Hindu gods and goddesses are glorified by serving them the food they are said to like. You can often find laddus served to a Ganesh idol, bowls full of butter served to the deity in a Krishna temple and the love of ghee for which Ayyappa is famous. But, have you ever heard of a baby god who seems to be in love with chocolates, like any kid would be?
The Bala Murugan Temple
The baby Murugan deity, known by the name of Bala Murugan is known to be so fond of Nestle’s Munch chocolates, that he is known as Munch Murugan. Bala Murugan is the Lord of the Chemmoth Sree Subramaniya Swami Shrine, a temple in Alappuzha.
Any temple often receives flowers, fruits or sandal paste as an offering for their deity. But, the temple of Thekkan Palani Balasubramania often finds loads of chocolate bars offered by children and students to the baby god.
The Balasubramania temple at Subramaniapuram is located few minutes away from the main town of Alappuzha. It is famously known as Palani of the South temple, as the deity and the lamp were brought her from Palani Murugan Temple, Dindigul.
During the exam days, the temple is flooded with students who offer chocolates to “Munch Murugan” and seek his blessings. Not only them, the tradition is now followed by the elderly as well.
How did the tradition begin?
The temple authorities say that, the reason this tradition began is still not completely known. They say that the ritual began six years back when a small boy insisted on offering his favorite chocolates to Lord Bala Murugan. Ever since his wishes were granted, the other children began to follow suit. They offer chocolate bars to the deity, especially during the months of exams.
Like any other temple, garlands of flowers or lemons were offered to Bala Murugan, before the tradition began. Now, Nestle Munch chocolate garlands have replaced them, for the love of Munch Murugan towards chocolates.
Some devotees also offer “Munch Para”, which is a chocolate offering filled in a traditional vessel that can carry upto 8 kgs of rice. Other devotees are even seen offering chocolates equal to the body weight of the deity. This is traditionally known as “Munch Thulabharam”.
What does the temple do with so many chocolates?
The Munch Murugan or Bala Murugan has become a popular pilgrim destination which attracts many devotees from all over the world.Pilgrims, who come from far-off states and other countries, offer cartons full of chocolates to the baby deity. The temple authorities soon faced the problem of too many chocolates getting accumulated in the temple. This issue was soon resolved when the authorities decided to give away the chocolates as “prasadam”, once the “pushpanjali” and “aarti” ceremonies were conducted.
The shrine was built by a devotee of Lord Murugan, decades ago. It is said that the Lord himself came into his dreams and instructed the devotee to build the temple. The temple of Murugan (also known as Kartikeyan or Subramanya), the son of Lord Shiva, was recently renovated, keeping in mind, the increase in rush.
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