A small village in Kerala teaches us how to keep communal harmony unharmed in a time where religion is used as a trigger to build hatred and intolerance across the nation. During the annual festival of Sri Udyavara Arasumanjushnath temple in the village of Udyavar at Manjeshwaram, that is marked by the Rath Yatra (chariot procession) one can witness a rare sight of Muslim members marching in it.
Every year, members from the Hindu community of the village come forward to ritualistically invite 1,000 Muslim community members from Jama’ath Mosque, which is about 100 meters away. To repay this act of kindness and love, the mosque representatives invite the temple custodians to their festival, which takes place once in five years, mentioned TOI report.
The annual festival usually takes place in the month of May, this year it falls on May 9-12.
For the past three generations, the religious institutions have been ardently following this custom. While speaking to TOI, Sukumar Shetty who is the present manju bhandari (senior-most person of the family of the custodians of the temple) said, “This has been followed from the times of our great-grandfathers.”
Legend has it that the deities of the temple had traveled a long way to the land, crossing the sea, where they met the custodians of the mosque, who welcomed them with all their heart.
According to the TOI reports, the district collector K Jeevan Babu said, “The temple and mosque are examples of not just peaceful religious coexistence, but also of upholding the unity of humankind beyond parochial religious considerations. The district administration appreciates and also extends them all possible help.”
There is a common platform built around the Banyan tree, which is shared by the elders from both the communities in front of the main shrine, during the festival days and this is where the minor disputes between the families are settled.
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