One of the most popular pilgrimage sites in India, the Vaishno Devi, in Jammu and Kashmir, received more than 1,800 kilograms of gold, 4,700 kilograms of silver and a thumping ₹2,000 crores cash, as donation, between 2000 and 2020. Kumaon-based activist Hemand Gauniya had filed an RTI in which the information was revealed. Gauniya told the Times of India, “I wanted to know how much donation the temple has received over the years. Even though lakhs of pilgrims visit the temple every year, I did not expect the cash amount as well as gold and silver donations to be this high.”
The Shrine Witnesses Millions Of Devotees Every Year
The cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi is nestled in Jammu and Kashmir’s Trikuta hills. Located at a height of about 5200 feet, it is regarded as one of the holiest Hindu temples in India. Every year, the shrine receives millions of devotees from all across India and abroad. The devotees need to trek for roughly 12km from the Katra base camp to reach the holy cave of the three-peaked mountain, where Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Ji is believed to reside. Vaishno Devi is also known as Trikuta, Mata Rani, Jyotawali or Sherawali. RTI revealed that the temple received 1,800 kg of gold, 4,700 kg of silver and ₹2,000 crores cash in the last two decades. Meanwhile, these are the 5 Wealthiest Temples In India With More Money Than The Billionaires.
The Temple Had The Highest Tourist Footfall During 2011-2012
The RTI data also revealed that the temple had the highest tourist footfall during 2011-2012. In both 2018 and 2019, around 50 lakh people visited the shrine. The number of visitors dropped during the pandemic due to the fears of the virus spread. The temple authorities had stopped the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage on March 18, 2020, to combat the spread of COVID-19. Vaishno Devi reopened doors to devotees on August 16, 2020, with restrictions. Gauniya stated, “The temple had the highest tourist footfall in 2011 and 2012 when over a crore people visited it but the pandemic has badly affected the pilgrimage. Only 17 lakh people visited the shrine last year which affected the local economy that depends almost entirely on tourism.”