As part of an annual tradition, hundreds of Muslim men, women and children offered prayers on Wednesday to the Sri Venkateswara temple in Kadapa town on the eve of the Telugu New Year, Ugadi.
In a heartening display of communal harmony, the people were seen lining up since early in the morning, to seek blessings from the deity in the temple.
They were seen buying coconuts and other pooja material and offering them at the temple.
Located 120 kms from Tirupati, the temple’s presiding deity is Lord Venkateswara, whom the Muslims treat as their son-in-law.
They believe that Lord Balaji married a Muslim woman named Bibi Nancharamma, who was the daughter of a general named Malik Kafur in 1311 AD.
A typical offering to the deity is Vepapathi, which is made of jaggery and sugarcane. Devotees take a bath and avoid touching meat on the day of the visit.
“It’s not about being Hindu or Muslim. It’s about maintaining a tradition that has been passed on to us from our forefathers. We do this every year and will continue to do it,” one man told a local TV channel.
A priest at the temple told the media that they would bless the Muslims who visited every Ugadi, and pray for peace and prosperity for the upcoming year.
It is a practice that is prevalent across the Rayalaseema region, and many Muslims from Chittoor, Kurnool and Anantapur district also visit the temple.
The story first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.
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