Rameshwaram pilgrims get bar-coded wrist band

The famous Lord Ramanathaswamy Temple in the island-town of Rameshwaram in South Tamil Nadu has introduced a ‘‘water-proof, bar-coded wrist band” for pilgrims, as part of a foolproof safety system being introduced in the temple.

 A “major aspect” of the people’s pilgrimage to this shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, is bathing in all the “22 tirthams” (holy water bodies) inside the massive temple complex. It is this “sacred drench” pilgrims yearn for which has been now made hassle-free, sources in the temple told Deccan Herald.

The temple charges Rs 25 per pilgrim (barring kids below five years) to have a bath in all the “22 tirthams” as they circumambulate its vast corridors.  Typically, a group of ten pilgrims buy five tickets and after bathing at the first two “tirthams,” where temple assistants draw water from respective wells and pour it on them, the receipts issued used to “get invariably drenched, illegible or torn”.

So beyond the first or second sacred well, there was no way of checking how many pilgrims actually took bath at all the “22 tirthams.”  But the new water-proof wrist band pilgrims now sport helps to “eliminate such leakages”, the official said.

There were other drawbacks too like the assistants baling out water, privately demanding money from the pilgrims.

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