THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A temple in Wayanad district’s Mananthavady showed its long-serving chief priest the door for an outrageous reason. Believe it or not, he was fired for his failure to give prasadam to Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, that too a year after the incident!
The suspension notice issued by the Valliyoorkavu temple management on March 8, 2019 said K V Sreejesh Namboodiri committed lapse when Kadakampally visited the temple on March 25, during the annual festival.
The temple management said the chief priest had closed the sanctum sanctorum for deeparadhana ritual when the minister arrived.“As the minister was on a busy schedule, he didn’t wait for the sanctum’s reopening and proceeded to the public function at the nearby ground,” said an office-bearer.
Priest: I was unaware of minister’s visit
K V Sreejesh Namboodiri told Express he did not disrespect the minister deliberately. “I was unaware of the minister’s visit. He came during the Oppana, an important ritual associated with the festival. I had a glance of the minister while closing the sanctum sanctorum. But I couldn’t open the door since it was against the custom,” he said.
The Oppana ritual involves bringing some valuables from another temple which is situated at Kallodi, about 12 km away. On the festival’s 10th day, the priest heads to the Kallodi temple in a special attire and comes back the next day with the valuables.
As per the custom, the priest has to walk to and fro. At some places he would also run. “The minister came to the temple when I just entered the sanctum after the long trek. Nobody had alerted me of the VIP visit,” he said. The temple management said the action against the priest was based on a recommendation by the Malabar Devaswom Board, with the notice confirming the order of its commissioner. MDB president OK Vasu refused to comment on the issue.