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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Gold is old, cash is king in temples

Joydeep Thakur, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 05, 2012
First Published: 01:07 IST(5/7/2012) | Last Updated: 02:24 IST(5/7/2012)

With the rising gold prices, even gods seem to be feeling the pinch. From Tirupati to Siddhivinayak, gold offerings have dropped in every temple.

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From Rs. 21,000 in April 2011, the cost of 10 gm gold shot up to Rs. 29,000 this April - a 38% jump that most find too steep.

Even Tirupati's Sri Venkateswara Temple, arguably the richest in the world, is feeling the heat. Normally, it receives around 100kg of gold and 130kg of silver a month. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/05_07_12-metro1b.jpg

"But since last year, offerings have dropped by at least 10%," said Bhaskara Reddy, chief accounts officer of the Tirumala Devasthanam Trust.

Gold donations have dropped in Mumbai's Siddhivinayak temple too, which receives at least 4 kg of gold annually, said CEO Mangesh Shinde.

Matters are worse in Kerala's Guruvayur temple too.

"We've witnessed at least a 20% drop," said Mohana Bhass, chief accounts officer of the temple committee.

Kolkata's Kalighat temple committee also admits to a drop in earnings. The last significant offering in the temple was in 2011 -- a necklace weighing around 220 gm.

"For the past few months, gold donations comprise a bead, or a bindi," said Bablu Halder, vice-president of the committee.

The devotees, though, are trying to make up with cash donations, said Haldar. Shingde agreed.

"Since January, cash offerings have increased by at least 20-25%."

Earlier, the temple used to receive about Rs. 1.5 crore in cash a year. This has now shot up to Rs. 2 crore.


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