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THE USP:The Melmaruvathur temple is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
BANGALORE: The Om Sakti or Adiparasakti cult in Melmaruvathur in Tamil Nadu is a relatively new phenomenon in Bangalore, popular among all sections, but especially the working class.
Melmaruvathur, 92 km from Chennai on the Chennai-Trichy National Highway in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, is just a few hours from Bangalore. The deity is Adiparasakti and the founder of the sect is Bangaru Adigalar, who is responsible for its emergence into the limelight in the 1970s.
Devotees form mandram (groups) in every locality and worship the deity at a particular place. Some mandrams have built Adi Sakti temples too. They wear red clothes when they undertake the Dhanurmasa vrata or fast that falls in December, and like Sabarimala devotees, must take vows of purity, ranging from one week to 48 days before visiting the temple. One can see shops displaying and selling red saris with yellow border and red dhotis during Dhanurmasa across the city.
Venkatesh, a car driver from Gautampura who is a regular visitor, said flexibility in performing the vrata (you can fast-track it) and cost-effective travel to Melmaruvathur are the main advantages in this pilgrimage. “There is no fee for the deity's darshan and one can personally offer the puja without the intervention of a priest,” he said.
Shetty Veeran and his wife Mutthamma, residents of Vinayaka Layout near Ullalu Main Road, devotees since the last eight years, said at least 10 to 12 buses leave for Melmaruvathur every Dhanurmasa from the Kengeri region itself. Package tours are conducted during this period, wherein one can also visit other places of interest and pilgrimage.
Bhagya Bai, a resident of Bhuvaneshwarinagar near Kengeri, said apart from strong belief in the deity, the affordability of the pilgrimage has made the place popular.
The belief in Adi Sakti is prevalent mostly among the working class, who hitherto did not have any specific deity to offer prayers. The temple, she said, is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and one can worship the deity in one's own way.
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