BANGALORE: Here is a group of women who celebrate Maha Shivaratri every year in a unique manner. These women who have aptly named their group as ‘Sneha Vrunda’ go out on an excursion every year on the day of Maha Shivaratri and visit holy places. They have been doing this consistently for the past 11 years. Even though some of the some of the group members are settled in places like Bangalore, Chikkanayakana Halli, they make time for this particular day. Just to be a part of the group.
Upon visiting a temple they collectively sing bhajans in the temple for about 15 minutes which they have practiced in groups. The group comprises of Shakunthala, Gowri, Kavitha, Jayashree Bhat, Shamala, Hemalatha, Rajaeshwari, Vimala, Sudha, Geetha Montadka, Channamma, Jayashree Bhat, Balamba, Saraswathi, Gayatri, Pushpa, and several other women, interestingly most of them are
Some of the places that they have visited are Kashi Vishweshwara at Baburayana Koppalu, Suttur, Atmalingeshwar temple at Maddur, K Hemmanahalli Mahalingeshwara Temple, Shiva temple at Anandooru, Temples at T Narasipura, Holalu, Srirangapatna, Nanjangud and many other temples.
The ‘holy trip’ which initially began with just a group of 10 members, has now reached to 40 members. Every year, a week prior to the Shivaratri festival, the women hold a meeting and discuss the temples to be visited. They finalise the places and book the vehicles.
Shakunthala said, “Every year we add a new temple to the list and based on the availability of time we plan our temple visit accordingly. Our trip begins at 4 pm on Shivaratri Day and we are back on next day before 8 am. We have never missed visiting Sri Trinetreshwara Temple inside the Palace and Mahabaleshwara Temple atop Chamundi Hill and Nandi.”
Amba and Gowri says, “It’s a day we spend for ourselves. While traveling in the bus we play Anthakshari, puzzles, quiz, sing bhajans and various other entertainments. Some of them bring their children too. The number of members are increasing and we are forced to restrict the group to 30. We have even asked the remaining women to come in other vehicle due to no space.” Gowri adds further, “Initially our family members opposed, citing it could be dangerous for only women traveling in a group that too late in the nights. But I was able to convince them and manage all my work before rushing for the trip. Definitely it is a day to look forward to every year in my life.”