registered myself for walking pilgrimage trip to Concord Shiva Murugan temple
in California on eve of Thaipoosam , as I was missing my Pazhani(Tamil Nadu,
India) trip since I am in California, US. Nevertheless its unique though, but I
experienced the same feel like walking to Pazhani.
background about the temple, Lord Murugan in this temple is been worshipped
since 1957. Earlier this Murugan was providing the blessings from San Francisco
and by 1980s moved to Concord, CA. This temple was established by an American
born Hindu guru, Sivaya Subramaniya Swami(as said in temple website).Also the
information refers to the temple having link with Kauai Hindu monastery in
used to walk from San Jose which is 3 days walk, from Fremont 2 days walk and
one day walk from San Ramon. On 3rd day around 1500 people reached on walk to
darshan Lord Murugan. I started from Fremont with total of 50 people and it was
pouring in Bueno Visa Park when we started from there, with the blessings of
concord Murugan rain helped us with our walk on first stage through Niles
Canyon Road, which has green mountain on one side and river in the canyon on
other side. The road welcomes with "Niles" written on the mountain in
the entrance. We need to walk for 6.5 miles in the road to taste good butter
milk, panakkam, thenkuzhal(Chettinad snacks famous in India) during break.
While starting the walk in Fremont we split in to 4 groups (G1 to G4), So when
we arrived, first group started walk, completing break, but few mins later
groups are mixed by breaking rules.
started to drizzle again when we finished and about to start walk after
break, to walk towards the destination for our lunch. This year the lunch
has been arranged inside a Korean Church and pastor in church is helpful. We
were served with traditional nagarathar lunch including sweet and tender
coconut which filled our hunger stomach with taste. Now our feet started to get
red , as it is time for applying vaseline, I did so and started with couple of
people walks, now the groups have been totally broken :-). With an hour of
walking we reached Pleasanton and reached the Trail called iron horse trail
parallel to I-680 freeway and this trail reaches the temple.
walked we were talking about the Pazhani trip which I do in Tamil Nadu, and all
gossips towards Dublin Library for Tea break. Its time for my thigh and knee
started to pester me asking for rest before even we reached for break. With
Concord Kumaran blessings I continued to walk to taste dhal lentils(Parupu
Vada) , Pakkoda and Tea. Just few mins to taste and to start again to reach
hotel Residence in San Ramon for overnight stay. It was about 5 miles from
Dublin library to Residence inn, with the energy after break managed to walk 3
miles , the last 2 miles of walk become harder where my legs started searching
for rest and we used to check the distance for every .1 mile in the google
maps. At last we neared the hotel and thankfully the side door along trail.
Happy to reach hotel, where my wife and kid had already checked in the hotel, I
went straight to the room , sat on floor and streched myself to rest my legs.
legs started to rest, my hunger became raising and I was awaiting to taste
dinner. Sponsors have arranged for home made delicious dinner including vellai
panniyaram, maavu urundai, urulai poriyal, curd rice, idlies, sambar and
chuttney. At 8 PM dinner was served in Buffet hall of the hotel, and then
instructions was given on next day walk. I was in no mood to listen to all
those, as I need rest and sleep. I rushed to room missing my mobile phone which
was rescued by my group head and given back next day morning.
day we started from the Park in San Ramon opposite to the hotel, through trail.
Again the forecast was rainy day, throught the day until I reached temple I was
wearing ponchos. When I started my stomach just had coffee until reaching the
breakfast point. But we were late to the breakfast point , as we have to wait
in queue for bio-break in Starbucks for 30 mins. During which 1100 out of 1200
who started to walk from San Ramon park have crossed us and we were in last 100
which made us wait for an hour to have our breakfast. But its worth where we
were served with uppma and sambar.
the breakfast it started to pour again, this time heavily. I was said in 2
miles Badam halwa will be served , Which made me enthusiastic to walk fast, to
my dis-appointment it was over as we were late. My energy level gone down and I
started to walk again hoping to reach temple by 3 PM. As time passed my thigh
started to pain much as it was continous walk unlike Pazhani were we used to
get long break for every 10-12 mile walk. So I was very slow to reach the Park
in walnut creek for Lunch. No words to say , again lunch was awesome with
Sambar Rice, Biriyani veg, Sprout salad and Curd rice. I don’t want to take
rest after lunch as it is already 2.30 PM, So immediately after lunch I started
walking in the trail to see Concord Kumaran.
pace is too slow, and I need to hardly stop for bio-break, when I saw queue in
the road side public rest room, I decided not to wait and started to walk again
in Costa County trail too slowly and reached the road which is few 100 feets to
the temple, And then walked towards temple with high energy and saw thousands
of people around temple. My wife and kid already reached temple waiting for me
until 5. PM when I reached. We then had darshan of Lord Murugan, I was in cloud
nine seeing my murugan after walking for 2 days without any other stress or
thoughts. We tried to get some prasad in vain, as there were heavy rush for
prasad, for shuttles to reach San Ramon. So we decided to Uber and have
something on the way.
mins we got our cab to Fremont to pickup our car, on the way we collected our
bags from Residence inn. On reaching Fremont we searched for a place to have
some food and chose Taste of India restaurent to have food, which is very
average. Reached home around 9 and with leg pains.
we started around 5.30 AM in the morning to reach Concord Murugan temple as I
have registered to take Kavadi for Thaipoosam, we reached around 7 AM and was
waiting for things to happen. Priests was very busy in the preparation and
performing rituals to all kavadi people, at 8.30 it was my turn to touch and
lift the kavadi for first time, my body had jerk feeling the presence of god.
Around 50 kavadis went around temple once and around murugan urchavar around 3
times. After kavadi, we went for breakfast downstairs in temple to have pongal,
idly sambar prepared within temple and then joined the bhajanai (group prayer),
where Concord Kumaran offered me chance to sing a song when everyone was
waiting for Alankaram to completed after abishekam. To my surprise , I had
chance to see a American woman singing the song of Lord Murugan with good
prounciation of words which even some of nagarathars and their kids struggle. I
felt how much love everyone has on Lord Murugan irrespective of Nation,
language, etc. After seeing murugan in Raja alankaram, got our prasad and
finished our lunch in temple , then started home with a good feeling and