Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who is on a campaign trail in Kerala, visited the ancient Thirunelli Temple and performed rituals at Papanasini river where his late father Rajiv Gandhi’s ashes were immersed.
Rahul Gandhi, a candidate for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat apart from his home turf Amethi, arrived at the temple Wednesday morning wearing a mundu, a traditional Mayali attire. He offered prayers and later performed rituals at the Papanasini river.
What makes the temple visit even more special for Rahul Gandhi is the fact that his father’s ashes were immersed in the Papanasini river located near the temple in 1991. Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a suicide bomb blast at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
After the prayers, Rahul Gandhi on Twitter wrote that the visit “brought back fond memories of him (Rajiv Gandhi) and our time together.” “Today I visited the Thirunelli Temple in Wayanad, Kerala. This beautiful temple & its surroundings are an oasis of peace & serenity,” he added, sharing the pictures.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said the Gandhi scion “performed rituals for his grandmother, father, forefathers and victims of Pulwama attack.” Talking to reporters, Venugopal said, ” Last time also he had wished to come here but because of security restrictions, he could not do it. He performed rituals as per pujari’s directions,” reported news agency ANI.
Known as the “Kashi of South”, Thirunelli temple is one of the ancient temples in Kerala. It is believed that here the prathishta of Lord Vishnu was performed by Lord Brahma. Thirunelli is also the only temple in the world where devotees can perform all the rituals related to one’s life, starting from birth to death and life after death.
Papanasini means “extinguisher of sins.” According to the temple’s website, immersing the ashes of the dead here is equivalent to that of doing rituals in Gaya in Bihar. It is believed that River Ganga and River Saraswathi join in Papanasini and that a dip in this river will wash away all sins of mortals. There is also a sacred rock near the river called Pinnappara where ritual offerings to the spirits of the departed are made (known as bali).