Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) The famed 220-year-old Siddhivinayak Temple will contribute Rs 5 crore towards the Maharashtra government’s recently-launched Rs 10 ‘Shiv Bhojan Thali’, a top temple official said here on Tuesday.
“A unanimous decision to this effect has been taken by the temple management today to donate the amount to the CM to be utilised for the ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme for the poor,” Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust (SSGTT) Chairman and film actor Aadesh Bandekar said here.
He added that the temple authorities were impressed by the welfare scheme intended to give a wholesome meal costing Rs 10 per person to people all over the state and hence decided to contribute its mite to the initiative.
“The proposal will now go to the state Law & Judiciary department for approval and then to the government. We hope to make a contribution to the government at an early date,” Bandekar said.
The pet scheme of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, ‘Shiva Bhojan’ thali was launched on January 26, and has become extremely popular among the poor masses with daily sales of more than 15,000 plates at around 140 distribution centres in the state in the pilot project.
Ranked among the wealthiest temple trusts in the state till 2017, the SSGTT used to receive annual donations worth around Rs 3.20 billion, which has now touched over Rs 4.10 billion, mainly due to the good work done by it, said Bandekar.
The SSGTT used the funds to help thousands of needy people upto Rs 25,000 and spent over Rs 38 crore on this so far, besides other social, educational and community activities undertaken round the year.
The Siddhivinayak Temple is among the most revered in Mumbai among commoners and celebs like the Thackerays, the Ambanis, the Bachchans, etc. who throng there on various festivals, auspicious or family occasions.
‘Shree Ganesh’ is the first to be worshipped prior to taking up any auspicious venture since he is considered the ‘Vignaharta’ or destroyer of obstacles, and known by many other names.
The temple was consecrated on November 19, 1801, when it was a tiny structure housing a black stone idol of Shree Siddhivinayak, around 2.5 feet wide.
The unique feature here is that the deity’s trunk is tilted to the right side, the idol has four arms (Chaturbhuj) with a lotus, a mini-axe, holy beads and a bowlful of his favourite sweet, ‘modak’.
Flanking the idol on both sides are Riddhi and Siddhi, the goddesses signifying sancrity, fulfillment, prosperity and etched on the deity’s forehead is an eye resembling the ‘Third Eye’ of Lord Shiva.
Over the years, the temple grew in size, dimensions and drew tourist-devotees from around the country, attaining huge popularity among its devotees who make huge donations annually in cash, gold, silver, precious stones, etc.