Raviprasad Kamila

This time too, a few scientists offered prayers before the launch

MANGALORE: Visitors to the museum at Dharmasthala can now view the miniature model of the satellite INSAT-4 C.

Sources told The Hindu that a few scientists from the Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan, of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) visited Dharmasthala on Saturday and presented a model of the INSAT-4 C to the temple authorities.

Before the launch of every Indian satellite, some ISRO scientists pay a visit to Dharmasthala to offer prayers to Lord Manjunathaswamy. And such a system has been in practice for the past 20 years.

The sources, however, said ISRO had nothing to do with this practice. A few scientists offered puja as devotees of the temple. It was a matter of their faith, they added.

The authorities at Dharmasthala have shifted such models presented earlier, to the engineering college managed by the SDM Education Society, Dharwad, to be used for education purpose. The purpose of keeping those models in the engineering college is to motivate students to involve in research activities, according to the sources.

A few scientists at the Master Control Facility, who have a special attachment to Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, visit the temple before the launch of a satellite and offer puja to Lord Manjunathaswamy.

They bring with them a miniature (model) of the satellite to be launched. The scientists return with prasada leaving the miniature satellite at Dharmasthala.

Every time ISRO launched a satellite either from Sriharikota or Kourou in French Guyana, the miniatures have been brought to Dharmasthala and left there, the sources said.

The model, which was brought on Saturday, was kept in a museum there, the sources said. On December 22, 2005, the ISRO launched Insat-4A, a fourth generation telecommunication satellite, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guyana. Its miniature had been brought to Dharmasthala a few days before its launch.

And, how did it all begin? The sources said that about 20 years ago a satellite launched by the ISRO developed a snag. Its solar panel did not open.

Following this, a team of scientists from the Master Control Facility visited Dharmasthala as devotees and offered prayers. Since then they have been visiting as devotees to offer prayers to the Lord there.