Faith and healing

The Sree Kadampuzha Bhagavathy Temple in Malappuram has for centuries witnessed devotees performing its main Muttarukkal (removal of obstacles) offering where the priest breaks a coconut after reading out the name and birth star of the devotee and mentioning the difficulty for which remedy is sought, be it for blessing for education (Vidhyamuttu), cure from physical ailments (Dehamuttu), etc. The priest breaks the coconut on the granite slab set up on the floor before the deity. If the coconut breaks into two equal halves, the offering is considered to be a success.

In a unique initiative, the temple has set a model by also venturing to provide bodily solace to people even while being a spiritual abode for tens of thousands of devotees.

Come November, the temple will have right next to it a kidney-shapedmodern dialysis centre providing free dialysis treatment to people from all religious backgrounds set up at a cost of over Rs 10 crore. The temple authorities also plan to upgrade the centre into a super specialty nephrology hospital where organ transplants can also be held in the next phase. The healthcare intervention by the temple springs from its three-decade-old tradition of running a small charitable clinic where a free consultation is offered since 1988.

“Temple is not just a place for worship alone. It should be a cultural centre as wellupholding the values of spirituality, art, science, architecture, etc. For a temple, Manav Seva (serving humanity) is an important element and an integral part of Madhav Seva (service of God). We tried to uphold this message while going ahead with our endeavour to provide solace to people,” Malabar Devaswom Board president M R Murali said.

Murali said the response from devotees and other well-wishers from the initiative has been encouraging and already people and institutions have sponsored 10 dialysis machines apart from making financial contributions from CSR funds for the project. He said the construction of the dialysis centre is almost over and the temple authorities plan to open it to the public next month.

Kadampuzha Bhagavathy Temple executive officer A S Ajayakumar, who had initiated the project, said a survey conducted in the locality showed that there were around 400 kidney patients whoneeded dialysis in the nearby panchayats, many of whom couldn’t get proper treatment due to long waiting list at the existing dialysis facilities and also due to financial constraints.

“The figures were alarming and we also found that many poor patients who had todo three dialysis sessions a week were conducting just one due as they don’t have money. So, we thought of giving them a helping hand by setting up a modern dialysis centre. Also, it would mark the expansion of the charitable hospital run by the temple for over three decades. Already,around 150 patients are turning up there daily for free treatment. The new building would help us provide them with better facilities,” said Ajayakumar.

He said though the temple is yet to start registration for dialysis, as many as 70 patients have already approached them for registration on hearing about the initiative, sadly two of them have passed away.

He said the free healthcare initiative would provide a model for other temples to venture into such charitable initiatives.

“Charitable activities are envisaged to be a key element of the activities of temples as the Malabar Devaswom Board is still governed by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Administration) Department (H. R & C. E) Act. It is mentioned in the Act itself that temples should carry out charitable endowment activities. But not many temples have ventured in that direction. We hope that our initiative will set a model in this direction,” he said.

The temple authorities have signed an MoU with Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, Kottakkal which will help in the initiative by providing services of a nephrologist.

Hundreds of devotees from across the country visit the Sree Kadampuzha Bhagavathy Temple daily. It is estimated that around 25,000 Muttarukkal offerings are being held daily in the temple. Kadampuzha temple’s other famed offering, Poomoodal, is so popular that it has been booked in advance until 2047.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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