Famous Tara Tarini temple in Ganjam district of Odisha is expected to earn around Rs 3.88 lakh by selling hair offered to its deities this year. "About a dozen organisations took part in the auction last week and a group from Andhra Pradesh bid the highest", said an officer of the temple administration. The highest bidding during auction of hair last year was Rs 3.42 lakh, he said.
Hundreds of people climb the 999 steps to the 17th century shrine atop Dahibandi near Purushottampur, about 35 kmfrom here, to get the heads of their children tonsured every Tuesday in the month of Chaitra. "There has been a rise in the number of bidders," said secretary of the Tara Tarini Shrine Develpment Board (TTSDB), Pramod Kumar Panda.
The hair collected from the temple is processed and exported to the US, the UK, France, Germany and Hongkong. The hair 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. "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", said revenue inspector of Tara Tarini, L N Panda. They will be deployed on the temple premises from April 1, he added.
The temple is also going environment-friendly by banning plastic on its premises. In a recent meeting, the TTDB took the decision to make its premises free of polythene and stressed the 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.