manifested by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Kodaikanal ashram, 1994
Kodaikanal darshan experience:
"...There are indications that there might be a program Vishu/Tamil
New Year- April 14 celebration at Kodaikanal so far there has been no
official announcement. Swami is giving regular darshans. The gathering of
devotees over here..."
It is said that Prasanthi Nilayam
is Swami’s office, Brindavan is His home and Kodaikanal is
His playground. In a manner of speaking, this is so particularly where
Kodaikanal is concerned, for it is here, that one gets a glimpse of the Sai of
the Forties, especially where Divine Leelas are concerned. It all lasts only a
few weeks, but what extraordinary weeks they are, for those blessed to enjoy
Divine intimacy then!
Kodaikanal is a
hill station in South India about four hundred and odd kilometers south east
of Bangalore and near the Temple Cities of Madurai and Palani. In former
years, every summer Swami used to take a few selected students with Him to
Kodaikanal is a famous hilltop resort some
pictures of the nature around Kodaikanalthat usually has rain ten months of
the year. This is called
off-season. Season is generally April-June, and that's when most tourists
visit. Kodaikanal is a lovely place, free of dust and mosquitos, and has
plenty of tourists attractions, like the restaurant called Buddha's Belly!
Here we will give you an overview of visiting Sai Baba, and some important
information to get you well prepared!
Generally, Sai Baba can be found at the Puttaparthi Ashram. This is in
South India, approximately three hours drive from Bangalore.
During the hot summer months in Puttaparthi, (Rayalseema area is one of the
driest in South India) Sai Baba generally travels from Puttaparthi for
Bangalore, where there is an ashram located T Whitefield, some 27 kilometers
out of the city of Bangalore.
Occasionally, Sai Baba visits a small ashram called Sai Sruthi, located in the hill resort
town of Kodaikanal, which is quite further south of Bangalore in the
adjoining state of Tamil Nadu.
The only direct way into
Kodaikanal is by road. Kodaikanal is connected by road with Chennai
(520-km), Ooty (264-km), Trichy (197-km), Coimbatore (175-km), Kumili
(160-km), and Madurai(120-km). Additional buses ply during the season. Taxis
and vans are available for local transportation. There are no auto-rickshaws
in Kodaikanal, and taxi fares are set by local authority. All must pay to
enter the National Park entrance, some kilometers out of Kodaikanal.
It is a hilltop town, and the roads narrow and winding. Those traveling for
the first time, best not look down when looking out the window!!!
to Madurai and Coimbatore. Then a two hour taxi journey.
The nearest railway stations are the Kodai Road Railway Station (80-km) and
the Palani Railway Station (64-km).
ply between Bangalore Majestic and Kodaikanal. Bus travel takes
approximately 12 hours.
Taxis from Whitefield to Kodai will cost between Rs
6000-8000 and you would be advised to share a taxi if you do this. Travel
time to Kodaikanal would be approximately 10 hours.
It is never known in advance
if Sathya Sai Baba will visit Kodaikanal in any year. Kodai is cool at
night, oft times raining overnight, and generally mild, up to 23 degrees in
the daytime. Fog, clouds and rain can be expected on any day at anytime.
IF Sathya Sai Baba visits Kodaikanal, then the following
umbrella, thin light jumper, thin winter clothes as you would wear in a
sub-tropical winter, thin plastic Macintosh like that you can get in
Woolworth's or Kmart for $5 to have in case of rain.
Kodaikanal is flat where Swami's house is, there is one driveway to walk up
(steep), then flat sitting area for darshan. If you were to stay in town at
the Hilltop Hotel, Carlton Hotel or around the corner from Swami's place at
the Sterling Hotel, then it is largely flat walking to Swami's darshan. The
remainder of Kodaikanal is hills, hills, hills and incredibly narrow
roads. A taxi to darshan is the usual practice if staying in one of
these other Hotels.
There are Western Hotels at Kodaikanal with charges somewhat similar to
Hotels here in Australia. The top two are the Carleton and Sterling,
standard Hilton Hotel type accommodation. Hilltop is very good and somewhat
less, approx 750-1000 rupees per night.
There are many other hotels and guesthouses available in Kodaikanal. Many
devotees group together and hire a guesthouse.
Darshan is in the mornings; you can walk from the township, around the lake
to the darshan queue, which is on Lake Road itself. Men line up on the
footpath adjacent to the lake, Ladies line up on the other side of the gate,
on the grassy side of the road. Ladies often sit in chairs by the roadside.
