Friday, 8 June 2007

Virtual pooja system: Ring temple bell from home, office

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 8: An IT professional from Visakhapatnam has developed a software that enables the devout to offer prayers and ring the temple bell in real time while sitting at home.
Unlike the existing "virtual reality" softwares where pooja is offered virtually on-line, the present software, "e-Smarami", functions in real time and the prayers offered are real. The software enables the devout to ring the temple bell, hear the chanting of the priests and see the presiding deity of the temple of their choice.
The programme is so real that the prayers of the person using it are heard in the temple in a low voice as if the person is praying to the deity standing there. Even the conversations on the temple premises are heard live through the software.
"We have installed the software and the related equipment at a few temples on experimental basis in Visakhapatnam. Soon we are going to install it at the famous Dwaraka Tirumala shrine in West Godavari. We are going to hold talks with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam soon," the IT professional, Susharla Narasimha Murthy, told this correspondent.
All that the devout has to do is to make a call to a cell phone number (presently 94907 37373), follow the IVRS announcement and press No. 2. The cell phone call then goes to an equipment called "Sriswaroopa" which is nothing but a simple motor connected to a computer. Once the caller gets through, the motor gets activated and starts rotating. The motor is linked to a specially set up bell in the temple. The bell rings for at least three times and the interregnum the devotee can make his or her wish, which is heard in a low murmur at the sanctum sanctorum. A small speaker is attached to the bell to enable the voice of the devotee to be heard in the temple.
Murthy said "e-Smarami" would soon be available for internet users who will get an additional facility of watching the goings-on in the temple live. A video camera is fitted in the temple. The camera, speaker and the bell work in synchronisation.
To ensure that the programme does not fall into the hands of mischievous or terrorist elements, the software has several inherent security features. The cell phone call is diverted to another cell phone which in turn is diverted to a landline number attached to the computer at the temple.
"Since there are three diversions in a telephone call, the question of security breach does not arise. Every caller will get one minute time to ring the bell and offer prayers. We have devised the software in such a way that the system receives two callers every minute. While one person goes through the IVRS process, the second one offers the prayers," he said.

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity