A real ‘Kerala story’ of a Hindu temple and its bond with Muslims in Malappuram

Hindus and Muslims have joined hands for the renovation of Sree Durga Bhagavathy Temple, a 400-year-old shrine located in Kondotty.

ByPTI

Published Apr 10, 2024 | 5:32 PMUpdatedApr 10, 2024 | 5:47 PM

Temple

A centuries-old Hindu temple, which has been waiting for the consecration of its new idol for years, and the Muslim community in the neighbourhood, who generously contribute to its renovation.

It may sound filmy, but it is a real ‘Kerala story’ of communal harmony from a nondescript village in Muslim-dominated Malappuram district.

Amidst fictitious stories and hate campaigns — including the film by Sudipto Sen named The Kerala Story, which has been criticised as propaganda — Hindus and Muslims have joined hands for the renovation of Sree Durga Bhagavathy Temple, a 400-year-old shrine located at Muthuvallur in Kondotty.

The temple authorities said that half of the nearly ₹50 lakh cost so far spent for the renovation was contributed by generous members of the Muslim community.

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Expected to be completed by 7 May

The first phase of the renovation was almost complete and the consecration of the 173-cm-tall idol of Goddess Durga would be held in a three-day-long ceremony beginning on 7 May.

Chandran P, president of the management committee of the temple, which comes under the state-run Malabar Devaswom Board, said the renovation of the shrine began in 2015.

“We have requested contributions from people beyond the religious and communal divide…Several people contributed immensely, and I am happy to say that Muslims have contributed a major chunk of it,” he told PTI.

Chandran happily recalled how Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) supremo Sadique Ali Shihab Thangal and senior party leaders like PK Kunhalikutty responded positively to their request for contributions and extended all support for the renovation of the shrine.

Thangal even visited the shrine during a function organised there last year to raise money.

Temple tantri Thekkiniyedath Tharananellur Padmanabhan Unni Namboothiripad submitted a ‘patrika’, a message of love, to Kunhalikutty during a function held at the shrine in March this year.

As IUML MLA Kunhalikutty couldn’t attend the function due to some other programmes, the temple committee members handed over the patrika to him at his residence later, Chandran said.

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The donations

A Muslim man readily donated ₹2 lakh while another person of the community contributed ₹1 lakh for the renovation works, he said.

“This is the eighth year of the renovation works at the shrine. A huge idol of the goddess is installed as part of the consecration. The construction of the four sub-temples have already been completed at the temple which sprawls on an one and half acres of land,” he said.

The brochure released by the temple authorities in connection with the consecration also stands as a unique example of communal harmony as it prominently features a photo of Thangal along with the tantri.

“It is a place where all communities, including Hindus, Muslims and Christians, live together happily and unitedly. No venomous propaganda or hate campaign can break this long tradition of harmony,” the temple official said.

Even the temple organised “nombu thura” (breaking the fast) for Muslims on its premises during Ramzan and the Hindu community members also happily took part in it, he added.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)