Of late, seva dal have stalls either side of the gate, and as you pass, you
put your shoes in and receive a chit.
There are only 4 lines each side at Kodai, and numbers are in fact given
out. Men on cycles or young boys with hot canteens walk up and down the
lines selling small plastic cups of tea. You can expect to stand in line up
to about 8AM or thereabouts when the gates are opened and the lines called
in. Lines generally begin to be formed around 6AM, and there is either
silence of jollity in the lines ...
Like Puttaparthi and Brindavan, there is a small security check as you pass
the gate; thereafter, it is a dash or a sedate walk up the STEEP driveway, to
the darshan shelters. Men to the left of the front of the house, ladies to
the right, guests along the far right wall. Men must pass in front of the
ladies to reach their allocated darshan area.
There are chairs for those who need. Darshan is a small affair under a
simple canopy, and ladies also sit in an island in front of the garden.
Unlike Puttaparthi or
Whitefield, all remain inside the compound, seated for darshan until its
full completion. If individuals or groups are called for interview, all
remain seated. By this time, pullovers, shawls and all the extra coverings
are removed as the sun is out and quite warm. When Interviews are complete,
Baba emerges, and goes inside the main building; thereafter, darshan is
over. Sometimes prasad is distributed during darshan.
After morning darshan, Swami
sometimes goes for a drive around Kodaikanal and environs; perhaps a
leisurely drive, perhaps a visit to an orphanage, or to a home, or to another
venerable place. Sometimes, to a picnic! One can often see a procession of
cars leaving Sai Sruthi perhaps half an hour or an hour after darshan, with
Swami's car in the middle. So if you wish, it is useful to come back after
taking your breakfast and walk back down Lake Road, and by grace of
Bhagavan, perhaps you will see Swami.
Afternoon Darshan commences with lines at
approximately 2.30 or 3PM. As before, all line up around Lake Road. There is
a small bhajan mandir on the top and right as you reach the top of the STEEP
drive; if you see people going in, follow, for often there are spiritual
talks, sometimes a divine discourse, or bhajans in that small mandir. For
Afternoon Darshan, Swami may walk along the verandah of the residence, even
if it is raining.
General Information -
STD Code : 04542
Light woollen in the evening during summer and heavy woollen during winter.
120 Km From Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
April To June And September To October.
Tamil and English.
Swami came to kodai on 11 th of this month. He reached madurai at 2.20 pm by
flight and from there he proceeded to kodai at 4pm, in his white Mercedes which
has come to the airport.a large continent of foreign devotees had accompanied
words started to spread people had arrived along the road sides to have a
glimpse of the Bhagawan.
The next day he started his daily darshan at around 8am and the evening darshan
at 3pm and bhajans afterwards.
Devotees from nearby Kerala and district of Tamil Nadu were coming in large
numbers after the news of his arrival spread. No rooms were available in any
hotels and room rents had sky rocked. in contrast just 2 days prior to saibaba
visit, rooms in Kodai were seen begging!
is three years since saibaba has come to kodai ashram. Since last so many years
it has been the practices of saibaba to spend the summer in kodai for the
benefits of the overseas devotees who cant bear the hot summer in the plains. sai
baba used to stay in the house of devotee Mr srinivasan and darshan was given
from there. Around 7 years back Mr srinivasan donated around 3 acres of prime
land overlooking the lake to the central trust along with buildings which became
“Sai Sruthi” Kodaikanal ashram .This ashram is very beautiful and full of
gardens and chirping birds.
For devotees darshan at Kodai is always an experience. since the number of
devotees are less (3000-4000)chances of getting padanamaskar and interview are
more from kodai.for evening bhajans, foreign devotees are invited to sing
kodai the business and vendor always pray to saibaba to come early because when
sai comes business booms. The whole kodai becomes alive with a large influx of
people. this time is called baba season.
When baba did not visit kodai for the last 3 years the business in kodai was
Unconfirmed rumors say that saibaba was dissatisfied because of the fleecing of
devotees by shop establishments and the sky rocking of the rooms rents when
Last month a large continent of business people from kodai had gone to bangalore
to see saibaba and had requested him to come to kodai.
When saibaba came it was heard that he will be in kodai till 27 th. However
saibaba left kodai on 20 th for banglore.For the local business people it seems
that they have not learned there lessons because during this time also it was
fleecing and more fleecing of devotees of hard earned money.
