At the Diwali auction ceremony organised at the Siddhivinayak Temple on Thursday, only 34 of the 176 gold items on display were sold. The day-long auction raised Rs 5.34 lakh, a Rs 4 lakh dip from last year’s Diwali auction.
“The market value of gold has soared in the past year. Devotees chose to bid only for the smaller items such as pendants and rings, while the bigger necklaces remained unsold,” said Sanjeev Pawar, supervisor, Shree Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple Trust, which organised the Diwali auction for the third consecutive year.
The most expensive item at the auction was the bajubandh (arm bracelet) that was sold for Rs 1.23 lakh, at the temple-valued rate. The final value of the jewellery is evaluated on the basis of the market rate of gold along with a 10% mark up.
Thursday’s auction included gold donations made by devotees in 2002-2003 including chains, rings, necklaces and pendants. The authorities plan to organise another auction in December to sell the remaining items. “We will hold a meeting soon to choose an auspicious date in December to organise another ceremony,” said Nitin Kadam, trustee of the temple trust.
“We began the tradition of the Diwali auction in 2009, with an aim to use the donations for community service,” said Nirmala Sawant Prabhalwalkar, ex-mayor of Mumbai, who is also the treasurer of the Trust.
“While a major part of the funds will be devoted to setting up medical centres across Maharashtra, the remaining amount will be used for the development of the temple's infrastructure,” she added.
Despite the fall in the overall collections, the temple authorities have decided to continue to hold the annual Diwali auction.
“We will continue to organise this auction during Diwali irrespective of the response because Goddess Lakshmi is a symbol of prosperity and wealth. We have to respect her,” said Kadam.