For about 13 years, a temple in Ahmedabad has been bringing lovers together, sealing their relationship, often not accepted by their families or society, with “weddings”. On Saturday, to mark Valentine’s Day, Hanuman temple in Meghaninagar area of the city, helped five couples to get married as police kept vigil, amid fear of violence from a few political groups. Inspector A M Desai, in-charge of Meghaninagar police station, said: “The policemen were stationed in the area to ensure the marriages went off well.”
This year, even as Bajrang Dal vowed to get couples found in parks married on the spot, the temple stood by its promise to bring lovers closer, helping those who wish to spend their lives together enter into the sacred bond of matrimony.
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The ancient Hanuman temple, fondly called “Laganiya Hanuman” (Lagan is a Gujarati word for marriage), has a legend that wishes made here — for love or for happy married life — come true. About 10,000 couples, who have got married here since 2003, would vouch for it: It is here that their wishes have come true. Heerabhai Juguji, the priest of the temple, said, “This temple makes lovers meet. We have brought so many couples, who are not accepted by their families or society, closer. They have lived happily ever after. In 2004, a local court came up here and after that we started getting the couples married. However, this year, with a ban on lovers being spotted together, the couples were too scared to take the step. We still had five couples, two from outside Ahmedabad, who specially came here to get married.” The temple gets the marriages solemnised by the Registrar, offering the couples marriage certificates to accord their relationships legal sanctity.
The temple, run by Dada Hanuman Charitable Trust, was just a small temple tucked away in the lanes of Meghaninagar, before the legend of Hanuman bringing couples closer spread. Ever since the first marriage of a couple here in 2003, scores of couples wait for Valentine’s Day to throng to the temple to get married.
For those who care about the rituals, the temple does everything it can, including a Ganesh pooja and a havan to the Kuldevi of the couple. The priest chants the verses as the couples exchange vows. “The couples then take blessings of Hanumanji and make a wish for their togetherness which never goes unfulfilled,” says Juguji.
The registration of the marriages is done at the temple for Hindus. However, for inter-faith marriages, the couples first register themselves under the Special Marriage Act. The temple has helped several Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian couples get married here till 2008. Among them, more than 100 odd Hindu-Muslim couples got married at the temple till 2008. The inter-faith marriages stopped here after 2008 as some political groups protested against it.
The couples pay a fee (anywhere between Rs 101 and Rs 1,501) to get their marriage ceremony organised in the temple. However, the marriages for the poor are free. After an year of marriage, when they are blessed with a child, the couples return to the temple to pay obeisance. The temple had couples from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, besides a few NRIs.