Novel coronavirus forced them shut during Navratras, but five major temples in Himachal Pradesh, which is known as Devbhoomi, have contributed more than Rs 9.21 crore towards the state Covid-19 relief fund.
Interestingly, these temples got a little over Rs 4.21 lakh in online donation during the Navratras.
Three of these temples are situated in Kangra district: Jwalamukhi Temple, Chamunda Temple and Brijeshwari Temple, also known as Kangra Temple. Among the remaining two, one is in Una district — Chintpurni Temple — and the other — Naina Devi Temple — is in Bilaspur district. These temples are run by government trusts headed by respective Deputy Commissioners.
Kangra is a curious case. While elsewhere online donations went up as compared to last year, the reverse happened in this district. During last year’s Chaitra Navratras, which usually fall in March-April, the Chamunda Temple had got Rs 3,19,453 while it got only Rs 50,255 this year. The Kangra Temple had received Rs 4,46,549 last year. But this year it got only Rs 92,439. So is the case with the Jwalamukhi Temple. Last year, it had got Rs 11,72,993, the highest among the five temples in online offerings, but could get only Rs 1,18,494 this year.
Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Prajapati says, “We were expecting online donations to go up. But they came down.”
While the Jwalamukhi Temple contributed Rs 1 crore towards the Covid relief fund, Brijeshwari Temple contributed Rs 50 lakh. DC Prajapati claims they are planning to contribute Rs 21 lakh from the Chamunda Temple as well.
The Chintpurni Temple has the distinction of making the maximum contribution and getting the minimum online donation. Last year, it had got only Rs 1,323.65 in online offerings. The amount went up to Rs 4,188.45 this year. The temple, however, made a contribution of Rs 5 crore to the state Covid relief fund.
Una Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kumar says, “The online donation is insignificant. The concept is yet to pick up here.”
The Naina Devi Temple is not an extreme case. It occupies the middle-of-the-road space. It had got Rs 1,53,103 in online offerings last year. The amount went up to Rs 1,55,700 this year. It donated Rs 2.5 crore to the relief fund.
Besides, the aarati in the temples was webcast during the Navratras this year. While the Jwalamukhi Temple recorded more than 50,000 views every day, the Chamunda and Kangra temples registered around 20,000 views. The Chintpurni Temple got around 55,000 views every day. No webcasting arrangement was made last year.
The Naina Devi Temple did not go in for webcasting of aarati. Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwar Goel says, “We have a tie-up with Tata Sky. They have been telecasting our aarati for the last four years.”
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