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South India Religious News Updates (1st Week of July)

South India Religious News Updates (1st Week of July)

Kerala : “Oushadha Biksha Yatra” – A unique campaign seeking herbs

A unique mission aimed at collecting medicines and herbs from various temples to prepare the special monsoon season Ayurvedic preparation, which will be served to the people for mental and physical health in the month of Karkitakam of the Malayalam calendar, started Last week. “Oushadha Biksha Yatra, the mission that is set to revive an age-old tradition, will tour 114 temples across the state in a bid to ensure the wellness of the society.

The Yatra, organised by Nelliakkattu Sreedhareeyam Oushadheswari temple of Koothattukulam, was inaugurated by Narayanan Namboothiri of  Nelliakkattu Mana by lighting the traditional lamp on the premises of the  Oushadheswari temple in the presence of a large gathering of  devotees who had turned up for the occasion.

The yatra set off in a specially decorated vehicle fashioned as a chariot, carrying the lighted lamp along with a statuette of Goddess Oushadheswari. The campaign rolled on after receiving ‘Thriphala’ and ghee as ‘biksha’ (alms) from the devotees.

After touring through eight temples located in the eastern parts of Kottayam district, on the first day the yatra entered Pathanamthitta district  after visiting the Ramapuram temple at Ranni.

It also visited Onam Kunnu Sree Krishna temple, Koothattukulam, Ramapuram Sree Rama Swami temple, Koothattukulam, Kadappattoor Mahadeva temple, Kidangoor Subramanya Swami temple and  Thottam Kavu temple. Arrangements have been made at every halt en route  for the devotees to make their offerings in the form of medicines and herbs.

After touring up and down the state, the Yatra will be flagged in on July 15. It has been a centuries old tradition in  Kerala to have specially prepared medicines and follow a strict regimen of simple diet and oil bath  in the  month of Karkitakam (July-August ), which will re-energise the body and mind. The devotees will be served the medicine after poojas and rituals at the Oushadheswari temple  from the first day  month of Karkitakam.

The yatra has been organised in two stretches. The first one will tour south Kerala down to Valiyasala in Thiruvananthapuram, covering 28 temples. The second leg of the yatra will start from Thiruvananthapuram and travel up to Neeleswaram in Kasargode district, touching 47 temples. The campaign then will return  to Koothattukulam, visiting 39 temples on the way.

The yatra, on  its return  to the Oushadheswari temple on July 15, will be accorded a rousing reception, followed by dedication of the 14-foot high Oushadheswari sculpture by  Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmibhai of the Travancore royal family.

Medicines, herbs and other ingredients collected during the campaign from around the state would go into the making of the special ‘Karkitaka” medicine package, which will be distributed to the people. On the first day of Karkitakam,  special poojas and rituals, including the “Ashtadravya Ganapathi Homam’ , offering 1008 coconuts, will be performed by priests led by Sooryakaladi Sooryan Parameswaran Nampoothiripad. This will be followed by the ‘Gaja Pooja’, lining up more than 20 elephants, and then the distribution of the medicinal preparation.

The temple has also planned the ‘Oushadha Ponkala” on August 6, a ritual seeking divine blessings for the wellness of the society.

Tamil Nadu : Madras HC orders for Sthapathi replacement

The Madras High Court has ordered the replacement of the traditional “Sthapathi” in the expert committee constituted by it to look into the issue of renovation and repair of some temples across Tamil Nadu.

Earlier in 2016 High Court has taken the suo motu PIL for renovation of temples and Heritage structures in the state. When the matter pertaining to the PIL and other petitions relating to temple renovations came up before a division bench consisting  of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and GK Ilanthiraiyan, the counsel for HR & CE department informed that two Agama experts in the committee had attended only two meetings held by it.

