Chennai to Mantralayam by Mumbai Mail

For those travelling from Chennai to Mantralayam , Mumbai Mail (Train no.11028 ) is probably the most convenient , particularly if you are planning to have darshan during weekends. 

The train leaves Chennai at 11.55 pm and reaches Mantralayam the next day at 10.30 am
We can return from Mantralayam on Sunday if we start on Friday night .  The train comes to Mantralayam at 3.30 pm in the afternoon and reaches Chennai the next morning at 3.30 am ( quite early isn't it )

After going there we can try for accommodation.  Many rooms in various hotels are available.  Nowadays we can book online also.  We have to keep checking the website.   We can book the room online.  However remember to take a print out of the booking and your ID card, preferably Aadhar card.  

The website of Sri Raghavendra Swami Mutt is here  where rooms , online sevas can be booked and donation can be offered.

On arriving at the station ( this new station has more facilities than the old station which is no longer in use.  There is a waiting room for upper classes (A/c coaches ).  )  plenty of private vehicles are available , the taxis charge Rs.400/- from the railway station to the holy place.  

The image below shows the reception office , the taxi takes you there anyway because we need to go there either to book rooms or to confirm our room booked online and to get our room number alloted.  The persons behind the counters are very friendly and are aware that they are doing a holy job.


This is the guest house where we staying called the Vijayeendra Vasati Gruha.  There are two more guest houses, one of them with two hundred rooms .  When we return from the mutt the auto drivers enquire whether we stay in 100 room or 200 room guest house so that it easy for them to drop us !

Inside the reception office  a board showing the list of sevas is there, of course it there inside the Mutt in the cash counter also.

Some of the sevas include Bangau Pallaki Seva ( Golden Palanquin seva) Kanaka Maha Pooja.
In the evening the Gold Chariot Seva, Rajatha Gajavahana Seva , Rajatha Rathostavam are very famous and popular and we find many families performing these Sevas , so all are conducted in the evening.  The entire list is available online also



Early in the morning when we went for a cup of coffee in a small stall at the entrance of guest house,  this flower belonging to the hibiscus family ( do not know the correct botanical name ) was in full bloom and was beautiful to look at.  The photo actually does not convey the beauty of the flower completely.  These stalls sell mineral water for drinking and a litre costs Rs.4/- only .  The vending machines , I understand are installed by the mutt for the benefit of the pilgrims.


Inside the Guest House a board showing the list of homas that can be performed including Pavamana Homa, Dhavantri homa etc


The arch to the entrance of the Holy Place, the Residence of Mantralaya Mahan - Sri Raghavendra Swami


It is tradition to have darshan of Manchalamma whose sannidhi is on the right of the Mutt before entering the Mutt.  The image below shows the location of the sannidhi of the Goddess.


The majestic front view of the Mutt which spreads blessings and blessings only.

To borrow from the famous Kannada song - He knows no anger, He does not avoid any one.  He is like a Child who comes running when affectionately called ( by His devotees ).
Just by uttering His name , our problems are resolved , our diseases vanish.


In the evening usually three or four different Rathostavas are performed in the evening.  Lord Prahalad seated on the Gajavahana ( Silver elephant ) is shown in the photo below


There is a famous Lord Venkateswara temple nearby .  There is a tradition to visit the temple also.  It is believed that Sri Raghavendra Swami performed Puja there.


We were lucky to get the mobile number of a lady who delivers home made food .  While we can have Theerta Prasad in the Mutt in the afternoon and evening, if we want to have breakfast in the morning this lady who lives near the Mutt offers sumptuous breakfast and meals.    For the dinner on train , we placed an order with her and were pleasantly surprised to see the quantity and quality of food she offered at very nominal cost.  God bless her.  

Gudi Padva Puja images Pooja vidhi

Some of the procedures I follow for Gudi Padwa festival

1.  Two or three days before the festival I clean the Puja room and photos of all deities
2.   I fill the haldi kumkum stand with fresh haldi and kumkum
3.  All the silver utensils meant for Puja are cleaned
4.  For cleaning silver utensils I use coconut fibre ( with detergent and dish washing powder )
5.  This ensures that the vessels stay bright for a long time , two or three weeks
6.   I tie fresh flowers for Pooja as shown in one of the photos 
7.  All pictures of deities are decorated with sandal paste, haldi and kumkum                                           


We can offer fruits , coconut for naivedyam


Prepare a solution of geru and limestone


Prepare a  gudi , after cleaning it well , apply geru and limestone alternately

Limestone is being applied

Prepare the kalash by applying  lime stone ,

Then apply sandal paste , turmeric powder and kumkum


Fold a cloth and tie it to the gudi


Tie mango leaves and neem leaves

Insert the kalash on the top

Place the gudi vertically and offer flowers and cotton vastra to the gudi.


Gudi Padwa menu includes , 2 koshimbir , beans and potato , sweet sour pachadi , kheer , pitla, rasam , mango rice , ambode and poli



Traditional rangoli for Gudi Padwa

In Tamil Nadu there is a custom of drawing traditional rongolis with lines for festivals and functions and decorating with kavi or ocher border.  The images below show a simple design through steps