spiritual apps: Spiritual apps get blessed with more users, investors post Covid

A post-pandemic surge in online engagement and growing interest in spiritual practices have revived the fortunes of apps offering spiritual and devotional services. Apps such as Astrotalk, AppsForBharat,, DevDham and Utsav are riding this wave, with some even providing a fillip to spiritual tourism, according to industry executives.

Covid-19 has been a boon for spiritual and astrology apps, said Manu Jain, cofounder of, a New Delhi-based startup that allows users to book virtual pujas as well as temple darshans and rituals besides offering astrology services.

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To be sure, platforms such as SmartPuja, Harivara and ePuja offering similar services that were launched before the pandemic have not met with equal success.

“It was not until one or two years ago that venture capitalists began recognising solid, cash-generating businesses in this space,” according to Jain, who claims his app is currently clocking an annual revenue run rate of $2 million, or about Rs 16.7 crore. has 400,000 monthly active users with 32,000 monthly transacting users.

“I feel, to some extent, even Hinduism has in the last 10 years come more to the forefront,” Jain told ET.

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The inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya had also triggered a boom in usage of devotional apps — with some industry experts likening this to the upsurge in digital payment apps like Paytm following demonetisation of high-value currency in 2016.Strong vein of spirituality

The founder of one of the apps cited above said India has always had a strong undertone of spirituality regardless of religion. “The opportunity explosion happened after Covid-19 when digital engagement started surging across sectors,” said the entrepreneur on the condition of anonymity.

“Whether it is online astrology or digital pujas, there has been a greater validation and acceptance among consumers post Covid,” said the entrepreneur.

The trend is not limited to a certain age bracket with “even millennials and Gen Z consuming these services in large numbers,” he added.

Digital astrology platform Astrotalk, which recently raised $9.4 million in capital from New York-based Left Lane Capital and Elev8 Venture Partners, expects its revenue to more than double to Rs 620-630 crore in FY24 from Rs 283 crore in the previous year. It is targeting profit of Rs 120 crore in FY24, an over fourfold increase from the Rs 27 crore profit in FY23.

Peak XV Partners and Elevation Capital-backed AppsForBharat, which offers devotional content such as mantras and helps users perform pujas and meditation at home, recorded Rs 3.53 crore in revenue with a Rs 45 crore in loss in FY23. The revenue grew 5.2x to Rs 18.59 crore with Rs 31 crore operational loss in FY24.

Navin Honagudi, managing partner at Bengaluru-based Elev8, said many such businesses were not viable before Covid-19, but their profitability and economic metrics improved after the pandemic with the market growing and online penetration becoming “much higher”.

“Companies who have scaled up have built a profitable, strong unit economics around this. So, companies in this space are now actually profitable, which means their customer acquisition costs (CAC) to customer lifetime value (LTV) is adding up,” he said.

However, investing in early-stage companies is difficult because many startups in the astrology and spirituality space offer similar promises and agendas, making it hard to distinguish which ones will succeed, according to Honagudi.

“About 20 companies have started in this space and most of them have failed,” he said. “VCs find it very difficult to build conviction into companies to back at an early stage because what do you show as proof of pudding or product market fit at an early stage?… You have to just back the entrepreneur and the market.”

A fillip to tourism

Platforms such as DevDham, which helps users plan and book pilgrimages and religious tours, help boost tourism.

On Thursday, as a part of the company’s quarterly results, Ixigo cofounder Rajnish Kumar said spiritual tourism has picked up over the last one year, particularly post the Ram Temple inauguration and Ayodhya airport launch.

“We have seen spiritual tourism pick up in our own searches for FY24 with the rise in footfall to Varanasi during the year, and then with the Ram Temple inauguration and the Ayodhya airport launch, we have seen that on flight sectors connecting Ayodhya from major cities, we have been able to tap into a higher market share than our national average and continue to see the same pattern on airports such as Darbhanga, Jharsuguda, Patna, Kanpur, Lucknow…,” Kumar said during the announcement of the company’s quarterly results.

Hospitality firm Oyo has also reported “consistent increase in spiritual tourism over the last couple of years”. Earlier this year, it announced plans to open over 400 hotels and homestays across religious hubs, with the first 65 inaugurated in Ayodhya.

As per Oyo’s annual travel trends report for 2023, Puri secured the top spot as the most booked spiritual and pilgrimage destination, followed by Amritsar, Varanasi and Haridwar.


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