By Binod Prasad Adhikari
Kathmandu [Nepal], June 12 (ANI): Before the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Nepal's Pashupati area used to be pack with devotees and worshippers during the evening "Aarati". However, on the 80th day of the nationwide lockdown, it remained direly silent with only a handful of footfalls.
The Pashupati Area Development Trust has closed the major entrance of the temple and the evening "Aarati" are now being held with only one priest instead of three.
"Wide difference has been seen here. The flow of people around here also has decreased, the condition here has turned serious," Nabin Thapa, resident of Sinamangal, that lies near to Pashupatinath told ANI.
As the government has decided to close the temples around the nation for an indefinite time, Pashupatinath Temple's income these days has fallen to zero.
As per the figure released on by the Pashupati Area Development Trust, Pashupatinath Temple which stands as highest earning temple in the nation is losing around half-a-million rupees on a daily basis due to the lockdown.
On a daily basis, the temple used to collect offering ranging from Nepali Rupees 1 to 2.5 lakh on a daily basis from the devotees which sometimes would round-up up to Nepali Rupees 5 to 7 lakh. The monthly income used to stand at around 5 million Nepali rupees.
Apart from the offerings to Lord Shiva, tourists entrance fee of Nepali Rupees 3 to 4 lakh which use to contribute over 10 million rupees in a month to the fund of PADT. Special Pooja arranged for devotees on certain days a week used to stand at around Nepali Rupees 7 million a month.
The PADT in the year 2019 for the first time disclosed its property. As per the data released on June that year, revered shrine and World Heritage Site- Pashupatinathhad 1.2 Billion Nepali rupees in different banks, 9.276 KG of Gold, 316.58 KG of Silver and 3,667 Ropani of Land. The report unveiled the assets of the temple for the first time in history which had data for the last 56 years from 1962 to 2019.
The report at that time, however, hadn't made the count of the treasures stored in the main temple as the Supreme Court on December 24, 2009 not to open the coffers.
Though the temple is losing its monthly donations from devotees on a daily basis due to lockdown to flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic, it's income from the land lease is on. The Pashupati Area Development Trust has leased 1161 ropani land to Tribhuwan International Airport and a Golf Course for 99 years at an annual rent of Nepali Rupees 5 million a year. The trust has leased 17 ropanis of land to Hyatt Regency in Bouddha. (ANI)