Amritsar, Punjab: If you do not want to get stuck in long queues for ‘parshad’ at the Golden Temple or have constraints to visit the shrine physically, onlineprasad.com will suit you best. The service is being appreciated by devotees, with orders coming from as far as Canada and Australia.
A venture of Bangalore-based young entrepreneur Goonjan Mal, it is a website offering ‘parshad’ and related religious symbols through courier from various shrines, including the Golden Temple, Vaishno Devi, Shirdi Sai Temple, Jagannath Puri and Sri Venkateshwara temple.
From the Golden Temple, ‘pinni prasad’ (a non-perishable item) is available online in two packages. For Rs 501, one can get four packets of ‘pinni prasad’, a locket with ‘kangha’ (a religious symbol) and a photograph of the Gurus. The Rs 751 packet has an ‘ashtadhatu kada’ as an additional item. There are three payment options: credit, debit card or cash on delivery. “We have so far catered to around 500 devotees from Canada, Singapore, Australia and Dubai, besides across the country. A five-layer uniform packing is done for the consignment to be delivered abroad whereas three-layer for within the country. The average delivery time is five to seven days in India and 10 to 12 days internationally,” says Goonjan.
Prepared in ‘desi ghee’, the ‘pinni parshad’ is made as per the Sikh traditions. Introduced in October last, it is packed after performing ‘ardas’. This form of the ‘parshad’ tends to survive longer as compared to the traditional ‘karrah parshad’.
Besides, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has opened two separate counters on the temple premises. Devotees can take home ‘pinni parshad’ and a ‘siropa’ for Rs 151 or they can get a packet of 80 gm of ‘pinni prasad’ for Rs 20.There is a sale of around Rs 2 lakh daily at these counters.
An engineer from the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in Pilani, Goonjan, who left his high-paying corporate job to open this portal, says the idea is to make it convenient to have religious offerings delivered at home.
“Ours is more like a technology-enabled logistics provider that connects holy shrines to devotees, especially those who have limitations to pay visit physically. We take extra preventive measures so that the ‘maryada’ (religious code) is not violated during the delivering process,” he says.
Goonjan says they also deliver customised kits for Haj and Umrah pilgrimages as well as religious art work of over 50 temples across the country.
Violation of ‘maryada’?
SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh has opposed the idea of selling ‘parshad’ through courier but expressed “helplessness” in check the move. “It is just not possible to observe ‘maryada’ while sending ‘parshad’ through courier like any other goods. We cannot detect the dispatcher because counters of ‘pinni parshad’ are open for all. Still, we can exhort devotees not to encourage the practice of getting it through courier,” he maintains. Sikh scholar and SGPC secretary Roop Singh and SGPC member Kiranjot Kaur say ethics demand that ‘parshad’ should only be taken after paying obeisance at any shrine. If it is dispatched through courier, it violates ‘maryada’. But, Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar, a Sikh scholar who served as SGPC’s director of a religious study course, says. “There is nothing wrong in it if devotees who are unable to visit the temple due to some reason get the ‘parshad’ at their doorstep. Moreover, there is no mention of mode of sending the ‘parshad’ in Gurbani,” he says.
Source: The Tribune