Thursday, 7 February 2013

The temple chariot of Krishna that turned out to be a fake

It was 2001 and a chariot was taking Lord Krishna around in a procession. There is nothing unusual in this. India is a land of temples and almost every temple has a chariot.
The presiding deities are taken around in a procession. In this case, too the presiding deity of the temple was Lord Krishna and the Utsava Murthy was being taken around in a chariot. What made this event all the more poignant was that the chariot was being used after 21 years.
So what, you may ask. In many temples, chariots are out of order or under repair and the chariot procession stays suspended for some time. However, this really was a unique occasion.
The original chariot had come back to the temple after 21 years. Did you know what had happened to it.
The chariot had been given for repairs to a carpenter and realising the antique vale of the magnificent wooden vahana or vehicle, he had sold it to an antique dealer and replaced it with a fake one.
The story of the “stolen” chariot did not end here. It was recovered from the antique dealer by the police. Though the police did get in touch with the temple authorities and even after they identified it as theirs, it took 21 long years for the entire process of court case, conviction to be completed before it could be harnessed for religious uses.
Well. We have heard and read about jewel and idol thieves and even miscreants breaking the temple hundi. This perhaps must be the first incident in public domain when a chariot has been stolen and replaced with a fake one.
This happened to the temple of Krishna also called as Temple of Madhavarai in Madhavapur in Gujarat.
Madhavapur is a coastal town in Porbandar district. It is located near the Arabian Sea. This small temple town is very well-known in Gujarat as the place where Lord Krishna married Rukmini.
Krishna had carried away Rukmini from Amravathi in Maharashtra and his chariot had stopped at Madhavapur. He got married to Rukmini here and a Krishna temple has been constructed at the place where their marriage took place.     
 The Rama Navami here is special as devotees throng the temple in thousands to witness the chariot procession. This was the day when Krishna married Rukmini.
A businessman from Bombay had visited the temple moiré than 160 years ago and he donated the chariot etched with wooden horses. The chariot was as big a draw to the devotees as the deity.
With the chariot suffering wear and tear, the temple management decided to get it repaired. In 1987, the chariot was dispatched to a carpenter in Junagadh who promised to carry out the repairs.   
The carpenter was stunned to see the exquisite work on the chariot and he sold it to an antique dealer in Jaipur. He then cleverly replaced the original chariot with a fake one and sent it back to the temple. He even collected the amount for repair of the chariot.
By then, the original chariot reached Jaipur via Ahmedabad. Unfortunately for the antique dealer, a team of CBI officials raided the place and discovered the chariot.
The chariot was identified by the members of  a management committee who were shocked at the duplicity of the carpenter. Then began the long wait for the chariot. The legal battle over the chariot took 18 long years and the temple trust finally managed to get back the chariot.
It was only in November 18, 2006 that the CBI handed over possession of the chariot to the Madhavarai temple. The original chariot was then used for the first time after 21 years and that too in 2009 after undertaking suitable repairs.
Thousands of people, particularly from the Ghed area nearby, celebrate Krishna’s marriage with Rukmini, with pomp and gaiety. The beach here is very beautiful.
Madhavpur is 70 Kilometres to the north of Somnath (Veraval) and 80 Kms from Dwarka.  

1 comment:

  1. Hare Krsna Hare Rama

    Wonderful to get back the chariot.

    It is not the only one and there are lot of our Hindu heritage items and antiques stolen from INDIA.

    We all Hindus must be united to bring back our antique items that was taken from INDIA.