Live streaming now: Shravan puja takes a virtual detour during Covid-19
What’s coming in handy in times of social distancing is ‘virtual sankalp’ and thereafter a live streaming of the rudra abhishek in the holy month of Shravan.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 02:22 IST
Like most things during the pandemic, puja rituals in the month of Shravan have also gone virtual. Quite a few temples in NCR are shut, including some in Delhi’s hotspot areas. To ensure social distancing, there’s limited entry allowed at most temples, even during the month dedicated to lord Shiva. This has led devotees to take to the virtual route to ensure that they don’t miss out on the essential puja and rudra abhishek.
“With no special physical ritual happening this year, we are taking orders for virtual puja. Someone from California has booked for rudra abhishek, and we will be live streaming the puja for her.”– Indra Kumar Tripathi, a Faridabad-based priest
For many devouts, it’s a ritual to offer milk while worshipping Shivlinga in the holy month of Shravan, every year. What’s coming in handy in times of social distancing, is ‘virtual sankalp’ and thereafter a live streaming of the rudra abhishek. Indra Kumar Tripathi, a priest in Faridabad, says, “The temple premises are shut and we are not allowing anyone inside because of the corona scare. Doors are shut, but one can worship from outside. With no special physical ritual happening this year, we are taking orders for virtual puja. Someone from California has made a booking for rudra abhishek, and we will be live streaming the puja for her so that she can see and participate, from her home.”
To put together the entire two hour rudra abhishek, there are various packages. “We are charging ₹3,100 for the ritual. Since no one will be available physically, we will take the sankalp (resolution) with their names and complete the puja here, in the temple itself. And not just from America, we are receiving queries from various parts of the world,” adds Tripathi.
“One of my relatives in Noida told me that the temple in their society is open, and the pandit ji there was organising such live streaming of pujas for others as well, for which I have paid ₹5,100.”– Pooja Maheshwari, from Kanpur, UP
Besides the NRIs, devotees in India are also opting for virtual pujas to maintain social distancing. Pooja Maheshwari, a Kanpur-based homemaker, says, “Every year, in the month of Shravan, we organise a grand puja and worship lord Shiva. But, no temples are open near my house this year, and I have had to book for a particular puja in a temple in Noida. One of my relatives who lives in Noida told me that the temple in their society is open, and the pandit ji there was organising such live streaming of pujas for others as well, for which I have paid ₹5,100.”
Situated in Noida, Gopal Panditji, who has been assigned the task to perform the ritual as requested by Maheshwari, says, “Is saal humare paas har baar se jyada bookings hai, but most of them are for virtual sankalp and puja. This used to happen at popular shrines earlier, but now during Covid-19 it has become a common practice to ensure puja paath doesn’t stop during the pandemic. Aur is time pe zaruri bhi hai, sabki achchi sehat ke liye.”
Not just the pujas in Shravan, but even other rituals have found a never seen before dimension in these times. Quite a few devotees who couldn’t go to bring gagajal on kawars, due to the ban on Kanwar Yatra, have taken to charity for the entire month of Shravan. “It’s believed that one needs to bring the holy water of Ganga twice, and I’m supposed to go again this year but I can’t. So, I’ve thought of an alternative. For this whole month, I’ve decided to feed the stray dogs in my vicinity,” says Madhav Arora, a Faridabad resident. Now that’s another way to practise godliness while giving back to the society.
Author tweets @ruchikagarg271