Mumbai: Mumbai's famous Siddhivinayak temple, which is frequented by celebrities and politicians alike, will now accept shares of listed companies as donations in a novel departure from the usual gifts of cash and gold.
Among the high-profile Hindu temples in the country, which was recently visited by Apple chief executive Tim Cook in May, said on Wednesday that it will allow generous devotees to transfer their stocks electronically to an account run by the religious site's trust.
"We have opened up a 'share and securities' option for devotees globally," trust chairman Narendra Murari Rane told Agence France-Presse, adding the stocks would be converted into cash.
But Mr Rane clarified that "the stocks cannot be used for trading purposes".
Hundreds of thousands of worshippers pray at Siddhivinayak temple - dedicated to Lord Ganesha - every day, including Indian cricketers, politicians and Bollywood film stars.
Located In Maharashtra, it is one of the wealthiest temples in India, receiving donations of around Rs 75 crore every year in cash, silver and gold.
Mr Rane hopes Indians who like to invest on the Bombay Stock Exchange will be inclined to give some of their shares to Siddhivinayak in the hope that it will boost their fortunes.
"Many devotees who enter the Indian stock market want an auspicious start. Hence, they might seek blessings by promising to donate shares to the temple," he said.
The temple trust decided to pursue the scheme following a Temple in Andhra Pradesh last year, which became the first to accept stocks as donations, Mr Rane added.
The trust uses donations to finance charitable hospitals and schools for underprivileged societies across the state.