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India
29 Aug 2017

The Tirupati Temple has just deposited 2,780kg gold with SBI

How much does India's richest Hindu temple own?

Guessing which is India's richest Hindu temple isn't hard, but estimating exactly how much it owns might be difficult.

Which is why we bring you the staggering details of assets owned by the Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati and its managing trust, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

For starters, the TTD has just deposited 2,780kg of gold with SBI under the Long Term Gold Deposit Scheme!

In context

How much does India's richest Hindu temple own?
Other eyebrow-raising 'gifts' from devotees

Offerings

Other eyebrow-raising 'gifts' from devotees

Offerings from devotees include cash, precious metal, and even property deeds! According to a TTD official, "Gold offerings will be around one tonne per year."

This year, TTD is expecting Rs. 1,110cr from devotees and Rs. 807cr as interest on investments.

Besides these, other revenue sources are Rs. 256cr annually from 'special darshan', Rs. 124cr from guesthouses and Rs. 55cr from Arjitha Seva tickets.

Transactions

The temple even has a demat account for receiving shares!

In 2015, the temple became the first in the world to open a Demat account for receiving shares and securities as donations from devotees.

"TTD has been receiving physical share certificates as donations by devotees, which indicates that devotees are interested in donating shares. However, the quantum of shares and securities wasn't received," S Reddy, CEO of Central Depositories Service, explained the reason behind the move.

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Tirupati's lucrative hair-selling business

A ritual at Tirupati is 'Mokku': offering hair. According to reports, over a tonne of hair is collected every day. It is then sold to international buyers through auction and used extensively in the cosmetic industry. An estimated Rs. 60L is garnered annually by this!

Meanwhile, the temple has been investing its 'gifts'

Increasing wealth

Meanwhile, the temple has been investing its 'gifts'

The TTD has been increasing its assets by investing it. 2,075kg gold has been converted from Short Term to Long Term already at a rate of 2.5% per annum for 12 years.

Another 705kg gold was refined into pure gold by the Mumbai Mint. The TTD has deposited it under the same scheme.

Last year, TTD had deposited 1,311kg of pure gold with PNB.

Tax

But with the GST, will the temple's fortunes change?

Till now, shrines have been exempt from taxes. However, under the GST, temples are now taxed.

At Tirupati, GST is applicable on guesthouses and tickets for Arjitha Seva and special darshan.

There's no GST on prasadam, so TTD won't be taxed on sale of laddoos, but GST will be levied on purchase of raw materials for laddoos.

The burden could go upto Rs. 100cr.

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