The day of 1978 April 16th, Thirty seven years back!
Starting as usual at three in the early morning, after having darshan at Shri Kamakshiamman temple, and then at Sureshvaracharya's sannidhi--divine abode, at Shrimatham, He started his Satara Padayatra--travel on foot, towards a gramam--village, called Kizhambi. Kanchipuram-vasis--residents of KanchIpuram, assembling in large numbers, supplicated to him in tears, not to go on yatra for bahuduram--long distance.
Periyaval was observing kashta maunam--complete, inactive silence. Without showing any signs, He continued to walk. From a place called Chinnappa Samudram, on the way to Anantapur, we stayed in a village called Katri. In this village, there is a puratana--ancient, Lakshmi Narasimha temple.
Starting from Anantapur and arriving at Sanghamesvaram, we then proceeded and stayed in a dilapidated mandapam--pavilion, in a place called Tammapuram.
The date of June 27, 1978 is one that cannot be forgotten in my life! On that auspicious day, I had the fortune of having darshan of Maha-Periyaval and Pudhu-Periyaval together. In that small mandapam in disrepair, the trikala--thrice a day, ChandramaulIshvara puja was performed in a grand manner.
From Tammapuram, through the place called Dadi-badri, we arrived at a place called Kutthi. A grand reception for Periyaval in that town. The chippantis--staff, and the town people had made elaborate facilities for our stay. Everyone was in utsaham--joy.
Then, from that place, we reached a small village named Rajapuram, at a distance of five kilometers. It was a day (13.7.78) of alpa-dvadashi: that is, dvadashi lasted only up to ten in the morning on that day. So, finishing our paranai--(Tamizh) food, before ten o' clock, we started towards a village called Timmanjcharia, thirty kilometers away. Without stopping anywhere en route, we were walking slowly. The time of night arrived. In addition, it started raining heavily! Hailstorm with thunder!
The path ahead was totally invisible! No sight of the ups and downs on the road was possible, and the legs slipped often. A good building was seen nearby. We had the yearning if Periyava would tell us, "We can stay there".
"Walk chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam!", were His orders! In other words, it was understood that we were not going to stay anywhere en route!
At that time, Panampattu Kannan and I were going in the front, dragging the cycle rickshaw. Shrikanthan mama and Shri Balu mama came behind, along with Periyava, pushing the rickshaw. Mettur Rajagopala mama came behind, on the right side of the rickshaw. Leading us was Shri Chandramauli (Chinu mama's son), signalling us through our passage with an electric torchlight.
It was eleven-thirty at night when we reached Timmanjcharia! The next morning we reached a bigger place called Gundakkal. The mukham--camp, was at Gundakkal. A day after, I had to get back to Kutthi for a task. I went looking at the road I passed through. Only then it was known that the path we walked through two days back was a pukka jungle path!
author: Shri Induvasan
compiler: Shri T.S. Kothandarama Sarma
translator: Shri Saidevo
source: Maha Periyaval darisana anubhavangaL v03-p033-055
publisher: Vanathi Padhippaham (May 2005 Edition)
For the Satara Vijaya Yatra Swamigal had actually left Theynambakkam on April 15th, 1978 for Kanchipuram Matam and from the Matam He continued His yatra. It will be interesting to note that Swamigal retruned to Kanchi on Tamil New Year day April 14th 1984, thereby exactly completing 6 years of the Vijaya Yatra! In the above picture Periyava is seen near the Rickshaw with Devotees at Miraj in Southern Maharashtra during His Satara Vijaya Yatra.