Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sripuram, modern day temple ? New age Business ?

Sripuram (Golden Temple South, Vellore) appears to be a money making machine. A modern day business of faith. This is how it came across to me:

- Had herd about this form my friends & though of making a 1 day trip with family there. I was told to be there in the evening.
- Started at 8 AM, via old-madras-road, pass K R Puram. The road is good (managable) & small compared to the Hosur-Krishnagiri stretch. And reached Vellore by 1 PM. Had our lunch & headed towards Sripuram. On the way we spent about 1 hr at the Vellore fort.
- As we reached Sripuram, it appeared to be a fortress. Parked my car & this is where the encounter with the business machine started:
  1. No mobile phones allowed inside.
  2. Foot-ware stand is just a big hall & visitors (I' not sure if all were devotees) have to buy a plastic bag for Rs. 2/- to keep foot-ware of all the family together.
  3. When I tried to reason this with the Public Relation (PR) officer, he appeared very very arrogent.
  4. He told me that the temple is some 1 & 1/2 yrs. old & a foot-ware stand may take another 1 & 1/2 yr.
  5. He was quick to identify that the plastic bag that I purchased is biodegradable.
  6. Upon persisting more, he asked me to get lost if I'm not intereasted to get in & I'm free not to visit.
  7. At 2 PM the crowd was not so huge but still the temple volunteers were discouraging visitors to buy Rs. 100/- entry ticket sighting the reason that free darshan will take 2 hrs waiting.
  8. We bought into the idea & got tickets for 5 of us. Even though it is a clear entrance ticket, it says "seva" & "entry is free". Whom do they want to fool here ?
  9. On our way in, visitors from free queue also got mixed with us & they told the waiting was about 30 min. So I paid my Rs. 500/- for no reason :-(
  10. As expected the -in (& later way-out) passes through their shopping mall seling silk saree, agarbatti, small momentos, & many more articles.

Once you get into the actual temple premises, you feel better & surroundings resemble to any resort. Then you are made to walk the START shaped path, about 1+ KM.

  1. Along this path also, you see more counters selling water then taps with free water.
  2. Many boards boasting about the place. 1 was very intereasting, justifying that spending money for a tourist spot is more important then spending it for building school :-(
  3. The central temple is nice & attractive with gold plating all over. I herd some 300 KG (or tons) of gold is used. I felt sad, that such a huge money can be used for so many more causes :-( Even if it is somebody's BLACK money, can be used for a better cause.
  4. This golden temple is surrounded by water & the pond has 1,000s of Indian currency coins & notes dropped by devotees (?). Again a waste of money & the basic cost of printing these notes. RBI shoudl take a note of this.
  5. I think it is easy to have a small net covering the pond to catch the offerings, but again like the foot-ware stand, I think, they do not have money. Or they want it to be like this for more devotees (?) to see & drop more money there.
  6. A BIG difference that I observed is: depending upon the money shelling capacity of the visitors, they are divided into 3 groups: free, Rs. 100/- & Rs. 250/-. The more you spend the closer you get to the god.

Unlike Tirupati where everybody gets to see the god from same place, & money helps you to spend less or more time in the queue. Here the free queue is all the time kept at a distance from god :-(

4 comments:

Srini said...

well, even i have exactly similiar experience about this temple. after hearing about this temple from variuos people and also some pressure from my parents, i planned to visit the temple. but, i took hosur-krishnagiri route which is pretty good (later i realized that the drive had much better feeling than visiting the temple!!). i started at around 9.30 from my home and reached sripuram at around 1 pm. i almost had a similiar experience as abhijeet had, but the thing i hate most was, so many posters inside the temple premises!! and even after visiting the temple, i didn't understand whether the temple os for 'amma' or 'god'!!
after spending around 1 hour in the temple, i was so much pissed off that i convinced my parents that there is no point in spending any more time here!!...so, finally we started back from the temple at around 3.00pm and reached home at 8.00 in the evening.
so much money (and gold) has been wasted, i really felt that it could have been used for good cause!

Srinivasan said...

its not 300kg gold its 1.5 ton gold. please change it

Abhijeet said...

Thanks for the clarification. If its 1.5 tons (1500 KG) then its too much (beyong imagination) & that much BIG waste. But I agree, a very good business model.

Muthu Nagarajan said...

Hmm...

Lots of fools to spend for a good business model by 'Amma'.

We will see many 'Ammas' (school drop-outs interested in spirituality :-) http://www.sripuram.org/spiritual_life_AMMA_BIRTH_990_CHILDHOOD-37.aspx ) in the coming years!!