Day-1 A suddenly planned trip. Started to trip to Tiruvannamalai from Vellore - 84 kms. We started around 6:30 AM from Vellore and covered the distance in a couple of hours time. The road is mostly single road . The road does not have any toll and well laid. The route is through Bagayam, Kannamangalam and Polur and has enough direction boards inplace wherever the roads split. We first visited Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple. It was a Friday and there was no rush. There is free Dharshan and special Dharshan for Rs.20. After a very good Dharshan, we went around the Girivalam path by car. The Girivalam path is around 14 kms. There are 8 Lingams around the path - Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Eesanya Lingam. Two other important places on the Girivalam are Seshadri Swamigal Ashram and Ramanashram. The first 2 Lingams are nearer to the main temple and others are around the Girivalam path. There are few more temples in the path and one can visit based on their time and interest.
We covered the whole of the Girivalam path and most of the temples enroute in close to 2 hours. By noon, we were back on the road towards Vellore and reached by 1:30 post noon. We had lunch in Hotel Aryaas near Vellore and decided to go around Vellore by evening.
Decided to visit, Ratnagiri Murugan temple - 12 kms from Vellore on the road to Chennai. This temple is placed on a small hill - where road facility is made for vehicles to reach the top. We can also climb through 300 steps, little steep for elders to walk, however, slowly possible and comfortable. The steps are sheltered. We preferred to park the car at bottom of the hill and walk up the stairs. On the way to the temple, 2 kms before, Just 2 kms, before the temple, there is a small mosque, a remnant of a person who was a Muruga devotee.
The dharshan was very good and hardly in 20 minutes time we were back on the car to Vellore. The next stop was the Jalakandeswara Temple. We were there for 20-30 minutes and had a nice time in the temple.
Started from Vellore by 6:30 AM towards Kanchipuram. The distance is around 70 kms. We reached our first temple on the list - Shri Ekambareshvara Temple. The temple is very big and one of the major 5 Shiva temples. The temple has a very good feel when someone enters and there are multiple levels of prakaras here. The early morning visit was very good and satisfying. We had some prasadhams in the temple and next visited the famous Kanchi Kamatchi Amman Temple. This temple is a must visit in Kanchipuram and is located about a km from Ekambareshvara temple. The Kamatchi temple is well organised to handle rushes and ensure dharsans are made well. Next, we visited the special temple of Chitraguptan. This is located nearer to the bus stand. This is a small temple and only one of its kind. Special prayers and poojas are performed on request at this temple. Nearby the temple, are popular restaurants - Sangeetha, Saravana Bhavan, Ramas Cafe and A2B. After breakfast, we visited the temple of Murugan - Kumara Kottam and then to the Varadharaja Perumal Temple. The Kumara Kottam temple is located on the main road from Bus stand to the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. The Varadharaja Perumal Temple is located around 5 kms from the bus stand and one is expected to spend atleast couple of hours here given the size and number of people visiting the temple. Overall, excellent triple delight spiritual trip ! :)