Muslims worship at Karnataka Hindu temple

800x480_IMAGE55348543MANGALURU: : A pilgrim centre—Bhagavati Ali Chamundi Kshetra—draws both Hindus and Muslims in large numbers to a village in Karnataka.

The coast is famous for bhootaaraadhane (spirit worship), and people of Arikady worship two spirits, Ali Bhoota and Chamundi Bhoota. Legend goes that Ali hailed from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and had come to Arikady, 40 km from Mangaluru, for business. He is lustful and is adept at black magic. The villagers pray to goddess Bhagavati to save them.

Since Ali wears a talisman, no one can vanquish him. Aware of his strength, Bhagavati disguises herself as a beautiful woman. She goes to a pond to bathe.

Ali is drawn to her. She accepts his overtures and indicates to him to enter the pond after removing his talisman. The infatuated Ali takes off his talisman and enters the water. Bhagavati then transforms into Chamundi and sets to kill him. Ali, however, repents and expresses his wish to be Chamundi’s devotee.

Chamundi consents and allows him to serve her. A little shrine in front of the Bhagavati temple shows Ali as her servant. The annual Jatra Mahotsava takes place between March 30 and April 6. A month-long ritual is conducted during Sona, the Tulu calendar month which falls between August 15 and September 15.

Ali’s spirit is worshipped on the last three days, when Muslims throng the village. Devotees offer jasmine to Ali Bhoota. They say their prayers are answered within a year. Villagers also talk about how worship of the bhootas got them jobs and helped them find people who had gone missing. Even infertile couples who eventually had children attribute the miracle to him.

Source: The New Indian Express