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Bumper business for symbols of faith

- Best-seller bangles, sindoor

Deoghar, July 10: Businessmen dealing in vermilion and bangles rake in crores during the holy month of Shravan, as lakhs of female pilgrims buy these two items from the temple town to invoke the blessings of divine couple Shiva and Parvati.

Devout Hindu women believe that purchasing vermilion and bangles from Baidyanath Dham and wearing them brings their husbands good luck. Rough estimates suggest the sale of vermilion and bangles touches Rs 2-3 crore and Rs 8-10 crore, respectively, during this month, with around 50 lakh pilgrims thronging the temple town.

Apart from being one of the dwadash jyotirlingams (12 major shrines of Shiva across India), Baidyanath Dham is also one of the 51 shakti pithas. According to mythology, the heart of Parvati’s incarnation Sati fell here as Vishnu dismembered her body with his disc into 51 pieces to save the world from Shiva’s wrath.

“Baidyanath Dham has the sole distinction of simultaneously being a jyotirlingam and a shakti pitha,” priest Dinesh Panda said, adding that it enables pilgrims to get blessings of both Shiva and Parvati.

Three units manufacture vermilion, while some 20 others package the powder. Raw materials for vermilion include marble dust from Andhra Pradesh and dyes from Gujarat. Baba, Vandana and Ghunghat are reputable local brands, though substandard ones with sand and chemicals also cash in on faith.

There are at least half a dozen factories that make lac bangles, also called Jaipuri churis. Multicoloured glass bangles are imported from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh.

“Main yahan se sindoor aur churi kharidti hun kyunki mere pati ki raksha swayam bhagwan Shiv karenge. Babadham mein hi Shiv aur Parvati ek sath virajmaan hain (I buy vermilion and bangles from here because then Lord Shiva will keep my husband safe. Only at Baidyanath Dham do both lord Shiva and goddess Parvati reside together),” said pilgrim Pratima Devi.