Mahabodhi Now Among India's Richest Temples

PATNA: After Tirupati, Vaishno Devi and Shirdi Sai Baba temples, the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar's Bodh Gaya,

Buddhism's holiest shrine, has become one of the richest temples in India, officials said.

The 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple's total income in 2013-14 was Rs.106 crore, the highest till date. It includes Rs.4.19 crore collected from the charity box, Rs.4.7 crore through donations by devotees and Rs.2.2 crore through fees for photography, meditation and other services, said Arvind Kumar Singh, a member of the temple's management committee.

The temple also received Rs.38 lakh in bank interest. A major part of the income was received in October-November 2013, when the temple was inlaid with nearly 300 kg gold donated by devotees, including the king of Thailand.

The estimated cost of the gold is more than Rs.86 crore. The temple's income was Rs.6.29 crore in 2012-13. The committee started an online donation facility in 2010. Singh said the temple's corpus fund, which was about Rs.6.5 crore in 2007-08, has now reached the Rs.20-crore mark.

The temple is a World Heritage Site where the Buddha, who was born at Lumbini in Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago. The temple is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world. The temple was rocked by a string of bombings in July last year. The National Investigation Agency is probing the case.

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