Some Muslims set to visit Temple on Ugadi day

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By Syed Ali Mujtaba, Edited By Adam Rizvi, USA, TIO:  Come, Ugadi, the Telegu New Year that falls this year on April 13, 2021, and some Muslims of the Kadapa town in Andhra Pradesh will be seen flocking to the historic Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara Swamy temple to seek blessings from the presiding deity for a great year ahead.

Lord Venkateswara, Balaji is a form of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from the trials and troubles of Kali Yuga.

This tradition is centuries old in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. Many Muslims from Chittoor, Kurnool, and Anantapur district visit the Balaji temple every year on Ugadi day.

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The temple is popularly known as Devuni – Kadapa, or the threshold of the Lord, and is considered as the gateway to Tirumala, some 120 km away, the abode of Lord Sri Venkateswara in Tirupati.

The members of the Muslim community believe that Lord Balaji had married a Muslim woman known as Bibi Nancharamma.  According to a popular legend, Bibi Nancharamma was one of the consorts of Lord Balaji, a local Muslim woman.

Another legend is Bibi Nancharamma was the daughter of Malik Kafur, the General of Allaudin Khilji in South India whom Lord Balaji married in 1311 AD. The Muslim community of this region since then treats Lord Venkateswara as their son-in-law.

Muslims throng the Devuni – Kadapa temple right from 6.00 AM and scores of men and women take ‘harathi’, consume the ‘teertham’ and ‘prasadam’, and accept the “teertham” placed on their head by the temple priests there.

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On the day of the temple visit, Muslims do not touch any non-vegetarian food. They take bath and carry flowers, jaggery, sugarcane pieces, and tamarind to offer to the deity. This includes ‘Vepapathi,’ a special dish made of jaggery and sugarcane.

Balaji temple

Priests conducted special prayers and bless the Muslim devotees as they do to the Hindu devotee. This tradition is centuries old and there is nothing Hindu- Muslim about it. This is done every year and those who visit the temple are allowed to pray and seek blessings for peace and prosperity for the year ahead.

Kadapa incidentally has a Dargah, which is frequented by the Hindus, and the Muslim priest there does the same act without making any fuss about the Muslim or the Hindu community.

Well, this is real India untouched by the pollution of high politics of Hindu nationalism. In post-truth India, where the brand new republic is being experimented, such practices of interfaith communal harmony show mirror how pluralism is thriving in the country.

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Curated By Humra Kidwai

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com or TIO, at Mediaiss@Gmail.com

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