These puja startups can help you celebrate any festival in style, especially when you forget to book a priest, offer pujas to temples you might not be able to visit.
It's the festive season again! Lakshmi Puja is right here, and Diwali isn't too far either. While Indians gear up to pose in their new clothes and indulge in sweets and namkeen, age-old rituals and pujas make up the most important part.
In the excitement of the upcoming days, many will forget to book a priest or end up navigating through overcrowded markets to buy puja essentials. In times like these, puja startups can be a life saviour.
YourStory lists a few of these that come to your rescue, and let you book a priest and order your puja essentials at the click of a mouse!
Established in September 2015, SaleBhai is an online marketplace serving 17 communities by sourcing products from their native places. Founded by Purba Kalita, Pramod Rao and Vishwa Vijay Singh, the website has an entire section dedicated to 'puja'. Their range includes puja packs of 10, 30 and 90 days, and individual items like incense sticks, puja thalis, lights and utensils.
The founders claim that the platform was launched to meet the rising demand of region-specific consumable goods in Indian as well as abroad. SaleBhai sources products from over 350 selected vendors in 100 cities. It is also a one-stop solution for those who want to discover regional products across India, including sweets, savouries, chocolates, spices, dry fruits and other puja items.
The company raised Rs 10 crore from The Times Group's Brand Capital in August 2016. It plans to increase another 400 sellers by the end of the year through repeat buying, web personalisation and market automation. This puja startup also aims to target 16 million Indians living abroad.
Founded in 2014 by Shiva Kumar, ePuja offers access to religious ceremonies across 3,600 Indian temples. The Bengaluru-based company provides its customers with a high quality and comprehensive portal through which users can book a prayer service to visit specific temples through a few clicks.
After the booking and payment are done, a local priest performs the prayer service on the customer’s behalf and sends back 'prasad' or a sacred token from the temple through the mail.
The platform allows users to book multiple prayer offerings across temples depending on their budget. ePuja aims to facilitate prayer offerings for Indians living outside the country.
It claims to courier offerings to users located anywhere in the world. According to media reports, the site connects 1,000 customers per month, of which 30 percent reside outside India.
Pune-based Muhurtmaza was founded by Sughosh Sowale in November 2014. Its first customer NileshGudhe, excited about the concept, joined the company as its CTO.
Muhurtmaza, in Marathi, means 'my auspicious time'. A mobile and website-based platform, it lets its users book complete puja packages along with a priest for weddings, pujas and festivals. With 300 priests across eight cities in India, it claims it had up to 40 bookings when they started off. Sugosh says the number has doubled since then.
Founded by Goonjan Mall, OnlinePrasad claims to be a one-stop spiritual destination for devotees. In addition to online prasad offering and puja services, it also provides spiritual travel services from hotel bookings to local spiritual guides and assistance.
The startup has tie-ups with local sweet vendors from every temple listed on the website. After sweets or prasad are offered to the deity through an online prasad offering, it is couriered to the customer anywhere around the world. OnlinePrasad also sells gems, idols, rakhis and rudraksha. Their puja services range from Rs 101 and Rs 2,100.
Bengaluru-based SmartPuja was founded by Nischai Chaturvedi in 2016, and claims to provide sacred and hassle-free puja services by connecting users with experienced and verified priests in Bengaluru.
Customers need to input basic details, puja name and language preference and SmartPuja makes the required arrangements. The team assigns a priest, shares an auspicious time for the rituals and sends all the items required during the puja, including fresh flowers. The services can also be booked over the phone and through email.
Puja n Pujari
Bengaluru-based Digital platform Puja n Pujari was launched by Mahesh Kottapalli and Kalpaja Dalavoi Adhikesavulu in October 2017. The platform caters to the needs of Hindu religious ceremonies by providing experiences priests and other basic holy items such as incense and flowers. The platform allows its customers to choose priests according to their language preference and budget.
Puja n Pujaris's platform provides more than 50 ceremonial products and services. They provide their services in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and in Texas. The further plan to expand to other Indian cities and abroad. The startup has both web and mobile applications.
Founder Sia Umesh started her company Karmashya with an initial investment of just Rs. 500 to sell articles needed for puja. It sells high-quality puja articles, rudrakshas, gemstones, rangoli stencils, idols and spiritual jewellery. Sia now sells her products on Amazon.