Himachal boasts of 13 ‘millionaire’ temples

The coffers of many Hindu temples in Himachal Pradesh are overflowing.

According to the latest count of donations, including cash and jewellery, carried out by the state government in 2005, there are at least 13 temples that get annual donations of at least a million rupees.

The Chintpurni temple in Una district leads with an annual income of Rs.208 million in cash and almost 25 kg of gold and nine quintals of silver as donations in the past three years, according to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

The temple is located at the edge of the Kangra valley, about 250 km from here.

Four other temples – at Jwalamukhi, Chamunda, Brajeshwari and Naina Devi – have annual donations jointly amounting to around Rs.140 million in cash.

The Balak Nath temple in Hamirpur district, devoted to a local herdsman, also attracts hordes of pilgrims and earns around Rs.71.7 million in cash donations alone.

Other temples making over a million are Shahtalai, Hatkoti, Tara devi, Trilokpur and Sankat Mochan.

Such donations have led to rising cases of thefts in some shrines. The government is now considering installing alarm bells in some of the temples.

Many of the temples in the state are hundreds of years old.

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