Sunday, June 14, 2009

New-Age Indian Temples: A Recession Proof Investment

A "land of temples" is what a lot of people call the state of Tamil Nadu with over 33000 temples in the state alone (most of which are 600-800years old). These temples were constructed over a vast period of time by various dynasties. Gopurams, huge gateways, pillared hallways and a Sanctum Sactorum are a few things that you would find in nearly all these temples.
People goto these temples for different reasons:
  • For peace of mind
  • Place of worship
  • Place of tourism
I'm from the school of thought that there is a supreme power, and people refer to in different forms, which is otherwise referred to as religion.
The other day I had gone to a relatively new temple (built about 2-3years ago) close to a town called Vellore in Tamil Nadu. It was called the 'Golden Temple'. I was in for a shock, not by the amount of Gold used to build the temple but by something that has coerced me to write this article.Golden Temple Vellore
I entered the temple and it had scenic beauty as far as your imagination can go, it had a star shaped pathway around the temple with the different sayings of the head preist there. The temple was shinning in the hot sun especially as it was completely covered with gold. It had a small water body and an artificially made waterfall. All this is attractive and amazing to the extent that it is a perfect display of human creative excellence.
This is where I noticed a few issues or features that really shocked me. Which were:
  • When you enter the temple you are asked to leave your footwear in a small stall for which you pay (like many temples) but here you have to buy a plastic cover to put your footwear in, from another counter which is run by the temple (first instance of a business angle)
  • You have to pay INR 250 per head at the entrance as an entry fee (the ideology of an entry fee is not new but the amount is way to high for any temple)
  • You have to leave your mobile phones and cameras (if any) at another counter for which you again have to pay
  • Then as you walk through the pathway, it is made sure that you pass 3 shops (if i can call it that) where they sell different artefacts and photos of the temple)
  • After you enter the temple if you have paid the INR 250 at the entrance you are made to sit at a distance of 15m from the idol of the Goddess, and if you have entered by not paying the entrance of INR 250 you don't get to sit there rather walk by and see the idol from a distance of 20m
  • For those who sit, there are 2-3 people who are something like volunteers who then tell you that you could get a special puja done with your name and get a small gold petal for which you have to pay a small sum of INR 1508 ;) (I had nearly made up my mind that this temple was more of a business center)
  • Then as you walk back you have 8 people sitting with computers and they ask you to make donations of any denominations if you wish too
  • Just when I thought this was all, at the end of the pathway as you exit the temple they have a juice shop (a noble idea) but which is a litte over priced (INR 20 for a 100ml cup of sweetlime juice) and due to the hot weather at that part of the country, about 9 outta 10 people stop there to take a quick sip (Business center for sure)
Well now guess at times of recession when all businesses seem to be seeing a dip in their revenues this business is probably a sure shot business plan which could be replicated to great effect.
So if your thinking investment think nimble and invest in a temple!


Dhiru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhiru said...

Do they accept cards???? i think they should start.... hehe.. :)
Seems like in a temple u hav spent as much as u wud... for a weekend party... :)

Rajiv S Perumal said...

lolz... :)
well, they dude accept cards dude... infact the guy at the donation counter specified that they accept visa, master and amex cards... ;)!!!