Security hassles at Kashi Vishwanath Temple have cut down the influx of daily devotees at the world famous temple by nearly 50 per cent, said Acharya Dr Harihar Kripalu Tripathi, chief of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.
"The ever expanding security, which is inevitable owing to the sensitive nature of KV-Gyanwapi complex, has reduced the influx of neyamis (daily devotees) at the temple by around 50 per cent in last eight years since the three tier security cover has been set up at the complex," Dr Tripathi told Hindustan Times on Saturday.
However, he refused to divulge the exact number of devotees visiting the temple in the past and present.
Sources said that about 15-20,000 devotees visit the temple daily and on special occasions like Shrawan the number swells up to 50-6000.
He also added that for drawing more devotess, a process is underway to issue passes to neyamis.
"We can't do away with the security, but at least regain the neyamis by issuing passes with the cooperation of the police and administration, to ensure they not only resume their old practice of praying daily at the temple, but also have a free passage devoid of security hassles on the temple premises," he said.
Tripathi said he has requested the administration and police to provide religious training to security personnel to deal with devotees.
Talking about preparations for the holy month of shrawan, starting July 27, Tripathi, said this time Tata Sky would air live darshan of Jyotirlinga inside the sanctum sanctorum to its subscribers across the globe.
"TV sets connected with Tata Sky service will be installed on the temple premises, besides at least one big size screen to hook live darshan of Kashi Vishwanath, while the devotees wait in long queues." Also, round the clock shiv stutis (shiv prayers) will be played on speakers inside the temple premises.
These stutis will be interspersed with messages containing instructions about safe darshan, like how to stay away from touts and deposit donations in authentic depositories at the temple."
Also efforts will be made to ensure that every devotee gets equal opportunity to offer jalabhishek at the Jyotirlinga, instead of just touch and go practice during previous years.