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Sripuram Golden Mahalaxmi Temple, Thirumalaikodi, Near Vellore, Tamilnadu.
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Golden Temple – when uttered this word, immediately people thinks of Amritsar and the Highest Body of the Sikh’s pride Golden Temple. But now it has got a good competition! Yes, an estimated over 600 Crores of Indian Rupees spent, to construct a true Golden Temple for Goddess Mahalakshmi, the presiding deity, (installed and maintained by Sri Narayani Peedam) in this Temple at Sripuram, which is situated 6 km away from the District Headquarters – Vellore, North Arcot District in Tamilnadu. Now, the temple is complete, open to the general public; this town Sripuram has all the facilities one can visit to enjoy his/her spiritual experience. The fact is, one can get more and detailed information about the temple and the related informations with helpful tips in this website, than the official website.
A Mahalakshmi temple called ‘Sripuram’ and made of more than a ton of pure gold will glitter and gleam under the sun on August 24 when it is unveiled for consecration by the Sri Narayani Peetam headed by a 31-year-old god man who calls himself Narayani Amma. Devotees hail the temple as ‘one of the wonders of the world’ and say that it is the only temple covered fully with gold.
More than 400 gold and coppersmiths from the Tirupathi Thirumala Devasthanam are said to have worked for six years to craft the Rs. 600-crore golden temple located on 55,000 sq ft of land on a 100-acre salubrious stretch in Malaikodi, about 6 km from Vellore in north Tamil Nadu. According to official sources, the gold bars were purchased through RBI in “a transparent manner “
First the coppersmiths set to work creating a copper base on the temple structure with engravings and etchings before the gold, beaten into nine layers of foils, was draped around it. The sanctum sanctorum will hold the deity of Mahalakshmi made of stone granite, but covered with gold protection layers. (Kavacham – adornments).
” The Sripuram or Spiritual Park is Amma’s dedication to the world and mankind,” said P Murali, a trustee of the Peetam, adding that the temple has more gold than the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
Messages by ‘Amma’ have been laid out along the path to the temple with messages from the Gita, Bible and Quran. “When one enters the Sripuram, their focus is just on the magnificent temple. But when they leave, they cannot do so without taking some messages and gaining some wisdom,” according to a booklet detailing the ‘services’ rendered by the Peetam. “In this quagmire of materialism, Sripuram rises as an inspiration to man to find the divinity within him,” adds a Narayani Peedam brochure.
The arrangements were being made to hire personnel to throw a security cover around the temple. “But the gold sheets have been laid out in such a manner that it would cost more to rip it off than purchase the gold,” said a top Vellore district official.
How to reach Sripuram Golden Mahalakshmi Temple? Location, Distance, Route & contact details: ( Katpadi Longitude 79 Deg. 8′ East, Latitude 12 Deg. North 59′ )
Whatsoever may the cause, the Temple location, its surroundings and the peaceful atmosphere are the added attractions for the visitors and it is sure worth to visit this place once. The Maha Laksmi Temple is now an attraction even for the tourists and pilgrimage. This temple is located at Thirumalaikodi; Katpadi is the nearest Railway station in the Chennai-Bangalore route of Southern Railway. How to reach Sripuram? It takes about 3 and half hours drive from Chennai, in the Chennai – Bangalore road. It is in the National Highways NH46 that connects Chennai – Bangalore (Bangaluru) and in NH4 from Ranipet to Bangalore. From Katpadi, one can reach by state owned bus to Sripuram which takes about 15 minutes drive or less. Or, one can reach Thirumalaikodi by bus from Vellore to Anicut / Odugathur route. The State run buses ply via Thirumalaikodi in this route. From Tirupati (Tirupathi) to Katpadi, there are shuttle train services available upto Katpadi or Jolarpettai (Jolarpet Passenger) or one can travel by train from Tirupathi (Tirupati) by Kanyakumari Express from Tirupati to Katpadi which takes less than 3 hours journey. Direct bus services available from all major points to Vellore from Chennai, Chittoor, Bangalore, Kanchipuram, Kanyakumari, Tirupathi & Thiruvannamalai – all being major Temple towns and picnic spots. Vellore is well connected by road with all the southern states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala & Pondicherry. The approximate distance from each major station to Vellore is listed below for the convenience of the visitors:
Chennai – Vellore about 150 kms (Via Sriperumpudur, Sunkuwar Chathram, Kaveripakkam, Wallajahpet, Ranipet, Arcot, Ratnagari – or Arcot by-pass from Ranipet) – 3 and half hours drive from Chennai.
