Oh God! Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai to accept stock market shares as donations

The Siddhivinayak temple is one of the wealthiest temples in India, receiving donations of around Rs 75 crore a year in cash, silver and gold.

AFP July 20, 2016 18:16:37 IST
Oh God! Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai to accept stock market shares as donations

Mumbai: The Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai, one of India's most high-profile Hindu temples said Wednesday it now accepts shares of listed companies as donations in a novel departure from the usual gifts of cash and gold.

Mumbai's Siddhivinayak temple, which Apple chief executive Tim Cook visited in May, allows generous devotees to transfer their stocks electronically to an account run by the religious site's trust.

"We have opened up a 'share and securities' option for devotees globally," trust chairman Narendra Murari Rane told AFP, adding that the stocks would be converted into cash.

Oh God Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai to accept stock market shares as donations

Siddhivinayak temple. Reuters

"The stocks cannot be used for trading purposes," Rane explained.

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers pray at Siddhivinayak temple — dedicated to Lord Ganesh — every day, including cricketers, politicians and Bollywood stars.

Situated in south Mumbai, it is one of the wealthiest temples in India, receiving donations of around Rs 75 crore a year in cash, silver and gold.

As well as donations, devotees also seek the blessings of their favoured gods by making religious offerings at shrines, such as fruit, incense sticks and flowers.

Rane hopes Indians who like to invest on the Bombay Stock Exchange will be inclined to give some of their shares to Siddhivinayak in the hope that it will boost their fortunes.

"Many devotees who enter the Indian stock market want an auspicious start. Hence, they might seek blessings by promising to donate shares to the temple," he said.

The temple trust decided to pursue the scheme after the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh became in 2015 the first to accept stocks as donations, Rane added.

The trust uses donations to finance charitable hospitals and schools for underprivileged societies across Maharashtra.

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