International Temples Convention and Expo to be held in Varanasi from July 22-24
Image for representational purpose only. Photo Courtesy: istock
The International Temples Convention and Expo (ITCX) will be held at the Rudraksh Convention Centre in Varanasi, from July 22 to 24, 2023.
Developed by Temple Connect (India), it is the world’s first event solely dedicated to the management of temples across the globe and will focus on nurturing and empowering the administration, management and operations of temple ecosystems.
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Conceptualised by Giresh Kulkarni, founder of Temple Connect (a leading platform dedicated to the documentation, digitalisation and distribution of information related to temples of Indian origin), along with Prasad Lad (chairman, International Temples Convention & Expo 2023 and Member Of Maharashtra Legislative Council), and Show Director & Co-Curator Meghaa Ghosh - this three-day event carves a space for free-flowing exchange of ideas, learning and invaluable insight among like-minded dignitaries who are at the helm of temple management, in order to establish, enable and promote best practices for temple management teams worldwide.
That the convention adds value to temple tourism and pilgrimage ecosystem - it is aptly supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, under the “Incredible India” initiative.
ITCX aims to birth and nurture an ecosystem for networking, knowledge sharing and peer learning that will pan out through expert seminars, workshops and master classes on various topics. These include temple safety, security and surveillance, fund management, disaster management, sanitisation, and hygiene as well as optimal use of new-age technology like artificial intelligence (AI) for protection against cyber-attacks and social media management to foster a strong and connected temple community. The event will also touch upon subjects like crowd and queue management, solid waste management, and infrastructure enhancement under the umbrella of pilgrim experience.
The event is by invitation only and designed for temples and temple trusts of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism in its first season. Representatives from Jain Dharamshalas, leading Devotional Charities, Associations in the Hindu Temples of the United Kingdom, ISKCON Temples, Anna Kshetra Managements, Purohit Mahasangha of various pilgrim locations, and Pilgrimage Promotion Boards will participate in this meet.
Additionally, the convention serves as a platform to learn about diverse cultures, traditions, and arts and crafts of temples from around the world while also celebrating India’s rich temple heritage.
Highlights of the 3-day sessions:
Dr Mohan Bhagwat (Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) will inaugurate the convention. Prominent attendees at the event will include temple trustees, members of temple boards and trusts, along with visionaries, such as the Prince of Travancore (Padmanabhaswamy Temple), Rohan A Khaunte (Minister for Tourism, Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, and Printing & Stationery, Goa), Dharma Reddy (Executive Officer - Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams), amongst many others.
To create a holistic impact, the sessions are tailored to include tried-and-tested as well as new-age practices to streamline sustainable temple management and development. Key conversations around green energy, archaeological architecture, langar (community kitchen) management, illuminations of lights for temples, etc will also be addressed. The line-up includes Tirupathi Balaji Temple experts who will share knowledge on their flawless queue management system and charity/social organisations that clean and maintain ghats in Varanasi. The founder of the convention, Giresh Kulkarni, will also lead a session on temple economics and its expanded role in tourism that can boost the local economy and promote a destination by providing pilgrims with a memorable experience.
Other talks and sessions on relevant topics will be held by delegates of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Mahakaal Jyotirling, Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Patna Saheb Gurudwara, Chidambaram Temple and Virupaksha Temple Hampi.
The event is also supported by the Antodaya Pratishthan that largely works in the space of CSR in the space of sustainability, hygiene, health and community service in a large way in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.
Service and Product Booths
ITCX has curated a list of handpicked innovative products and services that offer solutions involving the improvement of systems and SOPs for better temple management and invited them to display their offerings for attendees to explore. These include fintech and transaction management/monetisation tools, screening virtual interactive maps, health ATMs at temple premises, social media and web technologies to help temples maintain their online engagement and chemical and cleaning products for temple housekeeping.
Some names include VAMA, HDFC Bank, Meta Social, Diversey Chemicals, Yono Meta, Unity IE World, Vedic Bhawan Rigvedalaya, The Indian Puja Company, Krystal Integrated Services and Volksara Techno Solutions amongst others.
Giresh Kulkarni, founder of Temple Connect and ITCX mentioned, “On the forefront of the duty of devotion, Temple Connect is committed to uplifting the experience of a devotee in a place of worship. For a holy ground that attracts people through faith, it is imperative that it functions smoothly. Benches at every interval for resting in a queue, access to drinking water and an organised flow that takes care of the devotees' experience from the moment they enter the premise is critical. At the International Temples Convention & Expo, we aim to gather on-ground temple soldiers on one stage to open knowledge portals to get inspired and organically elevate and set the standard operating system in a temple.”
Prasad Lad, chairman of International Temples Convention & Expo 2023, Member of the Legislative Council, & The Chairman of the Legislative Council Rights Violation Committee, Government of Maharashtra, added, “The ITCX is a profound effort towards strengthening and empowering the temple ecosystem, which is one of the oldest ecosystems. The convention, in its very first edition, is indeed a first-of-its-kind to be held on such a scale and gravity. It will provide a much-needed space for information percolation, where various temple management can come together under one roof, learn from one another, network with experts and create synergies which will positively impact sustainable temple development.”
Meghaa Ghosh, show director and co-curator, says, “We have found ourselves in a time where taking initiative matters. No one has attempted to create a forum for temple management, but there is always a first. The convention brings to the fore a sense of national pride in our rich Temple heritage. And it is time to safeguard and support it with new-age technology. We are beginning with four faiths with similar roots. We would love to see more faiths join the movement in the coming years.”
The convention will also be streamed online through the Temple Connect website and Facebook Live for registered viewers.