Bangalore – Vellore (via Hosur) – 220 kms (On national highway routes – NH7 > via – Hosur Road – Electronic City – Attibele(NH7) – Hosur – Kamandoddi – Shoolagiri- Melumalai – Kurubarapalli – Krishnagiri > NH46> – Bargur – Vaniyambadi – Ambur – Pallikondaj – Vellore. – around 4 hours drive)
Kanchipuram – Vellore – 58 kms
Tirupathi – Katpadi – 95 kms
Ranipet – Vellore – 26 kms (via Arcot bypass – highways 22 kms)
Hyderabad – Vellore – 510 kms
Mysore – Vellore – 270 kms
Thiruvannamalai – Vellore – 85 kms
Vellore – Sripuram Sri Mahalakshmi Golden Temple – 8 KM
While traveling through National Highways, you will find many toll gates where you need to pay toll fee at different locations, for private cars, taxis, vans etc toll fee ranging from Rs.38 up to 65 and for busses and trucks the charges are still more. (valid for entry-exit 24 hours only).
For the benefit of the visitors, I give the route map from Katpadi to Sripuram, supplied by the Temple at the bottom of this page.
Temple Darshan Timings & applicable current official charges (donations!) are as below:
Darshan Timing 8 am to 8 pm on all the 365 days! For those who want to have darshan and have enough time to stand in the queue, the entry is free. There is no charges for the general public for entry and darshan. However, those who are in hurry and limited time to go through the normal darshan, there are some special arrangements made for a little fee. One can avail the available options across the counter.
The Sevas available right now and are likely to be changed/modified by the Temple authorities as per the trustees discretion:
Swarna Pushpa Archana Seva; In this seva Archana will be done with 108 gold flowers and out of which one will be given to the devotee after the archana seva. The donation for the seva is 1508/- for a couple and 1008/- for one devotee. (All days from 0800Hrs to 2000Hrs)
Veda Parayana Seva; In this seva One devotee will be allowed to sit in front of goddess Mahalakshmi and will be given Aarthi Dharsan (Mondays to Fridays 0800 to 2000) Rs.250/ per Head
Divya Dharsan Seva; In this seva one devotee will be permitted for Divya dharsan of Goddess Mahalakshmi. (only Dharsan- No Aarthi) Rs.100/ per head on Saturdays and Sundays and National Holidays.
Anna Dhana Seva: Rs.5004/- for four persons. In this seva, devotees can have the Arathi Seva Darshan and also blessed to distribute Prasadam to visiting devotees at the temple. Timing: 8.00 am
Gho Dhana Seva: Rs.15,000/- for four persons. Timings: Between 4.30 and 8.00 am. By donating a cow to the Ghosala, the donor is allowed to parttake in the Gho pooja at the Ghosala.
Maha Aarathi Seva: At 6.00 pm after Nivedyam, one devotee is permitted sit before the Main Idol, Sri Mahalakshmi for this Maha Aarathi.
Sri Sooktha Homam Seva: In front of the Goddess Sannithi, at the Saheshara Deepa Mandapam, four deveotess are allowed to take part in the Sri Suktha Homam alongwith the temple priest. Timings: 9.00 to 11 am and 6.00 to 8.00 pm. The Donation charges are Rs.3006/-
Pushpa Alankara Seva: By sponsoring for floral decorations to the Main deity Sri Lakshmi Narayani, two devotees are allowed to sit in front of the main Idol. Timing: 8.00 am and the donation charge is Rs.2007/-
Abhisheka Pooja Seva: In the morning between 4.30 & 8.00 am, by donating Rs.3006/- on all days except Friday (Fridays, Rs.5004/- is charged), four devotees are permitted to take part in the routines viz. Abhishekam, Alankaram & Arathi.
