Monday, June 11, 2018

Excuse me Mr Pilot, wait till I pray at this temple

Nothing stands truer than Bob Dylan’s lyrics for Surat airport. For, it has a temple on its taxiway that connects to the runway.
“The Laalbai Mata temple exists since many years. Earlier, the airport was a farmland and this particular portion belonged to Vhalabhai Fakir, whose ancestors uncovered the red stone which is prayed to as Laalbai Mata. Every Navratri, devotees gather and perform garba in praise of the Goddess,” said Pandit Girish Purohit (71), of Dumas, who used to perform an annual hawan there until last year.
Last year, devotees from Dumas had organized a garba at the foyer entrance of Surat airport because they were not permitted inside due to obvious security reasons.
“While we respect religious sentiments of the people of Bhimpore, Magdalla and Dumas, who have been praying here for years, it is no longer being permitted. In earlier times, there was barely one flight from Surat airport, But now, the number of flights has increased. Therefore, authorities cannot provide such permission,” said Surat airport director Dilip Sajnani. Locals were also upset when the temples of Chetri Mata and Kali Mata were exempted from the airport premises and have to be approached from beyond the boundary wall, which was resurrected after the unfortunate buffalo-hit incident in November 2014.
11/06/18 Ashleshaa Khurana/Times of India