The temple trust of Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Devasthanam of Bhadrachalam district of Telangana has no money left in its coffers to organise ‘Seetha Rama Kalyanam’ and has decided to sell tickets to fund the celestial wedding, reports Hans India.
The Devasthanam board had decided to sell tickets for Kalyanam ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 5000, which has stoked controversy as VHP threatened to stop any such move. Even though the Seetha Rama Kalyanam was declared as state festival, the trust does not get any funds from the government except pair of silk robes and pearls costing about Rs 20,000, as per the report.
The online sale of tickets to participate in annual Sri Rama Navami Brahmotsvam of Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple started on Sunday (March 1). The tickets will be available for ‘Tirukalyana Mahotsavam’ scheduled to be held on April 2 and ‘Maha Pattabhishekam Mahotsavam’ on April 3.
According to the temple official, the temple earns about Rs 2 crore per month, out of which Rs 90 lakh goes to the staff salaries and about Rs 40 lakh to the Telangana State Endowments Department towards the payment of goodwill fund. The temple is left with only Rs 60 lakh.
The agriculture land owned by the temple measures about 917 acres but out of that 847 acres in Purushottapattanam of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.
“Most of this land is under encroachment and the case is pending before the High Court,” said an official.
The temple also has another 200 acres in Medak district in Telangana which is also under encroachment. Similarly, temple lands to an extent of nine acres in Pathabandla and another 5.25 acres in K Jaggavaram in West Godavari district, 3.87 acres of land located in East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh is under encroachment.
Addition to that, the Telangana government has issued a government order separating 12 acres of the non-encroached temple land for education purpose.
“The revenues from other sources and the user charges paid by the encroachers of the agricultural lands are meagre and the temple itself has to meet the legal expenses,” the sources said.
“With the fund shortage, the temple was not in a position to celebrate Kalyanam unless it accepts additional revenue by selling tickets if the state government does not provide funds. The state government should reduce the tax of 21 per cent the government has been collecting from the temple,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the VHP and other Hindu religious organisations are likely to meet Governor Tamilisai Sounderarajan on Monday demanding that the temple withdraw its decision to sell tickets for the celestial wedding.