Pre­par­ing for the Pur­tassi pil­grim­age

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HE North West Tamil Fed­er­a­tion will be fa­cil­i­tat­ing its third an­nual pil­grim­age to the Balaji Tem­ple of Gaborone in Botswana, which is a scaled­down ver­sion of the Thiru­pathi Tem­ple in In­dia.

Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent, Pr­egy Pil­lay, ini­ti­ated the pil­grim­age with the idea of pro­mot­ing and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple on the aus­pi­cious month of Pur­tassi, which will start on Septem­ber 17.

Pur­tassi is a holy month on the Tamil cal­en­dar where devo­tees go on pil­grim­age to Thiru­pathi to pay trib­ute to Lord Vishnu, the divine pre­server of the uni­verse.

“It was in this month of Pur­tassi that Lord Vishnu, in the form of Lord Ven­ketesh­wara (also known as Lord Balaji), came to guide peo­ple and left his form in Thiru­pathi, In­dia. Since then peo­ple from all parts of the world flock to Thiru­pathi to pay homage as a thanks­giv­ing for all that the divine Lord be­stowed upon us,” ex­plained Pil­lay.

He said the pil­grim­age was a divine and hum­bling feel­ing.

“It is a sa­cred jour­ney where pil­grims ex­pe­ri­ence wor­ship and as­so­ci­ate with peo­ple of sim­i­lar divine in­ter­est. So if you have the op­por­tu­nity to em­bark on a pil­grim­age, you should take ad­van­tage of it.”

For South African devo­tees, who live hec­tic life­styles, the Thiru­pathi Balaji of Botswana of­fers an ac­ces­si­ble yet af­ford­able op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to go on a short pil­grim­age.

“There is a need for our peo­ple to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing fast and prayers dur­ing this holy month of Pu­ratassi,” said Pil­lay.

“This Pu­ratassi pil­grim­age, is fa­cil­i­tated an­nu­ally, on the first Satur­day of ev­ery Pu­ratassi and this year devo­tees from Dur­ban have or­gan­ised a bus and will be join­ing us.

“The Dur­ban bus will de­part at 7pm on Fri­day, Septem­ber 22, from the MTSS Hall in Mere­bank, while the Gaut­eng buses will leave at around 6.30am on Satur­day from Midrand, Le­na­sia, Laudium and Benoni. Our pil­grims are ex­pected to cross the Botswana bor­der at around 10am and check-in to their re­spec­tive ho­tels.”

Prayer and of­fer­ings at the Thiru­pathi Balaji Tem­ple, said Pil­lay, would be be­tween 4 and 8pm on the Satur­day evening.

“Devo­tees can also par­tic­i­pate in the ton­sure (shav­ing of their hair) and Ar­chanai (prayer). Sun­day in­cludes vis­its to the Iskon’s Hare Kr­ishna Tem­ple, the Satya Sai Baba Cen­tre and Clinic, the Seikh Gu­rud­wara (Seikh Tem­ple) and the Swami­narayan Mandir. We are hoping every­one has a bhak­thi filled (de­vo­tional) week­end to set the month of Pu­ratassi.” The group is sched­uled to de­part from Botswana on Septem­ber 24 from 2pm.

Those want­ing to join the pil­grim­age can reg­is­ter on­line at www.pur­tas­sip­il­grim­age.org.za, or What­sApp Pr­egy Pil­lay on 083 626 7512

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