“Starting Monday (November 18), the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) has decided to levy Rs 500 per head for the morning (4.30 am) aarti from those devotees who prefer to skip the general queue,” an official said.
Similarly, each devotee will have to shell out Rs 300 for the Madhyan aarti (12 noon), Dhoop aarti (sunset) and Shej aarti (10.30 pm).
People opting to await their turn in the general queues would be allowed free access to the aartis -- the prayers. In 2010, the trust implemented the paid pass system for the aartis only on Saturdays and Sundays, which now will be extended to all weekdays from Monday.
Besides the VIP passes for aartis, the SSST levies Rs 100 per devotee for VIP darshan on Saturdays and Sundays, which will not change, added official Ajay More.
He explained that the new daily VIP aarti passes are being implemented on experimental basis to reduce the rush of devotees inside the temple premises and to avoid the risk of stampede.
With a likely fall in the number of people availing the VIP aartis passes and consequent reduced rush, the trust management hopes more commoners will get a chance to see participate in the four aartis.
On an average, around 60,000 devotees visit the temple daily, and the crowds are more than double on weekends, and five times during festivals.
Rs 50 lakh Amount the Shirdi Saibaba Temple Trust earns daily from offerings and donations
60,000 The number of devotees that visit the temple, located near Nashik, daily