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Of worship and faith; TN hamlet with no doors?

S Singan | August 23, 2005 15:58 IST

It may just be another hamlet dotting the country's landscape, but this one sure is different.  

Visitors to Pappanam, a remote village in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, are often left perplexed as nearly 150 houses here do not have a door at the entrance.

The village, accessible only by a 4km 'othayadi pathai' or 1-foot broad pathway, is mostly inhabited by Adi Dravidar people, belonging to Devendirakula Velalar community.

The reason for not having doors -- as residents put it, is, "we are bound by the local deity Muniappa Swamy's command."

According to Rakhi, an old woman of the village, the deity, through a devotee in trance, had long ago told the villagers, "you should provide my temple with a gold plated door, then you will find treasure at the village common ground, which can be used to provide doors for your houses."

"We are bound by God's command. We also don't provide cot to people from other communities coming to our village... This is another taboo, we strictly follow," says the octogenarian.

"A person, who tried to violate the taboo by fixing doors in his house, lost his cattle immediately.... and we all got scared.... our deity is so powerful," she adds.

The villagers are proud that no theft has been reported for generations.

"We have not lost a single grain or money, though our houses are always open," they say.

"It is not only in our houses that no theft has been reported, but in the temple too. There are hundreds of bells in the temple.... not a single bell has been stolen, though in neighbouring villages, bells have been stolen by anti-social elements," says a villager.

The only grievance of the villagers is that they do not have a proper road. "The land owners are unwilling to give land for the purpose," they say.

Several local people, except the aged, have migrated to Tiruppur and other places in search of jobs. Even the village chief lives in the neighbouring village. The village celebrates the temple festival in Tamil month of 'Ani,' from June 15-July 16, with the villagers hoping that they could fulfill their deity's wish.

"Our faith will one day help us fulfill the wish of God to provide gold plated door for the temple.... it is not far away."

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