A 65-year-old Muslim man from Kerala has built a shrine for demigod Koragajja and set an example of communal harmony in the Dakshina Kannada district.
P Qasim Sahib, a resident of Chittalancheri village in the Palakkad district of Kerala, came to Karnataka in search of a job around 35 years ago along with his family. He has settled down in Kavatharu in Mulki taluk, about 40km from Mangaluru.
After he suffered an injury on his leg, his dependants including his wife and five children went through a hard time. This situation forced him to approach the village priest to chalk out the road ahead in life.
It was then that he was advised to build a temple for Koragajja, a demigod who is respected in coastal districts.
Following this, he built the temple on a small piece of land in Kavatharu, which comes under Balkunje panchayat, reported The Times Of India.
It has been a routine affair for the past 19 years for Sahib to begin his day by offering prayers at the shrine.
About 50 devotees offer prayers every day at the shrine. Every two years, the temple conducts kolotsava with bedecked deities being taken around the temple complex in ceremonial splendour.
The village has a population of 1,500 people, and devotees from all castes and religions visit the shrine.
As the priest of the shrine, Sahib has been listening to the problems of devotees, who visit there regularly.
Recalling his journey, Sahib said, "After I built a house on land allotted by the gram panchayat 35 years ago, I ran into a few problems. The Darshana paatri of the village said Koragajja was earlier worshipped near my house. Hence, I decided to start worshipping Koragajja and other daivas here."
Sahib found a small shrine in a state of neglect situated close to his house. He said that he renovated that temple with offerings made by devotees.
Sahib turned vegetarian from the day he started offering pujas at the shrine.
"My children go to the masjid and they also believe in Koragajja and other Hindu deities. I stopped going to the masjid because I get darshana (possession of deity) of Koragajja," said Sahib.
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