Karwar: In the Hindu tradition, offerings to Gods are usually purely vegetarian. While fruits and flowers and some delicacies are offered to God, here in the coast of Karnataka stands tall a temple where people deviate from the norms.
The shrine of Khafri Deva witnesses thousands of devotees thronging every year. With packs of cigarettes and bottles of liquor, devotees wait for their turn. Their prayers have been answered by their saviour and they are here to say a 'thank you' to their favourite deity.
Khafri Deva shrine is situated in Kodibhaga of Uttara Kannada district. The legend has it that Khafri Deva was fond of cigars and liquor and it is due to this reason that even to this day, his believers-Hindus, Muslims and Christians offer him the same.
Khafri, an African national, had made his way to the banks of River Kali, centuries ago. Like explained in ‘Robinson Crusoe’ a novel written by Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe ends up with his ship crashing at the sea and a tribal named ‘Friday’ looks at him as if he is a God. Similarly, the people here too believed that Khafri was a God and soon his mystic powers earned him the place of being savior of the poor.
One day, Khafri went missing and all efforts of the villagers to find him met failure. It was then that a villager named Parasappa had a dream and in the dream, Khafri spoke to Parasappa about his wish to have a temple dedicated for himself. His command was that his devotees should offer what he loved the most-liquor and cigarettes.
As per the commands, Parasappa went ahead and built a temple and since then the traditions are being followed. After offering the prasadam, the devotees take it back home.
Such a tradition also reminds of demi-God Koragajja, who is worshipped in the coastal belt of Dakshina Kannada and similar offerings too are made in his honour.
While nobody knows the origin of Khafri and his disappearance too is a mystery, all that is now left is strong faith that people have in him and his powers.
It is this faith that brings them back to the Holy shrine year after year.
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