Kalka Devi Temple located in Lakhna town of Etawah district in Uttar Pradesh is unique in a way that an idol of Goddess Kalka i.e Durga and a Mazar of Saiyyed Baba, who was the devotee of the Goddess, co-exist in the same campus.Not just that, a Dalit priest takes care of it!
When Hindu devotees visit Kalka Devi (Goddess Durga) temple in Lakhna town of Etawah they never forget to seek blessings of Saiyyed Baba Mazar, situated in the temple premises.
Same is with the Muslim devotees. For, the people believe their prayers will not be answered otherwise. Lakhna town, located close to Yamuna river in Etawah, sees Hindus and Muslims pray together at the Kalka Devi Temple and the Saiyyed Baba Mazar that are adjacent to each other. The site is also sought after by people for holding marriages, ‘mundan’ (tonsure ceremony of Hindu children) or other rituals.
Legend has it that any prayer offered only at the Mazar or the temple is not fulfilled, as the almighty answers only those prayers that are offered at both the shrines.
Ashok Chauhan, former Lakhna town area chairman and a native of Lakhna, said that the devotees never forget to offer prayer at mausoleum before they line-up at Ma Kalka Devi temple to seek her blessings.
“This place can be considered as a perfect example of peace, love and harmony. The temple and the mausoleum have been constructed side by side. Nobody has any grudge against this. Whenever anybody wants, he/she worship in this temple as well as mausoleums,” Chauhan said further.
Saiyyed Baba mausoleum.
“In the year 1820, the local ruler, Jaswant Rao built the `Mazar’ to pay homage to Saiyyed Baba, who is revered by Hindu devotees,” Jagdeep Singh Bhadauria, who owns a medicine shop in Etawah’s Lakhna town, told TOI.
According to locals, the priest of Kalka Devi temple comes from Dalit background. “King Jaswant Rao, who got the temple constructed, made it mandatory that the priest of the temple would only be a Dalit, which is another perfect example of social equality.”
“Devotees from as far as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan throng this place on occasions and whosoever comes here pay equal obeisance to Saiyyed Baba and Ma Kalka Devi. It’s almost a part of ritual here,” said Sanjeev, a local of Lakhna.
At a time when our countrymen are debating if a temple and a mosque can coexist in Ayodhya, one only needs to look towards the 195-year-old site, for inspiration – where religious structures belonging to both communities have coexisted in peace and harmony, remarked Ali Shah, another local.
“We jointly organise rituals here and we have no problems with each other,” said Anshuman, a native of Etowah, who visits the place every Tuesday.
Though the temple and the mausoleum remain abuzz with activities all 365 days of the year, devotees turn up at the religious place in huge numbers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Rizwan, a native of Jaswantnagar, who comes every Thursday to offer prayers at the mausoleum believes that the place of worship is not restricted to any particular community.
“We feel proud to be part of a place which portrays the unique bonding of two communities,” he said.