Duryodhana is the main antagonist of the Mahabharata. Anyone who has seen any of the numerous television serials based on the epic, know how cruel, conniving and greedy the Kaurava prince was.
Yet he is worshipped in two places of the country – Kerala and Uttarakhand.
In the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand stands a temple dedicated to Duryodhana. The architecture of the temple is in distinctive style of the state, with sloped roofs and wooden sides.
Located in Jakholi, the temple is revered by the locals, who believe that the eldest of the Kaurava clan is their guardian deity.
A report says that the locals have stopped worshipping Duryodhana over the last few months and are now worshipping Lord Shiva, the main deity of the temple.
Though offerings are still made to a gold-plated axe believed to be that of Duryodhana kept inside the temple.
According to a local legend, surviving soldiers of Duryodhana’s army fled to this place from Kurukshetra and founded a shrine dedicated to their master. Gradually, this shrine became a temple.
There is another Duryodhana temple and it is located around 3000 kms from Uttarkashi.
The Poruvazhy Peruviruthy Malanada, also known as the Malanada Duryodhana Temple is in Kunnathoor Taluk of Kollam district of Kerala.
There is no presiding deity in the temple. In other words, there is no idol of any God in Malanada. People worship a supreme power which they call Duryodhana.
Legend has it that Duryodhana did not die at the hands of Bhima at Kurukshetra and instead escaped to this place. Here he was welcomed by the villagers whose hospitality touched his heart.
Thus came up a temple in his honour.