Saturday, October 4, 2008


Gold Cover For Tirupathi:ysr
TIRUPATI: Even before the recent gold dollars scam which rocked the famed Tirumala temple administration fades away, comes a golden marvel — set to r aise more questions than answers — for the Lord Venkateswara temple atop theSeven Hills.
With donations pouring in from across the country, the cash-richTTD is gung-ho over launching its ambitious ‘Anantha Swarnamayam’ (goldencovering for the temple precincts) project, works for which are set to beginon Wednesday coinciding with the mega Brahmotsavams.
Initially, the works would be taken up at a cost of Rs 100 crore. Sources told ‘TOI’ that a Bangalore-based contractor along with TTD craftsmen would take up the work, for which gold in excess of 600 kg would be used. Now, only the gopuram of the main temple is covered in gold. Under the Swarnamayam project, even the walls and other structures would shimmer in gold. Sources said the entire project would be costing around Rs 600-1,000 crore.
Sitting over the finances of the world’s richest temple, the TTD has been contemplating the ‘golden marvel’ project for a long time. Sources said over 500 craftsmen from Kumbakonam and Poompuhar from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and TTD’s own artisans would be working on the project. Though the temple administration has not set a time-frame, temple insiders said the work would be completed in five years.
“We want the Anantha Swarnamayam project for Tirumala to look more fabulous than Sripuram temple of Vellore in TN and Golden Temple in Amritsar,” a TTD officer exclaimed. Refusing to divulge much about the donations, TTD Board chief D K Adikeshavulu Naidu (DK) said the works are being taken up under ‘Ananda Nilaya Anantha Swarnamaya Pathakam’ scheme.
He said saints like Andavan Swamy, Sri Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamy, Ahobila Mutt seer, Kanchi seer, Sringeri seer and Tirumala Pedda Jeeyangar, besides Agama pundits, have given their consent for the works. “I can assure you that the inscriptions on the walls would not be disturbed because of the golden covering,” DK told ‘TOI.’
“When pilgrims are queuing up in large numbers to see the Sripuram temple, 100 km from Tirupati, what is wrong if the country’s richest temple takes up the work to give the much-needed sheen to the temple?” DK asked. TTD would provide privileges to those who donate either one kg gold or equivalent cash. Chief minister YSR would inaugurate works on Wednesday.