BELAGAVI: There is an unusual rush at the Shani temple here these days. Politicians are taking poll position to receive the blessings of the God. The leaders believe that the deity--Lord Shanishwar--will make them lucky at hustings.
Located in the thickly populated Patil Galli in the heart of Belagavi city, Shree Shanishwar Temple is visited daily by thousands of devotees. But in the poll season, it’s the candidates who turn devout. As a consequence of this seasonal bakhti, every Saturday, the road leading to the temple, is choc-a-bloc with big cars, without security.
Leaders from at least five different states, including from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, have visited this 125-year-old temple in the recent days to perform special puja. Not that it’s a new trend. The list of politicians who have queued up at the temple to pay their respects down the years, are bigwigs like former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, the wife of former Chief Minister J H Patel and former Governors Triloki Nath Chaturvedi and V S Ramadevi.
This time, the priests say that candidates and their relatives from all across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra have thronged the temple. In the last one week, at least seven candidates performed pooja.
Says Vilas Adhyapak, turstee and priest, that recently Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar had come to the temple. So did, Maharashtra MLA Chandradeep Narke.
“It is difficult to always identify VIPs as they sometimes wait in long queues and perform prayers without approaching us, as part of a ritual penance. None of the celebrities are given special treatment at this temple,” says the priest. Well, that’s the uniqueness of the temple--a devotee has to approach the god with humbleness, for their fortune to change.
The priest adds, “Shani Dev is one of the most popular deities that we pray to ward off evil and remove obstacles,’’ he said. Recalling the visits of eminent personalities to the temple, Adhyapak said that Deve Gowda had visited the temple prior to and after becoming the Prime Minister.
Explaining the role that Shani plays in bringing people good luck, he said, “Lord Shani occupies the seventh place among the nine planets which govern the world. This is viewed as being unlucky in conventional astrology. If a person has done good deeds, he will be blessed by the Lord, but for the people who are indulging in bad deeds, the god will punish them.”