Can’t Visit A Temple? These Online ‘Darshan’ Apps Can Help
During lockdown, when all temples were shut to the public, many live-darshan apps helped devotees stay in touch.
During the lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic, all places of worship in India were shut down to prevent crowds from gathering. While the country slowly begins to unlock, among the last places to open to the public are religious institutions such as temples, churches, mosques, and gurudwaras. This is being done so that social distancing norms can be enforced as much as possible.
The lockdown has also affected the business revenues at places of worship, which are dependent on donations from devotees. Often, devotees would travel to different temples around the country at different parts of the year on pilgrimage. But the lockdown put a stop to that.
However, there are technological solutions that are bringing temples from around the country to smartphones of people who would normally religiously visit them. These apps not only stream "live darshans" or the religious daily rituals but also enable users to contribute donations online.
Here is a selection of apps that one can use from the Google Play Store.
The VR Devotee app on the Google Play Store appears to be one of the most popular apps for devotees who want quite a wide array of temples and deities to choose from. Developed by Kalpnik Technologies, this app offers easy access to temples based on temple name or by a deity. It also offers video series by gurus such as Sri Sri Ravishankar and Sadhguru.
The app offers "Live Darshan" at select times and access to top temples such as the Tirumala Tirupathi temple, Siddivinayak Temple, Iskcon Chowpatty Mandir and more. What's unique about the app is that it offers a VR section, where those who have virtual reality headsets can get to experience a selection of "darshans" in VR.
The Shemaroo Bhakti app comes from Shemaroo Entertainment. The app offers Live Darshan for a host of temples. It also allows users to do a bit of e-commerce. It has a Bhakti store section in which people can buy items used in pujas.
One can also make online donations through the app through coupons or even Paytm vouchers. The app also offers sections on meditation and links to popular devotional Web series as well.
The Aastha app is more like a guide to its TV channels in various languages. The app does have live-streaming as well, but it mainly points to the TV channels that the company has in various languages.
The live darshan that is available on the app just shows the live-stream from the TV channel feed directly to the mobile phone. It also offers a collection of videos on yoga and Ayurveda too.
The Live Darshan app developed by Technical Zest has a simple user interface. It offers a direct video-streaming feed from cameras setup in the various temples. Viewers can see the list of temples and just clicking on the icon takes the user to the live-stream feed.
Some of the temples included on this app are the Shirdi Saibaba Mandir, Shree Mahakaleshwar temple Ujjain, Govind Devji temple in Jaipur and a few others.
The i2i Live app developed by Forerunners Softtech offers live darshan from more than 45 temples. The app's developers claim that the app can allow those who cannot come to the temple such as the aged and those living abroad, a live experience through the app.
One can click on the list of temples in the app and view the multiple screens offered for a ringside view of the daily rituals at various temples.
Besides these apps, famous temples such as the Tirumal Tirupathi Devasthanam and others have their own apps through which people can book puja slots or make online donations.
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