The news spread very quickly in various Indian and American cities, as Indians everywhere tried to “feed” idols of Ganesha with milk and spread the news through telephones and word of mouth, attracting significant attention in the Indian media. Scientists have described the incident as occurring through capillary action.
Before dawn on 20 September 1995, a worshipper at a temple in southern New Delhi made an offering of milk to a statue of Ganesha. When a spoonful of milk from the bowl was held up to the trunk of the statue, the liquid appeared to disappear, apparently taken in by the idol. Word of the event spread quickly, and by mid-morning it was found that statues of the entire Hindu pantheon in temples all over India were taking in milk.
By noon the news had spread beyond India, and Hindu temples in the United Kingdom, Canada, the UAE, and Nepal, among other countries had successfully replicated the phenomenon, and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (an Indian Hindu nationalist organisation which provides social services to Hindus in India and across the world) announced that a miracle was occurring.
The reported miracle had a significant effect on the areas around major temples; vehicle and pedestrian traffic in New Delhi was dense enough to create a gridlock lasting until late in the evening. Many stores in areas with significant Hindu communities saw a massive jump in sales of milk, leading to an increase in overall milk sales in New Delhi by over 30%. Many minor temples struggled to deal with the vast increase in numbers, and queues spilled out into the streets, reaching distances of over a mile.
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