Most of us know that India is home to the world’s largest golden temple. What some of us don’t know is that the largest golden temple in India is not the Temple of Amritsar, but the temple of Sripuram in Tamil Nadu. Popularly known as Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple of Sripuram, it is a divine seat of the goddess of wealth, surrounded by the blissful landscape of lush greenery at the foot of hills in Thirumalaikodi near Vellore.
Built across 100 acres of land at some 100 km from Tirupati, the Sripuram Golden Temple complex is a marvel of gold and an oasis of spirituality. The temple is covered with 1500 kg of pure gold foil in fifteen layers, double the 750 kg used for gilding the dome of the Amritsar Golden Temple in Punjab. Inaugurated in 2007, the temple is thronged by more than one lakh devotees during Hindu festivals.
The layers of pure gold were made and mounted on copper plates by a group of artisans having excellence in the art of using gold. Both the inside and the outside of the vimanam (dome) and the ardha mandapam of Mahalakshmi Temple, in the middle of the Sripuram spiritual park, are covered with pure gold. Each single intricate detail of the gold work was manually created. The entire complex is lit is such a way that the temple glitters even in the dead of night.
Located at 145 kms from Chennai, the Golden Temple of Sripuram is built in the Vedic style of architecture. The stellar attraction of the Sripuram Temple complex is a star-shaped pathway (modeled on Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshan Chakra) sprawling over 1.8 km. The main shrine of Goddess Lakshmi Narayani is located at the center of the star-shaped path. While traversing the starpath, devotees come across various Vedic verses, spiritual messages and lessons on human virtues along the way.
Walking the starpath to the Mahalakshmi Shrine at the Sripuram Golden Temple is experiencing an altogether different world of peace and bliss, far away from the worries and cares of mundane life.
In harmony with the gold work, a 70-kg idol of Mahalakshmi in pure gold has been consecrated at the Golden Temple of Sripuram, Tamil Nadu. The presiding deity is addressed and worshiped as Sri Swarna Lakshmi here. Devotees are allowed to perform abhishekam to the idol here. The temple complex is meticulously adorned with man-made, beautiful sculptures which evoke wonder in visitors. The pillars and ceiling are ornately decorated.
Sripuram Golden Temple Facilities
The facilities include guesthouses, dormitory, dining hall, helipads, waiting areas, prasadam counter, parking, medical aid, cloakroom, restrooms and souvenir showroom. The guesthouses, both A/c and non A/c, provide decent accommodation. The dormitory with toilet facilities is available for free. There is also a paid dormitory. The parking lot is spacious enough to accommodate over 500 cars, 100 buses and more than 1500 two wheelers.
The Annapoorani Mandapam or dining hall is where about 10,000 devotees are served delicious vegetarian meals on fresh banana leaves at the Golden Temple of Sripuram. The holy kitchen adjoined to the dining hall is equipped with state-of-the-art cooking facilities. There are multiple rows of dining tables for comfortable seating. Outside the temple premises is Sri Narayani Bhavan, a multi-cuisine restaurant serving vegetarian delicacies at nominal prices. Adequate drinking water is available throughout the premises.
Unique to the Sripuram Golden Temple facilities is the Queue Complex or waiting area with adequate ventilation and comfortable seating arrangement. There are stalls in the Queue Complex where milk, fruit juices, snacks and other refreshments are available for devotees. The best thing is that the temple complex is disabled-friendly. Wheelchairs are available for the convenience of senior citizens with difficult movement and the physically disabled people, facilitating their access to the deity. Alongside wheelchairs, escort service is available at a very nominal fee.
Tamil Nadu’s Sripuram Golden Temple runs several projects for social welfare, including zero-waste management program, free public distribution of drinking water, blood donation camps, free coaching classes to the poor students, scholarship program, tribal community education, Sri Narayani Vidyalaya, and Sri Narayani Hospital and Research Center. Among the projects, Sri Narayani Kala Peedam provides the platform to promote different cultural forms including art, music and dance. Various cultural programs and spiritual concerts are organized here on a regular basis, aiming to encourage performers and entertain devotees.
How to Reach Sripuram Golden Temple
Chennai and Bengaluru are the nearest international airports, from where the temple can be reached through roadways. The temple is only 6 kms away from Vellore (Katpadi), which is the nearest railway station having trains from Chennai, Bengaluru and other parts of India.
This story is brought to you as part of the initiative, “Explore India with Indian Eagle”, aiming to promote what is the best and least-known about India through our overseas Indian community portal, Travel Beats. Travel Beats is a subsidiary of Indian Eagle Travel, a most sought after travel booking organization for cheap flights to and from India.