Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dola Mata temple Honors a muslim womanin Gujrat


In Sunita Williams’s native village, goddess Dola is a Muslim woman
Legend has it that over 250 years ago, Dola fought off infiltrators and looters valiantly but died. It is believed that her body metamorphosed into a flower and that the temple came up on the spot of the miracle.
AHMEDABAD: Jhulasan, a small village 40 km north of Ahmedabad, might be famous as the birth place of Indian-American astronaut Sunita Willaims's father. But it's also as interesting as the space woman. The village has perhaps the only Hindu temple that worships a Muslim deity - Dola Mata.

Legend has it that over 250 years ago, Dola fought off infiltrators and looters valiantly but died. It is believed that her body metamorphosed into a flower and that the temple came up on the spot of the miracle.

"The temple has been built in the memory of this brave Muslim woman whose name nobody really knows," said Dinesh Rawal, Williams' cousin and a former chairman of the municipal school board of Ahmedabad. "The fact is that though there has been no Muslim family in Jhulasan for years, villagers believe that the deity will always fight adversities and offer them protection."

Rich villagers contributed Rs 4-odd crore in the recent past to build a decorated temple for their deity. President of the Jhulasan Kelavani Mandal, 71-year-old Ranjitsinh Vaghela, says it is true that the shrine was built in the memory of a Muslim woman. "The temple does not have any idol or picture. A yantra is placed upon a stone and is covered with a saree," said Vaghela. "When there is any calamity, villagers chant 'Dola Mata taara ghoda dodaye' urging the mother to fight for them."

The shrine is also famous as 'Dollar Mata' temple because 1,500 people from the village of 7,000 are settled in the US. The deity is believed to fulfill the wishes of residents who want to immigrate to foreign lands. People take a pledge to hold a garba in the honour of Dola Mata once they reach the US safely.

Sunita Williams will offer prayers here, as usual, on April 4 after her arrival. The villagers had lit up an "akhand diya" for Williams that glowed continuously till her safe return to earth last November from her four-month-long space odyssey.

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