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For Odia-speaking Tekkali fishermen, Mahatma is the God

Seeing god in Mahatma Gandhi, the members of the fishing community perform pujas at the temple.

Published: 30th September 2019 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2019 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

Fishermen community women performing puja at Mahatma Gandhi temple in Tekkali of Srikakulam district | express

By Express News Service

SRIKAKULAM: Such is their belief, Odia-speaking fishermen and people of nearby areas take a sick person to Mahatma Gandhi temple for his or her good health. The family members perform puja on Thursday by offering bhog (prasadam) for five weeks. They believe by doing so the sick person would get well soon.

Seeing god in Mahatma Gandhi, the members of the fishing community perform pujas at the temple. They perform special pujas on Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Gowri Puja and on other festivals in Odisha.

It was a fisherman, Rama Chandra Behara, who constructed the temple for Mahatma Gandhi at Kandra street in Tekkali more than 70 years ago. He was said to have participated in the freedom movement.

A Gandhian to the core, he constructed the temple from the money he saved out of his daily wages. After the idol was installed, he performed puja at the temple regularly. The idol was procured from Palrakhemundi of Odisha at `5.25 then.

When Gandhi visited the district, Rama Chanda Behara was one of the members in Gandhi’s team during his tour of the district. After he died, his heirs continued to perform puja daily at the temple.

Ramu, Behara’s grandson, said he had been performing puja for the past 30 years. Their day starts with Gandhi puja. During their time, he said, his father Narasimhulu and grandfather Hari used to do puja at the temple regularly. He said he told his sons to continue the tradition.

“We celebrate all Odia festivals there. We offer special pujas on Thursdays by offering bhog, light  diyas and incense sticks,” he added.

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