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A 31-year old 'godman' has built a Rs300-crore 'golden temple' at Sripuram near Vellore in Tamil Nadu.
The temple, situated in scenic landscape on 100 acres of land, has been made with 1.5 tonne of pure gold. Hundreds of craftsmen and artisans took six years to build the temple.
The temple was conceived and designed by Sri Narayani Amma, fondly called as 'Sakthi Amma' (powerful mother) by his devotees.
"It is meant to be a marvel in gold, but it is a temple that offers wisdom to people who visit the place," he told mediapersons.
The godman, who heads the Sri Narayani Peedam, instituted near Vellore in 1992, said he built the temple, in which Goddess Mahalashmi is the main deity, out of unconditional love.
"If Shahjahan built Taj Mahal, it is out of love for Mumtaz. If Amma (referring to himself) builts Sripuram, it is out of unconditional love for mankind. That is for one, this is for everyone," he said.
With his devotees spread across the globe and his foundation registered in the United States, Canada [Images] and the United Kingdom, funds kept flowing in for the project launched in 2001.
More than 800 craftsmen, including those working for Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, worked day and night for six years to make the godman's dream realise.
About 1.5 tonne of gold was purchased for the project through Minerals and Metal Trading Corporation in Chennai after getting clearance from the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], he said.
The lighting is arranged in such a way that the temple glitters even during night. With intricate carvings and sculptures, the entire structure, except the walking space, has been plated with gold.
It has a rajagopuram, resembling the Tirupati temple, with 36 pillars around. Even the central chandelier is made of gold.
Explaining the concept behind Sripuram, he said, "A mother administers sugar-coated pill to the child to heal. It's physical ailment. Likewise, I am offering this golden temple to people to impart wisdom. This golden temple is just a tool to attract the world's attention."
People can reach the temple only through a star-shaped pathway, laid to a distance of 1.5 km. On either side of the pathway, the messages of 'Amma' and quotes from Bhagavad Gita, Bible and Quran will be displayed.
Though the people's focus will be on the temple in gold, when they leave they cannot go without taking some messages and gaining some wisdom, he said.
"Some may ask why a golden temple for the mankind and why not a hospital? But in Sripuram, we bring about a change in people through messages like the nobleness of human birth and the need to serve the humanity. This will motivate them to built lakhs of hospitals across the globe," he said.
The Narayani Peedam has a school, hospital and college on its own. It has also been carrying out charitable activities in Vellore and nearby districts to the tune of Rs 50 crore.
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