Business tycoon and Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya is following in the footsteps of former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa - seeking divine intervention in times of distress.
Last week, he prayed at some of the top temples in coastal Karnataka, something which Mallya is not known for. The last time he visited a popular temple was reportedly two years ago.
Mallya visited the Subrahmanya temple in Kukke (Dakshina Kannada district), which hit the headlines last year for the age-old practice of 'Made Snana' (Dalits rolling over food leftovers of Brahmins inside the temple).
According to informed sources, Mallya performed Panchamrutha Abhisheka and Aslesha Bali services to invoke the gods.
The industrialist prayed for some time in private and offered to make a pledge - gold plating the Nadu Mantapa door - outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Normally, devotees make a pledge at the Subrahmanya temple in return for favours from the Almighty. The Nadu Mantapa door is 6 feet high and 6 feet wide.
It is common for VIPs, sports personalities and celebrities from across the country to visit Kukke Subrahmanya, which is popular for 'Sarpa Dosha Nivarane' in order to fetch good luck.
Even cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had visited this temple town in 2006 for that purpose.
In March this year, BJP MP Varun Gandhi's secret visit had created furore among the devotees, as he reportedly wanted the temple authorities to bar the entry of the visitors.
According to temple authorities, Mallya visited the temple, nestled in the Western Ghats, on Thursday evening after 7 pm to avoid media glare. Besides, he did not want to be seen by other devotees.
"He stayed for more than an hour and paid all the fees for Panchamrutha Abhisheka and Aslesha Bali services," they said.
Mallya, who is not known for temple hopping, even visited the Tirumala Venkataramana Temple in Bantwal (also in Dakshina Kannada district). His forefathers hail from Bantwal and the temple is supposed to be a kind of family deity for Mallya's family.
The Kingfisher Airlines chief has been visiting temples after a long time. During 2005, when Mallya was pursuing a career in politics, he visited several temples. But this is the first time in recent years that Mallya visited the Kukke Subrahmanya temple.
In the past, several business leaders have visited the Kukke Subrahmanya temple hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes.
It is to be seen if Mallya's temple visit helps him in emerging out of the red.