Madanapalle, the small historical and educational town in Andhra Pradesh of southern India, also has places of worship for all faiths. There are many temples dedicated: Courtlo Gangamma Temple, Sri Dakshina Shirdi, Lord Venkateswara Swamy, Lord Ayyappa, Basinikonda Temple and temple in Horsley Hills known as Yenugulla Mallamma Temple (Enugulla Mallamma or Anugulla/Anugu Mallamma Temple). According to a local legend, Mallamma lived on this hill and into senility, and she was fed by the elephants and visited by people from surrounding villages for wisdom.
C. Harish Reddy, resident of Madanapalle, says within the reach of the town are Boyakonda Gangamma Temple (16 km), Shiva Temple in Mallaiah Konda (35 km), and within the town there is dargarh and the historic Church of South India (CSI) the most popular one. The worshippers gather at the church every Sunday, and the church has architectural importance – some features of Gothic architecture and painted in terracotta colour with white borders and patches, innovative layouts, and well-thought execution. And there are mosques and dargahs in the town: Dargah of Hazrat Baba Ehsanullah Khan and Hazrath Masthanvali Dargah, and the conspicuous one is on a hillock.
K. Ashok, a thinker and philosopher, pointed out to Sri M, or Mumtaz Ali Khan, or Sri Madhukarnath ji who is living nearby Madanapalle. Sri M is considered as a living yogi, and was a disciple of Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji whose guru was Mahavatar Babaji. Sri M was honoured by the Government of India by conferring Padma Bhushan in 2020, India’s third-highest civilian honour. He was born on 6 November 1948 into an affluent and liberal Muslim family in Kerala’s capital city Trivandrum (Tiruvananthapuram) on the west coast of India by Arabian Sea. His maternal grandmother had Sufi connections and shared Sufi stories in his childhood. In his autobiography Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master, Sri M describes meeting his Guru Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji when he was nine years old. He writes, “After the jackfruit tree incident, although outwardly I looked like any other boy of that age, my personality had undergone a profound change. A secret life went on within, side by side with the ordinary activities of day to day existence. The inner journey had begun and the first sign of this was that I began to meditate without even knowing the word meditation.” He then went on his quest to find his master in Himalayas and he finally met Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji whom he had met at his house. He returned from Himalayas and continued to explore, and at the Krishnamurti Foundation he met his future wife Sunanda Sanadi, with whom he now has two grown-up children. He now heads the Satsang Foundation, which runs two schools in Andhra Pradesh: the Peepal Grove School and the Satsang Vidyalaya. The Peepal Grove School, which is a boarding school, was inaugurated by the former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006. Satsang Vidyalaya is a free school in Madanapalle where he lives. In 2015, Sri M undertook a long journey on foot (padayatra) called ‘Walk of Hope’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir – an exercise to restore the innate spirituality of the nation. His books are: Wisdom of the Rishis: The Three Upanishads (Ishavasya, Keno, Mandukya) translated by Kamal Aswami and published by Satsang Communications (2002), Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master published by Magenta Press (2010), Jewel in the Lotus: Deeper Aspects of Hinduism published by Magenta Press (2011), The Journey Continues published by Magenta Press (2017) and Shunya a novel in 2018.
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