BENGALURU: When a group of Sabarimala devotees alighted from the Ernakulam Express at Banaswadi station on Tuesday morning, an unusual companion jumped on to the platform with them. That was ‘Bhairava’, a stray dog that took a fancy to the group and walked nearly 500 km to Sabarimala.
The dog spotted Bengaluru’s
C Madhan Kumar trudging along a road near Hosur and tagged on to him. Madhan was part of a 16-member team that had left on pilgrimage from Halasuru on December 17. “The dog and Madhan were literally inseparable,” recalled V Rajkumar, one of the pilgrims. The friendly 3-year-old canine was befriended by all and we named him ‘Bhairava’, he added.
Unfortunately, Madhan met an untimely end when a car rammed into him on December 29 morning. With the group busy rushing to hospitals tending to him, the dog joined another batch of pilgrims and walked to Sabarimala.
Bhairava got a darshan of Lord Ayyappa with special permission. Later, when its first group reached Sabarimala, Bhairava got back to them. The dog insisted on being taken along. He went to Pampa bus stand before they could reach. Moved, the group then brought him to Bengaluru by train this morning. Bhairava is now relaxing at its new owner G Murugan’s home.
It was on December 17, 2017 that a 16-member team from Halasuru commenced their Padayatra to Sabarimala. “We went via Koramangala and Electronics City and touched Hosur. It was then that a stray dog just tagged on to one of our friends, C Madhan Kumar. It kept on walking with him and soon the two became inseparable.”
The group christened the nearly three-year-old dog `Bhairava’, the name of the Lord. “A big tragedy struck us on December 29 when we were near Sembatti in Dindigal district. A speeding car rammed into Madhan due to the fog conditions and he suffered critical injuries,” recalled V Rajkumar, who runs a small cab business here. One group stayed back at Sembatti and another rushed him to government hospitals in Dindigal and then Madurai. “Madhan succumbed to his injuries and his parents came from Bengaluru and collected his body,” said Rajkumar.
Meanwhile, Bhairava, who stayed back at Sembatti with the group, left them and latched on to another batch of pilgrims heading to Sabarimala. The canine continued its marathon walk to Sabarimala.
V Arun, a property consultant recalled, “After overcoming our grief, we proceeded on our trip. When we reached Sabarimala, we were stunned to see Bhairava had reached the spot already and it came over to us.”
“So, Bhairava had literally walked 490 km and had completed the darshan of Lord Ayyappa before we could do it. The group it had joined had obtained permission for him to view the Lord in the sanctum sanctorum through a special entry,” he recalled. “The dog had only partaken of water and milk when it was with us and it continued the same, they told us,” he said.
After the Darshan, the Bengaluru group was wondering what to do with Bhairava. “A priest suggested that since the dog walked all the way to have a darshan of Lord Ayyappa, we must leave it behind there. We agreed.” Meanwhile, the group reached Pampa to take a bus to Ernakulam and board a train back. “It was such a sweet surprise to see a determined Bhairava standing there before we reached,” Rajkumar said. It was then that the pilgrims unanimously took a decision to take the dog with them as it wanted to be a part of their group.
“We took permission from the bus conductor and took it to Ernakulam to board the Monday (January 8) train to Bengaluru at 5 pm which reached the City at 4.50 am on Tuesday,” he added. As a special case, the station manager at Ernakulam and the TTE on board the train had provided the group permission to permit Bhairava on board with them, enabling it to reach Bengaluru on the return journey.
Now Bhairava is sitting pretty in the house of G Murugan, employed as a vendor in a courier company. “Since I live in an independent house and all those who really liked him are nearby, I decided to adopt him.”