Top Celebrity Temples In India
People worldwide do the craziest things for their idols. Getting the name or face of your favorite celebrity inked on your body is something that has fast grown into a trend.
From cycling all the way from Ranchi to Mumbai to meet Aamir Khan to buying 200 tickets for Salman Khan’s films to ensure a lofty box-office collection, fans around India have their crazy ways to showcase their love and support.
Writing letters and buying expensive gifts for your favorite public figure are ways that have become quotidian. Ever heard of building a temple dedicated to a panjandrum? Here are some living gods who have a temple in their name.
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in Tamil Nadu
Kushboo Sundar, the heroine of the Kannada film Aunty Preethse has a story that reflects the rise and fall of a public figure. On the peak of her career during 90’s, her fans built a temple for her in Thiruchirapalli in 2001 and gave Sundar the status of ‘mother goddess’. She became the first ever Indian actress for whom her fans built a dedicated temple when she was the leading actress of Tamil cinema.
However, in 2005 there was a controversy about her remarks on AIDS awareness.
She said that if girls were to have pre-marital sex, they must safe guard themselves and take precautions to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Supreme Court dismissed all cases registered against Kushboo for her alleged remarks on pre-marital sex but she had already turned into a caitiff for her conservative fans overnight. This controversial comment led her fans to demolish the temple to vent their anger and register their protest against the thesp.
Amitabh Bachchan Temple
It is not surprising that the iconic megastar Amitabh Bachchan has a temple dedicated to him. The Angry Young Man is worshipped in this 2001-built temple as god incarnate with full rites and rituals like a Hindu god. The front room of this two room temple complex is a tangible montage of Bachchan’s photographs from his various films.
The sanctum sanctorum has been plastered with a ‘Jai Shree Amitabh’. In the center sits an ornate dark-green chair procured from the sets of Aks (2001). On the chair is placed a glass case with a pair of white leather shoes that Amitabh wore in the film Agneepath (1990).
in Tamil Nadu
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam councellor G R Krishnamoorthy was inspired to build the temple after seeing how welfare schemes brought out by his leader M. Karunanidhi, especially Kalaingar Kappitu Thitam (free insurance scheme for poor) had helped many downtrodden families in his area. The main purpose of this temple in Vellore district is to promote temple tourism and portray Tamil Nadu as a temple tourist destination.
The temple has an inscription saying ‘Kettal kudupathu Kadavul, ketkamale kudukkum Kadavul Thamizhina Thalaivar Kalaignar’ which means ‘God will give only if you ask, but Kalaignar will give you without being asked’ stating the major reason why the political figure Karunanidhi, also known as Kalaignar is idolized. The establishment of this temple is somewhat ironic as Kalaignar is a self-proclaimed atheist.
Sachin Tendulkar Temple
For a nation obsessed with cricket, Tendulkar is no lesser than a god. Bhojpuri singer, Manoj Tiwari who hails from Bihar, constructed the temple in Kaimur district in 2013 contains a life-size statue placed in a cricket academy that provides free-of-cost coaching. This temple surely encourages budding cricketers to follow their dreams and worships the ‘God of the cricket world’.
Multi-lingual actor Rajinikanth is a superstar phenomenon in the south. His extraordinary rise from bus conductor from Bangalore to the most successful actor and his on-screen inimitable style has made him a cult figure. The superstar’s larger than life image, his fight for social causes and his simplicity has earned him ardent fans worldwide. It has to be out of sheer love that the Thaliavva’s fans established a Sahasra Lingam for his health and prosperity at Kotilingeshwara Temple in Kolar, Karnataka.
in Tamil Nadu
Born on May 10, 1981 as Namitha Kapoor in Gujarat, the actress has appeared in 35 movies made in three south Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Namitha was unable to break into the Bollywood film industry despite receiving several advertisement offers. A role in Sreenu Vaitla’s Sontham in 2002, marked her debut in Tollywood. She followed that up by starring in the big-budget actioner Gemini the same year. Her portrayal of a Marwari girl named Manisha Natwarlal won critical acclaim. At the height of her success in 2008, one of Namitha’ s devotees built her a temple near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. She became the second actress after Khushboo in the state to be immortalised in such a fashion by her fan following.
Sonia Gandhi Temple
in Andhra Pradesh
Located in Mallial town in Karimnagar district is a temple built in 2014 to honor Sonia Gandhi as the creator of the then, twenty-ninth state as a token of gratitude. While the protesting leaders in Andhra had constructed a tomb for Sonia Gandhi for declaring Telangana a separate state, her supports dealt with the blow by erecting a temple to honor her. The 9-feet white marble sculpture of Mrs. Gandhi
has her posing as an Indian goddess, holding a lotus (Congress Party symbol) in one hand and a plate full of wealth in another. They even installed the portraits of the whole Gandhi clan comprising former prime minister Indira Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on the outer walls of the temple. Although, this is not be the first time that a temple devoted to a politician is being built in Andhra Pradesh
as temples have been built in the memory of popular film star-turned-politician NT Rama Rao and others.
Mahatma Gandhi Temple
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 temple consists of a bronze statue of Bapu installed in the sanctum sanctorum. The idea of building it came from ex-MLA Abhimayu Kumar as he wanted to provide a temple
for Dalits, who were not allowed to enter other temples due to their ‘untouchable’ status.
Narendra Modi Temple
Followers of NaMo built a temple worth 7 lakhs, in 2015 at Kothariya Village near Rajkot. The main movers behind this initiative were a group of BJP members, including Govind Patel and Vijay Rupani, who wanted to celebrate Modi’s journey to success in becoming the country’s gaffer. But, the prime minister was appalled when informed about the same. He said that the building of a temple is not what India’s great tradition and culture teach us. The youth icon’s marble statue has alone cost about 2 lakh in its making.
in Tamil Nadu
Perhaps no other state in India worships film actors as much as Tamil Nadu. The temple was built in 2011 in Thirunindravoor, Chennai for M G Ramachandran, a former Chief Minister of the state and a popular actor. Kalaivanan, a great fan of the luvvie built the temple with his own money pool and donations from other devotees of the leader-actor.
The temple has three statues of MGR. One as the presiding deity (Moolavar) and the other as Utsavar. Besides those, it houses a six feet tall MGR statue outside its premises which the party workers garlanded to celebrate the occasion of the 102th anniversary of party founder and CM Ramachandran on Jan 17, 2019.
in Uttar Pradesh
The two names that come in my head when people talk about Dalits are Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Mayawati. The latter however, has a temple dedicated to her erected in the poverty-stricken Mahoba district in Bundelkhand, economically the most backward region in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The temple is was built by Kanaihya Lal, a Mahoba-based lawyer who might not be a functionary of the BJP, but is a Dalit. Most people opposed this idea to which Lal said that Indira Gandhi was weighed in silver back in the ‘70s but no one found that outrageous because she was not a Dalit’s daughter. The issue of untouchability and stratification in the Indian society is about 3700 years old and we still seem to not have outgrown it.
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