When Sprituality Met Technology: A Glimpse into the Metaverse Temple Experience

March 19, 2024

By Anjali Kochhar

Renowned for its spiritual and cultural heritage, India attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world every year. Whether it is the beautiful evening Aarti on the banks of the Ganga River at Varanasi or the soulful Sufi vibes at the Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan, these places represent the diverse religious traditions and practices that have flourished in the country for centuries. What if, there comes a time shortly when all these iconic spiritual places in India can be visited from wherever a person is, without the need to travel miles to visit them?

Well, seems like some spiritual and some technologically inclined people have already indulged in this discussion and are now coming up with the concepts of temples in the metaverse–a virtual reality space where users can interact with computer-generated environments and other users in real-time.

A couple of months ago, ISKCON Dwarka Delhi temple launched a virtual temple visit experience using the digital world’s new technology metaverse for the first time. You can now have the darshan of Shri Shri Rukmini Dwarakadheesh from the convenience of your home, transcending the world even beyond the internet. All you have to do is visit the metaverse of ISKCON Dwarka, select your avatar, understand certain controls to enter the temple metaverse, and just experience the feel of the ISKCON temple sitting at your home.

Shri Gaur Prabhu, the senior manager of ISKCON, Dwarka, mentions that now more than 80 countries’ devotees connected to the centre can do the “darshan” (audience) at home, visit the book centre, contribute and support the centre through donations, and perform various services to the Lord. “Currently, a limited version has been launched, and gradually, there will be an opportunity to connect with many detailed dimensions in it,” he said.

As spirituality is going the digital way, a tech-startup VOSMOS, which has its metaverse, is also looking forward to offering users a virtual temple experience that blends technology and spirituality. The project, which is at an initial stage, would provide 360-degree temple tours, basic activity tracking, auto walk and idol-focused landing, interactive ritual participation, seamless booking and donations and user ID implementation, said the CEO Piyush Gupta.

VOSMOS has created a thorough 360-degree walkthrough that gives a tour and highlights the features of the temple. After the walkthrough loads, a walk or navigate function quickly brings visitors to the focus point, placing them in front of the designated idol inside the temple. Customers and users can worship the idols through interactive features including ‘prasad animations’, ‘flower showers’, and ‘aarti’.

“By transporting devotees into temple premises regardless of their location, this innovative product offers an immersive experience. Features like Auto Walk and Idol-Focused Landing ensure easy navigation within the sanctuaries, allowing worshippers to concentrate on their devotion. The Interactive Idol Engagement feature adds authenticity by enabling devotees to virtually perform traditional rituals and make offerings. The platform will enhance the experience of devotees with live streaming and recording of rituals, offering devotees the flexibility to participate in real-time or revisit ceremonies at their convenience,” Gupta said.

Currently, VOSMOS has the technology ready but is not yet associated with any real-time temples.

Another platform MetaGod Creators, securing the phase 1 mandate for Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir Trust, plans to launch a metaverse platform for the temple’s south wing. This initiative includes digital fundraising, influencer marketing, and immersive digital activities using VR and AR. It also involves media buying for ad spaces at iconic global locations.

When Spirituality Meets Technology

  • 1.Darshan (audience) in your comfort: The metaverse temple tours aim to provide the feel of the physical temples in a virtual world. Regardless of your age or your medical condition, you can easily do the darshan of God in your comfort.
  • 2.Perform services to God at home: ISKCON Dwarka launched the metaverse on the special occasion of Janmashtami this year, allowing thousands of devotees to immerse in the experience of darshan, Aarti, and donation at the comfort of your home. All these services are still available at the metaverse of the temple with additional services on their way.
  • 3.Environmental-Friendly: It’s true that the large number of people visiting temples and other religious sites in India, especially from all over the world, can contribute to carbon footprints. The carbon footprint associated with travel arises from the transportation methods used, including flights, vehicles, and other modes of transportation. The metaverse temple tours can help in cutting down these carbon footprints.
  • 4.GenZ loves it: Well, whether or not you or I would understand the concept with ease, Generation Z has been all hearts for visiting temples in the metaverse. Priyadarshini, a PR professional, believes that it is a gaming-like experience, which she would love to explore further in the future.

What’s missing?

  • 1.The Sukoon of Temple missing: Akshara Gurbani, a working professional in the Influencer Marketing Industry, believes that the teerth yatra or the feeling of being at the holy place is something unparalleled to what we can have in metaverse. “
  • 2.Interaction with Avatars can’t match the real-life connections: Another ISKCON devotee who recently visited the temple metaverse felt that the interaction with fellow avatar devotees was not as seamless as she expected.
  • 3.Absence of Prasad’s (offering) distribution: Many devotees who truly found the temple tour experience engaging found that virtual tours couldn’t get them the real-time prasadam they visit the temples from far-away places. The ‘animation prasad’, suggested by VOSMOS in their product, couldn’t excite many devotees.

What’s next?

As of now, the concept of temple tours in the metaverse is at its early stages, however, it seems like in the years to come, metaverse temple tour is expected to become a thing for devotees. The upcoming year is expected to see many temples coming up with the concept of metaverse and God will be available for all in a parallel universe which they can experience in real-time.

About the author

Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.

Translate Now