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Cricket fans outnumber devotees in temple

Sunday 21 March 2004

RAIPUR : The massive turnout of cricket fans at a Chhattisgarh temple that outnumbered devotees who offer prayers even on a religious day, awed the head priest.

"I have been here for a decade, but never seen so many devotees throng the Kali temple from morning to noon . They all have the same prayer - for an India victory," said chief priest Vishnu Shastri.

Hundreds of cricket lovers of Raipur came to the temple to pray for India ’s victory in Lahore Sunday. They even outnumbered Navratri devotees.

India is trailing 1-2 in the one-day international cricket series against Pakistan . Lahore hosts the final two one-dayers Sunday and Wednesday.

According to Shastri, over 5,000 people had visited the temple till noon - a turnout not witnessed even on Dussehra.

"Normally, the devotees come in the morning and in Navratri the number does not go beyond 1,000. Wishing luck to the Indian players, cricket lovers offered special prayers to goddess Kali at the temple.

The chief priest, not an avid follower of game, also joined the prayers.

The Kali mandir is popular in Raipur and people from various parts of the state come here thinking their prayers would get their wishes fulfilled.

Theatre-owners are also cashing in on the passion, showing the matches live in their halls. Six theatres are already showing the game with tickets ranging between Rs.80 and Rs.150.

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The Times of India, Sunday 21 March, 2004.

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