Himachal Pradesh is the land of Gods and Goddess, thus rightly called the “Dev-Bhoomi”. It is privileged to have numerous historical temples including five Shakti Peeths, which depict its rich and diverse culture. Thousands of pilgrims visit these temples on daily basis, for divine blessing, and donate generously, which is accumulated in temple coffers that reportedly have huge treasure in terms of Gold, Silver and cash.
Under the Schedule-I of the Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions & Charitable Endowments Act, 1984, that came into force w.e.f. 06-08-1984, the Himachal Pradesh Government controlling 29 temples in the state and as per the information tabled in the state assembly 26 temples of them received cash donations of total Rs. 28317.94 crore from 2011 to 2013.
Apart from the huge cash donation these 26 temples have over 4.58 quintals of gold and 158.8 quintals of silver in their possession.
The Chintpurni shrine in Una district – with one quintal and 72 kg of gold and 59 quintals of silver – is the richest, while Naina Devi owns one quintal and 48 kg of gold and 56 quintals of silver.
Other rich temple trusts include those of Jwalamukhi, Brajeshwari Devi and Chamunda Devi in Kangra district, Bhimakali in Shimla district, Mahamaya Balasundari temple in Sirmaur district and Baba Balak Nath in Hamirpur district.
As per prescribed norms Gold and silver shall be invested and disposed off in the following manner:-
Out of total Gold reserve 10 percent gold shall be used for the various activities related to temples, 20 percent gold shall be invested in the “GOLD BOND SCHEME” of the State Bank of India; and 20 percent gold shall be kept reserved in the temples and remaining 50 percent gold shall be converted into gold biscuits or coins and shall be sold to the devotees and pilgrims on the current prevailing market price.
Out of total silver reserve 20 percent silver shall be used for the various temple activities; 20 percent silver shall be kept reserved in the temples; and remaining 60 percent silver shall be converted into silver coins and shall be sold to the devotees and pilgrims on the current market price prevailing at that time.
Information of Laxmi Narayan Mander, Chamba, Manimahesh, Bharmour, Distt. Chamba and Ashta Bhuja Mata Temple Bohan near Jawala Mukhi in Kangra District were not included in this report.