Sabarimala Temple revenue sinks 92% to Rs 21 crore: Report
The Sabarimala temple was closed for several months in 2020 during the coronavirus-led lockdown.
January 25, 2021 / 12:30 PM IST
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an over 92 percent drop in Sabarimala's annual revenue this year. The hill shrine collected only Rs 21.17 crore including during the two-month annual pilgrimage this year versus Rs 269.37 crore in 2019-20, the New Indian Express reported.
The temple was closed for several months in 2020 during the coronavirus-led lockdown.
During the Makaravilakku festival every year, several pilgrims visit the Lord Ayappa temple.
The report said the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) needs at least Rs 40 crore a month, including staff salaries, to operate all 1,248 temples.
While 83 of these temples are self-reliant, income has declined to Rs 15-20 crore per month, as per the report. The board is evaluating a number of options to raise money.
"This is an unprecedented situation. Though the government has already given us Rs 70 crore, we plan to ask for more. The widening revenue-to-expenditure gap has forced us to resort to austerity measures," N Vasu, TDB President told The New Indian Express.
"The Board is planning to approach the rich devotees and governments of these states for support. There are also plans to retrench around 200 temporary employees as a cost-cutting measure," Vasu said.
The board is also considering mortgaging offerings by devotees with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to secure a loan.
"The process of assessing the gold and bronze stock is underway," the TDB chief said.
A plan to cut expenses and increase non-pooja revenue would also be launched soon, he said.
A scheme to request support from devotees will be rolled out in February, Vasu told the paper.