The number of shrines dotting the length and breadth of India as well as the virtually countless deities being worshipped in these shrines can undoubtedly earn top spot for the country in a global rating. Karnataka, as officially disclosed by the State Department of Muzrai and Religious Establishments, hosts more than 34,000 temples under the Department’s ambit. Given the often reported cash flow into the account books of temples and their classification based on the amounts in cash prompts one to remark that money matters have totally stumped the spiritual matters in the sublime relationship between the devout mass and their favoured divinity, particularly in the context of temples luring the masses into their precincts. Regular income, both visible and otherwise, to the temple staff of the government-managed shrines is also a positive in the present societal ethos towards divinity and worshipping.
Similar to the few shrines across the country that draw to their locations people from all regions, Karnataka too hosts a few shrines that are patronised by devotees from various regions outside the State. They make news only when political heavy-weights or huge numbers of devotees throng them on well-marked occasions.
Fervour in celebrating largely attended religious events at shrines such as Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysuru and Nanjangud Srikanteshwara temple seems to have sidelined a few other sides to the city’s glory that has been sustained for decades, if not centuries. While the city’s places of worship are on their own steam in guarding Mysuru’s glory, a report on the front page of a widely read daily in a section of the Press last week has come like a whiff of fresh air. Karnataka leads the list of States that have claimed Geographical Indications (GI) for products with 39 tagged items. A GI tag is enforceable under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which came into effect in 2003.
The GIs will not only help the State maintain uniqueness about its products but also plays a vital role in protecting and promoting State’s cultural and biological diversity. The range of products, including Mysuru Pak, Mysuru Silk, Nanjangud banana and so on offers a golden opportunity to anybody willing to pitch in and raise Mysuru’s glory to the skies, given the fact that another 40 items are on the cards awaiting award of GI tag.