India is known to have a rich history that is reflected through architecture, historical edifices, and the vibrant cultural blend over the centuries. The temples, in particular, reflect a rich religious legacy the country possesses with over 500,000 temples spread across the nation, many of them have been known to be of immense faith and miracles, some have unsolved mysteries, and some have wealth that is unbelievable to hear. With donations received from devotees from across the world which include money, gold, diamond jewelry, and all kinds of riches inside the vaults, here are some of the richest temples of India with their history and worth.
Witness the glory, grandeur, and greatness that lies in the lap of ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala, Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the epitome of jaw-dropping architecture and a history beyond imagination. With a treasure trove of over one trillion hidden inside its chambers, it is not only the richest temple in India but in the whole wide world, leaving thousands of visitors and devotees to flock into its premises from across the world. Located in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, the temple, and its history dates to 500 BC with Lord Vishnu as its supreme residing deity.
The temple of Padmanabhaswamy is constructed beautifully in the Dravidian style and is managed by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore. The main highlight of the temple, apart from it being the richest, is the idol of Padmanabhaswamy in a reclining position on Ananthan, the celestial serpent. The city gets its name from the shrine.
The temple has six underground vaults labeled from A to F which contain:
The other factor for which the temple is known for is Vault B which has been sealed and has serpent and a Yakshi markings in its door. The vault has enough wealth to take the world out of its poverty, but various incidents associated with the opening of this vault have made the people and priests believe for it to be cursed or protected by an unnatural stronger power. The wealth of Padmanabhaswamy temple does not include vault B and is continues to be one of world’s greatest mysteries.
Located in the Guruvayoor town, Guruvayoor Shri Krishna Temple is one of the most important and sacred pilgrimages in Kerala and one of the most worshipped temples in South India. The main deity residing here is Lord Vishnu in his Balkrishna Avatar who is adorned with garlands, jewels, flowers, and Tulsi and appears in full radiance to bless the devotees. The legend says that the temple was built by Vayu, the preceptors of the Gods, Guru, and the God of Wind. The temple is open to devotees of Hindu faith who line the shrine in thousands of numbers every day.
The temple has been included in the list of 108 holy sites of Lord Vishnu and is of immense significance to Vaishnavites. Often referred to as ‘Bhuloka Vaikunta’ meaning the ‘Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth’, the temple was constructed in the 14th century and is a spectacular mixture of North and South Indian architectural styles, such as Nagara and Dravidian. The temple possesses a net worth of INR 2500 crores as well as gold assets with an annual earning of over Rs400 crores which makes it the second richest temple in India and one of the important pilgrimage sites to worship.
Located in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is flocked by numerous visitors to see Lord Venkateshwara Temple residing in Tirumala, one of the seven hills in Tirupati. The temple is considered to be placed where Lord Venkateshwara took the form of an idol and is hence home to the deity Govinda. Tirupati is one of the oldest cities in the world and finds its mention in many of the Vedas and Puranas.
Sprawled in an area of 26 kilometers and revered by almost 50,000 pilgrims every day, the temple is commonly described to as the Temple of Seven Hills. The aura that surrounds the temple with the continuous ‘Om Namo Venkatesaya’, and the crazy rush of the devotees to worship the 8-feet tall idol of Lord Venkateshwara, everything about the temple exhumes magnificence and nothing short of a spectacle.
There are some other temples to visit in Tirupati such as Sri Kalahasti Temple, Sri Govindarajaswami Temple, the Kondandarama Temple, the Parashurameshwara Temple, and the ISKCON Temple.
Located in the beautiful Trikuta hills of Jammu with a breathtaking landscape sprawled around it, Shri Vaishno Devi Temple is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimages in north India and experience thousands of devotees and tourists on daily basis. The temple standing on the top of the hills at a height of 5,200 feet holds major religious significance since 1986 and is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Vaishno Devi mandir gets visited by over 10 million pilgrims very year making it the second most visited temple after Tirupati.
Known by distinct names such as Mata Rani, Vaishnavi, and Trikuta, Vaishno Devi temple is very auspicious and important according to the Hindu mythology. It is believed that the goddess herself participates in the aarti here and call her devotees herself. Located above the hills, there is a minimum of 13km trek that is to be done to reach the shrine. It is also known as the cave temple as the main shrine is nestled inside a million-year-old cave and the devotees must crawl their way into the main shrine. It is believed that only people with pure heart and good intentions can go through the cave easily no matter the size or weight, otherwise the person gets stuck and must be pushed forward.
The pilgrimage is known to fulfil all the wishes of devotees who visit the shrine and thus sees an influx of pilgrims every year. The temple has 1.2 tons of gold and has received hundreds of kgs of gold over the years making it the third richest temple in India with a wealth of 500 crores every year.
With an annual wealth of over 320 crores, Shirdi Sai Baba is the fourth richest temples in India and is one of the most important pilgrimages as well. Located at 122km from Nasik in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Shirdi is the land and home of Sai Baba who is popularly known as the ‘Child of God’, as he always spread the message of non-violence, harmony, and universal brotherhood.
It is believed that Sai Baba arrived at Shirdi in 1858 and spent 60 years of his life before attaining salvation in 1918. He has always been known to help the needy and poor and lived a life of simple living with just the minimum necessities. Sai Baba has followers all across the world and the temple gets donations every year which include Rs1800 crores along with 380kg of gold, 4,428kg of silver, and a large amount of money in dollars and pounds in its bank account.
The temple also provides accommodation facilities, and the world’s largest solar cooker is operated at Shirdi Bhojnalaya which prepares food for the devotees every day. Devotees can get a pass for the Darshan through their online website or offline through their temple office.