Mahatma Gandhi is literally worshipped as a God of ahimsa (non-violence) and peace in this temple located 74 km from Hyderabad in Telangana on National Highway 65 that connects the capital city with Vijayawada. Mahatma’s popularity is growing day by day here as his “miracles” are impressing people who visit the temple.
Day long events including pujas, special bhajans and essay writing competitions will be held in the temple today, 2 October, which is the 148th birth anniversary of the father of the nation. The temple has become the hub of devotees who consider him a continuation of not only Hindu Gods Rama and Krishna, but also Buddha, Jesus and Guru Nanak among others. “All our Gods used one or the other weapons, but Mahatma Gandhi used only a non-weapon, that is ahimsa,” M. Srinivas, a temple administrator, told The Sunday Guardian.
Built on a 4.5 acre piece of land abutting the national highway, the Mahatma Gandhi Temple (in Telugu it is “Gandhi Gudi”) was inaugurated on 15 September 2014. A group of four persons who formed a trust purchased the land in 2011 at Rs 20 lakh per acre and constructed the temple in a one year’s time for Rs 1 crore.
The daily rituals here are similar to those seen in any Hindu temple. The day starts with a “Suprabhatam” at 6 am and ends with a puja at 8.30 pm. In between, scores of devotees gather for darshan and offer cash and donations to Mahatma Gandhi. New vehicle are brought here before registration and newborn babies are brought for naming ceremonies.
There is a meditation centre at the bottom of the three-storey temple. Soil from as many as 30 holy pilgrim places in the country, including Varanasi, Amritsar and Tirupati, are brought here and stored in different shelves and the copy of holy books of all major religions including the Bible, the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita are displayed reflecting Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in communal harmony.
Temple priest Narasimha Chary said ever since the inception of the temple project happened, several miracles were reported. “A heavy rain lashed for the entire day but it suddenly came to a halt minutes before the muhrat of the ground breaking ceremony of the temple on 2 October 2012,” said the priest.
There have been other such instances in the last two years. A group of workers from a nearby pharmaceutical factory were on a strike, after their management defaulted on their wages for a long period. When five workers visited the temple and prayed for Mahatma’s help, the management called them to settle their accounts, within a few hours.
A miraculous recovery of a six-year-old girl from a snake bite and another near miracle experience of a businessman from Suryapet, Rundrangi Rupavati Murali, were some of the stories that are in circulation. “Many devotees tell us they experienced the grace of Gandhi,” said Srinivas. Now many political VIPs visit this temple.
There is a big tree on the temple premises which is tied with hundreds of saffron ribbons by devotees for the fulfillment of their desires. Right from success in studies to securing jobs and from getting married to having children and making profits in business, they believe that Mahatma Gandhi can grant their wishes.
Temple trust board chairman M. Sreepal Reddy, a businessman, said: “Before we built this temple, the National Highway was notorious for motor accidents with more than 150 persons dead and around 200 road mishaps reported every year. But they have now reduced by 99%.” Of course, there is no independent source to verify this claim. This may be because of another factor—widening of the four-lane National Highway since 2014. But the temple trustees think otherwise.