Vaishno Devi Temple received over 1,800 kgs of gold, 4,700 kilos of silver, and a whopping Rs 2,000 crore cash in the last two decades (2000-2020) as donation.
The popular Hindu shrine located in Jammu is one of the richest temples in India. It is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas dedicated to Goddess Durga, who is worshipped as Vaishno Devi.
The information was revealed in an RTI reply filed by Kumaon-based activist Hemand Gauniya. The RTI also disclosed that around 50 lakh people visited the temple in both 2018 and 2019, and the number further increased to over 1 crore in 2011-12, which is the highest tourist footfall in the last 20 years.
However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, only around 17 lakh people visited Vaishno Devi in 2020, a dip of 78%.
"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," Gauniya told the Times of India (TOI).
The activist further said that he had filed the RTI query before the office of the LG (Lieutenant Governor) which was later moved to the chief executive officer of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine, Katra.
"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," Gauniya told the publication.