India is home to thousands of temples. These temples range from a tiny shrine beneath a banyan tree to the mighty temples that see thousands of devotees thronging it every day. Temples are places where people go for solace and peace. While providing the same, temples are also centres for art and culture. This is evident in the architecture of the temples.
The deities residing in these temples are gifted a myriad of offerings. The offerings can be a simple flower or be as extravagant as diamonds and gold. Over the years, a few temples have gathered so much wealth that they possess more wealth than some of the countries in the world.
Today, we shall talk about a few of the most prosperous temples in the country. They are rich in terms of not just wealth but also in culture and the number of people who visit to worship the presiding deity.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
PC: Sathish Kalathil
This temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu is perhaps the richest in the country. The amount of wealth in the secret vaults in the temple is valued to be an upwards of 20,000 crores.
It is not just the wealth that makes the temple unique. The idol of Lord Maha Vishnu depicts him in his Anantha Shayana Roopa; this is a feature seen in only a few temples around the world.
Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, Andhra Pradesh
Until the vaults of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple were opened, the title of the richest temple belonged to the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple. But it is still the busiest temple in India with over 60,000 visitors arriving daily to worship Lord Balaji.
The statue of Lord Venkateswara is adorned with more than 1000 kilos of gold and is embedded with diamonds and precious stones. Just the prasad of the temple, which is the famous laddu, fetches a revenue of more than 1 crore for the temple.
Irony is the fact that according to mythology, Lord Venkateswara is considered to be in the debt of Lord Kubera.
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi
A relatively new temple when compared to the other temples on this list, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a place where people looking for miracles go. Devotees and believers from all over the world visit Shirdi and donate a lot of money as offerings. It is believed that the annual offerings can run into hundreds of crores.
Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu
PC: Raul Caeser
Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most important temples of the Shakta sect. The followers of Mother Goddess visit this temple through a long and arduous journey. This temple is the most visited temple only next to the Sri Venkateswara Temple. It is also very rich and is given offerings that are worth more than 500 crores.
Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
Over 2 lakh devotees throng this temple each day. This temple is home to the Siddhivinayak form of Lord Ganesha. It is believed that a devotee who worships the lord here is granted all their wishes.
The Ganesha idol in this temple is made out of a holy black stone and is estimated to be over 200 years old. The donations received by this temple can go over 125 crores every year.
Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
PC: Arian Zwegers
The Sri Meenakshi Temple is most famous for its amazing architecture. The presiding deity, Goddess Meenakshi, is a form of Goddess Parvati and is married to Lord Shiva. On top of offerings that run into crores, the temple also owns 2 vimanas that are made with pure gold.
Golden Temple, Amritsar
This temple is a place of worship for the Sikh community. The prosperity of this temple is evident in its name. The dome of the temple is made using pure gold. The holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, is made out of gold too and is decorated with precious stones.
The temple sees a footfall of about 40,000 daily. The unique feature of this temple is the vast kitchen that cooks food for everyone who visits the temple and feeds them in the Langar.
Jagannath Temple, Puri
PC: Bernard Gagnon
The Jagannath Temple of Puri is home to the famous Rath Yatra that occurs every year. More than 30,000 people visit the temple yearly and these numbers rise to 70,000 when the festival of the Rath Yatra begins.