Hey Ram! Bhadradri temple begs for funds to perform Seetha Rama Kalyanam
Move to raise funds by selling tickets for State festival sparks controversy
Hyderabad: Lord Rama in Bhadradri has no money and the Devasthanam of Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy is left with no other option but to sell tickets for the celestial wedding. And it is more out of compulsion, say the temple authorities.
With the decision of the Devasthanam to sell tickets for Kalyanam ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 5000 becoming controversial and the VHP threatening to stop any such move, a senior temple official told The Hans India that though the Seetha Rama Kalyanam was declared as state festival, they don't get any funds from the government. All they get is a pair of silk robes and pearls costing about Rs 20,000, laments the official.
The temple, the official said, earns about Rs 2 crore per month but of that Rs 90 lakh goes to the staff salaries and about Rs 40 lakh to the Telangana State Endowments Department towards the payment of goodwill fund. Finally, the temple is left with only Rs 60 lakh.
When asked about the agriculture land owned by the temple, the sources said Lord Rama has agriculture land admeasuring about 917 acres. But out of that 847 acres in Purushottapattanam of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.
"Most of this land is under encroachment and the case is pending before the High Court. However, when requested the court ordered payment of Rs 15 lakh towards user charges to the temple.
The temple also has another 200 acres in Medak district in Telangana which is also under encroachment. Similarly, temple lands to an extent of nine acres in Pathabandla and another 5.25 acres in K Jaggavaram in West Godavari district, 3.87 acres of land located in East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh is under encroachment.
Besides, the state government had issued a government order alienating 12 acres of the non-encroached temple land for education purpose.
"The revenues from other sources and the user charges paid by the encroachers of the agricultural lands are meagre and the temple itself has to meet the legal expenses," the sources said.
Against this backdrop, the temple would not be in a position to celebrate Kalyanam unless it generates additional revenue by selling tickets.
Otherwise, the state government should provide funds since it has declared Sita Rama Kalyanam as a state festival or reduce the tax of 21 per cent the government has been collecting from the temple, the official said.
Meanwhile, the VHP and other Hindu religious organisations are likely to meet Governor Tamilisai Sounderarajan on Monday demanding that the temple withdraw its decision to sell tickets for the celestial wedding.