit the East Nada of the temple. What is difficult is finding where the queu begins. I noticed that in the entire 1.5 km length of the queu, no male was wearing a trouser (all were wearing mundus, lest you jump to some other conclusion) and precisely one person was wearing slippers. Which presented me my first problem, buying amundu and finding a reasonably safe place to keep my stuff. I found the first shop selling mundus and kept my stuff with him. By now the line had grown nearly 2 km long and I was told by someone who had apparently done this many times that it will take minimum three hours. He was being optimistic to say the least, it took me nearly 5. In the meantime, the people immediately preceding me and after me, gave up. The darshan after the wait was really worthwhile as it is a stunningly beautiful temple. Next: the temple elephants.