Kathmandu [Nepal], Aug 11 (ANI): Over five months since the famed Pashupatinath Temple here closed its doors for devotees, the number of people visiting the holy site has dipped with a large chunk of them from India choosing not to travel to the iconic site.
On an average close to two to three thousand people from India used to visit the revered Hindu shrine devoted to Lord Shiva daily according to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT).
"Till the very second week of March, we use to have constant flow of Indian tourists which used to go up till around two to three thousand people. They use to come in groups and conduct worship here, which includes special puja too. All these do not take place now," PADT's Member Secretary Ghana Shyam Khatiwada said.
The PADT said that If Nepalese government decides to open the temple even with stringent measures for security, then the flow of Indian tourists along with Nepali nationals would surely shoot up."We can be sure of a swell in the number of people during the Monday of Shrawan," he added.
Also offerings made by Indian devotees also used to remain high contributing to the status of Pashupati as the "Highest earning temple" in the Himalayan nation.
As per Khatiwada, the average daily temple collection stood between Nepalese Rs 100,000 to NPR 250,000 from the offerings to Lord Shiva. As the temple remains closed and devotees kept out to prevent contamination due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Pashupatinath Temple revenue has reduced to zero.
"Sometimes the amount use to soar high to half a million. If we calculate on monthly basis then it used to stand at 4.5 million when there is special occasions but when devotees especially from India's Southern part use to come here it sometimes use to increase by two folds," he said.
The temple which also is a symbol of unity and harmony between Nepal and India is also a must visit stop by Indian bureaucrats whenever they arrive in the Himalayan Nation for any occasion.
During his visit to Nepal in the year 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent 30 minutes for the special pooja and donated a total of 2,500 kilograms of white sandalwood worth more than Rs 2 Crore. Prime Minister Modi has continued on his visit to the temple every time he visits Nepal which also shows the cultural and religious bonding in between the two nations.
The flow of Indian devotees and tourists to the revered Hindu shrine is expected to return to track once the Nepal Government eases restrictions in opening of religious sites. (ANI)