In Karnataka, a church that is also a temple


Hindus attend mass at the Snanika Arulappanavara Virakta Mutt in Belagavi that has a Siva lingam, Jesus and Mary idols

About 28 km from Belagavi in north Karnataka, in a picturesque village called Deshanur, stands the impressive stone building of Snanika Arulappanavara Virakta Mutt, or the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

The structure, built in the Banarasi Nagara style, is seen as an example of syncretism: it has a Siva lingam, flanked by the idols of Jesus and Mary. Its walls are adorned with the sayings of the saint-poet-reformer Basaveshwara, the icon of the Lingayat movement, poet-musician Purandara Dasa, and also the Bible.

The Jesuit priest who runs the Church, Menino Gonsalves alias Sri Menino Swamy, wears saffron robes and a rudraksha mala with a cross. He performs pooja with aarathi during mass, and claims to be an Ayurvedic healer. He has visited Rishikesh and Haridwar and also the Vatican. He speaks eight languages and conducts mass in Kannada. In a village that has no Christians, the church has full attendance during Sunday mass.Read more

Source web page: The Hindu


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