Murugan Bhakti Newsletter No. 13: Jan-Feb 2003
I. New Feature Articles
Articles recently published on Murugan Bhakti websites include:
II. Murugan Bhakti Pilgrimages: Aru Padai Veedu and Kathirkama Yatras
One of the aims of Murugan Bhakti has been to make great temples and traditions of Lord Murugan accessible to devotees and scholars, not only by creating Internet resources sites but also by facilitating pilgrimage for devotees from afar. Not only do the pilgrims themselves benefit spiritually, but in the process they also learn, teach and inspire devotees in the places they visit as well as devotees at home upon their return.
Aru Padai Veedu Yatra 2002
In October 2002, Murugan Bhakti editor Patrick Harrigan conducted four Sri Lankan devotees -- all veteran Kataragama Pada Yatra pilgrims -- on a seven-week yatra of South Indian temples, ashrams and communities of devotees. The four Tamil-speaking swami ammas (two Tamil and two Sinhala, all from Ampara district) along with Patrick, besides visiting all Aru Padai Veedugal, also visited Padmanabhan Swami Temple (Trivandrum), Kanya Kumari, Madurai Meenachi Amman Temple, Rameswaram, Srirangam, Kanchipuram, and the famous Murugan temples of Viralimalai, Rathnagiri, Valla Kottai, Tirupporur, 3-day stay at Valli Malai and memorable stays with bhaktars in Madurai, Viralimalai, Bangalore and Madras.
The yatra culminated in 8 days' stay at Tiruchendur during Kanda Sashti, followed by a one-day pada yatra leading hundreds of Indian, Sri Lankan and European devotees from Śrī Premananda Ashram 14 km to conduct abhisekam of Viralimalai Murugan on 19 Nov paurnami before the return flight to Sri Lanka on 20 November. Interviews in Tamil with Patrick and the swami ammas appeared on Sun TV (worldwide) and Haran TV (locally) as well as Thinakkaran and Thinattanthi newspapers. The Aru Padai Veedu tour for poor Sri Lankan senior devotees was funded by a Sri Lankan devotee in fulfillment of a vow to Tiruchendur Murugan.
Kathirkama Yatra 2003
For years, Indian devotees had been unable to go on pilgrimage to Kathirkamam and other famous shrines of Sri Lanka. With peace assured at last, on 16-21 January 29 Muruga devotees of the Madras-based Tiruppukaz Sangamam undertook their long-planned first Sri Lanka yatra. Met at Colombo Katunayake Airport by Patrick Harrigan with a comfortable 44-passenger tourist bus, they first visited renowned Munneswaram and Tiru Koneswaram (Trinco) kovils before visiting Kandy and Nuwara Eliya in the hill country before spending two nights at Kataragama, including two visits to Sella Kataragama and a thrilling ascent by jeep to Kathiramalai summit. Returning by the coastal route via Galle, they spent one night in Colombo at the Galadari Hotel and were hosted by the All-Ceylon Hindu Congress before their return flight to Madras, exhausted but lifted in spirit by the first-hand experience of Kathirkama Kanthan's spiritual majesty and mystery.
Encouraged by the emphatic success of this first Kathirkama Yatra, Patrick and Madras devotees headed by Senthiladimai Dr. S. Sundaram are planning to conduct similar Sri Lanka tours on a regular basis. Devotees interested in joining or organising Kathirkama yatras should go to http://murugan.org/events/lanka-yatra-jan03.htm where you may contact Dr. S. Sundaram or Patrick Harrigan for latest details about future yatras.
III. Third International Murukan Conference in Kuala Lumpur, 1-4 May 2003
The organisers of the Third International Conference Seminar on Murukan-Skanda have announced that the Conference will take place 1st to 4th May 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Scholars and devotees of Murukan faith all over the world along with representatives of the Tamil diaspora from around the world are expected to participate in the conference.
The host country, Malaysia, has announced that the Conference registration fee has been reduced to US$100, which will include accommodation, meals, etc., during the conference period for delegates as well as a post-conference tour on 5th May. Delegates are expected to make their own arrangements for the air fare to attend the conference-seminar. Participants should send a synopsis of one or two pages along with bio-data to the organisers by 15th February 2003.
IV. World Hindu Conference, Colombo 2-6 May 2003
To mark the return of peace, Sri Lanka hosts the World Hindu Conference from 2-6 May, 2003. The Conference focuses upon Hindu heritage, inter-religious dialogue, the quest for regional and global peace, and the special challenges of the 21st Century. The theme of the 2003 World Hindu Conference is: "Dharma and the Quest for Peace".
V. Rathinagiri Maha Kumbhabhisekam
It took one devotee's austere vow of 34 years to realise -- and 17 years to build. Now one can see the bright and beautiful stone temple, which once covered an area of 200 sq. feet, now extended up to an unbelievable area of 30,000 sq. feet of polished granite and marble. The Ashtapandana Mali, Maha Kumbhabhisekam for Lord Bala Murugan is to be performed on 6 February 2003. For full details, including archival photo galleries and announcements in English and Tamil, visit the official website of Arulmigu Balamurugan Tirukkovil, Rathinagiri at Ratnagiri.org.
IV. Murugan Bhakti Network continues to grow
The Living Heritage Network has added four more websites:
Murugan Bhakti Newsletter No. 13: Newsletter of the Murugan Bhakti Network
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