TDB temples to go digital, offer e-payment options for devotees

Twenty-six of the 1,200-odd temples, including the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, fall under the TDB’s ‘major temple’ category.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File | Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File | Photo)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Soon, devotees will be able to use GPay or PhonePe to make offerings at temples. Major temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) will take a digital turn by offering e-payment options for ‘kanikka’ and ‘vazhipadu’. The board is in the process of selecting a banking partner for the project.

TDB president K Ananthagopan told TNIE that the board plans to introduce UPI and other modern payment options in major temples. Twenty-six of the 1,200-odd temples, including the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, fall under the TDB’s ‘major temple’ category. These temples have a high footfall of devotees and are the mainstay of the board’s revenue. Some others in this category are the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Malayalappuzha Temple and the Thiruvallam Sree Prasurama Swami Temple.

Currently, only the Sabarimala temple has UPI and other digital payment options, said Ananthagopan. “The Federal Bank has been assigned to run a pilot digital payment project at the Vaikom Mahadeva temple. Besides, we have invited expressions of interest from scheduled commercial banks interested in supporting digital cash transactions in other major temples. Technical consultations are on to find which all payment modes can be offered,” Ananthagopan said.

He said the board’s revenue from temples is seeing a steady increase and surpassed the pre-Covid level. “The increase in revenue is an outcome of the board’s efforts to conserve the glory of shrines and improve facilities for devotees. These measures helped in attracting more devotees,” he said.

“The board had earlier issued strict directions to temple staff to conduct poojas as per the traditions and to behave in a pleasant and cordial manner. They were also asked to keep the premises clean to ensure a devotional ambience,” said Ananthagopan.

The board also plans to explore non-temple revenue options. “Major initiatives announced in this year’s budget are the opening of a fuel pump on the headquarters premises in Thiruvananthapuram and an LPG outlet at Nilakkal en route to the Sabarimala temple. Feasibility studies showed that both projects will fetch good revenue. Such projects can be launched in other locations in future,” he said.

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