As Diwali comes and the whole of India celebrates good over evil, there are some people who will be thinking otherwise.
A few societies in India still acknowledge and worship Ravana as a deity.
Ravana was the main antagonist in the ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, who was killed by Lord Ram, after he kidnapped his wife, Sita. While Diwali is celebrated throughout India as a day when truth won over evil, some people still worship him. He was known to be a learned scholar, an expert astrologer and warrior. Because of this, he is worshipped across a few select temples.
Here are some of these temples. Visit them to understand and see the dedication that Ravana can also have.
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
This temple in Kanpur is believed to be approximately 120 years old. Every year on Dussehra, the waiting queues are as long as a kilometre.
The portals of the temple open only once a year. The chants of “Ravan Baba Namah” can be heard from a distance and it attracts worshippers and curious onlookers alike.
Bisrakh, Uttar Pradesh
If legend is to be believed, this is the birthplace of Ravana and is named after his father, Rishi Vishravas’s name. About a century back, a Shivalinga was found here during excavations and since then, devotees have been worshiping Ravana here.
The inhabitants of Mandor, a place close to the city of Jodhpur, are primarily Maudgil and Dave Brahmins who believe Ravana to be their son-in-law. The locals believe that it was here that Ravana got united in matrimony with princess Mandodari of that region. There is even a temple of Ravana especially built to commemorate the event.
Located approximately 200 km from Indore city on the Rajasthan-MP border, the town of Mandsaur is a haven of historical and religious sites. It is a place where Ravana is eulogized in the form of a 35 ft high idol with 10 heads. The temple is visited by admirers of Ravana from all over the region. Close to it is situated the Bhadkedi village in Shajapur district, where lies another shrine dedicated to Meghnad, the son of Ravana.
Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh
Alternatively, there is another town in Madhya Pradesh, called Vidisha, that claims to be the native place of Queen Mandodari. It is situated 60 km from Bhopal, and here Dussehra celebrations are held by worshipping a 10 ft long reclining image of Ravan. The locals belonging to the Kanyakubj Brahmin community who seek blessings from Ravana.
Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
There is a temple complex on Kakinada Beach Road in the namesake town wherein a 30 ft idol of Dashanan aka Ravana is installed along with a big Shivalinga. Legend has it that the Shivalinga was installed by none other than Ravana himself!
Intrigued? Visit these temples to get a glimpse of the other side of the story.