A Temple dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in Vijayawada – The first one of this kind in India
There is a temple situated in the valleys of Chittiyaril mountain ranges of Hyderabad-Vijayawada national highway. Any person with any religious belief can enter the temple after taking off his sandals and washing his feet. The temple is dedicated to one of the greatest personalities of modern India, who uttered the words, “My life is my message”- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Worship with flowers every day, prayers, Aarti (worship with oil lamps), celebrations of Christmas, Ramasan, Diwali and Dussera – this Mahatma Gandhi temple is associated with all sort of religious practices and celebrations, not reserved to Hindus only. It’s the only temple in India, where Gandhi is worshipped as Lord.
Gandhi Mandir (Gandhi temple) situated at 90 kms from Hyderabad
If you travel 90 kms from Hyderabad in Vijayawada route, you can reach Gandhi Mandir. Though the temple is built with the ideologies of Hindu worship, it accepts the principles of all religious beliefs. Beneath the idol, symbols of three major religions have been printed.
There is a path from National highway leading to the big main gate with letters imprinted – Gandhi Mandir in Hindi and Telugu languages. In the temple wall, the great words told by Gandhi are written in ink. There is a huge banyan tree near the front gate, with thousands of orange threads tied to. We can see people tying threads in the branches of banyan tree.
There is a big flag post before the main temple, with stone statues of elephants on either side. From there, some steps have been built leading to temple. Queues of people are also visible there. In the big hall, Dharma Chakra with 24 spokes built in stone is placed. If you look through the central point of the chakra, you can see Gandhi’s installed idol, giving blessings to people.
After worships, the main priest gives holy water and Prasad to the devotees and ties blue-green coloured threads on their hands. He chants the mantra – Om Gandhi Devaya Namah. Orange coloured thread with Gandhi’s name and picture printed are also given. You can make a wish and tie in the branches of Banyan tree seen outside the temple, and your wish will be fulfilled. While you tie the thread on the tree, you can close your eyes and pray before Gandhi for a moment.
How Gandhi Mandir happened?
The architects behind this temple are 10 teachers from Narasa Raopett of Gundur district of Andhra Pradesh. Got attracted to the ideologies of Gandhi, they organized ‘The Mahatma Charitable Trust’ in the aim of preaching his principles. Its chairman Mora Sreepal Reddy first put forward the idea to build a temple for Gandhi, a temple for future generations to know more about Mahatma Gandhi, and also a method to preach his principles.
4 acres of land was provided by some unknown person to the trust to build a Gandhi temple. Bhoomi Pooja was conducted in 2012, and works were completed by 2014. The whole structure was based on Hindi traditions including the installation of Gandhi idol. But the concepts of caste and religion were thrown outside.
Idols of Panchabhuta and Navagraha installed near Gandhi’s idol
On the either side of Gandhi’s installed idol, there are idols of Panchabhuta and Navagraha also. In the big prayer hall, a devotee can spend hours exclusively without any restriction. There is a library on one side of the hall, which helps devotees to know Gandhi better, and his principles. On the 30 spots of temple walls, soil which touched Gandhi’s feet have been fixed, which includes his blood stains also. Soil from Gandhi memorial at Rajghat, Keerti Mandir of Porbundar and Sabarmati Ashram have also been brought here and fixed on walls.
Gandhi cap, photo and a small temple book about Gandhi are provided to the visitors here. Abhishekam (bath of idol), worship of all religions, Navagraha Pooja, Akshara Pooja, Pancha Bhuta Pooja and Vehicle Pooja are conducted here. The charges may cost from Rs.50 to Rs.500, and the receipt is given in the name of Gandhi Trust.
You can leave the temple after tying threads in the branches of banyan tree, given to the priest. At least for a moment, you will definitely think, ‘If Gandhi is reborn for a second time!!!!’
Image source: http://mahatmagandhitemple.org/
Also read a few more articles on temples of India outside Kerala. Click on the images in the gallery to read