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Muslims Offering Prayers to Lord Venkateswara Especially on Ugadi – Story of Bibi Nancharamma

Lord Venkateswara, famous as Tirupati Balaji, is worshipped and offered prayers by Muslims in certain regions in Kadapa and Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh. Muslims offer prayers in Venkateswara Temples in Kadapa and Rayalaseema during Ugadi, the Hindu lunar year in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

Why Muslims Offer Prayers to Lord Venkateswara

Muslims in the region believe that Bibi Nancharamma, a consort of Lord Sri Venkateswara, is a Muslim. This belief is based on a folk story prevalent in Rayalaseema region.

It is explained by some scholars that the story about Bibi Nancharamma was a folk imagination during the times of conflicts between Hindus and Muslims during the medieval times (Deekshitulu 2010: page 66).

The story is believed to have helped in unifying Muslims and Hindus of the region.

Story of Bibi Nancharamma

The story of Bibi Nancharamma is associated with Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity and consort of Lord Vishnu.

In the regional legend, Goddess Lakshmi curses Lord Srinivasa (Vishnu) to become a stone. She curses Him for marrying Goddess Padmavati.

As per the story prevalent in this region, Padmavati is a manifestation of Sita Mata. She was unable to get the love of Lord Ram and she had to undergo numerous troubles during the Ram Avatar.

Bhagavan Sri Ram had promised Sitathat in her next birth, she will be Padmavati, and he will be Srinivasa and will marry her and they will have a good married life.

Soon Goddess Lakshmi realizes that Goddess Padmavati is herself and the marriage was sanctioned by her.

She then decides to take birth on earth, purify herself, and win a place in the heart of Srinivasa.

She appears in the form of a baby on a lotus flower. She is found by a Muslim ruler. She is named Bibi Nancharamma. Although bought up as a Muslim, she is interested in listening to the stories of Venkateswara.

As she grew up, her devotion also became strong. She was madly devoted to the Lord of Tirumala.

She underwent numerous hardships. Her unwavering devotion to Venkateswara surprised people around her. When people told her that she was born on a Lotus flower she realized that her aim in life was to become the consort of Srinivasa.

She started performing intense austerities to please Venkateswara of Tirumala.

Finally, Srinivasa appeared before her and gave her a place in his heart. She married Lord Venkateswara – the Lord of the seven hills.

Ugadi Worship at Devuni Kadapa Temple by Muslims

Muslims mainly offer worship at the famous Devuni Kadapa Temple. The temple is also known as Tirumala Tholi Gadapa. It is believed that this shrine is the first step in visiting the world famous Tirupati Balaji Temple. The shrine is the gateway to Tirumala.

Muslim men, women and children in large number visit the temple on Ugadi. They offer coconuts and other puja materials to the deity.  

Murtis, or idols of Nancharamma, are found in many Vishnu temples in the region. Some of the murtis are associated with Andal. The story of Andal is also similar to that of Bibi Nancharamma.

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