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HomeInterfaith HarmonyUnity in Diversity: Hindus and Muslims Collaborate to Restore 400-Year-Old Durga Temple

Unity in Diversity: Hindus and Muslims Collaborate to Restore 400-Year-Old Durga Temple

10 April 2024

In a heartwarming display of communal harmony, Hindus and Muslims in the village of Muthuvallur, nestled in Kerala’s predominantly Muslim district of Malappuram, have come together to restore a historic 400-year-old Durga temple. This act of unity during the holy month of Ramadan highlights a long-standing tradition of mutual respect and generosity between the two communities, particularly in matters of faith and heritage.

The Muthuvallur Sree Durga Bhagavathy Temple, situated near Kondotty, serves as a beacon of syncretism and religious camaraderie. Over the years, Muslims have actively participated in the temple’s restoration efforts, with their contributions notably aiding in the copper-plating of the temple dome. This interfaith collaboration has continued through the renovation process since 2015, with the Muslim community generously supporting the restoration financially and materially.

The forthcoming installation ceremony of the new idol in May, replacing one that was damaged decades ago, is a testament to this enduring spirit of cooperation. Notably, a temple brochure showcasing the event prominently features leaders from both communities, including Panakkad Sadikkali Shihab Thangal, the chief of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and Thekkiniyedathu Tharananellur Padmanabhan Unni Namboodiripad, the temple’s thantri (vedic head).

“We reached out to the Muslim community and its leaders for cooperation and goodwill, which they extended generously,” remarked Namboodiripad, who oversees several temples in the Malabar region.

Thangal emphasized that such collaboration is a natural extension of the harmonious coexistence prevalent in the community, where people readily assist each other irrespective of religious affiliations, particularly concerning places of worship.

The mutual support between the two communities extends beyond financial aid, with Muslims also contributing construction materials and even vegetables for temple festivals. Vinaya Raj, a member of the Thalayur family associated with the temple, held Muthuvallur up as a model of unity for the entire nation.

This heartening display of communal harmony and shared heritage underscores the rich tapestry of Kerala’s cultural diversity, showcasing how respect and goodwill can bridge religious divides for the greater good. As preparations for the idol installation ceremony gather momentum, the village of Muthuvallur stands as a shining example of interfaith solidarity and mutual respect.

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