Sri Vastram Seva: If one wishes, she/he can offer a 9 yard Silk saree to Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi. By this offering, one donating devotee is allowed to take part in the Arathi seva, between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm and the donation charges are Rs.10,008/-
Abishekam: In this seva 4 members are permitted for Abisekam, Alankaram and Aarthi Dharsan Rs.3006/- on all days except Fridays (No accommodation)
Rs.5004/- on Fridays (One Non A/c Room accommodation will be given) The accommodation facilities presently available as below:
Non AC – Rs. 500/- for 2 persons (Additional bed- 150/-) Maximum persons allowed 3 only in a room.
AC – Rs. 750/– for 2 persons (Additional bed- 200/-) Maximum persons allowed 3 only in a room
One can send an advance DD in favour of “Narayani Siddar Peedam Charitable Trust” payable at Vellore and book for your requirements.
For more details one may contact the PROs of Sri Narayani Siddar Peedam at Sripuram at the following cell phone numbers:
+91 9942993009 ( Sri R Baskar), +91 9942993010 (Sri B V Karthik).
The Temple is constructed, managed and maintained by Shri Narayani Amma of Sri NarayaNi Peedam, (known as Amma of Sri Shakti Peetam). Further details and arrangements can also be made by the Shakti Sri Narayani Peedam at phone numbers (STD code included) : +9104162271202 or +9104162271 844. Sri Shakti Peetam of Sri Narayani Amma also arrange for your visit and provide hospitality on special and individual requests. There are numerous state run bus services available from most of the nearest towns to/via Sripuram. Nearest Railway station:- Katpadi, Chennai-Bangalore rail route. Nearest big town:- Vellore, District headquarters of North Arcot, Tamilnadu (South India). Nearest Airport, Chennai – Meenambakkam (about 135 kms.) or Bangalore (Bengaluru) Airport (180 kms) and from Tirupathi Airport about 100 kms. Email contact for Sri Narayani Peedam office is : firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are few suggestions, useful tips, do’s and don’ts for a first time visitor:
Once inside the complex, there are proper guidance, assistance and also an information center inside the complex for the visitors to know more about the functions of this temple.
There is ample car parking space available @ Rs.20/- per vehicle.
Here, the security measures are more stringent as alike Sri Balaji Temple of Tirupathi. Long queue makes one exhaust soon, more so during the summer days. It is recommended to take drinking water bottles & towels to fight the thirst and sweat!
Please do not carry your Mobile phones and cameras which are strictly prohibited inside the temple premises. Separate counters are there to deposit your cell phones, cameras as also your foot-wear. It is highly recommended not to take it with you to the temple at the first place, as it is not going to help you in any way as you have to deposit the same at the counters before entering the complex.
As is in Tirupathi, here too the queue control system exist. A special structures erected to control and regularize the moving crowd is put up that extends up to 3 kms stretch from the temple! From here, you are allowed to move inside the star shaped ( Sri Chakra) corridor of the temple, only after proper security check by the security personnel both men & women; there you will have to undergo strict security checks viz. scanning, frisking and all the sort of personal/belongings etc. Senior citizens are accompanied by the escorts from the temple are allowed to join in the main queue directly, but no family members are allowed to accompany them. Free wheel chair for physically challenged persons and elderly persons are also available and they are directly taken to the temple by the volunteers of Sri Narayani Peedam. No family members allowed to escort or accompany them, as the Golden Temple authorities arrange to give a very good care for them.
By the time you reach the Sanctum Sanctorum, oh, by now you have walked almost 3 kms distance from the entrance!but the scenery, surroundings, landscape and the disciplined as well as organized path now should give you a good feeling of a better darshan! If one prefers to perform Abhishekam or Archana they need to book well in advance, say at least two months.
At the exit point, the volunteers of the Ashram would hand you prasadam viz. Kum-kum and Sweet rice, Laddu or pongal. Though the entire system is most organized, one would feel exhausted – that too after you’re told to view the Darshan only from a specific distance. But it is more worthy to pay a visit. The landscape, beautiful scenery, tranquil atmosphere, greenish lawns and fine architecture all combined together, makes one feel worth of the visit.
