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Tipu Sultan Wanted To Demolish This Temple In Kerala But Didn’t. Why?

Updated on 2 May, 2017 at 3:41 pm By

Scholars – the liberal ones, I mean – claim that Tipu Sultan was one of the noblest rulers of the Deccan plateau.

As per the widely held and read narrative, Tipu was tolerant towards all religions and was, in fact, one of the first fighters against the colonial rule.


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Tipu Sultan’s portrait at British Library. Wikimedia Commons

Whatever the Left historians may state, Tipu was ambitious and wanted to establish the rule of Islam throughout the lands around Mysore.

This is precisely why he destroyed temples and forcibly converted thousands during his conquests and invasions.

 

A boy poses inside a dungeon at Srirangapatna. Such dungeons were used by Tipu to imprison Hindus and Christians who did not convert. Creative Commons

But a major temple in Kerala survived the wrath of Tipu’s sword – Madhur temple near Kasaragod.

 

The temple was one of the many that fell on the way of Tipu’s army while they marched towards Malabar sometime around 1788.

The temple was built to worship Madhanentheswara, a form of Shiva. Gradually, the worship of Lord Ganesha, too, became a ritual at the temple and today it is more famous as a Ganapati temple than a Shiva temple.

Since temple resembles the back of an elephant, it is also called ‘Gaja Prishtha’ (literally, elephant back).


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The Ganesha idol at Madhur temple. Note the shape of the temple; it resembles the back of an elephant. Blogspot.in



According to legend, by the time Tipu and his army came across this temple in north Kerala they were very thirsty.

As was being done by him all along, Tipu wanted this temple demolished but thirst got the better of him.

When he and his army entered it, they found fresh water in the pond of the temple. They decided to quench their thirst and then proceed with the demolition.

 

The pond at Madhur temple. Wikimedia Commons

But something strange happened.

After Tipu drank the water, a strange realization dawned upon him and he decided not to demolish the temple.

Yet his Islamic leanings and army needed to be satisfied too, so Tipu left a mark with his sword on a part of the structure around the temple well.

 

The mark is still visible.

There are other narratives as well behind why Tipu may have left a mark on the temple but the most accepted one is that the water of the temple ‘converted’ his mind.


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But that ‘conversion’ was only for this temple because Tipu would march on to Malabar, raze many temples and convert “4 lakh Hindus to Islam”.

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