Gandhi as God is catching up in Telangana
- Villagers believe that miracles were noticed after the temple was built
- The main reason that the temple was built was to spread Gandhian ideologies
Chityal is a village in Nalgonda district, which has incarnated Mahatma Gandhi as a god, believes that he has reportedly performed miracles.
Nowhere in India can the chants like ‘Vande Devam, Vande Bapu, Vande Gandhi’ be heard except in this sprawling temple of Mahatma Gandhi in Chityal.
Earlier, the village used to be a centre of numerous accidents, but "after the temple was constructed there have been no accidents reported," said Sripal Reddy, the Chairman of the temple’s trust.
He said Gandhi embodied divine powers and they, in Chityal village, experienced them.
Talking about how the idea to construct a temple for Gandhi originated, Reddy said, "In the past few centuries, no personality in India has influenced the thinking of people as Mahatma did."
"Like religion, Gandhi's thinking presented us a way of living which is called Gandhian way of life. No personality in India is being revered by members cutting across the religions as affectionately as Bapuji."
This is possible only when he embodied some divine qualities. We wanted to build the temple to spread the divine message (Gandhiji loo vunna Divatvam) of Gandhiji," he said.
In the sprawling 5 acre temple, Gandhi is the presiding deity, and in premises, Navagrahas and temples for Pachabhutalu also set up to give the premises temple atmosphere.
Temple complex consists of the main temple for Gandhiji which is flanked by two small temples, one on each side. While one small temple houses the Nava Grahas the other is set up for Pancha Buthas (five elements of nature).
The main temple has two floors, while the Sanctum Sanctorum is on the first floor; a meditation centre is set up on the ground floor.
The statue of Mahatma in the meditation hall is made of White Marble specially brought from Rajasthan in Garbha Griha (main temple) Mahatma Gandhi is seated in the posture of giving a divine blessing to the devotees.
This idol is made of Kanchi black stone, and Silpa Ratna Durgadda Rama Krishnama Charyulu is the sculptor for the presiding deity while the statue in mediation centre was created by Padma awardee Arjun Prajapathi.
Surprisingly, the idea that Gandhi is god is catching up in the area.
"On working days about 100 to 150 devotees attend the temple to perform pujas too Lord Gandhi and on Sunday the number goes up to 200 to 250," said Reddy.
According to Reddy, some teachers in the areas, who felt that the importance of Gandhi was not properly highlighted, floated the idea of building the temple for Gandhi, to spread his divine power.
The temple came into existence in 2014.
"Two purohits were appointed to perform the rituals for Gandhiji as in any other temple. Every day early morning Suprabhata puja is offered, and the temple is kept open from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm. The temple priests perform all kind of pujas as per the request of the devotees," he said.
According to Reddy, a majority of devotees visit the temple to perform pujas for their new cars and two-wheelers. The other category of devotees is students and young employees, who pay a visit to the temple on weekends to perform pujas to get a job or Visa without any hiccup," he said.
"The temple was built with reverence and observing sanctity. Soil from 30 holy Punyakshetras such as Kasi, Amritsar, Tirupati, Hardwar, was brought here and kept in the temple," he added.
Also, reflecting the Gandhian philosophy that all religions are equal, holy books of all religions are made available in the meditation centre.
Besides performing the special Pujas on October 2, the Gandhi Jayanthi day, a district-wide quiz for students is conducted on the divinity of Gandhi every year.