Mumbai: While the offerings in most temples are flowers, garlands, coconuts and donations, Baba Bhairon Nath, the presiding deity of a shrine in suburban Chembur, has a rather different taste. If it is toddy for Muthappan in Parassinikadavu, Kerala, devotees offer bottles of whiskey, rum, vodka and other varieties of liquor to Baba Bhairon Nath on 'Kartik Ekadashi' – the 11th lunar day of Kartik month.
The temple, built some four decades back in a corner of a crematorium, witnessed a steady stream of devotees on October 31 which was Kartik Ekadashi as per the Hindu calendar.
The booze offered to the deity was later drunk as 'prasad' by the devotees.
Bhairon Nath is considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Ramesh Lohana, the temple's caretaker, said: "Thousands of devotees from all faiths throng the temple on Kartik Ekadashi to offer liquor. We are carrying on this tradition for the last forty years."
According to Lohana, offering liquor to propitiate gods is not a very unique phenomenon in India.
"We find several references in our mythology about it," he said.