I had a programme to meet with one of the Brahmin priests at the Arunachaleswarar Temple to discuss an upcoming puja, and while at the Temple decided to have a walk about in the outer prakarams.
While there, I set out to find the Adi Mudi shrine, which I had read about on several occasions. Well I finally found it, and will later post more information about the Adi Mudi, which is a unique depiction of Arunachala with Shiva/Parvati.
The silent and deserted outer prakarams of the Temple are beautiful and fascinating, with their unique shrines, gardens, walkways and lovely gokulam, with its cows and calves lying peacefully in the shade.
While at the Temple I decided to check whether Rukku the Temple elephant had come back from holiday -- she has -- and when I saw her, thought she seemed to be in a grouchy mood -- she certainly made some cross noises to a visiting pilgrim -- maybe she remembers something about him!
I've heard that several animal organisations are working to liberate animals from working in circuses and Temples -- and as far as I'm concerned that day can't come too soon. Poor Rukku, such a sad life -- away from the forests, her own kind, and forced to stand to attention up to 10 hours a day in a single spot, begging on behalf of her trainer by taking coins from pilgrims in exchange for putting her trunk on their heads.
Will write more about Rukku soon, but in the meantime, there is one species of animal that has adapted to modern times and has made the Temple very much their home, whilst maintaining a very nice independence. And that species is the Bonnet Macaque monkey. Cheeky, fearless little souls!
It was that sort of perfect morning. Toasty with a very slight cooling breeze, the Temple Compound deserted, with an underlining harmony and delight in the air. Two gents were sitting in front of a stone, writing the stone's inscription into their notebooks. I talked with them for a few moments, and delighted in their joy with their morning's fun -- and their pleasure in learning more about the history carved on the 200 year old stone.
On such a day, its really easy to understand why this Temple is regarded as the living heart of the town.