Kodaikanal is one of India’s most beautiful hill stations located at an altitude
of 2133 mts. (7,00 feet) frequented tourists in large numbers right through the
Places of interest include Bryand Park, Pillar Rocks, Lake Solar Observatory,
Perumal Peak, Silver Cascade, Telescope Houses at Coaker’s Walk and Kurinji
Andavar Temple, Bear Shola Falls, Berijam Lake, Museum and Orchidorium at Sacred
Heart College, Shenbaganur. Very good trek routes are available. Mudurai (120
Kms.) is the nearest airport and Kodai Road (80 Kms.), hte nearest railway
station. Regular bus service to Madurai and other towns available The nearest
railway station Kodaikanal Road (80 kms) is directly connected by rail with
Madras, which in turn, is connected with all of the important places in India.
Kodaikanal is connected by road with Madras- 520 kms, Ooty- 264 kms, Trichy- 197
kms, Coimbatore- 175 kms, Kumili- 160 kms, Madurai- 120 kms, Kodai Road- 80 kms,
Palani- 64 kms, Munnar- 90 kms, Periyar- 160 kms,Places Of Interest Kodaikanal
Lake- 5 kms, Coaker’s Walk- 1 km, Astrophysical Observatory- 3.2 kms, Fairy
Falls- 4.8 kms, Kurinji Andavar Temple- 3.2 kms, Shenbaganur Museum- 5.6 kms,
Pilar Rocks- 7.2 kms, Green Valley View- 6.4 kms Excursion: Silver Cascade- 8
kms, Dophin’s Nose- 8 kms, Perumal Peak- 11 kms, Beryam Lake- 21 kms, Kukkal
Caves- 40 kms.
Photos of Kodaikanal ashram, and images taken with my digital camera on 15-5-03
can be viewed at http://saibaba.tk
Last year, 1998, I visited India at a time when Sai Baba was in Kodaikanal,
which is a beautiful city high in the mountains of Southern India. It is built
around a central lake and the scenery is quite spectacular. The climate is also
pleasantly cool at a time when the rest of India is sweltering. I travelled with
three friends. I took with me the ring Sai Baba had manifested for me many years
before. It had lost several stones and the band had broken so I was no longer
able to wear it. I had brought it to India with me on several occasions in the
hope that Baba would either change it for me or repair it. Each morning and
afternoon as we went to the ashram for darshan (sight of a holy person) and
bhajans (sacred songs) I would take the ring, wearing it on the middle finger of
my left hand with the stone part turned inward to my palm and the broken band
pressed tightly together so I would not lose it. I would hold the ring on my
finger with the fingers of my clasped hand. I would like to say here that it has
been my habit over the years to write a daily letter to Sai Baba while at the
ashram. These I hand to him as he passes by. He has always taken these letters
from me. This time was no different. Each day I would write a note of what was
in my heart and hand it to him as he passed. Each day he took my letter. One
morning I wrote to him about the ring. I told him that it was broken and could
no longer really be worn and that I wished him to either fix it for me or take
it back. Whatever was his will. I also asked him if he could make his date of
departure from Kodai on the 26th of April as that was the date we were leaving
for Australia. (I must explain here that there had been rumours abounding that
Baba’s departure was going to be within the next few days. This would have meant
us travelling to Bangalore for just a few days before our departure and I really
wanted to stay in Kodai and not have to travel in all the heat) I was sitting
outside the ashram with this letter in my hand, waiting to go into darshan. I
was also wearing the ring as usual , clasped in my closed hand. I was sitting
next to an American lady I had befriended and we were talking. One of the Indian
volunteers from the ashram walked over and told the American that they had all
been called in to the ashram and asked to stay until the next Saturday which was
the 26th. This meant that Baba would not be leaving until this date in spite of
what the rumours said. As she walked away this woman turned to me and expressed
surprise that she had been told this. I was not surprised. I knew it was the
answer to the question in the letter I was holding in my hand. I looked at my
ring as well and to my utter amazement, as I had felt nothing and had not
unclasped my grip, the ring had disappeared. I looked on the ground all around
where I was sitting but there was nothing. It had disappeared. The other request
in my letter had also been answered even before I had given Baba the letter.
This is another story from my visit to India and Kodaikanal last year, 1998. I
must explain that it is my habit to carry with me , in my bag a small container
of manifested vibutti. The container was nearly empty as I had only a few grains
of vibutti left and none to fill it with. I was hoping to obtain some of Baba’s
vibutti while in the ashram. I carried the container with me each day in my bag.
