Kanpur, Oct 11: Ravana is considered as a demon and effigies are burnt on occasion of Dussehra but several people in Kanpur visited the Ravana Temple to pay obeisance to him. This Ravana Temple opens only once in a year on Dussehra festival when people, who view him as a highly learned individual who had knowledge of all Hindu scriptures, visit this temple to pay their homage. This temple"s foundation stone was laid in 1868 and a few years later, an idol of Ravana was consecrated.
Hariom Tiwari, the temple priest explained that Ravana was a brave, intelligent and a good King of Dravidian Gaud tribe. "This is our fifth generation which is performing puja here and our ancestors were here during the installation of this temple. During the Vedic era, Ravana was considered to be a very intelligent person hence his statue has been installed here inspite of his stated shortcomings. He used to favour all demons and did not do anything for the Brahmins. Hence to break his arrogance, Vishnu took birth as Rama. Only on Dashami, a puja is offered and people of all communities come here to offer prayers," said Hariom Tiwari, priest of Ravana temple, Kanpur.
Well-read analysts of Hindu epics remember Ravana as a learned and noble King and an exponent of Sam Veda. It is also said that music was his forte.
They also say that it was pre-ordained that he kidnapped Sita. But he never exploited her.
Further, it is said that Ravana possessed several virtues, the foremost being his knowledge of the sacred books, medicines and sorcery.
An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, Ravana is credited to have composed the vibrant Shiva Tandava Stotra.
"This is the only temple of its kind in north India. Ravana was considered to be the body guard of this Kailash Nath temple and Maa Shakti temple. Neel Kanth (blue necked bird) often comes to this temple," said K.K Tiwari, manager of the Ravana Temple, Kanpur.
In a recent development, certain persons claiming themselves to be descendents of the in-laws of Ravana are building a temple dedicated to the demon king in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.