A video is being widely shared on social media, claiming to show a devotee of Lord Ayyappan singing a Muslim prayer, “La ilaha illallah,” during a bhajan at a temple in Kerala. The post alleges that this incident occurred due to the appointment of Muslim and Christian people as priests in Hindu temples. The post also blames the Congress party and the Communist government for destroying the Hindu Culture. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Video of an Ayyappan Devotee singing a Muslim prayer during Bhajan at a temple in Kerala.
Fact: The video is not from a temple in Kerala but rather from a Padi Puja event held in Eluru City, Andhra Pradesh in 2017. Furthermore, over the years, there have been numerous instances of Ayyappan devotees incorporating references to Vavar Swami, a devotee of Lord Ayyappan, and Islamic phrases into their songs. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.
Through a thorough internet search using appropriate keywords, we were able to locate the complete version of the viral video on YouTube. The video, which was posted in 2019 and titled “La ilaha illallah ayyappa swamula songs,” showcases devotees singing Ayyappan Bhajans while incorporating Islamic prayer phrases. The lead singer converses in Telugu and alludes to Vavar Swami during the song. Also, the Orchestra banner visible at 3:49 is written in the Telugu Language.
Building upon this lead, we conducted a deeper search and discovered several other videos of the same event uploaded on YouTube in 2017. These videos reveal that the event in question is the Ayyappa Swami Padi Puja, which took place at Chalasani Gardens, a function hall situated in the city of Eluru, Andhra Pradesh. Some of the videos of the event can be seen here, here, and here.
A comparison of the viral video with visuals of Chalasani Gardens confirms that the event took place at the function hall and not at a temple in Kerala. The Singer in the viral video, N Balaji, also confirmed the same to India Today in 2021.
Why Islamic references in Ayyappan Bhajan?
According to Sabarimala Devasthanam’s website, Vavar, also known as Vavaruswami was a Muslim saint who became a devotee of Lord Ayyappa. There is a shrine dedicated to Vavaruswami at Sabarimala, as well as Vavaruswami’s mosque at Erumeli next to Erumeli Sastha temple. Over the years, there have been several instances of Ayyappan devotees including references to Vavar Swami and Islamic phrases in their songs. Some of them can be seen here and here.
To sum it up, the video claiming to show Ayyappa devotees singing Islamic chants at a temple in Kerala is actually from a ‘padi pooja’ event in Andhra Pradesh, where devotees were singing in praise of Vavar Swamy.