Indian worshippers are undertaking a bizarre ritual and offering up toy planes to the gods in the hope of a better life in the West.
Hundreds of devotees regularly travel to the Sant Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara temple in Punjab’s Doaba region.
Most visitors dream of emigrating abroad for a better life in London, New York or Toronto.
Dozens of shops surrounding the temple have cashed in on the peculiar ritual – stocking masses of plastic planes in all shapes, colours and sizes.
Devotees then take the toys and place them in an enclosure in the temple, before worshipping to the Gurus of the Sikh tradition.
Kuldeep Singh, 26, who dreams of moving to London next year, said: “A lot of my friends visited Sant Baba (temple) over the past few years. They have all settled down abroad in America and UK.
“So, I have also started coming here and making toy plane offerings.
“Hopefully, my wishes will be fulfilled very soon. I have full faith in Sant Baba. I will land a job abroad.”
A small, narrow alleyway leads to what locals call the Hawai Jahaz Gurudwara (Airplane temple).
Shops in the vicinity sell plastic Airbuses and Boeing 747s, which are snapped up by worshipers.
Another devotee, Gurpreet Singh, added: “My brother used to come here with small size airplanes. He is now settled in Southall in London.
“I come here with bigger airplanes because I want to go to New York. I was denied a British visa this year.
“Now, with the blessings from the Temple, I will apply again.”
But it remains unclear as to how the bizarre trend started.
Local shopkeeper Vineet Sodhi, who sells dozens of toy planes a day at his stall near the temple, suggested: “It must have been someone’s wish to go abroad coming true that must have started it all decades ago. It’s now become a great tradition.”
The Temple managers, however, face an entirely different problem – with countless planes offered everyday, the Temple is now fast running out of space.
Manmohan, a Temple manager, explained: “So many planes are offered by devotees here. The offerings are holy. Instead of storing them here, we distribute the toy planes among poor children of the nearby villages.
“People come and make offerings, but we have space constraints. It’s better that little kids play with them. Everyone is at peace that way.”
Courtesy : Mirror.co.uk