The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) department has come in for criticism after news of a steep hike in charges for abhishekam and darshan tickets at the Tiruchendur temple during the occasion of Skanda Shashti.
According to a report by Polimer News, while the charge for abhishekam tickets has been increased to Rs 3000 from Rs 500 on normal days, the charge for vishwaroopa darshan tickets has been increased to Rs 2000 from Rs 100 on normal days.
In a post on X, (formerly Twitter), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state secretary A Ashvathaman criticised the department, asking what was its purpose. He alleged that it was snatching and eating money of Hindus.
While a user named Vishwatma called it as "Dravidian Model Jizya in TN", another user named Sunda wrote, "Instead of making it easy for more devotees...they are filtering them out with increased fees....treating spirituality and religion as a demand and supply model..."
Tiruchendur is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga (Karthikeya) in Tamil Nadu. The others are Palani, Pazhamudir Cholai, Tiruparankundram, Swamimalai and Tiruttani.
The Skanda Shashti vratham is observed for six days in the months of Aipasi/Karthigai. The last day, known as Soorasamharam, is the day when Lord Muruga kills the asura, Soorapadman.
According to a report by The Hindu, which quoted Karthik, the Joint Commissioner of the temple, a government order increasing the ticket prices was issued in 2017.
He said, “Moreover, the ticket for ₹100 for special darshan is now being sold along with ₹1,000 ticket, which is also being followed since 2017. With the ulterior motive of tarnishing the image of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, certain elements are spreading baseless allegations saying that we have increased the ticket rate only now. The increased ticket rate came into force in 2017 itself.”
(Updated at 9.00 PM)
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