Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Saturday launched an official website for Tripurasundari Temple, a shrine in the state popular for being one of the 51 Shaktipeethas of the Hindu religion. The CM said the website — tripurasundari.tripura.gov.in — would help attract more devotees and tourists, leading to growth in religious tourism and generate jobs.
Located 55 km south of Agartala, Tripurasundari temple is believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the country. It is built on the top of a hillock resembling the back of a turtle. According to Tripura Rajmala, the royal chronicle of Tripura’s Manikya kings, Maharaja Dhanya Manikya Bahadur constructed the temple in 1501 after getting a ‘Swapnadesh’ or divine order from the Supreme Mother or ‘Aadishakti’ in his dream. The temple sees over 2 lakh devotees and saints every year on Diwali apart from a steady follow of tourists throughout the year.
Shortly after coming to power in 2018, the incumbent BJP-IPFT government formed a trust for the temple and audited all assets and liabilities of the shrine.
Alleging that donations by devotees faced ‘questions’ in the past, CM Deb, who heads the temple trust, said the official website has provisions for transparent donations. “Such donations will be income tax-free. In the past, accounts of donations faced questions in the past. So, we have launched this service where anyone from anywhere in the world can donate and all of it will be duly accounted,” Deb said.
He also said the website would offer a view of the deity or ‘darshan’ twice a day for devotees, one at 4-5 am, where the camera would access rituals inside the deity’s chamber, something not allowed earlier to anyone except priests and VVIPs , and the second at 11:30 am-1 pm.
Deb said these services would enable people to know more about Tripura, Matabari and encourage them to visit the state boosting religious tourism. “I hope that with this initiative, a large number of tourists would come to know about the Goddess, pray online, come here and generate employment for youths. Our experiences from Tirupati Balaji temple or Vaishno Devi temple have taught us that everyone, from local pan shops to five-star hotel chains, can benefit from spiritual tourism”, he said.
The government has also integrated handloom and handicrafts directorate to prepare handmade bamboo and indigenous textile products through indigenous communities for packaging god offerings, etc.
The state government is also contemplating appealing for patent rights on ‘Matabari pera’ – a dairy confectionery manufactured in the temple.
As part of the comprehensive plan to develop religious tourism, Tripura is developing Tripurasundari temple and a host of other sites with Rs 38 crore funded by the Tourism Ministry under Swadesh Darshan scheme. The projects include provisions for an overbridge at Matabari, resting sheds, ropeway route from Udaipur railway station to the temple and other infrastructural changes.
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