Seeking spirituality online

E-DEVOTION

Almost every Hindu household or enterprise has the presence of a divinity. A Ganesha idol at the entrance and yantras in the puja room are not unusual for these are believed to re-instill faith and spread positivity. 

It is on the basis of resurrecting this belief that online portals have started dedicating separate sub-categories to articles related to spirituality. And to enhance the experience of divinity, there is also a website that offers online booking of prasad!“Each year the Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan gets double the number of devotees which makes it difficult to even enter the temple precincts, leave apart worshipping,” says Goonjan Mall, CEO, onlineprasad.com sharing his experience which inspired him to come up with the idea of “blending technology with spirituality”. 

Says Goonjan, “In any case, when you come back from a spiritual sojourn, you do share the prasad with your relatives and colleagues. Similarly, our representatives act as relatives who offer the prasad in your name at the temple of your choice,” and later deliver it to your house within five to six days.
 The entrepreneurial venture of this BITS Pilani alumnus is “doubling every three months” compelling him to create space for puja accessories too. Other websites source Deity idols, puja thali, kalash, diya, and other accessories from merchants across India. While artisangilt.com focuses on hand-crafted and hand-painted artefacts, others like ShopClues.com have created a virtual bazaar with a gamut of spiritual products. 

Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder and corporate vice president of ShopClues.com informs that the website had to introduce a sub-category ‘Puja Gifts’ two-three months back. “The rise in demand for these came from the customers and we decided to make it easier for customer to browse and buy,” says Radhika adding that “Idols do very well. A handcrafted Ganesha idol of wood is one of the top selling in our range. Infact, when we introduced the sub-category under the section of gifts, we received 2,000-3,000 orders monthly. This has now risen to 15,000 orders per month!”

A similar response is reported by artisangilt.com which also offers unique art forms such as dhokra, glass art, bone art and iron art. “On an average there is approximately 25 per cent growth in puja accessories,” says Rahul Garg, co-founder artisangilt.com. He mentions that their motive is to try and give online platform to different art forms and thus they source Indian handmade products by Indian artists only, but ShopClues.com is open to even outsourced objects. 
“We don’t believe in passing a value judgement. If a customer wants an idol within Rs 100 we are open to selling it, even if it is Chinese-made,” says Radhika making one wonder about the many portals which are marketing foreign-made Indian spiritual products. Does it imply that we will soon flaunt ‘imported devotion’, that too online?

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