New Delhi, Jun 12 : Temples and astrology go together, but for the first time a religious complex is joining hands with astronomy.
Shirdi’s Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust has decided to build a planetarium to help inculcate a scientific spirit among students in rural areas around the temple complex.
It plans to build a 200-seat planetarium spread across 22 acres in Shirdi, Maharashtra, using a multi-tier 3-D projection system that would provide night sky view with planets and stars along with the galaxies.
The Rs 100-crore project will also be an added attraction for devotees visiting Shirdi to pay homage to the 19th century mystic saint, Saibaba.
“We plan to have shows spanning an hour an a half where students and devotees can come and know about stars, planets, comets and nebula,” trust chairperson Suresh Haware told PTI.
Maharashtra has several cash-rich temple trusts such as the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust and the Pandharpur Temple trust which are involved in various educational and social activities.
But this is the first time that a temple is constructing a planetarium.
A nuclear scientist-turned real estate developer, Haware said apart from the astronomy shows, the planetarium in Shirdi, about 250 km from Mumbai, would have 25 high resolution telescopes that could be used for gazing at stars and planets.
“The plan is to have such telescopes that can enable a common man to view not just planets, but even their satellites,” Haware said.
The main objective of the project is to help inculcate a scientific temperament in rural areas, Haware said.
“There are 5000-6000 schools in and around Shirdi and a large number of colleges,” he said. Maharashtra has two planetariums—the Nehru planetarium in Mumbai and the Raman Science Centre in Nagpur.