Recycled silver yeilds huge revenue for Kalahasti Temple
Silver has also become a money-spinner for Sri Kalahasti Devasthanam with Rahu Kethu Puja becoming a golden goose for the temple. The temple’s trove of silver is being recycled into ‘naga padigalu’ which is in turn used for Rahu Kethu Puja. This is proving to be a productive investment, bringing recurring profits to devasthanam every day, thanks to the blind belief of the devotees.
Tirupati: Silver has also become a money-spinner for Sri Kalahasti Devasthanam with Rahu Kethu Puja becoming a golden goose for the temple. The temple’s trove of silver is being recycled into ‘naga padigalu’ which is in turn used for Rahu Kethu Puja. This is proving to be a productive investment, bringing recurring profits to devasthanam every day, thanks to the blind belief of the devotees.
According to the temple EO D Bhramaramba, a minimum of 2000 to 2500 tickets for this puja were being sold per day which may also cross 6000.Ticket holders are given puja material along with naga padigalu. Sources in the temple said that on an average this material cost around Rs75-100. Five grams naga padigalu of 2.5 grams costs around Rs 200 each. It is estimated that on every Rs 350 ticket the temple gets a profit of Rs 50.
As the same material is given to all types of tickets up to Rs 5000, the cost remains the same. Only cost of naga Padigalu will be doubled as they give 10 grams with five grams for each naga padiga for all the tickets from Rs 750 to Rs 5000. So, total cost works out to less than Rs 500 for these tickets with the remaining amount accruing as profits for the devasthanam The higher the cost of the ticket, the more profit devasthanam earns.
To cite an example, on Rs 5000 ticket they get a profit of about Rs 4500. On the other hand, the cost of the silver should also be added to the profits as they are just recycling the old silver. In the past, temple authorities used to buy silver according to their whims. Even vigilance enquires were also conducted on these purchases.
Thus, the temple is having about 19 tons of silver now in the form of bars. They are using 3 tons of silver only from that for recycling and making naga padigalu now. With the advice given by the appraiser, Ravichandran, in 2009, the temple has started its own mint to make these padigalu through which crores of rupees are coming now.
With the sentiment of the devotees not to take home the naga padigalu after the Rahu Kethu Puja, they leave it in the Hundi at the temple itself. Temple authorities said that on an average they get around 350 Kgs of silver from the Hundi in the form of naga padigalu. Every three months they send 1500-1700 kg of silver to the government mint in Hyderabad to convert them into silver bars of about 15 kg each.
They make 2.5 grams and 5 grams naga padigalu there with the bars they get from the government mint. These padigalu will be supplied again to the devotees along with the tickets. Wastage from this process is reported to 1 to 1.5 per cent only. Thus with the recycling of silver, the temple is getting mindboggling dividends.
Despite high revenues, the temple authorities are looking for an opportunity to increase the ticket rates which reflects the indiscriminate commercialisation of devasthanam by encashing on the sentiments of the devotees. Presently, 14 persons are working on contract basis in the mint. They are getting a pittance of Rs 2.75 only for making a pair of naga padigalu and working under extreme heat conditions.
By V Pradeep Kumar