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An analysis of the role Hindu temples play in the Indian economy is presented in this article. Throughout India, temples have served as cultural centers, commerce hubs, art galleries, educational institutions, and social centers in addition to being places of worship. Across the country, there are over two million temples, which are crucial economic hubs, attracting devotees and tourists worldwide. The article cites statistics from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) showing that religious travel alone brings in Rs 4.74 lakh crore annually.
There are approximately 3.02 lakh crores in the temple economy, which contributes 2.32% to the GDP and supports millions of jobs. As part of the government’s plans to attract FDI worth more than $100 billion, the article highlights the prospect of creating 100 million jobs in the tourism industry. Moreover, the article highlights the vision for leveraging temples and Yatras (pilgrimage to holy places, sacred mountains, sacred rivers, or any sacred places ) to promote tourism and boost economic growth.
Why are Hindu temples important for the economy?
- Temples in Bharat reflect the country’s rich religious and spiritual heritage. Bharat is home to over 2 million temples, many of which are considered to be places of immense faith and miracle, attracting devotees from all over the world. Bhartiya knows how to preserve and embrace our culture, rituals, and Dharma in this age of modernism.
- In Bharat, temples have never been just that. They have been centers of commerce, art, culture, education, and social life since antiquity. The local temple was the center of the community. This is where people prayed to Gods and Goddesses for health, wealth, progeny, the removal of a specific obstacle, or even the acquisition of something valuable.
- This is where people met, exchanged news and opinions, shared their stories, and their difficulties sought each other’s advice, and planned their daily lives.
- Each state in the country has its own distinct traditions, and each of these states has a rich history with numerous temples that serve as cultural centers. Dharma, rather than religion, has played an important role in the development of nations, shaping their worldviews, and allowing them to grow spiritually. Temples are more than just Dharmik places (Religious Places) in Bharat (India). There are also many richest temples in India, which attract millions of tourists from all over the world each year.
- Temples are places in Bharat where people pray for peace, prosperity, and happiness. Many of these temples are architectural masterpieces, and many of them were built during ancient times and have fascinating stories to tell. Some of these temples are so wealthy that they own vast tracts of land or gold.
- Many temples have extensive collections of valuable items and antiques that have been passed down through generations.
How do temples contribute to a strong economy and job creation?
“In some ways, the development of tourism-rich economic zones along pilgrim trails stems from extensive research that has shown that shrines were important economic hubs throughout Indian history”. Burton Stein of the University of Minnesota wrote a seminal paper on this in 1960 called The Economic Function of a Medieval South Indian Temple, which was published in The Journal of Asian Studies.
Also read Hindu method for improving economy at https://journals-times.com/2022/05/23/what-is-the-hindu-method-for-improving-the-economy/
According to the NSSO survey, the Hindu temple economy is worth Rs 3.02 lakh crore, or about $40 billion and 2.32 percent of GDP.
In reality, it could be much larger. Sacred things, like flowers, oil, lamps, perfumes, bangles, sindur, images, and puja dresses are all included. It is propelled by most of the unprotected informal labor.
It is estimated that the travel and tourism industry alone employs more than 80 million people in India, with a year-on-year growth rate of more than 19% and revenue of more than $234 billion in the last year alone. According to government estimates, approximately 87 percent of tourists in India are domestic, with the remaining 13 percent being foreign visitors. Varanasi’s importance in Hindu and Buddhist beliefs implies that this ancient city receives a sizable proportion of total domestic tourists and pilgrims. The Central government revenue for 2022-23 is Rs 19,34,706 crore, and only six temples collected Rs 24000 crore in cash. Domestic religious tourism is outnumbering foreign visitors. Over 100 crore domestic visits to new destinations indicate that there is churning beyond the golden triangle of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. Even 20% of the nine crore foreign tourists visit Madurai and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Over the years, India’s rankings on major global indices such as the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (WEF) and the UNWTO Tourism Barometer have steadily improved. The increase in tourist activities also helps to develop multi-use infrastructure such as hotels and resorts. As a result, the Indian government intends to attract FDI worth more than US$100 billion over the next few years, resulting in the creation of approximately 100 million jobs.
How does Indian Prime Minister see the Temple and the tourism industry?
Recently, the Prime Minister was speaking at a post-Budget webinar on tourism when he mentioned the Ramayana circuit, Buddha circuit, Krishna circuit, Northeast circuit, Gandhi circuit, and pilgrimages of all saints, emphasizing the importance of working together collectively on this.
The Prime Minister noted, citing various yatras (sacred tour) undertaken by the masses over the centuries, that some people think tourism is a fancy word for high-income groups, but it has been a part of India’s cultural and social life for centuries, and people used to go on pilgrimages even when they had no resources.
