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How Temples have Become a Brand in Today’s India

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Temples are an inherent feature of India’s cultural & religious identity. Bharat’s spiritual and religious legacy is depicted by its numerous temples. These temples, numbering over 2 million, are revered as sites of great faith and wonder, drawing devotees from around the globe. In this era of modernism, we Bharatiyas possess the knowledge to safeguard and embrace our customs, traditions, and dharma.

 

The Rise & Rise of Temple Tourism

India is experiencing a rise in religious tourism, according to data from the tourism ministry, which indicates that over 60% of tourism in the country is religious or spiritual. The data also suggests that the places surrounding places of worship in India almost doubled their earnings from Rs 65,070 crore in 2021 to about Rs 1.3 lakh crore in 2022.

According to a survey by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the temple economy in India amounts to 3.02 lakh crore, or about 40 billion dollars and 2.32% of the GDP.

In reality, it could be much larger. Pooja baskets, Flowers, oil, lamps, and deity statues are all included, and the vast majority of informal labor drives it.

The travel and tourism industry employs more than 80 million people in India, with a growth rate of more than 19% per year and revenue of more than $234 billion in the last year alone. 

Recently, India has been on the rise in global indices such as the World Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum and UNWTO’s Tourism Barometer, which has been attributed to extensive outreach, advertisement, and development programs of the Modi government.

 

Why this sudden surge?

  • Better facilities and infrastructure
  • A political shift in India embracing Hinduism
  • Better connectivity and expansion of facilities
  • Re-development and Rejuvenation of temples

 

Cultural Nationalism 

Narendra Modi has been on a mission to revive Indian culture and bring a cultural renaissance by tapping into the cultural civilization and temples have seen a renewed focus in his efforts. He is positioning this as the revival of an ancient civilization. This is part of a strategy that combines religiosity, cultural identity, and Hindu-ness with a new cultural nationalism deeply rooted in Hindu cultural symbols.

A few notable examples that have been revamped are Kedarnath Dham & Chardham Yatra, Kashi Vishwanath, Sarnath, Vindhyachal in Mirzapur, and Ujjain Mahakaleshwar.

Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi had 80 lakh visitors earlier, but now over 7 crores visit annually. Similarly, Baba Kedar & Pavagadh now see more devotees after renovation.

 

Temples are not just religious sites but are also considered places of pure vibrations that offer peace, solace and spiritual upliftment to the devotees who have immense faith and hope in God. The rejuvenation of these temples and the implementation of better connectivity facilities have allowed more people to visit these sacred sites. This has made it easier for the devotees to take darshan (a devotional ritual of seeking blessing from the deity) and enjoy the serene and beautiful surroundings of the temple and the city. This, in turn, has helped local businesses to grow and flourish. Additionally, the increase in tourist footfall in these areas has helped to boost the local economy, creating more job opportunities and contributing to the overall development of the region.

 

India is the fastest-growing economy in the world, and tourism contributes about 4-5% to the Indian economy. With rising incomes and faster growth, people are spending more on leisure. 

Temple tourism is on the rise due to multiple factors, such as a rising sentiment of religious pride fueled by the country’s current socio-political scenario. Whichever way we look at it, this is a positive indicator for India as it boosts domestic tourism and instills a sense of pride and dignity among the people.

 

Read More: Odisha receives GI tags for its unique Ant chutney and black rice along with five other products

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