The time to bid farewell to Mumbai’s favourite deity may be close at hand but there is no reason to miss your Ganpati idol till next year. Shoonya Game Technologies now offers an interactive 3D Ganesh temple-pandal darshan that allows people to offer prayers as well as perform authentic rituals virtually and on a day-to-day basis. This virtual Ganesha avatar was launched two days prior to Ganesh Chaturthi and follows a virtual Krishna darshan that was launched earlier and which is very popular now.
“Our aim is to create Indian content that is accessible across all generations and connects with the youth,” says Girish Dhakephalkar, director, Shoonya Game Technologies, adding that he hopes the virtual avatar encourages eco-friendly celebrations. “This avatar will stay with people beyond the seven or ten days of celebrations. People can just open their laptops and give their offerings during a break at work or while commuting.”
The virtual Ganesha pandal-temple is located on an island surrounded by a serene lake and misty mountains. “We’ve not tried to pinpoint the exact location but have focused on the calmness and peacefulness of the place,” says Dhakephalkar. As part of the interactivity, the faithful can take a walk around in the area as well as navigate in and around the temple.
At the temple itself, devotees can offer flowers, perform an aarti, apply tilak, garland the God, offer modaks and draw a rangoli. “The order followed is exactly as per real life and as authentic as possible. It constitutes a complete temple darshan,” he says. There are also mantras being recited in the background to keep the setting real. The interactive temple received 1,800 visitors on the first day itself and is growing in popularity. The company plans to add new features to the existing projects as well as add new ones that follow in a similar vein. “We plan on launching a 3D Shirdi Sai Baba avatar soon,” says Dhakephalkar.