All bags had to be left outside the ashram as we entered for darshan and
collected on our way out afterwards. On one particular day, I left my bag
outside as usual, and went into darshan. As I sat and watched Baba walk around I
felt something happen. I am still not sure what it was. I felt different, more
aware, as if I had had a shift in consciousness. The feeling stayed with me
throughout darshan and was still there afterwards as I collected my bag and met
my friends ready to go and have breakfast. We went to the Hotel where we had
breakfast every morning. I was still feeling “strange” and not quite with it. We
sat at out table and were drinking coffee and I was explaining to my friends
about what had occurred and how I was feeling. I suddenly had a compulsion to
take the vibutti container out of my bag and look at it. As I opened it vibutti
spilled on to the table cloth. It was full of vibutti. Where there had been
hardly any ash at all there was now a full container. As we were talking and
marvelling over this we noticed that the the few grains dropped on the cloth had
become larger. As we watched over the next half hour, more and more vibutti
formed on the tablecloth before our eyes. Friends came over to watch also. We
all stood there in wonder as the vibutti increased on the cloth. After about a
half hour it stopped. We were all overjoyed that we had been given the
opportunity to witness such a happening.
One day, frustrated by the fact that I seemed to be getting nowhere with my
spiritual pathway, I looked at a picture of Sai Baba and started calling to him,
“Baba how do I know God? How do I become “enlightened”? Tell me the way to
understand God. “ I said this over and over again. I was feeling desperate,
wanting so earnestly to know the way to understanding the God within me. In the
middle of my loud calling to Baba the telephone rang. It was my daughter ringing
from Sydney. She told me that a mutual friend of ours had just returned from a
journey to India to see Sai Baba. We talked about that for a while and she told
me this friend had been lucky enough to get an interview with Baba. I asked what
had happened in the interview and she replied that Baba has said that one of the
ways to “enlightenment “ was to chant the Gayatri Mantra three times in the
morning , noon and night. An instant answer to my plea.
On my first visit to India I went with a friend to a public discourse to be
given by Sai Baba in a large hall situated near some public gardens. When we
arrived the hall was already packed with thousands of people sitting in cross
legged fashion on the floor. There were a few chairs scattered around the sides
and the back of the hall. Realising it might be a long time before we could move
again we decided to sit on chairs and went across to the only few remaining
empty ones right at the back of the room. It soon became obvious why they were
empty when we realised we were behind a big pillar which blocked our view of
where Baba would be on the platform. As we looked around the room we realised
there was nowhere to sit that would give us a better view. Even on the floor at
the back we would have difficulty seeing so far to the front.
I closed my eyes and sent a plea to Sai Baba asking if it was possible could we
sit in a place with a better view. I opened my eyes to see one of the Indian
lady organisers walking towards us. She indicated we were to follow her and we
got up and walked behind her as she led us to the front of the hall and sat us
on the floor in the front row, directly in front of where Baba was to speak. We
had a marvellous view of the entire proceedings.
As I drove home from work the threatening sky became heavier and darker until
the sky took on a peculiar shade of green. I knew it was the prelude to a
powerful storm. I had never seen a sky like that before. I drove steadily trying
to get home before it broke. I had driven a short distance further along the
road when it hit. There was no warning - no winds that got faster, no drizzle
that became heavier. Suddenly the car was surrounded by torrential rain that
moved in sheets in a straight line as the strong winds whipped it into a frenzy.
I watched in horror as uprooted bushes and debris swept acorss in front of the
car. Trees fell across the road. The car in front of me was hit by a tree. I
managed to edge the car close into the gutter, turn around slowly, and crawl my
way back along the other side of the street until I was able to get a degree of
shelter between two buildings I had remembered at the shopping centre close by.
For the next half hour I watched as the car park in front of me was demolished.
Trees fell, debris was blown in against the cars. It was terrifying. The roar of
the wind was indesribable. Then as quickly as it had started it had gone. As I
drove back out into the road I was stunned by the devastation that had been
wreaked in just those few minutes. Electric lines were down everywhere. Trees
were uprooted and across the roads. Debris was everywhere. People in their cars
were looking stunned. For the next three hours I tried to find a road clear
enough to get me home. I arrived home to find the electricity gone and the yard
a mess although the area where I lived had escaped the worst of the storm.
