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After museums, monuments, galleries, performances, and more take to the digital realm with virtual tours for spectators abiding by stay-at-home orders, Karnataka’s temples plan to live stream pujas and home deliver prasad to devotees. By Upasana Singh

The Muzrai Department authorities in Karnataka are planning to start live stream puja services and e-darshan for devotees from now on. With most essential services going online, some of the most prominent temples in the state are looking to do the same. In the first phase, 50 temples in the state will be allowed to provide their services.

 

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As reported by The Hindu, State Minister for Religious Endowment Kota Srinivas Poojary stated that they are planning to introduce online pujas, which can be booked by people. Devotees will be able to choose from 15 kinds of pujas including mangalaarthi, archane pushpaalankaara puja, and ashtothhara. As per government orders, pujas will be telecasted live on temple websites and Facebook in around 15 districts. The offerings— prasad and theertha (holy water)—will also be couriered to devotees via postal services.

The administrations of temples such as Kollur Mookambika in Udupi, Banashankari temple in Bengaluru, Nanjundeshwara temple in Nanjangud, Chamundeshwari temple in Mysuru, and Subramanyeshwara temple near Mangaluru, have been requested to set up webcams for the live telecast of pujas for devotees willing to participate on a daily basis.

The decision comes amid major economic losses. In 2019, according to data from the Muzrai Department, temples in ‘A’ category (with revenue of INR 25 lakhs and more) collected around INR 113 crores from March till May. However, this year, owing to the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown restrictions, religious centres across India have been closed. In the southern state, most visited temples including Kukke Subramanya and Kollur Mookambika are shut down, leading to a significant loss of revenue for the state government.

 

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Poojary stated that the government has decided to release INR 33.66 crore to give as salaries of priests in 29,700 temples for three months. Although the priests have pleaded with the government to reopen temples, the current COVID-19 situation does not permit the authorities to do so. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see facilities like e-darshan and home delivery of prasad for devotees who can pray from the comfort of their homes amid lockdown.

Related: #SomeGoodNews: Tirumala Tirupati Temple Plans To Reopen Soon