The change of prasad at Gujarat’s Ambaji temple has become a contentious issue, with thousands of devotees gathering for protests. Upholding a 46-year tradition, the temple would offer Mohanthal as prasad, a sweet made of gram flour, ghee, sugar and milk. The temple announced that going forward it would distribute chikki, a sweet made of jaggery and nuts, as prasad.
The decision has been met with outrage. On Friday, the devotees wrote to the Banaskantha Collector and the trust’s administrator to voice their protest. They proposed to keep the tradition of Mohanthal unchanged.
The decision has not gone down well with the political parties, including the BJP leadership. BJP leader Yagnesh Dave himself tweeted his protest.
Congress leader Hemang Rawal said, “As it is, there is a constant waste of the money donated by the devotees in government-owned temples. In 11 years, the Ambaji Devasthan Trust used up Rs 21 lakhs on ministers and their relatives. It spent Rs 15 crores to build a 56 feet high temple in Bahucharaji Temple. But the temple was only 49 feet high. It was alleged that there was a scam in the Somnath Trust in the procurement of equipment for light and sound shows.”
He added, “Now, officials are breaking a tradition. Doing away with the Mohanthal prasad given in the form of faith for six decades in the Ambaji temple is like implementing the thoughtless demonetisation.”
Banaskantha collector Anand Patel defended the decision saying, “Since chikki is dry, the devotees can keep it for three months. The management of the temple received several requests regarding changing the prasad.”
“Ambaji Mata’s devotees are spread across the world, so devotees desire prasad that can be had during fasting as well. Chikki has been introduced in Somnath temples as well. It has good quality and long shelf life.”
Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yagnesh Dave also highlighted chikki’s nutritious qualities in a tweet.
Matters have reached such a pass that a Hindu group, according to a report, has issued an ultimatum of 48 hours. They said they will protest the change even if it means closing the temple.