Sripuram-Sakthi Amma- largest Golden Temple - Vellore, Tamilnadu ...
One of the biggest Hindu shrines in southern India, the Sri Puram Golden Temple a grand golden temple built by a spiritual organization in Tamil Nadu at an approximate cost of Rs 600 crore, the consecration (kumbhabhishekam) was performed on August 24, 2007, presence of over 30,000 devotees.
The Mahalakshmi temple, located on a sprawling 100 acres of land at Sripuram, near Vellore, about 125 km from Chennai, has been constructed by Vellore-based Sri Narayani Peetam, headed by spiritual leader Sri Sakthi Amma.
"The Taj Mahal was built as an expression of love for a single person but the Sri Puram Golden Temple stands for unconditional love for the entire humanity," says Amma, 31, who also goes by the name of Shakti Siddha.
"We know it is also the sign of the universal goddess - Lakshmi," says William, who gives only one name and says he is of Canadian origin.
The steps that lead to the innermost section are laid with polished black and grey granite from the neighbouring South Arcot and Dharmapuri districts. A cubic metre of black granite is priced at 0. So is the grey stone called "Paradiso" because of its wavy patterns of violet with the colour of iron. And this too has been used in large quantities.
"If we had built a hospital, factory, educational institution or a business, it would have ended up serving a small community. But now, Amma's temple will sow the seeds of goodness in the hearts of everyone who visits here," Amma, clad in ochre robes, says in Tamil.
The temple, covering 55,000 sq ft area, has intricate carvings and sculptures in gold. Except the walking path, the entire structure has been made of gold and copper. This would be more grandeur than the Golden Temple in Amritsar , mutt sources said.
About 400 goldsmiths and coppersmiths, including craftsmen from Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams, have completed the architectural marvel in gold in six years..
More than one and half tone of pure gold was glitter and gleam under the sun, Devotees hail the temple as 'one of the wonders of the world' and say that it is the only temple covered fully with gold.
According to official sources, the gold bars were purchased through RBI in "a transparent manner." First the coppersmiths set to work creating a copper base on the temple structure with engravings and etchings before the gold, beaten into nine layers of foils, was draped around it.
The sanctum sanctorum will hold the deity of Mahalakshmi made of stone granite, but covered with gold kavacham (adornments).
"The Sripuram or Spiritual Park is Amma's dedication to the world and mankind," said P Murali, a trustee of the Peetam.
The temple has been designed in such a way that visitors can reach the golden temple only after going through a star-shaped pathway, which has the quotes from Gita, Bible and Quran displayed on either side.
Surrounded by mountains and lush and scenic beauty, the temple, entirely conceived and designed by 'Amma', would be open to people of all religions. "The temple is Amma's gift to mankind," the sources said.
"When one enters the Sripuram, their focus is just on the magnificent temple. But when they leave, they cannot do so without taking some messages and gaining some wisdom," according to a booklet detailing the 'services' rendered by the Peetam. "In this quagmire of materialism, Sripuram rises as an inspiration to man to find the divinity within him," adds a brochure
Murali said arrangements were being made to hire personnel to throw a security cover around the temple. "But the gold sheets have been laid out in such a manner that it would cost more to rip it off than purchase the gold," said a top Vellore district official.