Sri MGR Year 96, 5th September, Thursday
An article from Times Of India.
A man in a saffron lungi, sitting cross-legged and singing old Tamil film songs might seem out of place at most temples. But, this is not your usual temple.
The deity here is matinee idol M G Ramachandran and the devotees are his ardent fans. Within two years, the MGR temple, with its sanctum sanctorum and a flagpole, has become popular for its religious rituals and tonsures. When L Kalaivanan built it for MGR in 2011, 26 years after the actor's death, all he desired was to build a memorial for his hero. Today, childless couples visit the temple hoping for a miracle.
Located in Nathamedu in Tiruvallur district, 40km from Chennai, the Arulmigu MGR Aalayam attracts devotees from various parts of the state. Every August 15, the temple celebrates its annual festival with a procession carrying MGR's idol through the streets. Huge cutouts and banners of the actor are displayed around the temple.
Though songs from his film blare out of loudspeakers around the temple, Kalaivanan is particular about the songs that are played - only devotional songs from MGR films, so that devotees get the basic idea about life.
The temple is open everyday from 9am to 6pm. During December, the month of MGR's death anniversary, a ritual similar to that practised at Sabarimala is performed here. At least 40 devotees observe a 41-day vritha (fast) after wearing beaded garlands and come to the temple on January 15. "This is similar to the ritual observed in Sabarimala. Devotees remove the garland only after praying to the MGR idol," says Shanthi, Kalaivanan's wife.
The temple has a small hall with a sanctum sanctorum that houses two idols of MGR. A cushioned chair that MGR used at his house in Ramavaram Gardens in Chennai is also enshrined. "I come here once a month. It's a great feeling to bow before MGR," says K Marimuthu, a devotee.
Surprisingly, politicians don't patronize the temple. Kalaivanan says this doesn't bother him. "I adored MGR for his films. They influenced me. MGR as a politician is not important to me," says the 60-year-old newspaper distributor, who wants to be known as an MGR devotee, not fan.
It was a dream that his wife Shanthi had that prompted him to build the temple. "In Shanthi's dream, MGR walked into our house, looking sad. So she took the initiative to build the temple," says Kalaivanan. He sold his property in Pudupet and purchased land for the temple. "Every MGR film that I watched was a lesson. It taught me simple philosophies. I don't bow before other gods today. MGR is my only god," he says.
Foot Note: In the Times of India website to this article many viewers mostly of North Indian and some South Indians had mentioned that MGR is issueless. For them we want to say that MGR had a son through his first wife, the child was still born. And two times his second wife was conceived and Doctors aborted (read MGR’s autobiography Naan Yen Piranthen) because she was suffering from tuberculosis and there was no medicine in those days. So people, hereafter do not make idiotic statement about our Puratchi Thalaivar MGR, when you do not know any basics about MGR.