Ever Imagined why Railways would give land to build temples in its place? Not just one but many along along a 307 km long stretch. Don't believe me, Take a look at the newspaper report.
http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/bLiquor-as-offering-and-divine-counselling-in-Kerala-temple-b/348439/. It says
"Interestingly, railway stations in north Malabar region have historical and deep rooted bonding with Lord Muthappan as there are over 20 "Railway Muthappan" temples dotted along the 307-KM long Shorannur-Mangalore stretch. "
For those of you who don't know Muthappan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muthappan_temple). Is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Siva. And as I have seen in Hindu mythology, Lord Siva gets associated with the poor and downtrodden. One can go back to Daksha Yaga where he came down with his asura gana in a fist of anger to the Chatan belief in Kerala.
The story goes like this (from what I have heard). Back during the British period, there were lot of robberies in the Railway yard. It continued Uncontrolled and unabated. The employees got a bit anxious. They decided to establish a Muthappan Temple at Kannur and that lead to decrease in thefts. Many of Railway employees believe Lord Muthappan is their savior. And so started the history of Railway Muthappan Temples in North Kerala. As the article says, there are close to 20 of them in the 307 Km stretch.
And so I decided to visit the temple last week. I just passed by the town on Thursday and thought may be I should go in. To me things happen like this "He calls I go and things happen." I went there and my typical offering is Anna Danam (Offering food for the hungry). Friday is an auspicious days for Lord Muthappan. Rituals are performed on that day at the temple. Every Friday afternoon after the ritual starts the anna danam is done.
I went back to the temple on Friday for Anna Danam. The person who has given the offering is also requested to join the Anna Danam. The queue was long & many people and come over for food. The typical people whom you will see are Beggers from all around Kannur Town, I saw one guy who sits at the Railway station and Bus stand at the place, wage workers , Porters, People who work at the shops for wages as low as 4000/- per month. At least on this day their family members don't have to pack food for them :) and a host lot of other people. So you take your plate and proceed towards the hall where food is served. There is a separation for Men and Women. Food that is typically served is Rice, Sambar and Pachadi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_pachadi). All served hot. The organizers request you not to waste food and that is so true. You have people starving for food why waste?
The hall is small, I took a glass of water and sat next to an old person. The summer months are pretty hot in Kannur and I can see this old person holding on to the umbrella (in his lap). I smile at him while I eat and he smiles back. The food tasted good. In fact very much like home food. After finishing lunch I proceeded downstairs where one has to also wash his /her own plate and glasses before keeping back. I bowed to Muthappan and was on my way.
To me this looked more like sathsang. Teaching all of us are equal. everyone stands in the same queue, eats the same food and no discrimination on caste, creed or religion. Universal Truth " All are equal in My eyes" .
Muthappa Sharanam! I was on my way back to home.