As the clock turned past six on Thursday evening, the Lekshmi Narasimha Murthy temple in Kerala's Malappuram district witnessed a rare event. In a show of religious harmony, the temple hosted an iftar dinner for the Muslim community in Kottakkal, the town where the temple is located.
Not just Muslims, but even Hindus living in the locality took part in the iftar, that was held in a house adjacent to the temple premises.
According to the temple committee secretary Mohanan Nair, at least 600 people attended the iftar dinner. The dinner was hosted at a hall adjacent to the temple compound, in which both Hindus and Muslims took part in.
This is not the first time the temple is hosting an iftar dinner. Last year, the temple committee hosted the dinner, in what was lauded as a means of strengthening the religious harmony.
Speaking to TNM, secretary Mohanan Nair said that the iftar dinner was held as part of the Consecration Day celebrations.
"While religious disharmony and violence in the name of faith is happening in other parts of the country, our locality has thankfully not seen such an issue. The people here, who are primarily from Hindu and Muslim communities, have been living in harmony for years. And we decided to host iftar dinner not because our harmony and peace had been disturbed, but because we want the peace to prolong," Mohanan Nair said.
Over the past few weeks, the temple committee representatives have been going from house to house, to personally invite Muslims residing in the locality, to take part in the iftar dinner.
"We did not want to print out notices, but went individually to houses to invite them. We have got enormous support from every one and people are happy to join us in this. From the temple priest to the residents, everyone took it up in a good spirit," Mohanan said.
Considering that the iftar dinner was hosted by the temple, the menu was strictly vegetarian.