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Kerala has Temples Dedicated to Mahabharata’s most loved Villains: Shakuni and Duryodhana

Not only heroes, villains are also worshiped in India.

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Shakuni and Duryodhana in Mahabharata. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • In Mahabharata, Shakuni was uncle to the Kauravas and regarded as the reason behind the battle of Kurukshetra
  • The Shakuni  temple is also known as Mayamkottu Malancharuvu Malanada Temple in Kerala
  • It is widely believed that through the “Sankalpam” the devotees actually worship Duryodhana

Kerala boasts of harbouring one of its kind temples – the Shakuni Temple and the Duryodhana Temple. Religious shrines dedicated to the two characters of Epic Mahabharata- Shakuni and Duryodhana of Mahabharata stand in Pavithreswaram and Poruvazhy of the Kollam district of Kerala.

The Shakuni  temple, in all its glory, is known as Mayamkottu Malancharuvu Malanada Temple. Shakuni was the most infamous character of the epic text Mahabharata. An uncle to the Kauravas, he is often regarded as the real reason or at least one of the real reasons responsible for the outbreak of the battle of Kurukshetra.  However, when we come across the tragic fate of Shakuni’s childhood and family, we cannot help but somehow pity him.

Shakuni Temple in Pavitreshwar.
Shakuni Temple in Pavitreshwar. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Folklore has it, that whilst the battle of Kurukshetra was going on, Shakuni travelled with his nephews and finally reached this place in Kerala, then of course, Kerala or even India was yet to exist as it exists now. There, the Kauravas set about the task of choosing their weapons and armour. From that, it got its name “Pakutheswaram”. It is said that after the bloody coup of Kurukshetra came to a standstill, Shakuni went back to this place to attain moksha. There, with the aid of spiritual Gods and Goddesses, he became an enlightened spirit having gotten rid of all kinds of corruption of soul.

An actor as Shakuni in a TV show, Mahabharata.
An actor as Shakuni in a TV show, Mahabharata.

This temple worships a throne, which was supposedly the place where Shakuni used to sit. It is remarkable to see how these people have, in full light of their optimism, chosen to pay homage to the better part of a villain’s soul. Every year, a Malakkuda Maholsavam festival is celebrated in the temple, in the month of Makaram  of the Malayalam calendar.

On the other hand, the actual name of Duryodhana was Suyodhana and it is because of the corruption of character and increasing immorality, that he came to be known as “Duryodhana” in mythology. His greed and wrongdoing led to the outbreak of war and death of a huge number of people in the vicinity of his kingdom.

In spite of that, some believe that he wasn’t really the evil man that he is always portrayed as. Therefore, some people worship him in the temple located at Poruvazhy. There is no idol as such, thus, the people have resorted to submitting themselves to their desired deity via a spiritual process called “Sankalpam”. It is widely believed that through this “Sankalpam” the devotees actually worship Duryodhana.

Temple dedicated to Duryodhana in Poruvazhi.
Temple dedicated to Duryodhana in Poruvazhy. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The rituals that are performed whilst paying homage to him are macabre and absurd. It is devoid of orthodox prejudices. Certain items like coconuts, arracks, sheep, silk and so on so forth are generally offered. The annual festival of the temple is also Malakudda festival.

India and its people never cease to surprise. Who would have thought that there can be something so pure in the villains of our epics that would urge people to worship them? It does not end at Shakuni and Duryodhana temples. India also has temples dedicated to Angaraj Karna and demoness Hidimba. Incredible India, indeed!

-The article is prepared by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    This is interesting! I was not aware that such temple exists. Good piece of information

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This is indeed impressive. You never know there might be a temple of Kans mama too!

  • devika todi

    for all we know, we have glorified the heroes in the epics as gods and the flawed characters as villains. indeed, this happens only in India!

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  • Aparna Gupta

    This is interesting! I was not aware that such temple exists. Good piece of information

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This is indeed impressive. You never know there might be a temple of Kans mama too!

  • devika todi

    for all we know, we have glorified the heroes in the epics as gods and the flawed characters as villains. indeed, this happens only in India!

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ISKCON Devotees Recall When Donald Trump Helped Them Conduct Rath Yatra

Recalling an incident from 1976 Rath Yatra, when current US President helped ISKCON devotees

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trump-ISKCON
Current US President once helped ISKCON devotees back in 1976. Pixabay

By Muskan Bhatnagar

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, abbreviated as ISKCON is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organisation which was founded 53 years ago, in 1966.

At present, ISKCON consists of 850 temples, ecovillages and centres worldwide, out of which India comprises of over 150 temples.

