Deities of different castes worshipped together

Azamgarh: This is one temple complex in neighbouring Mau district where the temples are dedicated to different castes with the idols of their respective deities being installed in them and their worship going on since generations by priests of their respective castes.

The Devlas temple complex, about 40 kms from here, which is spread in an area of half a kilometer, houses about 12 main temples of different castes with each having some three to four smaller temples. A new temple of the Prajapati (those making earthern pots) community is also coming up here.

The complex, dedicated to `Devlas Rishi`, has an impressive temple of the sage around which these temples have come up through donations from respective castes.

Unlike the Hindu belief that the priest of a temple must be from the Brahmin community, these temples have the priests from their respective castes.

It has a temple of Sant Ravidas where a Charmkaar (cobbler) is the priest while adjacent to it is the temple of the Rajbhar caste which has been constructed through the donations from the community.

There is also a temple of the Gond caste which was constructed in 1923 and besides the main idol of Lord Shiva, it has got idols of several other deities, including Nathu and Kalu adorning the temple.

There is a temple of the Yadavs where the priest Vindhaychal Das Yadav looks after the worship of lord Krishna and Radha. The temple adjacent to it resemblances the structure of grand statue of Maharana Pratap which is worshipped by the `Kshetriyas`.

Lohars (blacksmith) have also got a temple of Lord Vishwakarma while the temple of Sant Godse have been constructed by the dhobis (washermen) in honour of the saint, who launched a struggle against untouchability and social disparity.

The complex also has separate temples for the Brahmins and followers of Sant Kabir. Nebbu Niptari Das, priest of the temple of the dhobis, said that this complex is a historical one and is one of its kind in the world.

Though there are temples of different castes, there is complete harmony here and all the communities have mutual love and trust for each other, Das said.

People from far off areas flock to these temples during the Chhat festival when a week-long mela is also organised, the priest added.