Temples in India reflect the rich religious heritage the country possesses. India houses more than 500,000 temples, several of which have been reckoned to be places of immense faith and miracle and attract a large number of devotees from all corners of the world. In this era of modernism, we Indians sure know how to preserve and embrace our culture, rituals, and religion. And that's probably why a temple is erected time and again ? to prove our belief in the 330 million Gods and Goddesses we worship, making India a proud holder of the title 'Land of Temples.' The millions of devotees which visit these temples do not walk in empty-handed, they come along with riches and gold for their deities. The donations are offered not as a bribe but to manifest their love to the almighty. A temple witnesses donations as small as a rupee to crores, sacks of gold, diamond jewellery, and all kinds of riches are flooded inside the temple vaults summing up to be a value of thousands of crores. Keen to know their worth?
Here are the top 10 Richest Temples of India - in no particular order.
1. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
Located on the southwest coast of India, Thiruvananthapuram is filled with British colonial architecture and lined by popular beaches. It also houses the famed Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Its decadence would leave you awe-struck. After all, this gold-plated glory is the richest temple not only in India but also in the whole wide world. After estimations, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is said to contain over one trillion hidden in its hidden chambers (good luck figuring out the number of zeroes in that figure!). No, this isn't a fairy tale. This is actually true. The temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu receives donations include priceless gold ornaments, idols (the Golden Idol of Mahavishnuitself is worth INR 500 Crore), crowns, and jewellery. In terms of worth no temple matches even close to what Padmanabhaswamy stands for.
Built in the 10th century, Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple in Tirupati is one of the world's largest religious pilgrimage destinations. According to a government website, an average of 30,000 visitors donates USD 6 million to the temple every day. That rounds up to 180 million every month, which then rounds up to - a figure which can't fit in the calculator - every year! Currently, it stands at a worth of over 900 crores (as of last year) and has 52 tonnes of gold ornaments. For reference, a Boeing 737 plane has a maximum take-off weight of 60 tonnes. Every year the temple converts over 3000 kg of gold received in donation boxes from pilgrims as gold reserve deposits with nationalized banks.
Situated at an altitude of 5,200 feet inside a million-year-old cave, and just 14km away from Katra, the gorgeous Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu witnesses more than 10 million pilgrims annually making it the second most visited temple after Tirupati. Dedicated to Goddess Vaishnavi. The temple has 1.2 tonnes of gold and received hundreds of kgs of gold as donations over a period of 5 years. The temple is estimated to collect INR 500 crores worth of donations every year.
No wild guesses of yours could make out the temple's worth. Visitors flock here in numbers ranging from 25 thousand to 2 lakhs daily. Lord Ganesha sits under a gold roof and the temple has amassed 158 kg of gold offerings worth USD 67 million until now, making the temple richest of Mumbai collecting around 125 hundred crores annually. The heavily guarded vaults here are strictly off limits. The temple is also frequented by celebrities from all around the world. Apple's CEO Tim Cook is the latest addition to the list
Shirdi's Sai Baba has millions of followers all over the world and is known for helping the needy. Reportedly, there has been a collection of over Rs 2,000 Crores by the temple. According to reports, the bank account of the temple has about Rs 1,800 crores along with 380 Kg of Gold, 4,428 Kg Silver, and a large amount of money in the form of dollars and pounds is also present.
Located in Puri, Odisha, the Jagganath temple is dedicated to Lord Jagganath, a form of Lord Vishnu. Interesting fact: 30,000 acres of land is registered under the name of Lord Jagannath, making him the richest landlord! Although there is no actual estimate of its gold treasure, it is known that the deities are adorned with 209 kg of gold during the suna besha ceremony itself.
Leading diamond merchants donating sacks of gold and diamond jewellery (like its no big deal) is a common sight in Somnath. The renowned temple's great treasury was looted and plundered several times, first by Mohammed Gazi then by Aurangzeb and even later by the Portuguese. But surprisingly, it was reconstructed each time just to be more splendid than the previous one. Currently, the wealth of the temple is undisclosed but it possesses enough of assets (including 1700 acres of land) to be called one of the richest temples in India.
Located in Madurai, the Meenakshi temple hosts a whopping amount of more than 20,000 visitors every day and around 1 million visitors during its annual Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival which lasts for 10 days in Aprill. The temple collects over 60 crores worth of cash, gold, and diamond which is steadily increasing annually.
The Golden Temple hasn't disclosed its wealth as of yet but 750 kg of gold on its dome and gold carved panels indicate its substantial value. The aesthetically beautiful Sikh shrine not only invites passionate devotees but also tourists. The golden and silver detailing reflects its divine aura and looks spectacular when illuminated in the night. It is probably the reason why the temple witnesses over 40,000 visitors every day.
Religiosity is in the air here at Sabarimala. People say the Sabarimala temple is so rich that it is going to appoint robots for service. This might actually be true looking at its estimates. More than a million visitors walk in this temple devoted to Lord Ayappa. It has collected over 15 kgs of gold and its annual income calculates over Rs 105 crores.
There you go. These were the top 10 richest temples in India. The temple's sacred entities and their affluent architecture have earned them unparalleled fame. When you think of it, the temples listed here are earning more than the top businessmen in the country! Eager to know why these temples earn in crores every year? Plan a trip and find out for yourself.