The motto of ISKCON is ‘Krsnas Tu Bhagavan Svayam‘ which headquarters in Sri Sri Radha Madhav Panchatattva Temple (ISKCON Mayapur), Mayapur, West Bengal, India.

Recalling an incident from 1976, the organisation was planning to conduct the first massive Rath Yatra in New York City with the permission to use 5th Avenue. The massive wooden carts were to be made within the reach of the starting point of the parade and hence a huge empty site was required.

ISKCON
The ISKCON devotees were not able to find a large empty site for Rath Yatra preparations. Pixabay

Everyone who was approached refused due to understandable insurance risksand whatnot.

When almost all devotees had lost hope, they were informed that Donald Trump had recently purchased the old railway yard and suggested to approach him regarding the issue.

The ISKCON devotees were not able to find a large empty site for Rath Yatra preparations. Pixabay

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The old railway yard was a perfect location for the organisation but why would Trump be any different from the dozens of people they had approached previously?

The devotees went to his office with a big basket of Maha Prasadam and a presentation package. Trump’s Secretary received the devotees and their package and warned them saying “He never agrees to this kind of thing. You can ask but he is going to say “No”.

The devotees received a call three days later from the same secretary. “I don’t know what happened but he read your letter, took a bit of food you left, and immediately said “sure, why not?”, said the secretary, adding “come on down and get his signed letter of permission.”

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COVID-19: Congress Urges Yogi to Open Places of Worship

Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

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Yogi Adityanath Rudrabhishek
Yogi Adityanath performs Rudrabhishek in Gorakhnath temple for safety from Corona. Wikimedia Commons

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress party has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday to open all places of worship which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter has been written by Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan.

The letter said that the way the Central and State governments have issued orders to open shops for essential commodities, in the same way now all the big and small places of worship — temples, churches, mosques, gurdwaras should also be thrown open for the devotees.

Chauhan in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering. But due to the closure of the places of worship, people are not able to pray to their God. Therefore, major religious places should be immediately opened with social distancing in full compliance with the lockdown norms.

Congress
Chauhan from Congress, in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering”. Pixabay

Chauhan said sanitizer machines should be placed at the entry of major places of worship just like it is done in government offices. He also said if liquor shops can be opened, in the same way, the temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches should also be opened in full compliance of the social distancing norms.

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The president of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, had also raised similar demand of opening of temples across the state. He had demanded from the Yogi government to open the doors of all temples for the devotees.

Giri had said, “Because of the closure of temples for the last two months, the livelihood of priests and other temple staff is also getting affected. When the government can allow liquor shops to be opened for revenue, why temples should not be allowed to open for the same reason.”

He had assured that after the permission to open the temples, the priests would follow the rules and protocols of social distancing and get the devotees to do it too. (IANS)

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Covid-19: Liquor Prices Hiked Up to 35% in Kerala

Covid-19 impact leads to liquor prices hiked up in Kerala

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Pinarayi_vijayan_klf
"The tax rate on beer and wine would go up by 10 per cent, while all forms of liquor will be taxed by an additional 35 per cent," said Kerala CM Vijayan. Wikimedia Commons

The Kerala cabinet meeting held here on Wednesday decided to hike the tax rates on liquor, beer and wine ranging from 10 to 35 per cent.

The office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that this has been done to tide over the difficulties faced on account of the lockdown and an ordinance to this effect will be issued soon.

“The tax rate on beer and wine would go up by 10 per cent, while all forms of liquor will be taxed by an additional 35 per cent,” said Vijayan.

The liquor vends and bars are all closed and in all likelihood, might open very soon.

A photo made with a fisheye lens shows bottles of alcohol in a liquor store in Salt Lake City. The National Institutes of Health said Friday that it was canceling a study of moderate drinking's health benefits because the results could not be trusted. Beer and liquor companies were helping to underwrite it.
The liquor shops and bars are all closed but are likely to open very soon. VOA

The state exchequer has been reeling under lack of revenue and last month all what the state government could collect from various sources was a mere Rs 250 crore.

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For fund-starved Kerala, revenue from liquor and beer is one of the biggest cash cows and in the last fiscal, garnered it a total of Rs 14,504.67 crore and hence the devolution of IT into Bevco, would be a big relief for the state’s finances.

The profile of liquor users in the state, in a study conducted earlier, reveal that around 32.9 lakh people – 29.8 lakh men and 3.1 lakh women – out of the state’s 3.34 crore population consume liquor.

Around five lakh people consume liquor on a daily basis. Of this, 83,851 people, including 1,043 women, are addicted to alcohol. (IANS)