Air-conditioned comfort to Gods and devotees in Varanasi
Varanasi, May 14: The commoners may have to sweat it out in the heat and deepening power crisis, but the Gods in this pilgrim city are placed in comfortable air-conditioned environs in at least two prominent temples here.
The Sanatan Gauriya Muth in Sonarpura area of south Varanasi, had installed air-conditioners, about two years ago, to protect the idols of Radha-Krishna and their famous saint-devotee Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, from extreme weather conditions.
And if that was not all two refrigerators also donated by the devotees, keep the "prasadam" of fruits and vegetables, fresh and chilled besides large quantities of "lassi".
The "Chandan" (Sandalwood) to be made into paste for being applied on the "Thakurji" idol during the 21-day "Chandan Mahotsava", that started on April 30, is also preserved in the fridge.
"We need to apply cool Chandan to the Lord and what better way to cool it in the refrigerator offered by devotees of the Muth spread across the 37 branches in the world including London," Damodar Das, head priest of the temple, said.
The Muth authorities have also made adequate arrangements for round-the-clock power supply for running the air-conditioners by installing heavy-duty generators as long power cuts are a regular phenomenon in this city.
"The cooling devices will provide the necessary peace to the god and have a cascading effect on the devotees," Das added.
"Bhagwan Ko Kalyug Mein Bina Kalyugi Sajo Saman Ke Nahi Rukkha Ja Sakta" (The god cannot be kept fit in the modern days without the sophisticated props), he said.
The Gauriya Muth is not the only one to provide air-conditioned care to the idols. The Dharam Sangh Shiksha Mandal in Durgakund area, also in southern part of the city, has a generator and a mini-air cooler.
"Eliminating the heat from Ram, Sita, Lakhshman and Hanuman idols in our temple through an air-cooler means making it comfortable for common people," Jagjitanji Maharaj said. He also pointed out that the shrine of Goddess Vindhyavasini has more than ten air-conditioners.
The Dharam Sangh is also proposing to buy an AC to protect the idols from the extreme weather conditions.
Seasonal vegetables like water-melon and cucumber, besides frothing "Lassi" and "Chaj" form part of the offerings at the temple which are then distributed among the devotees.