In digital India, e-sevas are the new custom in temples

As the QR codes are prominently placed on the hundis, devotees can scan them from a distance of about 10 feet when the temple is crowded. For temple authorities, it helps them avoid counting money from old donation boxes

As the QR codes are prominently placed on the hundis, devotees can scan them from a distance of about 10 feet when the temple is crowded. For temple authorities, it helps them avoid counting money from old donation boxes

Living in a world where we do everything online, the Dakshina Kannada district temples in Karnataka have also made a foray into the world of online exchanges, allowing devotees to make online offerings or e-sevas.

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Many temples in Karnataka are owned and managed by the state government’s endowment department, which has introduced various online services to enable devotees to offer their prayers and offerings online.

This allows devotees to offer seva to the temple-deity of their choice without visiting temples – a proposition that is gaining popularity among people who cannot travel for long periods of time.

Many devotees, though not the devotees, now choose the easier route of e-sevas by skipping the queues at temples to offer poojas. They get the sacred offering or prasadam from the temples at their doorstep through e-seva offerings.

The modern-day devotee chooses to offer prayers in silence and perform e-seva to please the gods and goddesses of his choosing from a distance.

E-sevas and e-kanikke (donations) are available at all “A” category temples of the state endowment department, especially in Dakshina Kannada district known for its many famous shrines.

The Mangaladevi Temple in Mangaluru joined the list by going online with an e-hundi (collection box) facility. Many temples have embraced this new way of collecting donations through electronic hundis as digital payment has proven to be the dominant custom.

The e-hundi installation was launched at the Mangaladevi temple during the recent Navaratri celebrations. Large numbers of people throng to the temples of Dakshina Kannada during the celebrations as part of the ‘Mangaluru Dasara.’ The temple has introduced a QR-Code to help devotees make payments on busy days. Devotees are advised to verify their names and other details when transferring money online using the e-hundi feature.

All security measures to protect the payment gateway have been implemented for a hassle-free transaction, the temple authorities said.

During the Navaratri season, the temple authorities also stuck the stickers with QR codes on the 20 temple hundis. The facility also saved them time in counting donations, said a temple priest.

The endowment department is also on track to implement the e-hundi facility in other temples under its jurisdiction. The facility has already been introduced to five temples they run in the district and the response has been encouraging, sources said.

The e-hundi installation was launched at the Kukke Subrahmanya temple in the district two months ago. The temple receives around ₹6,000 to ₹25,000 via e-hundi per day, depending on the rush to the shrine in different seasons.

As the QR codes are prominently placed on the hundis, devotees can scan them from a distance of about 10 feet when the temple is crowded. For temple authorities, it helps them avoid counting money from old donation boxes.

The temples obtain daily collection data from e-hundis in the form of bank statements.

Sources from the Endowment Department said that Kateel Durgaparameshwari Temple, Kukke Subrahmanya Temple, Mangaladevi Temple, Puttur Mahalingeshwara Temple and Sahasralingeshwara Temple in Uppinangady have already introduced e-hundis to Dakshina Kannada.

Other temples including Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple, Polali, Bappanadu Durgaparameshwari Temple, Panolibail Kallurti Daivasthana, Kadri Manjunatha Temple and Kudupu Ananthapadmanabha Temple will also launch e-hundis soon.

The endowments department’s online services, including e-hundi, also help devotees gather information about the services offered at each temple.

The management of the famous Kollur Mookambika temple in Udupi, which is part of the undivided district of DK, has also facilitated online seva after the state government granted permission for e-kanikke (donations) and online reservation for temples.

Online services have also been a boon to temples in overcoming the financial crisis they faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

Private portals also offer online shit at temples through their websites. An online portal, ePuja, offers poojas to be held on behalf of the devotee at several temples in Karnataka.

Although not officially linked to any temple administration, ePuja claims to have a network of representatives who visit the temple and perform puja on behalf of the devotee.

The cost of the puja includes official temple fees, cost of pooja items, ‘dakshina’ for priests, prasadam and shipping costs across the country.

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