Shirdi (Maharashtra): Every day, around 2,500 kg of flowers are offered at the famous Sai Mandir here. Till some time back, the flowers were treated as garbage and the temple management had to spend a considerable amount of money on disposing them.
About ten months back, the Temple launched a project to process the flowers to produce incense sticks. Since then, incense sticks worth around Rs 45 lakh have been sold, with 10 per cent of the profits going to the Temple trust. The residents of the villages around also supply flowers to the temple for processing. Around 400 women have got employment in the project.
The technique for processing flowers to produce incense sticks was acquired from Israel, where flowers are processed to produce perfumes. A group of women had travelled to Israel to learn the technology.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]Jansewa Foundation arranges for the transport of the flowers from the temple to the Loni village nearby. There, the women workers segregate the flowers colour-wise. Then, they are dried in solar dryers for three days. Once dried, they are ground into a paste, which is shaped into incense sticks. The sticks are dipped in natural colour extracted from roses and are again dried for a day. Then they are packed in 30-gm packets.[/box]
The incense sticks sold in the market are made of charcoal. Our product is entirely natural – Dhanshree Vikhe Patil, Project Director
Earlier, we were spending a substantial amount of money on disposing the flowers offered by the devotees. Now, they have become a source of income for us – Rubal Agarwal, CEO, Shirdi Temple Trust
(Story: Sanjay Bhadh, Navnath Dighe)