Overwhelmed by the ‘success’ of theKashi-Tamil Sangamam, the Union government is set to hold the Saurashtra-Tamil Sangamam in Gujarat from April 17 to 26. The third will be the Kedarnath-Tamil Sangamam, which will celebrate the civilisational links between people from the southern part of the country and the sacred shrines of Uttarakhand in the north.
Confirming this, Bharatiya Janata Party’s national general secretary B.L. Santosh said that the event was at an ideation stage, and work was underway to conceptualise the links between the two places.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, during the BJP national executive meeting in Delhi in mid-January, stressed that the party should sketch out more events like the Kashi-TamilSangamam in future, for strong cultural national unity.
While praising the educational and spiritual ties revived by the first meet, a month-long programme held in Varanasi towards the end of 2023, Mr. Modi had said that it was a unique attempt where States shared their culture, civilisation and heritage with each other, and the country united in soft power.
Such events were important for the expansion of BJP’s cultural nationalism to the Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu, maintained insiders in the party.
Commenting on why Kedarnath should be the next venue, sources from the BJP said that the pilgrimage was one of the PM’s most visited sites. He has been there six times since May 2017, the year the BJP came to power in Uttarakhand.
Kedarnath, one of the four sacred shrines of Shiva among the Char Dham (four shrines), situated on the banks of Mandakini, 3,583 metres above sea level, is the eleventh out of 12 jyotirlingas (shrines dedicated to Shiva) of India. The Char Dham also comprises Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri temples.
Brijesh Sati, a teerth purohit (temple priest) from Uttarakhand who has also authored several books on the Char Dham, said that Tamilians were ardent Shiva worshippers, and every year thousands of people from TN and other southern States, including Karnataka and Kerala visited Kedarnath during the yatra. He added that the priests of Kedarnath were chosen by the Rawals, who belonged to Karnataka’s Veerashaiva Lingayat community.
Mr. Sati also said that apart from Kedarnath, people from the south also visited the Badrinath shrine in large numbers, to perform Pind Daan and Tarpan (part of the last rites in Hinduism), at the Brahm Kapal temple situated in Badrinath.