If there are two things that Indians splurge on, it is weddings and religion. Irrespective of their socio-economic conditions, Indians will never hesitate to spend money when it comes to these two aspects of life. And this is just the kind of opportunity for entrepreneurs to capitalize on. While there is a big, fat Indian wedding market to cater to all aspects of this most important social event, spirituality is fast becoming a lucrative market too.
Shubhpuja is one such effort by Delhi-based Saumya Vardhan. The portal offers a religious forum that allows people from all walks of life to conduct pujas and rituals on various occasions. Prior to launching Shubhpuja.com, Saumya worked as an operations and technology consultant with KPMG and Ernst & Young in London. She is an MBA from Imperial College, UK, and she wanted to return to India to ‘contribute in some way to the betterment of society.’ The idea for Shubhpuja came when Saumya was visiting India and during this time, her friend faced a personal loss. Her father had passed away and she faced a lot of problems while arranging for rituals. “There is no place where one can go and find out how to go about the rituals properly,” says Saumya.
Shubhpuja.com was officially launched in December 2013 and they’ve had over 100 clients till date. The company has 90+ pandits/astrologers/vaastu consultants in Delhi NCR from the occult science institutes in India (Varanasi, Nasik, Ujjain, Delhi etc.) “We also provide face-to-face consultation services at our offices or at a customer’s preferred location. Apart from that we have been participating in various exhibitions, holiday carnivals and festivals for Diwali, New Year, Valentines Day etc. We also hold workshops on astrology, Vaastu Shastra and numerology for big groups of people or corporates,” says Saumya.
Shubhpuja has a six-member operations team and is planning to double the network in the next three to four months. India’s spiritual and religious market is estimated to be over $30 billion. There are thriving ventures like Online Prasad (backed by GrowthStory) and ProudUmmah that caters to Islam in the spiritual space. Whether Shubhpuja works towards the ‘betterment of the society’ is a discussion on another level but the idea definitely has a market in India. There is room for more players to tap the online channel and make a mark in this ‘spiritual space’.