The Holy Bath Experience – Thirunallar
With only an inner-wear and a small towel tied to my waist, I am three steps down the holy pond of Thirunallar. The water is so dark and greenish, I keep my steps without knowing what I am stepping.
I place the til oil, shikakai powder and a coin on my head and take a dip in the water. I repeat it for three times, as my astrologer friend suggested. Everybody taking bath in this pond does this and no surprise why the water is so green. I have never seen a clear water in this pond before nor would I see after.
The devotees believe taking holy dip in this pond (Nala Theertham) will get rid of their miseries. In fact, I have witnessed positive vibrations since I started doing this.
I did not take much time to cleanse myself. I climbed up the slippery steps and reached out to my cloths that lay on the ground. There is no dressing room for the men and I had to change in the open. I stood next to the women’s dressing room, the only cover (one side) available.
My left hand holding the towel and the right changing the cloths was quite a task. I could hear women giggling inside the dressing room and had to ensure no one was watching me.
Leaving the cloths behind
There were many cloths abandoned near the pond and it was a ritual to leave the wet cloths after bath. I too left mine and walked without turning back.
The next move was to offer our prayers and coconut to Lord Ganesha in the temple nearby to the pond. The shops opposite to the temple sold coconuts and other temple items.
The VIP treatment
A constable outside the Ganesha temple halted devotees by entering inside until the VIPs who were offering prayers came out. I was no special and had to wait for several minutes. The VIPs were old couples who had come in a government provided car.
Breaking the coconut
Finally, I walked inside the temple, did a circumbulate, and broke the coconuts in a dedicated place. I threw the coconut with so much pressure that my arm pained until next day.
The Shani Temple of Thirunallar
The Dharbaranyeshwarar temple is not far away from the holy pond. This temple is also the abode of Lord Shani, whose blessings we have come here to seek. In fact, millions of devotees visit this temple in Thirunallar to ward off the negative vibes by seeking Lord Shani’s blessings.
We have come here for the same reason, to attract positive vibes in life with the blessings of Lord Shani. We completed our rituals in less than an hour and stepped out of the temple.
Though the temple’s prime god is Dharbaranyeshwarar, a form of Lord Shiv, this temple is popular as the Shani Temple of Thirunallar.
Astrologers are counsellors
I feel the astrologers are like a counselors, a religious counselors. Their influence on one’s life is enormous if a client believes them. However, not every astrologer is genuine and there is no guarantee on his or her advice or predictions.
In my case, nothing happened that calls for worry. Moreover, I am enjoying the beliefs and see no harm in following it. In fact, the results have always been positive.
As instructed, we did not eat, drink, or buy anything in Thirunallar. By the time the rituals were over, we were so thirsty and hungry but could not consume anything in the town. Our only option was to drive out of Thirunallar for even to allow a drop of water down the throat.
Driving to Karaikal
Fortunately, the nearest town, Karaikal was less than seven kilometres from Thirunallar where we had our unlimited meal.