He cited the Char Dham yatra, the Dwadash Jyotirling yatra, and the 51 Shaktipeeth yatra as examples of how they are used to connect the places of our faith while also strengthening national unity.
Observing that the entire economy of many of the country’s major cities was dependent on these sacred tour, the Prime Minister bemoaned the lack of development to upgrade facilities to modern standards, despite the age-old tradition of yatras.
He stated that the root cause of the country’s damage was hundreds of years of slavery and political neglect of these places in the decades following independence.
“Today’s India is changing this situation,” Modi said, adding that an increase in facilities leads to an increase in a tourist attractions. He also told the audience that before the renovation, approximately 80 lakh people visited Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi in a year, but tourist footfall exceeded 7 crores last year.
“Only 4-5 lakh devotees had visited Baba Kedar prior to the completion of reconstruction work in Kedarghati. Similarly, 80,000 pilgrims visit Pavagadh in Gujarat to see Maa Kalika, up from 4,000 to 5,000 before the renovation.
The expansion of facilities has a direct impact on the number of tourists, and more tourists mean more opportunities for employment and self-employment,” said the Prime Minister.
Putting the spotlight on the growing number of foreign tourists in India, the Prime Minister stated that 8 lakh foreign tourists visited India in January this year, compared to only 2 lakhs in January last year.
Hindu temples have a multifaceted significance that includes Buddha, Jain, and Sikh temples.
Hindu temples and Dharmik practices are constantly persecuted by communists and conversion mafias. Temples have always brought people together when society and country needed it the most.
The various social activities that take place on a regular basis and during emergencies are admirable. The recent big disaster in Corona and the assistance provided by temples provided a huge relief that saved many lives. Big temples’ support for schools, hospitals, and rural development activities is greatly appreciated.
The current government’s systematic planning and development of Temple sites, as well as the associated infrastructure, will shift the slave mindset to one that is culturally bonded, focused on socioeconomic and spiritual development, more social cohesion, celebrating life to gain peace, and fighting against all odds as a unit.
What is the Temples’ Scientific Importance?
The scientific importance of temples lies in the fact that the architects and engineers of these structures have taken into account the natural magnetic and electric waves that constantly circulate within the earth. Choosing a piece of land that has an abundance of these waves is an important consideration in temple design. The placement of the main idol at the temple’s center, or Garbhagriha, is also crucial, as it is an area where magnetic waves are extremely active.
A pooja known as Pran Pratistha is performed after the copper plates buried beneath the idol are enunciated. These copper plates are inscribed with Vedic scripts that absorb magnetic waves from the earth and radiate them to the surroundings. Visitors to the temple on a regular basis can absorb these magnetic waves by walking around the idol clockwise, which can boost positive energy and improve quality of life.
Temples are scientifically important because they are capable of harnessing the natural magnetic and electric forces of the earth and channeling them into a space where they can be absorbed and utilized. The copper plates beneath the idol act as conduits for these energies, which have beneficial effects on physical and mental well-being for those who visit the temple. In addition to promoting health and well-being, temples preserve and transmit cultural and spiritual values.
If you are interested in Hindu Temple Architecture, visit https://indica.courses/enroll/cohort/introduction-to-temple-architecture/
Almost all Hindu temples have large bells that must be rung before entering. The science behind this is mind-boggling. Temple bells are made from a specific proportion of different metals. Cadmium, lead, copper, zinc, nickel, chromium, and manganese are among them.
The real reason for science is the mixing and proportion of metals used in manufacturing. When the bells ring, they make a distinct sound. The sound and vibration are so distinct that it connects both sides of the brain (left and right); additionally, the sharp sound and vibration last for seven seconds in echo mode, which is enough to touch seven healing centers of the body. With the sound, the mind becomes empty of all thoughts and transforms into a regular visitor to temples. It becomes very receptive, ready to accept new ideas and free the mind from all the chaos that is going on. Many other advantages include the elimination of negative thoughts, improved concentration, mental balance, and aid in illness.
The study of the temple economy should be included in the curriculum.
The temple and its associated economy will play a significant role in the Indian economy, creating millions of jobs in a variety of sectors. A significant part of this must be strengthened through systematic management.
It would be a wise approach to include Temple, its management, and its economy in higher education curricula. Youths can direct their efforts and resources toward expanding and developing the temple economy and related tourism sectors.
Another contentious issue is the removal of government control over all major Hindu temples. The government should pass a new law mandating that no political leaders serve on the new Temple management committee. Donations should be used for the welfare and social activities of that particular Dharma or religion. Let us look at Temple’s culture and activities from the right angle and work together to build Temple’s economy.
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