Two faiths, bound as one

Shrines of unity: In rural Karnataka, religiosity and not communalism, rules

The beautiful Dargah is said to be four centuries old. Seen from any of the four direction, the Dargah has the same appearance, although it has doors only on three sides.

The tamarind trees that flank it adds to the majesty of the Dargah. As natural symbols of peace and harmony are hundreds of pigeons that have made the Dargah their home. The Dargah managers feed the birds. The birds are pampered not just by the citizens of Yaldur, but also by devotees from neighbouring villages who visit the Dargah.

People suffering from psychological problems or hypertension spend time in the Dargah, regardless of their religion. The peace and quiet of the surroundings makes them feel better and they keep returning to the Dargah.

Cutting across religions, people visit the Dargah to keep the vow for favours received. They offer Chadar to the tombs of saints in the Dargah. They also offer prayers with jasmines and roses.

A Urs is organised in the shrine every May. The Qawwali programme organised during the festival is famous. The festival also attracts hundreds of devotees - Hindus and Muslims - from several villages.

Hindus in the village support and provide for all the religious functions organised in the Dargah. Muslims participate in all Hindu festivals that are organised in the village.

People of the two communities celebrate Babayya’s festival (Moharram) together. The Tazia procession wends its way through the village streets. Sweets, including sugar and dates are distributed among all who are present. People walk on a bed of charcoal for ritual “cleansing” as part of a vow.

Marikamba Temple

Another symbol of unity between Hindus and Muslims in Kolar district is the temple of Marikamba in Malur taluk. The goddess is worshipped by all people here, regardless of whether they are Hindus, Muslims or Christians.

Located in the heart of the town, the temple of Marikamba is thronged by people who seek divine blessings. The devotees take vows to make offerings to the deity if they are healed of an illness, for better rainfall or simply, for better life prospects for their children. A community worship is a common occurence found in the Marikamba temple.

Senior citizens in the town say the idols were placed in the temple hundreds of years ago by Ram Singh, who belonged to the Bhavanahalli Palegar dynasty.

Although Marikamba is a female goddess, it is noticeable that her idol is carved such that she has a moustache. The donations from devotees earn the temple Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh worth hundi money every three to six months.

The temple is also unique as the doors are never closed. Devotees can enter the temple, pray, take oaths, have special poojas conducted round the clock.

Muslim women who take oaths often visit the temple after 10 pm. Bringing their children along, the women offer prayers and receive the goddess’ teertha even late at night.

A Muslim couple living in Maruthi Layout, Syed Ansar and his wife, told Deccan Herald that they had taken an oath to offer special prayers to Marikamba if their daughters aged three, seven and 10 years fell ill in any way. Hundreds of couples like the Ansars visit the temple.

757-year-old Dargah

For as long as they can remember, Hindus and Muslims have been visiting the Baba Hyder Aulia Dargah in Mulbagal. The Dargah is 757 years old.

Every year, the Urs is celebrated in the Dargah and Hindus are as much a part of it as Muslims.

Hindus from different places, who visit the shrine in large numbers to pray for solutions to personal problems are a common sight on Fridays and Sundays.

People from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and other places spend nights on the premises of the Dargah as they believe that a night’s stay at the shrine brings them peace of mind, happiness and prosperity.

Old-timers recall Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi visiting the famed Dargah.


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