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Indian festivals stream to mobile web worshippers for the 1st time

Published on Sep 23, 2012 3:03 PM
The reflection of a 58-foot (17.57 meter) tall idol of the Hindu god Lord Ganesh, popularly known as "Khairatabad Ganesh", is seen on a vehicle window during the festival of 'Ganesh Chaturthi' in Hyderabad on Sept 19, 2012. Hindu devotees bring home idols of Lord Ganesha in order to invoke his blessings for wisdom and prosperity, during the eleven-day long Festival which culminates with the immersion of the idols in different water bodies. -- PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI (AFP) - While devout Hindus wait for up to 90 hours to see their favourite deity at Ganesh Chaturthi, one of India's major festivals, others are opting to dodge the queues this year and say a virtual prayer instead.

The 11-day celebration of the birth of elephant-headed Lord Ganesha draws millions to worship at decorated idols of the god, but the statues are increasingly available to followers via live Internet streams.

"Every year people were requesting it, so this year we decided to go online," said Mr Uday Salian, committee spokesman at the Andhericha Raja, a popular Ganesha idol in Mumbai.

The colourful figure can be watched for free on their website during the twice daily "aarti" ritual, when offerings of light are made to the deity, meaning devotees can receive their blessings through the net. The move was largely meant for overseas followers, but religious domestic markets are also being tapped.

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