A three-day congregation to brainstorm on bringing uniformity in the management of temples across the world started in Varanasi on Saturday.
The event titled International Temples Convention and Expo (ITCX) is being attended by delegates of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain temples from 41 countries. It is being organised by ‘Temple Connect’.
“We will discuss the merits related to the management of these temples spread across the world and will try to bring uniformity in the management,” Giresh Kulkarni, the founder of Temple Connect, told IANS.
Elaborating on why Kashi was chosen as the venue for the convention, Kulkarni said it is a “unique” spiritual city. “Uttar Pradesh is the land of Lord Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. Here is Prayagraj, the king of pilgrimages, where the confluence of three rivers is found. A place holier than this cannot be found anywhere else in India,” he added.
On the intention behind choosing the month of Shravan for the convention, he said that the delegates coming to Varanasi in this holy month will get an opportunity to take bath in the Ganga river and pay obeisance to Lord Mahadev. “Also, they (delegates) do not get time off from their work. It is the rainy season now. Summer vacation is also over. In such a situation, the temple crowd sparses. Although, the number of devotees does not reduce much in the month of Shravan, still there is some relief. This is the reason why the time of the conference was fixed in the month of Shravan.”
If this convention had been organised in Goa or Delhi, then perhaps these people would have not been influenced, but there is a different feeling of spirituality in Kashi. It attracts people towards itself, Kulkarni explained.
The agenda of the convention is not spiritual; it is for the development of temple management, operation and administration. The main objective is to strengthen the operation system along with worship in the temple, he said.
People see the temple trust only from a religious point of view. They only focus on the place of God, worship method, priest and get out quickly after having the ‘darshan’. But there are other things in temples, he asserted.
“People don’t know about temple arrangement, management, and operation administration. They should also know what arrangements are in place to improve facilities and provide them convenience,” the founder of Temple Connect added.
This will deliberate on temple security, surveillance, fund management, disaster management, cleanliness and sanctity, as well as the use of state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) to foil any cyber attack bid and promote a strong temple community, he said.
The Temple Connect in the last eight to nine years has visited over 7,000 temples in about 57 countries in its efforts to digitise those temples. The aim is to teach the system used by big temples to small temples.
On inviting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the event, Kulkarni said: “Both, our intention and our organisation, are neutral. The RSS has done a lot of work and has experience in the religious field. Besides, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is also associated with them.”
“Who would not be interested in learning from an experienced organissation? We have done the same. The inauguration of the programme by the best person elevates its level. It is our feeling that the Sangh Pramukh (Bhagwat) is a great person; such auspicious work should commence from his hands,” he added.
Kulkarni further said people who are looking into the management system of Tirupati Devmala and Padmanabha Temple are also attending the convention. Delegates will also get a chance to learn from them.
It may be noted representatives from 41 countries are participate in the convention along with 468 temple heads from across the country. Of them, delegates from 32 countries are attending the event virtually.
Brainstorming on intellectual property rights, cultural enrichment, convenience and security of pilgrims, economy, crowd management, disaster management, online events, global reach of temples and solid waste management will take place during the convention.