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From: K. Srinivasan (srini_at_ireq.ca)
Date: Mon Feb 24 1997 - 12:36:17 PST
Walk up the thiru malai is quite easy. It took me 45 minutes up to the kaaLi Gopuram. Then I got distracted by talking to a couple of people, which slowed me down. Yet it was an easy 3 hour walk. There is plenty of potable water all along the way. There is no need to carry any water or food. One does not feel hungry while walking. There is a ten minute sErvai at about 7 AM called saatrumuRai. I could join this as a stranger (no political contacts). This is probably the only sErvai, you can enter without advance booking and without bribing the local demi-gods. It is an unforgettable experience, if you are lucky to get this. I could spend a full ten minutes inside the graba graham. The sErvai is fully in Tamil. The sweet sound of the Tamil mandhiram in such close quarters of the moola vigraham produces an inexpressible feeling. Then I got the special thirumanjana theertham, of exquisite taste. Later thayir saadham as prasadham outside. The requirements for getting admission to this sErvai are: (i) you should wear thirumaN, (ii) No long side burns, no mustache. (iii) wear pooNool, panchakatcham (if married), and anga vasthram (iv) men only ( I think this is a modification from Sri Ramanujar's original rules, due to Brahmin domination.) The kOil jeeyar presides for this sErvai and has absolute say on whom to admit. He took a 5 second look at me and waved an OK finger. The person next to me was not lucky. K. Srinivasan of Quebec. P.S. Thanks to Dileepan, who told me about this sErvai.