Even the Additional Advocate General PH Aravindh Pandian also submitted that they did not cooperate with other members of the committee, consequent to which the panel was unable to decide on some works in which agama action is essentially required. The works related to the temples that are in a dilapidated state, renovation and restoration works and Kumbabhishekam related works involving larger public interest have also been affected and thus these members have to be replaced immediately, he submitted.

To this, intervener Rangarajan Narasimhan said on account of the attitude of other members of the committee the two Agama experts were unable to discharge their duties and before replacing them their views should be heard. After hearing the submissions of all the parties, the bench while referring to the criminal prosecution faced by Muthiah Stapathi concluded that he be replaced.

Karnataka :  Activists say Mining permissions might affect the ancient temples

Members of the Sri Kumaraswamy and Parvati Temples Protection Committee, in association with the district unit of Jan Sangram Parishat (JSP), have expressed concern over the State government permitting mining operations close to the ancient temples in Swami Malai range in Sandur taluk of the district.

What worries the activists is that the permission was granted within a week of H.D. Kumaraswamy taking over as the Chief Minister. Before the Assembly election, Mr. Kumaraswamy, during a visit to the Sri Kumaraswamy temple, blamed the Congress government for not taking steps to protect the temple.

Apparently mining lease was allotted to JSW Steels through e-auction.The Department of Mines and Geology, while imposing certain conditions, has mentioned that mining within one km of the ancient Kumaraswamy temple was prohibited, until the submission of the report by the Expert Committee and directions of the Supreme Court.

“If mining is allowed close to the temples, the monuments would be affected and so too the flora, fauna and the biodiversity of the forest,” Mr. Srishail said speaking to the media. He insisted that the government should order ban on mining activities in the Kumaraswamy hill range and declare it as a ‘national heritage zone’.

Telangana : Cadres for the Archakas to be designated soon

Endowments Minister Indrakaran Reddy recently said that the government was in the process of finalising the cadre strength of the temple priests (Archakas) and employees and soon orders would be issued for the salaries through the treasury.

During the reviewing of the department Endowments Minister at department head office Dharmika Bhavan said that after finalisation of the cadre strength based on the temples, government would provide salaries through treasury and employees who have been appointed before Telangana Formation Day on June 2, 2014 would be eligible for the salaries through treasury.

Minister directed the officials to increase the number of temples under the Dhoopa Deepa Naivedyam (DDN) scheme from August 1.  Officials informed that the department received 5,289 applications and the program was to be started by this time, but it got delayed because of the huge response from the people across the State. The Minister asked the officials to verify the temples before sanctioning the DDN scheme and warned the officials of action if there are irregularities in the selection of the temples.

In fact the Endowments Minister has asked the officials to prepare master plan for the temples like Bhadrachalam, Basar and Dharmapuri. He asked them to prepare plan as per the land available, need to bring infrastructure and after preparing the master plan the works should start within three months, he said.

Andhra Pradesh : “Finish works in the stipulated time”  TTD EO

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal  recently has directed the engineering officials to complete the pending works undertaken at local temples within the stipulated time frame.

EO reviewing the progress of various works during a meeting with senior officials at TTD’s administrative building, Mr. Singhal said there was an immediate need to construct additional toilets in the Mada streets and Narayanagiri gardens for the benefit of pilgrims.Besides this, he asked the officials to ensure that all the display boards in compartments would carry the correct information on the time of darshan.

The Officer has emphasised on the upcoming back to back Brahmotsavams this year, Mr. Singhal maintained that all works related to the annual event should be completed by August.

With respect to the SSD tokens, he urged the officials concerned to give a wide publicity on Aadhaar and voter cards (for the same), saying that the pilgrims should be allowed only in their respective time slots. Mr. Singhal directed in-charge CVSO Siva Kumar Reddy to carry out inspections in the administrative building and set up fire extinguishers wherever necessary, and instructed the Divisional Forest Officer to complete the greenery works at Vontimitta temple in Kadapa district.

He also opined that there was a need to improve the public address system at Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple in Tirupati.

