Priests do not offer prasad kept in plastic in Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura

The government's efforts to get rid of single-use plastic, whether successful or unsuccessful, have been banned for many years at major pilgrimage sites in Uttar Pradesh.  The priests do not offer offerings brought in plastic packing and polythene to various temples including Kashi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi, Ram Lala Virajaman in Ayodhya, Hanuman Garhi and Ranganathji in Mathura-Vrindavan, Banke Bihari.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced to make the country polythene-free on the lines of the cleanliness campaign on the occasion of Independence Day.  A campaign was launched across the country on Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October.  The campaign has been over a month, yet polythene continues to be used in many places, but these shrines in Uttar Pradesh have already worked towards making their premises clean by banning polythene.

 Mathura-Ranganath Temple
 Single use plastic is not used in Ranganathji temple.  Temple CEO Angha Srinivasan said that polythene has not been used in the temple for the last 20 years.  If a devotee brings offerings in polythene from outside, then he is taken out in a basket and offered to God.  Plastic utensils are also not used in the kitchen of the temple.  Plastic is considered unclean in South-style temples.  The water pipeline in the temple is also of iron.  During the festivals, the plates and the runes are also used in the treasuries in the temple.

 Varanasi - Kashi Vishwanath Temple
 The polythene has been banned for five months in the Vishwanath temple located in the imperishable Kashi of Lord Bholenath.  Temple SDM Vinod Singh said that whatever offerings are given to the devotees from the helpdesk are kept in paper cartons.  Some devotees who take offerings from outside, if taken with polythene, are removed at the checking spot.  Coarse glass is used in paper for milk and water.

 Varanasi - Sankat Mochan Temple
 Dr. VN Mishra, the younger brother of Mahant Professor Visambhar Nath Mishra of Sankat Mochan Temple, said that polythene has been banned in the temple for the last eight years.  This is such a temple in India, where Dona and Petari made of tree leaves offer offerings to Sankat Mochan.  Plastic, mobile and other accessories are allowed inside the main gate only after checking.  Electronic goods also do not go inside.

 Ayodhya - Ramlala and Hanumangarhi
 In Sri Ram's city of Ayodhya, Ramlala is enshrined and Hanumangarhi temple also does not offer offerings in polythene.  Cardamom seeds are being sold here in office boxes in laddus and transparent carry bags.  Satyendra Das, the priest of the Ramlala enthronement, told that earlier, the devotees used to offer many items including utensils, gold, silver, laddus and pedas as offerings in the Ramlala court, but after 2002 the local administration in transparent foil citing security reasons  Cardamom seeds, sugar and peanuts are allowed inside.  The same prasad has been distributed among other devotees.

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