Gone are the days when you just needed a dip into the Ganga and be content with the redemption you were promised by those in charge. Gautameshwar Mahadev Paapmochan Teertha, a Shiva temple in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan is now issuing ‘Paapmukti’ certificates and the steps are as simple as it can get. The sinners are required to take a dip in the temple’s Kund and pay Rs 10 for dosh-nivaram (removing obstacles). After which, you would be issued a certificate for just Rs 1.
“For centuries, it has been a famous pilgrimage held in great reverence, specially by the tribal community,” said priest Kanhaiyalal Sharma to Times of India. The shrine which has been popular for centuries is referred to as the`Haridwar of tribals.’ The temple claims to have a record of everyone who has bathed in the Kund and received certificates in return.
“When people do farming, they inadvertently kill insects and other creatures, damage eggs of birds and reptiles. This fills them with guilt. They come here with a heavy heart, but go back relieved,” said Sharma. According to a report, the numbers of visitors are increasing. However, the demand for certificates have decreased. The visitors increased the most in the month of May during the eight-day Gautameshwar fair, where out of two lakh people who took the dip, only three asked for the certificates.
Although, considering the fact that prayer services have experienced a serious boom in the online space, thanks to e-commerce, if prayers can go digital perhaps it isn’t surprising at all that a sin-free certificate might only cost Re. 1.
Words: Karan Kaul