Money matters: Why Mumbai chose Laxmi over Ganesh on Tuesday

Updated: Nov 16, 2016, 09:50 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar

With so many people busy trying to get their old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes exchanged, there were no long queues for darshan or any rush to buy offerings for Bappa at the iconic Siddhivinayak temple

Ganesh: Number of devotees for the Tuesday darshan at the Siddhivinayak temple came down drastically. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Ganesh: Number of devotees for the Tuesday darshan at the Siddhivinayak temple came down drastically. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Did you ever imagine a deserted Siddhivinayak temple on a Tuesday? Well, you should have seen it yesterday. With so many people busy trying to get their old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes exchanged, there were no long queues for darshan or any rush to buy offerings for Bappa at the iconic Prabhadevi mandir.

Laxmi: Serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs continued even a week after demonetisation. Pic/Sameer Markande
Laxmi: Serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs continued even a week after demonetisation. Pic/Sameer Markande

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 (Tuesday) his decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the footfall at the temple was said to have come down by nearly 30 per cent.

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It was a rare deserted Tuesday at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi
It was a rare deserted Tuesday at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi

A big drop
“Every Tuesday, there is a huge crowd at the temple to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha. But today, that’s not the case,” temple chairman Narendra Rane told mid-day, confirming the dip to be 25-30 per cent.

The temple is thrown open to devotees on Tuesday at 5 am and shut at 12 am. Trust officials said that on an average every Tuesday 1 lakh to 1.25 lakh visit the temple, and yesterday, they added, barely 70,000 had come till late evening.

Rane said people are busy depositing or withdrawing money from banks or standing in long queues outside ATMs.

Smooth entry
A regular visitor said going to Siddhivinayak starts from queuing up for a share cab at Dadar station till one enters the temple in Prabhadevi. But post the demonetisation, there were barely any people queuing up for share cabs.

“Share cabs were easily available, as was entry to the temple. While earlier it used to take 15 minutes for a normal mukh darshan, today, it took less than five minutes. Also, the number of devotees crowding to buy offerings — flowers, ladoos and modaks — was much less as compared to previous Tuesdays,” she added.

“Itna aaram se darshan toh ghanto khade rehne ke baad bhi nahi milta tha, jitni aasaani se aaj mila (after standing for hours in a queue also there never used to be any guarantee of getting a proper glimpse of the lord, the way one got today).”

Low on business
A flower and sweetmeat vendor near the temple had similar things to say. A number of vendors, in fact, claimed that the decline in the number of devotees was actually over 40 per cent.

Read Story: Demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000: Here is all you must know

Mangal Kishore Makwana, a flower vendor, said, “Usually, we sell nearly 10 kg flowers every Tuesday and make around Rs 2,000 a day. But, today, we have not even managed to do business of Rs 1,000 or sell half of the available stock in the shop.”

“Log bhagwaan ke line ko chhod ke ATM ke line mein lagein hain. Hamara dhanda toh manda pad gaya hai. (People have started queuing up outside ATMs than here at the temple. Out business has been affected badly),” said another.

Ashish Sukhadare (32), a sweetmeat vendor near the temple echoed the two. He claimed that he sold sweets worth Rs 15,000 every Tuesday, but today, business was down by nearly 50 per cent. “I have seen such a situation only during Pitru Paksha,” he said.

1.25 lakh
Average number of devotees at Siddhivinayak on a Tuesday

50%
How much flower and sweetmeat vendors claimed their business has been affected

70,000
Number of people visiting the temple this Tuesday

30%
The dip in devotees at the temple since the demonetisation move

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