Hindu devotees who thronged the Soundaranayaki Ambika Sametha Agastheewarar Temple in Parambur in Annavasal panchayat union on the occasion of the temple’s kumbabhishegam were treated to an elaborate feast. The devotees came from far and wide in thousands to offer their prayers and get the blessing of the Gods during the kumbabhishegam for CholaKeraleswaram, a 10th century Chola era temple also known as Soundaranayaki Ambika Sametha Agastheewarar temple. There’s something special about this feast since it is hosted by a group of Muslims in the locale. The small village near Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu has set an example for religious amity.
Image Credit: Flickr
The kumbabhishegam ritual is said to ‘homogenise, synergise and unite the mystic powers of the prime deity.’ Generally, a kumbabhishegam involves refurbishing of the temple premises. The funds for the revamp were collected from residents in the area. Even as the kumbabhishegam festivities were being planned, the Muslim locals decided that they would pitch in. They expressed their desire to distribute prasadam or food offering to devotees at the temple and the authorities were more than happy to accept this offer. The Muslim fraternity not only provided food but also set up the pandal or marquee which was installed close to the temple for the convenience of the pilgrims, with tables and chairs.
Image Credit: Flickr
The devotees who had been on a fast from the crack of dawn were treated to a mouth-watering meal served in traditional banana leaves. The feast consisted of the full vegetarian offering, including appalam and payasam. State Health Minister C.Vijayabhaskar and District Collector Ganesh who attended the kumbabhishegam and the feast appreciated the efforts of the Muslim community.
Mohammed Farooq, one of the organizers of the feast, said, “Tamil Nadu is a unique place where all religions coexist for centuries and live side by side in perfect harmony. Our village is an example of religious amity for generations. So far 5,000 people have taken part in the feast and lauded the efforts of the Muslim brethren. Such gestures will help fostering religious amity among the two religions”. Amid news of communal violence and intolerance in several parts of the country, this heart-warming tale of Hindu-Muslim geniality is indeed touching.
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