Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, the world's richest Hindu temple managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board/trust, will earn approximately Rs. 2,600 crore in revenues for this year, reported IANS, citing officials of the trust. Out of this amount, Rs. 1,000 crore is expected in offerings (also called hundi) by the devotees of Lord Balaji.
In an earlier interview, an official from the trust said the offerings range from cash, jewellery, gems, property deeds, demat share transfers and bullions of gold, silver and other precious metal.
While gold alone is estimated to add up to one tonne a year in offerings, silver, diamond and other items also flow into the temple trust's exchequer. "In the case of property deeds, due procedure is followed by the concerned department to transfer the title," noted an official.
Revenues from the sale of tickets, prasadam and others add another Rs. 600 crore, while the proceeds from auctioning of the hair tonsured my men and women as a form of bidding to their beloved deity attracts another Rs. 140 crore. The Times of India reported TTD as saying that human hair auctioning in April earned the temple Rs.5.71 crore.
The trust's interest receipts amount to Rs. 800 crore, noted IANS, highlighting that the temple's biggest outgo is Rs. 500 crore a year -- mostly in terms of wages and salaries.
Interest earned on gold
The temple trust said in April that it had deposited 1,311 kg of gold with Punjab National Bank under India's Gold Monetisation Scheme. The deposit apparently is under a three-year short-term programme that earns the trust an annual interest of 1.75 percent.
In a statement, the temple's investment committee expressed satisfaction at the interest rates earned from its investment so far. Further, it sought a shorter investment time frame between one to three years for depositing its yearly turnout of gold. The temple trust may negotiate with banks that would offer higher interest rates.
The trust, which seeks gold, not cash, in interest on its gold deposits, has chosen the government's monetisation scheme's three year short-term programme primarily for that benefit. Evincing interest to plough in more gold as deposits, it has requested the Reserve Bank of India to extend the same for other gold monetisation programmes that range from medium to long terms.
To strengthen the trust's service handling, the temple committee is also considering to involve companies to chip in under its corporate social responsibility programme.