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Sri Sakthi Amma’s Golden Temple in South India

Sri Lakshmi Narayani Temple located in Sripuram, a spiritual town, in Thirumalaikkodi, about six km from Vellore in Tamil Nadu is made with 1.5 tonnes of gold. The Golden temple is built by Sri Sakthi Amma, head of the Sri Narayani Peedam, a private religious charitable organization. Don’t be surprised, Sri Sakthi Amma is not a female saint but a 30-year-old man. His devotees address him as Sri Sakthi Amma or Sri Narayani Amma or just Amma. The temple was consecrated on August 24, 2007.

The interior and exterior of the ‘vimanam’ and ‘ardha mandapam’ of the Sri Lakshmi Narayani Temple have been coated with gold. The temple is located on a 100-acre land and has been built at a cost of Rs. 300 crore (Rupees 3 billion).

Sri Sakthi Amma and Sri Narayani Peedam are involved in numerous philanthropic activities but what has made the Hindu Godman popular is the construction of golden temple, which many are indirectly suggesting is an extravaganza in a country where millions starve.

According to Sri Sakthi Amma, whose devotees are spread across the world, the decision to have a golden temple is only to attract visitors, who can only reach the temple through a long-winding path. The sides of the path are inscribed with messages from Vedas and other spiritual texts. He feels that reading the scriptures while walking to the temple will enlighten the visitors.

There is no doubt that the temple is an extravaganza, when millions of Hindus find it hard to make both the ends meet. There is no dearth for Hindu temples in India. In fact, thousands of ancient temples are lying in a dilapidated condition. What India needs is not more temples but good schools, factories and good infrastructure. Three billion rupees would have changed the face of one of the poorest districts in Tamil Nadu. No idea, how much money the godman and his trust has to spend for protecting the Golden Temple.

Sri Krishna found comfort in the mud hut of Vidhur. Lord Krishna’s hunger was satisfied by the last leaf left in the eating bowl of Draupadi.