A Hindu temple where Muslims also worship

The Pataleshwar temple is in Bambhrauaa village of Rampur district, some 270 km from state capital Lucknow. Muslims constitute almost 95 per cent of the 3,500 residents of the village.

Built on land donated by Raza Ali Khan, the ruler of Rampur in the days of the British Raj, both Hindus and Muslims helped construct the temple.

“We feel proud and privileged to have a temple that spreads the message of communal harmony and brotherhood,” Habeeb Ahmad, 60, a farmers’ leader and resident of the village, told IANS.

Muslims take part in the ‘arti’, a sacred ritual, at the temple. They also queue up with their Hindu brethren for the consecrated ‘prasad’ or holy offering.

“This temple truly reflects the Ganga-Yamuna tehzeeb (etiquette) in today’s time in real sense,” said Guddu Khan, who runs a medical store in the Panwariya area of the village.
The temple houses a four-foot idol of Lord Shiva and a Shivling icon.
Every morning, under the guidance of a group of priests, Muslims and Hindus clean the temple together. Only then are the daily offerings of milk, curd and honey made, the residents said.

Festival time

On nearly every Hindu religious festival, Muslims raise funds to organise ‘bhandaras’ (feasts) for the poor. “Muslims voluntarily contribute for bhandaras. While some donate cash, others prefer to provide grains, fruits and vegetables,” said Raees Ahmad, another village resident.

The community feast organised just in front of the temple is not only attended by local people,  but people from nearby villages also converge irrespective of their religion, and eat together, he added.

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