Himachal temple offerings dip by 40 per cent
Shimla, Nov 25 (IANS) The cash crunch owing to demonetisation of high-value currency has severely hit the offerings in all major Hindu temples of Himachal Pradesh.
Officials in temples said the cash offerings had fallen up to 40 percent and the footfall of devotees had also declined by almost half since the demonetisation of November 8.
Interestingly, the online offerings have also been impacted massively, they said.
“The daily cash offerings at the Chintpurni temple has fallen by up to 40 percent and the average number of devotees visiting the temple has halved on weekends,” temple official Subhash Chand told IANS.
He said the temple, the richest in the state, had stopped accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
One of the most venerated shrines in northern India, the Chintpurni temple in Una district gets a majority of pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Other rich temple trusts include those of Naina Devi in Bilaspur district, Jwalamukhi, Brajeshwari Devi and Chamunda Devi in Kangra, Bhimakali in Shimla, Mahamaya Balasundari temple in Sirmaur and Baba Balak Nath in Hamirpur district.
All the temples have electronic transfer of offerings.
“Before the high-value currency notes were demonetised, daily cash offerings was around Rs 14 lakh in 10 days. The offering has been reduced to Rs 10 lakh in the past 16 days,” Brajeshwari Devi temple official Pawan Badyal said.
“The number of devotees coming to the temple has fallen by 40 percent,” he added.
He said on an average the temple used to get Rs 40,000-50,000 as online donations every month. “This month, no online offering came.”
Authorities in the hilltop Naina Devi, the second richest temple in the state, have been monitoring donations in the temple chests through closed circuit television cameras.
They have advised the devotees not to offer the banned currency notes.
Earlier, a devotee was caught on the camera offering more than Rs 1 lakh of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at the Naina Devi temple.