Untold Stories: Duryodhana Temples In INDIA

There is One Consciousness, which is really worth of the title “God” in Hinduism. The forms are many and varied, according to the mindset of the devotees who worship this One Consciousness. Not just 330 million, there are as many forms of God in this world as there are imaginations about this One Consciousness. Lord Duryodhana too finds a place in this list of Gods.
Duryodhana a major character in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the eldest son of the Kauravas of the hundred sons of blind king Dhritarashtra and Queen Gandhari. Despite being the first born son of the incumbent king, he was disqualified as heir to the throne of Hastinapura. Resulting in animosity towards his cousins renders Duryodhana the chief antagonist of the epic. A temple of lord Duryodhan in India caught many by surprise! But there is a reason why people worship him.
There exists one both in the northern and southern part of the Nation.  One of the Duryodhana Temple exits in Tons Valley to the north of the nation which was built by the local inhabitants of Saur who worship the Kauravas as their ancestors. It is believed that the local people wept so much at the defeat of the Kauravas and the death of Duryodhana at the battle of Kurukshetra that their tears became a river named Tamas (literally meaning sorrow). Tamas is also known as Tons. According to the local populace, the tear still flows and hence, the river water is never used for drinking. Duryodhan Temple is 13 km from Sankri. Duryodhana is worshipped in the upper valleys of the rivers Tons, Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Balganga and Bhilganga. This is the biggest temple dedicated to Duryodhana in Uttaranchal and other Duryodhana temples can be seen at Osla, Gangar and Datmir. When you move to the South Of the nation you will find one there too. Less known to many people in India.
Malanada – That is a Temple (Nada) on the Hill (Mala). With the acoustic beauty of paddy farms adorning omni directions around the temple, the peacocks that once adorned the temple. The squirrels and the birds and the nature’s miracles all around it. Unlike many other temples, there is no Idol at the place of worship, nor a ‘Sreekovil’ as such in Malanada.In place we can see only a raised platform called ‘Althara’ or ‘Mandapam’. In the absence of an idol, devotees submit themselves to a divine power (of their imagination).

The Kaurava King known for his ‘Thamoguna’ driven thoughts and actions is adored as the principal deity in this temple. Enduring beliefs assimilate into personal value system. The myth unravels: Pandavas were made to live in exile in the forests as punishment for their loss in the game with the Kaurava Prince. Adding to the punishment was extension of their life in exile if the Kaurava king ever found them before the completion of 14 years.  As part of Duryodhana’s efforts to trace out the ‘Pandavas’ in exile, Duryodhanan traversed the forests in the south and reached Malanada hill. By that time he was much tired and went to a nearby house on the north west of Malanada and asked for drinking water. An elderly woman gave him toddy which was customary at that time as a mark of respect. The king enjoyed the drink, but realized after seeing the ‘Kurathali’ worn by the woman that she belonged to an untouchable lower cast by name ‘Kurava’. The king consoled himself and appreciated the divinity of the place and its people who possessed supernatural powers (Siddha). Thereafter, in furtherance of his ‘Rajadharma’, the king sat on the hill and worshipped Lord Shiva, praying for the welfare of his people (the prajas). As an act of charity he gave away 100s of acres of agricultural land and paddy fields as freehold to the ‘Devasthanam’ I.e. the temple authorities. Even now the land tax of the above property is being levied in the name of ‘Duryodhanan’.

The king also ensured that Gandhari, the Royal Mother, Dussala,his sister, Karnan, his close associate and ‘Angarajan’, Dronar, his ‘Guru’ and the other members of his family were properly and adequately aboded and worshipped in the nearby places. While unlike all temples its members of the ‘Kurava’ caste  who are poojaris in all such places. Kaduthamsserry Kudumbayogam among Kurava caste and ‘Kettungal Kudumabayogam’ among Ezhava caste enjoying special status in the administration of the temple. The entire village rejoices in the ocean of joy during the most famous Festival of Kerala known as Malanada Mahotsavam. Pallipana and kettukazcha amongst the most pleasing and loved part of this festival. Which includes carrying puppets of horses and bulls made of hay, wood and cloth carried upon shoulders and marching up the hill, to show their love and respect for their God. This festival also proves to be an example for the proverb. “United we stand divided we fall”.
The unsung stories of such heroes; evil turned are many and over years there are many yet which are to be revealed.

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