Post No.3

Day 2 (6th March 2016)

Sai Ram!!!

Shrine Room at the hotel.

Wonderful Divine Ambience!!!

We could hear bhajan singing in the distance. It seemed to be getting closer.
 Managed to just film some villages walking past the hotel doing Nagarsankirtan (walking bhajans).

A wonderful way to start the day!
Afterwards, we went to the top of the hotel to witness our first sunrise in this Land of the Holy.
There is a very beautiful statue of Lord Shiva situated there on the rooftop.

Here are some pictures taken by my son.
 He was the photographer for most of this trip. It was his first trip to Parthi. It was a real learning curve for him, but he settled in quite nicely, as the days went on.


 Here is a short video.

 Afterwards, we headed for the morning Darshan in Prasanthi and had breakfast at the Western Canteen.
 The devotees from around India and abroad were starting to flood in.
Prasanthi Nilayam was a hive of activity.
Busloads were arriving at regular intervals.
Decorations were starting to appear all around the place.
The streets of Parthi was busy. People everywhere!
I did not have a camera to record.

We came back to the hotel after breakfast to have a much needed rest.
It was getting hot!

After a short break, I decided to take my son to the Shivalayam Temple (Swami's Birthplace).
As he had not seen it before.

The Road to Swami's Birthplace

Shivalayam Temple 

We were surprised when we arrived that a puja was being done by the resident priest.
That was around 11am.
He was doing it for a group of ladies. They were making offerings to a small Shiva Linga.

 At the temple, a group of locals arrived later and started preparing flowers/garlands.

The stone tiles surrounding the temple were so so hot from the scorching sun.
 It was very hard to walk on them with bare feet. Ouch!
Here is a short video of what transpired that morning of the 6th.

 I was told by the priest that the Maha Shivaratri Puja and Abhishekams would begin around 10am the next day.
As, I have never witnessed this very special puja before,
 on such a auspicious day... to the Lord Sai Shiva Himself!
 I definitely had to be there.
 We would go to the morning Darshan in Kulwant Hall, then come back for this... I decided!
   I had even prayed to Swami, before I left Australia, asking Him if He would allow me to witness it, and also to film it... for the benefit of others!
  It was a tall order, I felt, as in past years, you were not even allowed to take a camera inside this Sacred Temple.
 I have tried before but got rejected. I managed to film a snippet or two in past years.
 In 2013, I also missed it, as I was at the Durga Temple by the banks of the Chithravati River
 when they were also doing Linga puja that Shivaratri morning.
You can see that on my previous 2013 blog.
  After this puja, we went for lunch at the North Indian Canteen.

Many people were arriving at Prasanthi.
The place was abuzz. It was starting to get crowded.
We spent some time in the afternoon at the ashram.
Enjoying the Divine Energy!
It wasn't long for evening Darshan, so we took it easy till then.
Here's the video of that program that evening via Radio Sai

  We decided to retire early, as it was going to be a big day and night tomorrow.
Maha Shivaratri!!!

Post No.4