India is a fascinating country and we all know that. With so many quirks and entertaining traditions that Indians follow, here’s something we bet you didn’t know about!
-By Aishwarya Menon
With more than 33-crore deities, India also has a huge number of shrines and temples dedicated to them. And with so many dedications, there are bound to be a few with the oddest of peculiarities. From temples dedicated to rats, and motorcycles, to those where toddlers are thrown from rooftops and caught for luck, one quirk that stood out for us was offerings and distribution of alcohol as prasad. Interesting? Read on!
Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain
Worshiped by many, the Kal Bhairav deity in Ujjain is known to be a guzzler who drinks a quarter bottle of alcohol in a matter of a few minutes. Known to form one of the five rituals of tantra, the five Ms; Madya (liquor), Maans (meat), Meen (fish), Mudra (gesture) and Maithun (copulation), Kal Bhairav is believed to miraculously gulp down the liquor that devotees offer.
Baba Rode Shah Dargah, Amritsar
Legend has it that Baba Rode Shah was once visited by a farmer who, despite being married for a few years, was childless. With the baba’s blessing, a male child was born to the couple. The couple then offered a sum of Rs 500 to the baba as a token of gratitude, which he refused to accept. Instead, he asked the couple to offer a bottle of liquor as prasad to his devotees. The practice continues to date where devotees who can’t bear children, line up with bottles of alcohol. These offerings are later distributed to the devotees as prasad.
Parassinikkadavu Madappura Temple, Kerala
At first glance it might seem like any other temple, where thousands of devotees jostle with one another to get a glimpse of the presiding deity. But look closely and you will see two sealed bottles of Old Port Rum as an offering to the 700-year-old Parassinikkadavu Madappura.
Legend goes that the upper castes tried to kill a strong Muthappan, a hunter representing the lower caste Thiya caste. Failing, they tried tricking him by offering him a huge quantity of alcohol, assuming he’d be easy to defeat in an inebriated state. Instead, when Muttappan consumed the liquor, it turned into nectar and he emerged more powerful. The temple till today is considered as a symbol of protest by the backward classes against the upper classes.
Kal Bhairav Temple, Ahmedabad
A recently established temple that has gained popularity rather quickly, the Kal Bhairav temple accepts only offerings of foreign liquor in exchange for blessings. Visit this temple and you will see bottles of fine liquor laid out near the statue of Kal Bhairav. In fact, there are people who compete in offering the costliest liquor.
Khabees Baba Temple, Lucknow
Khabees Baba was a local saint in the Sitapur district of Lucknow. A staunch devotee of lord Shiva, Khabees Baba was known to have healing powers and a deep fondness for liquor. Enter the temple and you see neither a priest nor a deity, what you do see are a pair of slippers symbolising the feet of the baba. Devotees pour liquor over the feet as an offering. The remains are then collected and distributed among the devotees as prasad.
Interesting, isn’t it? Have you visited any of these temples, if so let us know in the comments below!
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