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No time to go to the temple? Just click & ship some prasad to God
SHWETA SHARMA  23rd Sep 2012

Illustration by Anish Dasgupta | Dev Kabir Malik Design

ooks like even the gods aren't exempt from the lure of the Internet, if Goonjan Mall's latest venture is anything to go by. Attempting to connect people to their faiths, this Gurgaon-based entrepreneur launched Online Prasad, a service that offers prasad on your behalf and sends it to you at the click of a mouse!

"Last September, during Navratras, I visited the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke, Rajasthan, with my family. I've been going there regularly, but this time I realised that over the years the queue for the temple has been increasing. It became extremely hard for us to even enter the temple. It made me wonder — what can be done to make the temple experience better? It was then that I realised that people may not be able to get into the temple but I can give them the next best thing — prasad!" says Mall.

An alumnus of BITS Pilani, Mall launched the service in January and currently offers prasad from 10 leading temples across India, including Banke Bihari in Vrindavan, Sai Baba in Shirdi, Jagannath in Puri and Ranisati Dadi temple in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.

"The main aim is to help people connect to their faith. Seeking god's blessings is important for all of us, especially on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, etc. But it is not always possible for us to visit a temple, offer prasad and seek blessings from the almighty. This is where we come in," he says.

With a following of 1,562 people on Facebook, Mall says that the service is a hit with most devotees offering prasad multiple times. All you need to do is log on to their site, select the temple you wish to offer sweets to and checkout. From here, the company headquarters forward requests to the temple networks where they are finally processed.

The main aim is to help people connect to their faith. But it is not always possible for us to visit a temple and seek blessings from the almighty. This is where we come in. — Goonjan Mall

"Though we offer six varieties of sweets with better shelf-life, we do accept special requests based on the area it comes from. We do not accept any monetary donations. Our normal offering includes a half-a-kilo prasad package, while a Sawa Mani offering includes 51 kg of prasad. At Shani Shingnapur in Maharashtra, we offer a bottle of mustard oil to the deity; the devotee gets back a thread as the temple offering," Mall explains.

Mall further says that a lot of requests come in from Hyderabad and Guwahati and adds that the number of requests from two-three tier cities is equivalent to the metros, showing that Internet penetration is high in smaller cities also. "Our users have no doubt about the authenticity of the prasad offered by us. Plus, each temple has a unique offering, and we get you that. We also keep our users updated on the prasad status at each point of time. Moreover, we are constantly adding new temples to our list. We do have devotees across the globe — from the US and Gulf to Nepal," he says.

"I spend thousands on my birthday party every year. However, the divine connection is always missing. This time I got an opportunity to offer prasad at Jhunjhunu, Salasa and Khatu and I am extremely happy! Thank you!" writes a user, Madhusudan Loyalka from Asansol.

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