Hope in times of distrust Living Heritage

SHINING EXAMPLE: The Hazrath Syed Sadath Dargah-Bhootaraya Chowdamma Shrine in Tirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district.

SHINING EXAMPLE: The Hazrath Syed Sadath Dargah-Bhootaraya Chowdamma Shrine in Tirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district.  

The dargah-shrine complex stands testimony to the country’s history of communal peace

EVEN AS communal hatred is taking its toll threatening to destroy the fragile social fabric of society more often than not, there are certain places which stand as testimony to the country’s rich history of communal peace and harmony. Hazrath Syed Sadath Dargah and Bhootaraya-Chowdamma Shrine at Hanagerekatte in Tirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district is one of them. Situated about 38 km from Shimoga city, the dargah-shrine complex is housed amid serene environs of the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a pure Hindu-Muslim communal harmony shrine. Hindu deities, Bhootaraya and Goddess Chowdamma, are installed inside the dargah. The shrine was set up 250 years ago by the ancestors of Jaffer Mohiuddin Sab. In 1939, Mohiuddin become the head of the shrine. His son, Syed Khaari Saheb, succeeded him in 1965. Since 1992, Saheb’s three sons, Syed Noor Sab, Syed Isac Sab and Syed Pasha, are looking after the dargah. The shrines of Bhootaraya and Goddess Chowdamma on other side are managed by the officials of the Muzrai Department. An interesting fact is that devotees who are suffering from family disputes or court cases tie locks to a big tree inside the dargah. One may be wonderstruck by the sight of the thousands of locks hanging on the trees. According to Haji Syed Noor Sab Muzavar, the sacred dargah is a living example of communal harmony. Devotees coming to the shrine first offer prayers to Bhootaraya and Chowdamma by breaking coconuts and going through rituals. Then they go to the dargah to offer prayers, he said. Another interesting feature is that the devotees after sacrificing animals for fulfilment of their vows, prepare their food inside the complex. They can avail themselves of utensils from the shrine authorities to prepare the food. Accommodation is provided for devotees coming from far off places. Devotees throng this shrine in large numbers during weekends and holidays. Thousands of devotees witness the annual “sandal urs” held in March. Mr. Syed Noor says that the authorities concerned or elected representatives should take the initiative in providing basic amenities such as drinking water and ensuring cleanliness in the complex.

Pramod Mellegatti in Shimoga

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