We know Indians are an emotional lot. We don’t really play anything down, do we? Star struck, we are and make no bones about displaying it. I am star struck too, but how far am I going to take my obsession for a Bollywood star or a political leader, might kick me out of the race.
I have had posters and dream obsessions, sure, but my celebrity love remains unmatched to that of some die hard fans who went a few 1000 steps ahead and built temples in the name of there heroes….. and heroines! Here are some celebrity temples in India, that may be too much to digest for someone like me, who is happy with Sai babaji sitting smiling bestowing goodness on me sans a temple!
My visit to these celebrity temples would be a case of ‘curiosity killing the cat and satisfaction bringing it back’! Have fun with these….
Amitabh Bachchan, Kolkata
It’s only natural that the icon of Bollywood should have a temple in his name! In Old Kolkata’s Ballygunge area, is a temple dedicated to Amitabh Bachchan. The two roomed temple is a museum of sorts with a collection of photographs from the superstar’s films in the first room, while the inner sanctum has a green throne like chair that was featured in the Amitabh starrer supernatural thriller Aks. On the chair rests the white shoes that star wore in the movie Agnipath. Sanjay Patodia, who worships Amitabh Bachchan like a devotee rather than a fan, built this temple in 2003.
The rituals and ceremonies in this place of worship are conducted like in any other Hindu temple in India! The God of acting… turns God!
Unlike other celebrity temples, this one is different as it does not have an idol of the Tamil superstar Rajnikanth, but rather a special ‘Sahasra lingam’ installed by his fans, for the health and prosperity of their favourite star. This is a part of the Kotilingeswara Temple in Kolar district, Karnataka – a famous Shiva temple that allows installation of lingams for a price. Like with all other lingams in this temple, the one for Rajni was installed by the temple priests after special prayers and Vedic chants. Gone a little too far, maybe?
Sachin Tendulkar, Bihar
Sachin Tendulkar, the most celebrated cricketer in India, who is worshipped as the “God of cricket” by his millions of fans, is now all set to get a temple in Bihar in his honour. The temple, which has been built in Bihar’s Kaimur district has been dedicated as a tribute to Tendulkar with a “life-sized statue” for his immense contribution and wonderful career in cricket.
The decision to erect the temple for Sachin was taken by Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwari, who is an ardent fan of Sachin. The white marble statue was erected amid the chanting of Vedic prayers in Atarwalia, the village of Manoj Tiwari in Kaimur district…. Is the IT department interested?
Khushboo, Tamil Nadu
Tamil movie heroine Khushboo had a temple built for her in Trichy by her fans in 2001. However, her status as Mother Goddess was short lived as the temple was demolished by angry fans in 2005 following her controversial stance on premarital sex. Lord, oh Lord!
During her peak in Tamil cinema, many dishes in menus across various food outlets in South India were named after Khushbu. Kushboo Idli was the most popular food item named after the actress. Other products such as Kushboo Jhumki, Kushboo Sarees, Kushboo Sharbet, Kushboo Coffee, Kushboo Cocktails and various other products, and food items were named after her as well. Many of those items still retain those names. Maybe no temple, but worship her all you want…. in the Sharbat, people!
Narendra Modi, Gujarat
Followers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi built a temple for him in 2015 at Kothariya Village near Rajkot. The main movers behind this initiative were a group of BJP leaders and state ministers, including Govind Patel and Vijay Rupani, who wanted to celebrate Modi’s journey to success starting as a first time contestant at the Rajkot assembly polls to finally becoming the country’s leader. Narendra Modi termed the act as embarrassing and appalling, the story led to the unveiling of numerous such examples standing tall all across the country.
Even Azam Khan, an infamous UP politician, without losing a moment proposed a temple for Samajwadi Party supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav aka Netaji…. Only if wishes were horses!
Mahatma Gandhi, Odisha
In a small village called Bhatra near Sambalpur, Odisha is a temple dedicated to the Father of the Nation. Built in the 1970s with the intention of promoting communal harmony, the temple sees visitors all religions and castes. The idea of building it came from ex-MLA Abhimanyu Kumar as he wanted to provide a temple for Dalits, who were not allowed to enter other temples due to their ‘untouchable’ status. The head priest, who performs the morning and evening arti at the temple, is a Dalit. Gandhi’s teachings are also read daily at the temple.
Hold on to your seats……
Sonia Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh
Located in Mallial town in Karimnagar district is a temple built in 2014 to honour Sonia Gandhi as the creator of Telangana State – a token of gratitude to the party president from Congress members in the state. The temple has a marble statue of Sonia Gandhi as well as portraits of other members of her family, including Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. What could we ask her for? ‘ Thoda sa dhan de do, devi!’
Now, hold on to your horses, elephants, buffaloes…… whatever you got!
Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh
In Mahoba District in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, a temple is built for Dalit leader, Mayawati. The temple is located on land owned by a Mahoba-based lawyer, Kanaihya Lal. I reserve my Alec comments!