Amid the rising communal tensions in the country where rath yatras seem to strike fear in the hearts of minorities, one tiny village in Kerala is turning the tide.
A village of Udyavar at Manjeshwaram is the only village where members of the Muslim community were marching along with Rath Yathras during the annual festival in the temple.
Every year on the first Friday after Vishu the astronomical new year festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, the custodians of the Sri Udyavara Arasumanjushnath temple led by three velichappad (priests) visit the 1,000 Jama’ath Mosque, which is 100 metres away from the temple.
Here is the video of Hindu priests visiting the mosque in Kerala:
With great love and respect, they extend an invitation to the mosque elders to join their festival, wherein the chariot procession is the highlight.
And while the elders at the mosque led by the Imam wholeheartedly accept this invitation, they also reciprocate the invitation by requesting members of the Hindu community to take part in their festival, which takes place once every five years.
The Truth Behind the Ritual :
The beautiful custom followed by both communities stems from a popular legend. It narrates the story of how the deities of the temple first travelled all the way to the land by crossing the sea; they met the custodians of the mosque, who welcomed them wholeheartedly.
Later, it was decided that they would meet every day. And they made it known to the public by ritualistically inviting each other. A belief among them that whoever tries to break this indelible bond between the two religious institutions would meet with mysterious ends.
An active participant of the temple festival for over eight years, reveals how the temple authorities also offer them a truckload of vegetables, ghee and rice during the mosque festival.
The temple and mosque are examples of not just peaceful religious coexistence, but also of upholding the unity of humankind, beyond parochial religious considerations