Sunday, November 29, 2009

India's richest shrine set for a golden makeover: India Today

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    • Lord Venkateswara's sanctuary atop Tirumala hills is set to glitter more than ever.

      Three hundred kg of gold will turn the richest shrine in India into a literal golden temple.

      The Rs 1,000-crore project - the entire exterior and interior of the main temple will be plated with gold - began on Wednesday.

      The work, christened Ananda Nilayam-Ananta Swarnamayam, is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

    • There are enough incentives for the generous devotees.

      Those offering one kg gold or more will be offered the privilege of a free VIP darshan every year, besides free laddu prasadam and accommodation in the temple guest houses.

      The TTD could also have pulled off the gold plating all by itself, considering its phenomenal wealth. It receives an annual donation of 350 kg only in gold, has a yearly outlay of roughly Rs 2,000 crore and has received Rs 50,000 crore in offerings over the last 1,100 years.

      The shrine attracts, on an average, 50,000 pilgrims every day.

    • The VHP had opposed the plan of gold plating the temple, saying it was "an interference in the religious nature" of the structure.
    • In a letter to Adhikesavulu, VHP international working president S. Vedantam had said covering temple walls with gold would damage the inscriptions. "There are invaluable treasures of our tradition and history in these inscriptions."