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Bibi Nachiyar Story – Muslim Princess Idol In Hindu Temple

The story of Bibi Nachiyar is associated with Sri Ramanujacharya and it is about the unique presence of the murti of a Muslim princess in a Hindu tempel. Bibi Nachiyar is the murti (idol) at the lotus feet of Thirunarayana, the archa murti consecrated by Ramanuja at Thirunarayanapuram temple at Melkote, in Mandya District of Karnataka, India.

The Utsava murti of Thirunarayana, known as Selva Pillai, was with the then Muslim ruler in the last decade of 11th century at Delhi.

The daughter of the emperor in Delhi used to play with the murti and was very attached to it. Ramanujacharya was in search of this murti. Through his intuitive power he discovered that the murti was with the emperor’s daughter. He came to Delhi and requested the emperor to give him the murti for consecration at the Utsava Murti of Thirunarayana.

Unaware of the fact that his daughter possessed the murti, the emperor refused to accept the idea of the presence of murti in his palace.

Ramanuja clearly states that the murti of Sampathakumara was in the possession of his daughter, but being a child, she would not agree to give it away.

However, a powerful prayer of Ramanujacharya made the murti walk from the girl into Ramanuja’s open arms.

He brought the murti to Melkote. The girl could not bear the pain of separation from the murti.

She followed Ramanuja up to the temple precincts and quickly disappeared near the lotus feet of Thirunarayana due to his grace.

In recognition of her attachment to the archamurti, a symbolic murti under the name of Bibi Nachiyar was installed there. It is worshipped along with the main deity, even today.