Puducherry

Srimushnam temple’s tradition of harmony revived

The priests of Sri Boo Varaha Swamy Temple and trustees of Hazrath Syed Sha Rahamathulla Shuttari Valiullah Dargah taking part in a procession after offering prayers at the dargah.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In an age of rising religious intolerance, a festival tradition that celebrates unity and harmony in a coastal village near here offers a sense of reassurance and hope in the spirit of human solidarity.

Killai, the coastal village near Chidambaram in Cuddalore district, is home to over a century-old secular tradition, among Hindus and Muslims, during the annual celebrations of Masi Maham, when the processional deity of Sri Bhoo Varaha Swamy temple, a Vaishnavite temple in Srimushnam, is taken out in a procession through local hamlets. Marking one of the high points of the festival, the temple car, as it reaches Killai, halts in front of a Dargah built for saint Hazrath Syed Sha Rahmathulla Shuttari and Muslims offer prayers and donation to the deity.

The procession to Killai (which is about 60 km from Srimushnam) during the Masi Maham festival recently was resumed after a two-year break as the Sri Bhoo Varaha Swamy temple was undergoing a consecration.

Syed V.N. Saqaf, Sajjada Nishin and Trustee, Hazrath Syed Sha Rahamathulla Shuttari Valiullah Dargah, Killai, said the saint had settled at Killai in 1720 AD. Nawab Mohammad Ali Walajah had gifted around 400 and odd acres of lands to him at Killai.

“The trustee of the Dargah got the assistance of Uppu Venkatarao, a tahsildar, at Killai village to demarcate the lands belonging to the Dargah and redraw the boundaries,” Mr. Saqaf said.

The story goes that the trustee, as a gesture of appreciation of the services rendered by Uppu Venkatarao, made available 26 acres and 20 cents of land on permanent lease for a low rent. These lands are managed by the Bhoo Varaha Swamy Temple Trust.

“Every year, when the deity is taken out by the devotees during the Masi Maham festival, it passes through the Dargah in Killai.

“The deity halts in front of the Dargah to pay homage to the Sufi Saint, in appreciation of the granting of land,” Mr. Saqaf said.

“During the half an hour halt in front of the Dargah, the Imam offers prayers, oblation of three kg of rice, dry fruits and coconuts to the deity. A silk shawl on the deity along with Tulsi leaves is offered at the Dargah for worship by Muslims,” said S.S. Ramanuja Bhattar, a priest in the Sri Boo Varaha Swamy Temple.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 2:07:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/srimushnam-temples-tradition-of-harmony-revived/article17468635.ece

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