The next morning as I drove to work through the still devastated roads I became
aware of my car making a strange noise which became rapidly worse as I drove
over a bridge and made a right hand turn. I remembered that there was a muffler
service shop at this place and managed to drive the car in there. There were no
other customers which was most unusual at this hour. A serviceman was in the
garage area and I asked him to look at my car. He put the car on the hoist and
told me I had a tree branch through my muffler. He could not believe I had been
able to drive home the night before or that I had been able to get as far as his
service area that morning. I myself was still feeling amazed that it had
happened right outside a muffler service area when it had been my muffler that
had been the problem. I remembered that I had had a new muffler put in less than
a year ago and that with labour it had cost me in excess of $300. I knew I only
had $150 in my bank. I prayed to Sai Baba. Please swami help me. I asked the man
if he had a muffler he could fit to my car and he said he did not have Honda
mufflers in stock. They ordered them in. He asked me to wait while he went
downstairs to ring and find out how long it would take to get one. He walked
back up the stairs a few minutes later, his face white, carrying a muffler in
his arms. He managed to whisper to me that he had a found just the muffler I
needed lying on the bench downstairs, although he knew they did not have any. I
asked how long it would take to put it on - too frightened to ask how much it
might cost. He expressed surprise that none of his customers had yet arrived ,
but said becuase of this he could fit it for me straight away. He proceeded to
do so and within 15 minutes I had a new muffler. Hiding my nervousness I then
asked how much I owed him. He said $150 which was the amount - less $10 - that I
had in the bank. I paid him and got ready to drive out sending out a question to
Sai Baba to let me know if he had arranged all this. As I drove to the kerb
waiting for a break in the traffic ,the first car to go past had a number plate
with the word "SAI" written on it and the car following had the word "RAM" on
it. I needed no more convincing of the miracle that had just occurred. N.B. "Sai
Ram" is the way Sai Baba devotees often greet each other.
While in India at KodaiKanal I was present at a darshan when a busload of
disabled children arrived to see Sai Baba. They were assisted into the darshan
area and seated along in front of where I was sitting.
Now, sitting in the front row near where Baba walks is a highly prized position,
so it was interesting to watch the reactions of most of the people whose front
position had been usurped. Most were resentful or annoyed, and asked that the
children be seated elsewhere. A few were accepting and assisted the children to
be seated comfortably. There were grumbles of resentment and annoyance
periodically as we waited for Baba to appear.
As he came out of the ashram door the children seated in front of me started to
sing to him - a song they had obviously rehearsed for the occasion. As they sang
they gazed in adoration at the tiny orange robed figure as it approached them
down the path.
Sai Baba walked over to the children. He looked at each one with such love in
his gaze that it brought tears to my eyes. He manifested vibutti for each child,
rubbing their cheeks or patting their heads as he gave it to them. When he
returned inside a tray of candy and gifts was sent out to be shared among the
children. They were beaming with happiness and delight.
Sia Baba had shown us all how to put love into action, without uttering a single
word. All those who had been complaining earlier were silenced. Now as I looked
at them they were smiling, some with tears in their eyes, and as the children
were gathered in preparation to leaving, there were many willing hands offered
Please note: Generally, Sathya Sai Baba does not make His travel
plans known in advance. For example, residents of Prasanthi Nilayam may find out
that He is going to Brindavan only when He is actually leaving or even a few
hours later. All the information we have about His travels is given below.
Swami usually spends most of the year in
Puttaparthi, but He does visit Brindavan (near Bangalore) and Kodaikanal. Going
by Swami's past travels, the following may give you an idea for planning
purposes, but there is no guarantee that this itinerary will be followed.
January: Swami is usually in Puttaparthi until mid to end
February-March: Swami may go to Brindavan for a couple of weeks in
early February, but He usually will be in Puttaparthi.
March:By the end of
March, Swami usually goes to Brindavan.
April: Swami usually goes to Kodaikanal. The climate in
Kodaikanal is very good at that time. A hill station, it is cool in the
daytime but cold at night.
May-June: Swami is usually in Brindavan. He sometimes leaves
for Prasanthi Nilayam about mid June.
July-September: Swami is usually in Puttaparthi.
October-November: Swami is usually in Puttaparthi where Dasara and the
Birthday celebrations take place. He may go to Brindavan between Dasara and
the Birthday celebrations.
December: Swami is usually in Puttaparthi for Christmas, but He
may go to Brindavan in the first week of December (after the Birthday
celebrations in November) and return before Christmas. However, He has spent
Christmas in Brindavan in a few of the past years.
Our humble thanks: For
information excerpted and collected form from online web sources: SBOI group
/saibabaforbeginners.com/ sathyasai.org/ srisathyasai.org.in