Shirdi temple to charge for 'VIP darshan'

Mumbai: The Shirdi Saibaba temple authorities have decided to ban 'VIP darshan' during weekdays and charge devotees for performing various poojas at the popular shrine on Saturday, Sundays and during festivals.

"A meeting of the Shirdi Sansthan trustees was held here yesterday in which it was decided to implement the scheme on a trial basis for three months," a trustee told a news agency.

The common man, who stands in a queue for the darshan, won't have to pay and the decision would only affect those visiting on VIP passes, he said.

Around 50,000 devotees visit the temple daily. The number doubles during the weekend.

The meeting, attended by state law and judiciary minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Sansthan chief Jayant Sasane, proposed Rs 500 for kakad arti and Rs 250 for dhoop arti, the trustee said.