The Hindu: Sholinghur, a picturesque town in Vellore district, is most famous for its two hill temples: one for Yoga Narasimhar and one for Anjaneya. In between both these hills housing the Hindu gods is also another ‘tiny temple’ that has risen to fame for being a ‘Valentine’s Temple’.
The story of this place goes back a few years ago when R. Jagannath, an ardent Krishna devotee residing in Pazhavanthangal, wanted to construct a temple. He chose Sholinghur, where his family still has connections, and began work on it in 2011.
The gopuram was specially made by an expert from Srirangam and the main idol of Krishna and Radha was made from Jaipur marble. “The biggest attraction is the deity — it has a calf licking Lord Krishna’s feet. This shows affection and love.”
This ‘love’ is what Jagannath hoped people would associate with this temple. And when it came to naming the place, he had a quirky idea. “I’ve grown up in Hyderabad and Bangalore, where Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a lot of fervour even in those days. So, I thought, why not name this temple as ‘Valentine’s Krishna’?”
That was the birth of the ‘God of Love’, as he calls Lord Krishna. “There’s a pressing need to brand what you float, including temples. I sincerely believed that the Lord here could help you unite with the love of your life,” he explains.
But, trouble was lurking in the corner somewhere for Jagannath when a Hindu outfit made some phone threats stating that they would destroy this temple. “It upset me but I didn’t want to hurt any sentiments.” Today, this temple has been renamed as ‘Sri Vrindavana Thulasi Sri Krishna’ and appeals to a lot of corporate employees.
Even as devotees flock to the two traditionally-famous hills of Sholinghur, they also come to worship at this ‘temple of love’. Today, on Valentine’s Day, even as couples all over the world celebrate love, a special puja will take place for Lord Krishna here. “There have been cases of lovers uniting after worshipping here,” he claims, adding that, “At the end of the day, it’s just faith you have in the divine power, isn’t it?”
Other bigger organisations including ISKCON (Bangalore) have come forward to support this. “I’d written to the authorities explaining the concept behind this temple and they immediately wrote back, with a cheque enclosed. Their devotees visit us regularly.”
While this temple has a lot of visitors on New Year’s Day and Pongal, just like other shrines, its special day is actually today. “We’re expecting a lot of couples to visit and we’re sure that ‘Valentine’s Krishna’ will help them.” In a tiny way.