A melange of the senses
It was a Friday, I was returning home after a grueling day in office with my husband when I suggested we spend some time on the benches of Pashan Road, Pune. The roads of Pashan are wide and the pavements have many benches for pedestrians to relax and enjoy the sunset. Its very pleasant in the evenings and also in the morning. My husband agreed to the plan and en route he suggested why don’t we visit the Balaji Temple in Pashan.
It sounded great as it had been a month since I had paid visit to this holy place. When we reached the house of worship we were greeted with the sound of Tamil chants offered to the lord. It was Vasant Utsav and the temple was hustling with the various activities. Statues of Venkatachalapathi along with his wives – Lakshmi and Padmavati had been brought outside the temple and a garden like setting was created. Purohits from Tamilnadu had come down for this event and they were the chanting the shlokas. We were offered prasadam – curd rice, mung dal salad in patravalis (plate made of palas or the Flame of the Forest/ Gulmohar leaves).
|Prasadam at Balaji Temple, Pashan, Pune for Vasant Utsav
Looking at the prasadam I was reminded of my Guruvayur (a town in Kerala famous for the Guruvayur temple) and Mookambika trip. The prasadam of any temple just tastes awesome. I am not sure what is the reason – is it the method of preparation or the place of consumption or both. Prasadam is food that has first been offered to the lord and sanctified. It could be anything just plain sugar to payasam or a whole meal. I remember 2 years back I had visited the Kollur Mookambika a small town in the Western Ghats at Karnataka. We had our lunch in the temple premises – Annadanam as it is called and let me tell you it was mind blowing. There was rice, sambar, butter milk, kuttu ( vegetable) and payasam all served in the banana leaf. I enjoy having food in the banana leaf, for some reason it tastes really good. Be it the morning breakfast of idli, vada, pongal with sambar and chutney or the whole meal for lunch/ dinner. Whenever I travel down south I do ensure I have my meal at least once in the banana leaf.
|Kollur Mookambika Temple, courtesy Wikipedia
A fortnight back we traveled to Guruvayur and the devasthanam there too arranges meals through Annadanam. People stand in queues for hours to savor the blessings of the lord. You could see huge trolleys of rice, sambar being pushed through the rows to serve the people seated. The Balaji temple in Narayanpur near Pune serves huge hot laddoos in drones. The serene surroundings with the chants and the panoramic vista elevates you into an unknown cadence. You are at peace with yourself. Its like you are in a cocoon of tranquility. I suppose its a melange of the five senses all sanguine.