It was a Friday when we landed in Kanyakumari. After experiencing the beautiful sunrise at the confluence of three oceans, we bathed at TRIVENI SANGAMAM. Next on our itinerary was the abode of Thanumalayan temple at Suseendram which is about 14 KM from Kanyakumari.
This is the only shrine dedicated to TRINITY and also an imposing figure of ANJANEYA which is carved out of single block of granite. While there are many beautiful things to describe about this temple, today I am limiting myself to these to two deities only because I want to share a different experience with you all here.
We reached the temple around 10:00 a.m and there was not much crowd. As we entered the main entrance, two pandits standing there started explaining the history of the temple and the importance of the deities there. They went on to say that placing a 'tulsi mala' to the main deity and a 'Paan ka patta' mala to Anjaneya would be very auspicious for our family. We felt very nice as we thought we were getting to know about the temple practices from the most authentic sources and also discussed amongst ourselves as to why important temples in other places dont follow this. So we bought both the malas (which was sold by those two pandits there itself) and moved ahead. Initially we were mildly surprised to see the attention being given to us by successive pandits for as we walked forward, we were coaxed into buying a 'deepak thali' for the Navagrahas (here you will find the Navagrahas on the roof and not down below like in other places).
We still had the paan ka patta mala to offer to the giant Anjaneya. So we moved closer to him, but yet another pandit popped out from a corner saying NO, you simply cannot offer the mala to the God without 'panneer kudam' (kewra water) and butter!!! Even before we could understand what was happening, the 'panneer kudam' was in our hand with the butter sitting pretty on the kudam (pot) and of course, everything came with a price! By this time all our enthusiasm and devotion was over and we wanted to get away as soon as possible without creating any scene. So, we quickly paid the amount and were about to join the queue. Alas! there is a separate entry for those with kudum in hand and a special charge to be paid for that!!!
By then my father had lost all his patience (we had been trying to pacify him to be quiet, not wanting to create a scene) and confronted those people. On seeing him so furious, the person who was charging for the kudum vanished from the scene and another pandit quickly took the panneer kudum and butter to offer to the God.The panneer kudum which is suppose to be filled with kewra water was just plain water and that too went back to the seller without being used, to be sold to another unsuspecting devotee - RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES! The whole thing happened in a jiffy, that we did not even get a chance to say no to anything.
By the time we came out of this ordeal, we forgot about the devotion and beauty of that place. We simply felt as if we have escaped from some robbers, PHEW!!! What a relief it was to be out of there!