Srihari, a deeply religious man is a much relieved person these days as he is Narsimhmurthy, the priest of a local temple.
They are among the thousands who are rejoicing at the state government’s proposal to allow pujas to be conducted online.
The services of the ever reliable postman will be used to deliver the prasada at home. Following the lockdowns forced by Covid19, the over 40,000 big and small temples in the state were forced to close their doors.
The shutdown resulted in the devout being denied their daily darshans and pujas at their favourite temples.
Importantly, it also impacted scores of priests who found it difficult to make two ends meet what with the offerings from the deeply religious, grinding to a halt. It is learnt that the temples may have lost a few crores by way of offerings since the lockdown started in March .
Now , however, hundreds of devotees like Srihari would be able to book pujas online in different – temples besides having an e- darshan of their Lord,soon.
In the same vein, the hundis in the temple which received offerings in cash and kind from the religious earlier , would also get filled,much to the relief of priests like Narishmmurthy. Thanks largely to the ehundi system that the government is set to introduce.
This is expected to provide the much needed help to the affected archakas and the temples. According to the Karnataka Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department, the devotees can pay appropriate charges fixed by the temple authorities concerned and have the online pujas conducted in their names.
Very soon though, they would also be able to see the pujas digitally besides having an e-darshan of the gods, once appropriate arrangements are made with the temples concerned to permit the same.
In fact, hit hard by the lockdown , the priests had earlier approached the government for help. Especially as many of them earned a living by performing pujas and related rituals in the temples for the devotees who, in turn, would also leave encouraging offerings in the hundis.
Recent reports even referred to the priests’ plight ,adding that many were finding it difficult to pay their house rents or meet related expenditure. The lockdowns highlighted the dire strait in which the archakas found themselves in , was the refrain of a devotee as well. As a matter of fact , recently the courts too observed that the state government would, perhaps need to find ways to help a section of the pujaris, in the same way it was giving relief to the construction workers. The urgency was emphasised as many of the priests were facing a tough time.