Temple architecture

Covid impact: Renuka temple in Karnataka sees drop in revenue | Latest India News

Amid the surge in Covid cases, the Renuka temple at Savadatti taluk in Belagavi district, about 500 km from Bengaluru, Karnataka, which has again been closed, is experiencing a sharp drop in income.

“We expected a turnover of around 5-6 crore in January and February as two major fairs take place during this period. But unfortunately we had to close the temple again due to the pandemic,” said temple administrator Ravi Kotargasti.

The temple dedicated to the deity Renuka Yallamma is among the ten highest paying temples in Karnataka. The temple was built in the 16th century according to the Chalukyan and Rashtrakuta styles of architecture by the famous sculptor Jakanacharya.

The temple had generated an income of about 2 crore in the 20 days it remained open after the first wave of Covid, from February 1 to February 20, 2021. According to the temple management authorities, the revenue generated from September 28, 2021 to January 6, 2022 was almost 4 crores.

The annual turnover for the last four years before the pandemic was approximately 16-17 crore.

Due to the frequent restrictions due to the pandemic, several religious establishments have experienced a drop in income over the past two years. Belagavi was among the worst affected areas in the state during the second wave of Covid.

During the first wave of Covid-19, the temple was closed on March 18, 2020. It was reopened to worshipers on February 1, 2021. However, due to the second wave, the temple doors were once again closed. closed until September 28, 2021. It was closed again from January 6 this year, due to the start of the third wave of infections.

“Renuka Yallamma Temple is probably one of the most affected temples and has been closed for the longest durations compared to others across the country,” said temple administrator Kotargasti.

According to the state government, the peak number of pandemic cases in the neighboring state of Maharashtra is also one of the reasons for the closure of the temple. About 50% of the devotees visiting the temple are from Maharashtra while 40% are from the northern district of Karnataka. The remaining 10% comes from other parts of Karnataka and neighboring states.

“The closure of the temple was necessary because the majority of worshipers come from rural areas; many of them are uneducated and ignorant. Informing them of government guidelines regarding Covid is not easy. So it was better to close the temple instead of taking risks,” Kotargasti said.

“It is not a pilgrimage like the others. The culture and the way of worshiping the deity are unique. Devotees who come from afar stay in the vicinity for a day or two. They prepare five different dishes to offer to the Jogappas community. They bring the logs, utensils and ingredients needed to prepare the food. This religious service is called Padalige Seve,” he said.

Previously, the temple witnessed a huge rush every Tuesday and Friday, but in recent years, Sundays have also become a favorite among visitors. Over 15 lakh devotees visit the temple on three major occasions: Hostila Hunnime in December, Banada Hunnima in January and Bharat Hunnime in February.