In an order to safeguard underage marriages in Uttarakhand, the priests committee at the Chitai Golu Devta Temple (Goljyu) in Almora have decided to make it mandatory for anyone wanting to get married or conducting the wedding in the temple complex must to have an Aadhaar card.
Chitai Golu Temple officials said that they would insist on checking only Aadhaar cards and not any other proof of identity like voter ID card or PAN card. “Aadhar card has a great deal of composite information like name, age, father’s name, address and is a trustworthy identity proof. That is why, we have decided that couples should bring their Aadhaar cards along with them.”
The Golu Devta sees about 500+ marriages being solemnized every year with nearly 4-5 marriages taking place every day during the months when the wedding season is on. Elaborating on the reasons for their decision, Hari Vinod Pant, (The priest and treasurer of the Chitai Golu temple committee) said, “Since we organize a large number of marriages at the temple, it is very difficult sometimes to verify the name and address of the couple. Many couples come from outside the state to get married here and it not possible to verify whether the couples have met the minimum age requirements for marriage. There have been instances when couples who came to the temple were found to be underage and it turned out they had eloped to get married.
There have also been cases of Nepalese underage girls coming here to get married. So the temple committee took the decision of checking Aadhaar cards before agreeing to conduct the wedding.” According to local belief, having a marriage solemnized in the temple is considered auspicious as it is believed that the newly-weds would be blessed by Golu devta, considered the god of justice in Kumaon.