Record hair collection expected at Tara Tarini temple

Berhampur: The famous Tara Tarini temple in Ganjam district is expected to earn around Rs 3.88 lakh by selling hair offered to its deities this year, owing to large number of devotees expected to visit.

"About a dozen organisations took part in the auction last week and a group from Andhra Pradesh bid the highest", an officer of the temple administration said, adding, the highest bidding during auction of hair last year was Rs 3.42 lakh.

"There has been a rise in the number of bidders," Pramod Kumar Panda, Secretary of the Tara Tarini Shrine Development Board (TTSDB), said.

Hundreds of people climb the 999 steps to the 17th century shrine atop Dahibandi near Purushottampur, about 35 km from here, to get heads of their children tonsured every Tuesday in the month of Chaitra.

The hair collected from the temple is processed and exported to the US, UK, France, Germany and Hong Kong and is either made into wigs or used for extensions. The short strands serve as raw material for cosmetic products, sources said.

Around 90 per cent of the total collection of hair comes in Chaitra when many people are engaged to collect it.

"The organisation engages several people to collect hair every Tuesday during this month. On other days, a single person is given charge of collecting the hair", Revenue Inspector of Tara Tarini, L N Panda said.

They will be deployed on the temple premises from April 1, he said.

The temple is also going environment-friendly by banning plastic on its premises.

In a recent meeting, the TTSDB took the decision to make its premises polythene-free and stressed strict implementation of the decision.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (southern range) Bikash Mohapatra, also discussed plans for the smooth conduct of the Chaitra festival at the temple beginning April 2.

Around one lakh devotees are expected to visit the temple every Tuesday during Chaitra.