Devotees in awe as ‘image’ of Hindu goddess caught on camera

2014-04-23 00:00

IS the image in a photograph taken at this past weekend’s firewalking ceremony in Pietermaritzburg that of the Goddess Draupadi?

A photograph taken at the historic Siva Soobramoniar and Marriamen Temples has gone viral on social networks with devotees who were present declaring it a miracle.

The photograph shows the flames from the fire pit in the temple grounds leaping into the air and above the flames there appears to be the image of the Goddess Draupadi, who is honoured during the firewalking ceremony.

It all started when Dinney Harischandra (32), an armed response security guard, was helping his family man a soft drinks stall just outside the temple gates. He watched as the pit of hot coals was being prepared for the devotees who were to walk on the fire later that afternoon.

Fifteen tons of wood were piled high on the pit and then lit. Impressed by the height of the flames, Harischandra decided to take a photograph with his BlackBerry cellphone.

Harischandra showed the photo to his sister, who looked closely and pointed out to him that the figure above the flames looked like the Goddess Draupadi.

Word spread around among the thousands of devotees at the temple on Good Friday and soon the image was being passed from cellphone to cellphone.

Temple chairperson Willie Naidoo said there was a buoyant atmosphere at this year’s ceremony and talk all around of the “miracle” that had taken place. He said as a result of this air of confidence more than 1 000 devotees walked across the almost ankle deep fire pit filled with red-hot embers.

He said that even an 11-year-old school pupil had walked through safely.

Naidoo is convinced that they had witnessed a miracle, and so too is temple president Sunny Naidoo, who believes the sighting is a harbinger of good news not just for the local temple, but for the broader community.

Officials had the image enlarged and framed and it now hangs in the historic religious precinct, at the corner of Langalibalele (Longmarket) and William streets, which is over 100 years old.

The Harischandra family feel especially blessed and are positive that what happened is going to have more than a healing effect on their family.

Harischandra accidentally fell down more than a month ago and broke his right leg. He had to have a plate fitted and is currently hobbling around on crutches. The family have always been great devotees of the Goddess Draupadi and Harischandra’s younger brother, Vinesh (28) has taken part in the annual firewalking ceremony for the past eight years.

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