Karnataka : CSI emphasizes on Child- friendly Churches

Sunday school teachers and Christian educators from the Diocese of Karnataka North in the united Church of South India have received training to develop child-friendly churches. They gathered at the CSI Synod Centre recently in Chennai for a three days of training, sponsored by Evangelical Mission in Solidarity, a German-based mission agency. The training was organised as part of a challenge “to reach out to children with a commitment to establish God’s reign in this present world.”

The training covered a range of areas, including teaching methods, given by the Principal of CSO College of Commerce, Dr Kamala Dhawale; reading and interpreting the Bible from children’s perspectives , given by the Assistant Professor of Theology at the United Theological College in Bangalore, Dr Rohan Gideon; and “contemporary challenges” such as the “culture of materialism” and the “culture of hatred”, given by Solomon Paul, the Director of CSI’s Youth Concerns department

It also covered the importance of understanding children’s emotional and psychological needs, and basic principles of counselling and how to apply them appropriately in Sunday school education.

The provincial General Secretary, Dr D R Sadananda, finished the three-days with a session “highlighting the tremendous scope of instilling Christian values in children for the growth of the church in the Indian scenario,” the CSI Press Release Said.

Tamil Nadu : TN Government announces Annual subsidy for Haj Pilgrimage

The Tamil Nadu government today announced an annual subsidy of Rs 6 crore for Haj pilgrimage from this year, months after it had opposed the Centre’s decision to do away with the monetary aid to the pilgrims.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami made the announcement in the state assembly regarding that. Noting that the Central government had scrapped the Haj subsidy, he said the state government has been extending grant for the Hindus and the Christians for their overseas pilgrimage.

Now Muslims too would be given a similar support, he added. “Amma’s (late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s) government which follows her footsteps will from this year provide Rs 6 crore subsidy every year for followers of Islam to undertake the sacred Haj yatra,” he said.

The Chief Minister said this year a total of 3,728 people would undertake Haj pilgrimage under the new subsidy scheme, modalities of which are yet to be announced.

Fulfilling her 2011 assembly poll promise, Jayalalithaa had in 2012 announced subsidy to the Hindus undertaking pilgrimage to Mansarovar in China and Muktinath in Nepal from Tamil Nadu. In 2011, ahead of Christmas, she had announced state subsidy for the Christians visiting Jerusalem for pilgrimage.

Karnataka : Hubballi Masjid hosts a special Eid Party

Masjid-e-Usman Ghani, located at Vijayanagar here, witnessed a special Eid party on Sunday as authorities of the mosque had invited members of the Hindu community for the occasion.

The organisers said it was for the first time that an Eid party was being held by inviting Hindu members on the mosque premise. Mosque authorities, in association with “Sadbhavana Vedike” Karnataka, took this initiative to promote religious harmony and brotherhood in society.

Vedike secretary Akbar Ali Udupi said he was elated to see the Muslim community members opening the doors of a mosque for their brethren from the Hindu community. “It should have happened long back, but I am happy that it has happened no less than 70 years after Independence,” he said, and asserted that other mosques too should hold similar programmes.

He said the core essence of all religions was the same but they were presented in different ways. The prime reason for violence over religious issues was lack of proper knowledge about religions among their followers. Even those who resort to violence in the name of Islam do so because their knowledge of Islam was limited, he said. There were several examples in the life of Prophet Muhammed where he respected other religions and asked his followers to follow suit, Mr. Udupi said. Truthful knowledge of religion helps achieve peace and harmony, whereas unfair information of religion leads to disturbances in society. Therefore, every human being should strive to gain truthful knowledge of their respective religion in the larger interest of society, Mr. Udupi said.

Venkatesh Savadatti and Subhas Hosmani and others who were present on the occasion appreciated the move. They said division on religious lines was the creation of power-hungry politicians and common people should not fall prey to their devices.

  • Compiled by Yashoda Jayadev
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