There are countless temples in India which exist since centuries. These are dedicated to various deities of Hindu and other faiths that were born in India.
Therefore, India is also home to some of the richest temples of the world.
Temples are an integral part of Indian culture. People love visiting these shrines to worship. They mark their visit to a temple by offering jewellery, money and other stuff to deities.
Why Temples are rich in India?
Why Indian temples are so rich, you may wonder? Which are the richest temples of India? Annual revenues declared by a temple decide how prosperous they are.
Temples earn money through entry fees, sale of Prasad, religious figurines, books and other related items as well as cash and other valuables donated by devotees.
They also earn money by organizing ceremonies, rituals, marriages and various other functions.
Interested in knowing which temples are the richest? Continue to read.
Based upon their annual income mentioned through various sources and declared on their official websites, we have drawn this list of 10 richest temples in India.
List of Top 10 Richest Temples in India
1. Tirumala Tirupati Venkateshwara, Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
With annual revenue over Rs 28.94 billion, Tirumala Tirupati Venkateshwara is the richest temple in the world. This temple gets about Rs 11.56 billion through cash donations alone.
Tickets and sales of ‘Laddu Prasadam’ accounts for nearly Rs 4.83 billion. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s accommodations for pilgrims fetches another Rs 1.1 Billion.
Apart from cash, the temple receives offerings through cheques, jewellery, gold, silver, property deeds and Demat share transfers from devotees.
Each year, over 45,000 pilgrims from India and other parts of the world donate more than Rs.10 million to Tirumala Tirupati Venkateshwara temple.
2. Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwar Thirukkoil, Madurai (Tamil Nadu)
Also popular as Meenakshi temple, this is one of the richest places of worship in South India. The official annual income of the temple is around Rs 4.26 billion.
The temple is so rich that just sale of Prasadam accounted for Rs 427 million in 2018.
Meenakshi Temple of Madurai also offers various other services like free marriage schemes, moral education classes and Karunai Illam which is free education, shelter and food to economically weaker children.
Annadhanam is a unique service of the Meenakshi temple. It allows donors to invest a certain amount of money. The temple distributes food to the poor from interest earned from this investment.
3. Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar (Punjab)
Also known as the Golden Temple, it is the holiest shrine of the Sikh community worldwide. This place of worship attracts over 100,000 people daily. The temple has annual revenue of over Rs 3.3 billion.
The Golden Temple offers various free services such as education for economically weaker adults and girls.
The temple also sponsors higher education in the fields of medicine and dentistry. It has a project that provides funds for cancer treatment.
4. Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan, Shirdi (Maharashtra)
The shrine of Saibaba at Shirdi saw earnings in excess of Rs 14.41 billion during the last five years.
The average annual income is about Rs 2.88 billion. Daily income increased to Rs 4.5 million from Rs 2 million since 2016 due to the higher number of pilgrims visiting the shrine.
The Shirdi Sai Baba sites are visited by more than 60,000 pilgrims daily. The temple also receives a donation through its through electronic remittances.
5. Sree Guruvayurappan Devaswom, Thrissur (Kerala)
Sree Guruvayurappan Devaswom Temple records annual revenue over Rs.2.5 billion every year. The temple complex employs 752 workers.
Sources of income include revenues from land and buildings and guesthouses.
The temple management has also made investments in livestock, grants and fees. They also provide facilities for various cultural activities.
This temple has a free education program for the underprivileged.
6. Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri (Odisha)
Jagannath Temple is a world famous shrine. In fact, the English word ‘Juggernaut’ is derived from the name of this ancient temple.
Jagannath temple is one of the four major places of pilgrimage (Char Dham) said to be mandatory for salvation (Moksha) of the soul as stated in Hinduism.
The temple generates Rs 2.3 billion in revenue annually. People flock Puri to witness and offer their donations for events like Rath Jatra, Chariots pulling and Mahaprasad.
7. Shree Siddhivinayak Ganpati Mandir, Mumbai (Maharashtra)
The annual income of Shree Siddhivinayak temple, Mumbai is over Rs 2 billion. The shrine receives cash donations of Rs 750 million from visitors.
It is also possible to make donations through shares of companies traded on various stock markets in India.
Worshippers also make donations through cheques, Demand Drafts Credit Cards, Debit Cards and electronic remittances.
8. Sabarimala Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa, Sabarimala (Kerala)
Sabarimala Ayyappa netted revenue of Rs 1.01 billion by 2017 end.
Sales for religious figures and items stood at Rs 525.3 million. Hundi (Donation Box) collections fetched nearly Rs 358.9 million.
The temple remains open only for 127 days during the famous Sabarimala pilgrimage.
9. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Shree Somnath is one of the holiest shrines of Lord Shiva. In Hindu tradition, it is called Jyotirlinga or one of the most sacred places of worship of Lord Shiva.
Recently, this temple recorded its highest revenue of Rs 330 million. This increase was partly due to efforts of Gujarat Tourism, promoting it as a tourist destination.
10. Vaishno Devi, Katra (Jammu & Kashmir)
The ancient Vaishno Devi temple is actually a cave. Hence, it does not have any formal source of income or revenues.
However, Vaishno Devi temple contributes Rs 4.74 billion to the local economy Katra town annually.
Vaishno Devi employs 27,000 workers.
Accommodations in Katra contributes Rs 721.5 million, transportation Rs 692.3 million and pony rides and porters required for carrying luggage, children or elderly people called as ‘Pithus’ yield another Rs 483 million.
The annual income of Vaishno Devi reaches its peak from March to June. Most of the devotees visit this holy shrine at the time of their summer and winter vacations.
The above list was about the top ten 10 However, these are not the only richest temples in India. Below we have listed down other popular and rich temples of India.
Other Rich Temples of India
There are no clear records of revenues of these temples. Hence, we can only guess their income based upon the number of devotees that visit these holy places every year.
11. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala):
The shrine of Lord Vishnu at Padmanabhaswamy is considered as richest temple in terms of total wealth.
There are six treasure vaults in the temple which was disclosed by the Supreme Court of India. The value of these vaults is estimated to be more than Rs 1 trillion.
However, the annual income is just around Rs 36.5 million.
12. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha:
Konark Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Monument. Annually this temple is visited by more than 10.7 million people.
13. Ranganathswamy Temple, Rameshwaram:
Rameshwaram is also one another pilgrimage site for Hindus to attain salvation (Char Dham).
Rameshwaram receives over 12.1 million tourists across the world.
According to reports presented by state tourism department officials, the Char Dham Yatra employs more than 50,000 people and has the potential to earn more than Rs 10 billion.
Also Read: List of Top 100 Richest Persons in India
14. Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi:
Considered as one of the most beautiful temples in India. The temple is the tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Akshardham is daily visited by thousands of pilgrims from India and other parts of the world.
Also Read: Top 15 Best Places to Visit in Delhi
15. Shri Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi:
Kashi Vishwanath is another important sacred temple of Lord Shiva, visited by over 3 million domestic and 200,000 foreign tourists.
The annual revenue of some of the richest temples of India exceeds the GDP of certain countries. This criteria clearly indicates how rich Indian temples are.
Temples are an integral part of revenue generation and employment of many people in India.