Pazhamayaana 108 Sivaalayangal by M.G.Srinivasan - A Review

Time for my third book review (earlier ones being Prof. Swaminathan’s & Pradeep Charkravarthy’s)! This one is a Tamil book called ‘Pazhamayaana 108 Sivaalayangal’, which means ‘108 ancient Shiva Temples’. 
This book has been written by Mr.M.G.Srinivasan, fondly called Magasri (that’s shortening of Madras Ganapathy Srinivasan)! He is a retired tahsildar and this book is a travelogue of the holy paths taken by Magasri with his wife Syamala. 
After the acknowledgement, contents etc the book starts with a few pages of maps. Maps, in the sense not the typical maps, but hand drawn maps with certain centre points. From those centre points, directions are given to the temples in this book, in & around the points. For eg., this is the maps of temples in & around Chennai. So a visitor could stay in Chennai and cover up these places. Maps are given with Erode, Tirunelveli, Tanjore, Madurai, Mayiladuthurai, Thiruvarur, Kanchipuram, and Cuddalore as centre points. 
Then the book proceeds with the 108 temples listed in accordance to their speciality like the temples to be visited to attain Mukti, temples equivalent of Banaras, temples of the 5 elements of nature (remember, I told you about the Sky element of Shiva in Chidambaram?), temples of some astonishing features and the list goes on and on.
More than a travelogue, this book is actually a pocket guide to these temples. About each temple, the author has dealt in just 1 page or max 2 pages. It crisply states the following:

Name of the temple 
Location: 
How to reach, Distances, Nearest railway station or bus stand 
Names of the God & Goddess 
Tree & Water of the temple (Sthalavruksham and the details of its pond/river/sea) 
The Specialities 
Timings 
Name & contact no. of the priest 
Hymns written on the temple
Now that’s called a pocket guide. Crisp & to the point! Best part is the temple priest’s contact number which is a must essential when visiting remote temples! Some pages have a couple of photographs of the temple or the author in the temple.
Now comes my tally part. How many of these 108 have I visited? Thiruvarur, Thiruvannamalai (when I was a kid), Chidambaram, Madurai (again as a kid), Papanasam (as a kid. The waterfalls near this temple was where the ‘Chinna Chinna Asai’/’Dil he chota sa’ song of the legendary movie Roja was shot), Kanchipuram (as a kid), Kalahasthi (as a kid), Thiruvannaikkal (as a kid), Trichy, Karur, Thiruvanmiyur, Thirunelveli, Pudukkottai, Tanjore, Sirgazhi (as a kid),and  Kumbakonam. So, lot more are left out and I hardly have any memories of those places I visited as a kid!!! But now, since I have the book I can decide to visit the temples any time, I know it won’t be locked and the priest will be there!!!
Best part, its price. Any guesses??? It’s just 100 bucks!!! If you know Tamil buy it right away. Even if you don’t know Tamil, but have someone in your locality who knows Tamil, just get it. It’s not like you’re gonna go to some temple everyday. And its ok to disturb your neighbour, once in a while when you plan to go!!! 
You can buy this book from the author himself by sending him a Cheque or MO, of the book’s price plus shipping charges. Mr. M.G. Srinivasan: Ph +91 94456 96156; +91 44 22582881. 

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

14 comments:

  1. Important info. I will buy one at Chennai though I too do not know Tamil (to read). Can you help finding out the outlet at Chennai since at present I am here.

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    1. Welcome to Chennai PNS. The author is located in Chennai! You may call him and meet him and get it from him! :)

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  2. Thats just the necessary details for visiting temples in the state...Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah. Its crisp n just enuf info!
      Welcome. :)

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  3. Thats a very informative book with all those maps and contacts. It would take me some time in reading it. Not very fluent in reading tamil. And am yet to buy Pradeep Chakravathy's book. :)

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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    1. Indeed the maps & routes & contact numbers are so essential for remote temples.
      Do buy it. Both Pradeep's & this book are essential for you Niranjan...

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  4. please bring out in English. I want one!

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    1. I doubt if the author will do that Injamaven.
      Infact he's published the book by himself and not through any publisher...!

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  5. You have so many temples and other fascinating places to visit in India, I'm sure a good guidebook is a necessity!

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    1. 'A' good guidebook may not be enough. We need quite a few books that specialize in each aspect, India being so so vast!!! :)

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  6. This really is a wonderful book.

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    1. Indeed Rajesh. You must get one.. Its really useful...

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