The Sripadmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, which is said to be India’s richest due to the impact of Coronavirus infection, is also not untouched.
Its devotees are in large numbers in North India. But at present, its economic condition is being described as ‘very bad’.
Usually, every day only 10 to 20 thousand rupees are coming from the online offerings in this temple, which gets a donation or offering of two to three lakh rupees daily.
V Rathisana, executive officer of the Sripadmanathswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, told the BBC, “To pay salaries to our 307 employees, we depend on bank deposits and interest from other deposits. Keeping in mind the temple expenses I am giving myself 30 percent of my salary. “
He says, “This is the wealthiest temples in India. A large number of pilgrims come here from the states of North India. Sometimes five to 10 thousand devotees used to come here daily, but due to the coronavirus, no one comes now.” “
The temple administration has assessed the loss in March and April due to the lockdown, which is between four to six crore rupees.
If the condition of the richest temple in the country as such, then the condition of all such religious places in South India like Sabarimala temple where Lord Ayyappa is sitting is worse.
100 crores from Sabarimala
Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) chairman N Vasu told the BBC, “We are not even in a position to pay salaries to our employees. Around 25% of the salary is being deducted this month.”
The TDB oversees the management of around 125 temples in Kerala. These include Sabarimala as well. The money has stopped coming to these temples after the announcement of the lockdown.
Of all the temples that are under the supervision of TDB, Rs 100 crore comes from Sabarimala alone. The remaining Rs 100 crore is taken from the sum of all other temples.
The position of Guruvayur, the second richest temple in Kerala, is slightly better than the rest. A temple worker said, “We are handling the situation.”
The Kollur Mookambika Temple and Kukke Subramanya Temple located in the coastal districts of Karnataka attract not only devotees from South India but also from abroad.
Temple trustee Dr. Abhilash PV told the BBC, “It will take us a year or more to return to normalcy. Our annual earnings are more than Rs 40 crore. Our monthly expenses are around Rs 90 lakh and these three In the months of March, April and May, we have given a salary to our permanent staff and outsourced staff. Also, those who depended on daily offerings. We are taking care of them also. “
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Mookambika temple attracts devotees from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh as well as Sri Lanka and Japan.
During the visit of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and his wife Maitri to India, the Mookambika temple was the first place he visited.
Kukke Subramanya temple has suffered a loss of 22.79 crores in three months.
A temple worker told, “We are paying salaries to the employees but the loss is much more.”
A large number of devotees from South India visit the Kukke Subramanya temple, as well as celebrities from Maharashtra also come here, including Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar.
An official of the Muzrai Department told the BBC on condition of anonymity, “Karnataka has about 34562 temples under the Endowment Act. Of these 202 temples fall in Group ‘A’, 139 in Group ‘B’. Both these groups We are able to give the salary of priests. In Group ‘C,’ priests get Rs. 48000 annually. We are giving ration kits worth Rs. 1000 to all needy priests. “
In total, there is a loss of about 133.56 crores due to the stoppage of offering in the temples only in Karnataka.