The Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh is known as one of the richest Indian temples and the highest-earning Hindu shrines in the world. Speculations about the Tirupati Tirumala Temple’s annual revenue or monthly income or daily earnings are always high. The hundi at the Tirumala shrine of Lord Venkateswara attracts cash offerings worth up to Rs. 3 crore on a daily basis, except during the 6-day Vedic ceremony, Astabandhana Balalaya Maha Samprokshanam, when restricted entry of devotees into the shrine brings daily cash offerings down to Rs. 73 lakh.
Recently, a demigod of the global IT industry has surfaced to beat the Tirupati Balaji Temple’s income from devotees’ cash offerings to the hundi. The demigod is none other than Google CEO Sundar Pichai whose salary is another interesting subject of curiosity among netizens. “Is Sundar Pichai a billionaire?”, “Sundar Pichai net worth”, “Sundar Pichai vs Mukesh Ambani net worth”, “Sundar Pichai income” are some of the most searched topics in Google.
One of the richest Indian American CEOs, Sundar Pichai who hails from the temple town of Madurai in South India has earned Rs. 1470 crores in the US fiscal 2018, as per the available reports. It means that a daily average earning of Rs. 4 crore totals up Sundar Pichai’s income in the FY 2018 and thereby making him beat the Tirupati Balaji Temple’s income from cash offerings by a few crores in Indian currency.
In the fiscal 2019, Sundar Pichai’s annual income would have been more than Rs. 1470 crores if he had not turned down a grant of unvested stock worth $58 million / Rs. 405 crore from Google Alphabet in 2018. The reason he gave for refusing to take an additional Rs. 405 crore is that he was already being paid enough. He got stocks worth $250 million in 2014 when he wore the hat of Google CEO.
“What does he think of himself? How could he outdo Lord Venkateswara in daily income and become the highest earning South Indian icon? Last month the Padmanabhaswamy Temple tried to surpass the Tirupati Balaji Temple’s income, but failed,” said some residents of the temple town.
However, if the Tirupati Tirumala Temple’s revenue is taken into account in its totality from several different sources, such as sale of laddu prasadam, accommodation of devotees, sale of hair from devotees’ tonsured heads and interest on gold deposits in banks, other than cash offerings to the hundi, it is double of Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s annual income.
A little more than Rs. 3 billion of the Tirupati Balaji Temple’s annual income comes from the sale of laddu prasadam and the auction of hair donated by hundreds of thousands of devotees at the hilltop shrine. Notably, many Indian American businesspersons and CEOs catch flights to Chennai from USA for a visit to the Tirumala Balaji Temple in Tirupati and donate to the temple hundi.