An 80-year-old woman who has been collecting donations from worshippers at temple entrances across the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts has contributed Rs 1 lakh to the Kshethra Rajarajeshwari Temple in Polali, around 20 kilometres from Mangaluru.
After her husband died, Ashwathamma, an octagenarian from Kanchagodu hamlet in Kundapur taluk of Karnataka’s Udupi district, has been begging at various temples for the past eighteen years.
When her children died, the elderly woman had yet another huge setback, and she was obliged to beg because she had no other means of money. However, Ashwathamma only utilised a tiny fraction of her savings for personal purposes, and the rest was stored in a bank to be used for temple and charitable donations.
The woman raised Rs 1 lakh by begging in front of the Polali temple for almost a month during its annual Jatra Mahotsav, and the money was presented to the temple. She sent the money to the Polali temple trustees on Friday for the temple’s mass feeding programme.
Ashwathamma stated that she was returning the money that society had given her and that her sole prayer is that no one should remain hungry.
According to a source, this is not the first time Ashwathamma has showed her kindness, as she had donated six lakh to various temples over the last 18 years. As Ashwathamma’s fortune expanded, she chose to return everything to God.
She has given annadana to over 1 lakh devotees at various locations in Sabarimala so far. She has given tens of lakhs to temples such as the Sri Aiyappa Temple at Sabarimala, as well as temples in Polali, Saaligrama, and others. Aside from that, she has given to many orphanages in the Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts.
According to the Executive Officer of Rajarajeshwari Temple in Polali, on Friday, Ashwathamma indicated her wish to contribute the money through a restaurant owner near the temple. The officer said that it was Ashwathamma’s goodwill gesture that she did not utilise the money she got through begging.