Some temples in Karnataka offer ganja as 'prasada'

Highly spiritual: Some temples in Karnataka offer ganja (weed) as 'prasada'

Representative image (iStock)

Marijuana has been at the centre of many a controversy in the recent discourse surrounding drug cases -- be it the one involving actress Rhea Chakraborty or the one down south reeling in Sandalwood stars.

The contentious drug in question, however, has found a sacred spot in some temples in north Karnataka for many years now.

Marijuana or cannabis, popularly known as ganja, is considered as something that helps achieve enlightenment among devotees following the Sharana, Aruda, Shaptha and Avadhuta traditions, as per a report in The Times of India.

For instance, the report talks about the Mouneshwara temple in Yadgir's Thinthini, where packets of ganja are given to the devotees as 'prasada' which is smoked after offering prayers to the temple deity.

"The usage is traditional as Mouneshwara introduced it (marijuana) to people. The devotees and saints believe this sacred grass shows the path to enhancing knowledge of spirituality," a member of the temple's committee Gangadhar Nayak told the publication. Speaking about its widespread use in the region, Nayak also added that ganja is not sold to outsiders for recreational purposes.

“During the (annual) fair, anybody can come here and smoke. While some consume ganja after boiling it, others consume it like tobacco powder," he said.

Marijuana is banned in India and the law that governs it is stringent.