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A Valentine-Krishna mix to fox moral cops

Chennai, Feb. 5: This is one celebration of Valentine’s Day that even the Shiv Sena cannot object to.

A “Valentine’s Sri Krishna Temple” is coming up in Tamil Nadu, marrying the Hindu god of romance with St Valentine, the European and Christian champion of love.

It has taken an ace mixer of cocktails to conjure up the heady combo. The temple at Sholingur in Vellore district, 140km from Chennai, is being built by R. Jaganaath, a former food and beverages manager with several five-star hotels and the author of a book on cocktails.

Couples, don’t rush to book your ticket for Vellore, though. The temple will open only in April, so lovers must wait till Valentine’s Day next year. By then, the small temple may start competing for eyeballs with the famous hilltop Narasimhar shrine at Sholingur.

Jaganaath says St Valentine and Krishna make the perfect mix.

“In Hindu mythology, Krishna is the only god who is synonymous with love. During various phases in his life, he was loved by mothers, girls, the Yadavs and virtually by every character in the Mahabharat even though he sided with the Pandavas,” he said.

The temple will measure just 36sqft but will have a 12ft-high tower, decked out with a flute and a sadari (image of Vishnu’s feet).

“We have ordered a marble statue depicting Krishna and Radha with a cow and a calf beside them. We have now asked the sculptor to show the cow licking Krishna’s feet to reciprocate his love for animals,” said Jaganaath, who is spending about Rs 2 lakh on the project.

Unlike other temples in Tamil Nadu, devotees will be allowed to touch the deity of Valentine’s Sri Krishna, for “what is love without touching?”

Jaganaath would have loved to open the temple this Valentine’s Day, but the last-minute change to the idol, and the fact that the most auspicious time for consecration falls in April, delayed the plan.

But couples needn’t wait till next February for every day is Valentine’s Day. After all, Jaganaath reasoned, “Legend has it that Krishna had 16,000 wives, so every day was Valentine’s Day for him.”

Hindu gods being reinvented in a “modern” form is nothing new in Tamil Nadu, though.

In 2001, K.R. Ramakrishnan, a company secretary, had converted the Ganesh idol at his apartment complex into a Cricket Ganesh after India won the Calcutta Test against Australia after following on.

He later expanded his temple by installing various other Ganesh idols — some wielding the bat, some the ball, and one with 11 heads — which he named Cricket Maha Ganapathy — that is supposed to represent Team India.

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