For those who wish to stay overnight or a couple of days, hotel accommodation can be arranged through the administrators, Sri Narayani Peedam – who maintains a hotel, hospital, Orphans home etc.
The photographs, images and photos that I obtained from my sources are displayed below for the readers to enjoy a virtual tour to Sripuram Narayani Peedam Ammas Golden Sri Mahalaxmi Temple near Vellore. After having taken the tour, please sign in the guestbook with your valuable comments, suggestions and criticism as well.
Other places of Tourist & Pilgrimage interest – on the way and around Vellore:
Persons those who visit Sripuram on pilgrimage can also visit other places of worship and combine their tour accordingly. To facilitate to plan their trip, I give below the additional tourist information sent in by Sri Rajendra Ganesa – hope this helps the readers to plan their trip without any hitch.
I give you some recommendations for some nice spiritual tours where everyone including the teenagers will enjoy. These pilgrimage tourist spots might interest devetees of both Shiva & Vishnu:
Sriperumpudhur (Sri Ramanuja’s birth place) – Wallajapet (Chennai – Bangalore highways):
1) Thiruputkuzhi (Divya desam)
After Kanchipuram entry / exits, at Baluchetti chathram, turn left. The temple is just 100 meters away from the highways and there is good display board on the road.
Ramar conducted the last rites for Jadayu.
Sridevi and Boodevi have interchanged their places
Sridevi has turned her face away slightly to keep off the heat of the yagna
2) Thirupparkadal (15 mts drive from Thiruputkuzhi)
At Kaveripakkam, turn left and go for about 2-3 kms inside Twin temples side by side:
a) Ranganathar temple, where Ranganathar is made of Athi wood and they say He is Swayambu
b) Vishnu temple where Perumal is standing on a Linga Aavudayar
After the tollgate at Wallajah, take the right turn towards Chithur
3) After Ranipet, Thiruvalam (about 40 mts travel from Thiruparkadal)
A thevara padal petra sthalams. Nandhi is facing opposite side protecting the temple after killing demon kanjan.
There is a nice place at the temple to take breakfast (if you take with you)
4) Melpadi (ASI maintained Rajaraja chola temple) (15 mts from Thiruvalam). (There is a caretaker and so you can visit any time)
5) Ponnai Sorna Vinayagar (Navagraha kottai). (20 mts from Melpadi)
6) I understand Thangal ashram, very near is also a nice holy place to visit
7) Vallimalai – birth place of Murugar’s wife Valli (15 mts from Ponnai)
Two temples – one at the base and the other rock cut temple at the hill top maintained by ASI(about 400 steps) – beautiful place – the temple tank and the base temple with the surrounding hill, trees and greenary – perfect place for lunch (if you take with you)
The temples will be closed just for one hour during lunch.
8) Kanjan giri – about 100 swayambu lingams collected in one place on a plateu of a hillock top. You can drive upto the hillock top. (about 15 mts from Vallimalai)
Return back to Bangalore highways via Katpadi. Take Highways again.
Pallikonda is undergoing renovation and is under balalayam and so don’t waste time.
If it is a two days trip:
Straight proceed to Padavedu and stay there – Nice rooms are available for 150 Rs /day. Only non-veg hotels and veg cum non-veg hotels are there during nights at Padavedu. Veg hotels are there in the mornings. For good veg food, call up Vasudeva Bhattachryar (see my Padavedu travelogue) and he will make very nice arrangements and will take care of you completely.
1) Morning (3 hours) – See all the temples of Padavedu
2) Erikuppam Saneeswarar temple – the only temple where Saneeswarar is present in Yantra form
3) Oomaikku Kural kodutha uthamarayar temple at Periya Ayyanpalayam – Vishnu on a linga aavudayar.
4) Sigirikoil Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple (Do not miss this – very nice location – my favourite temple)
5) Vellore Jalagandeswarar
6) Rathnagiri Murugar.
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