There are 34,401 public religious institutions in Tamil Nadu. The following are the classifications based on the income of the temples:
I. Religious institutions having an income of Rs.200/- or less per annum 8,368 II. Religious institutions having an income of less than Rs.2000/- but above Rs.200/- 17,687 III. Religious institutions having an income of less than Rs.10,000/- but above Rs.2000/- 6,509 IV. Religious institutions having an income of less than Rs.50,000/- but above Rs.10,000/- 1,469 V. Religious institutions having an income of less than Rs.1 lakh but above Rs.50,000/- 166 VI. Religious institutions having an income of Rs.1 lakh and above. 202 ---------- Total : 34,401 ----------
Only the last four categories of institutions are assessable institutions and that works out to 8,346.
While other Religions zealously guard their Mosques and Churches, The Secular Government of India,has a department to take care of Hindu Temples(?).
Lands were donated by the ancient Kings to the Temples and the Brahmins who maintain the Temples.as far back as during the Mahabharata period for which records exist, Chera King Perunchotru Udiyan Neduncheralaathan donated 100 Velis of Land, a Veli in 100 acres to Brahmins with the condition that he should see that the Tempes are maintained well and that he should see the smoke from the Homa being performed by the Brahmins daily.
The State Governments in India have taken over the administration of the Temples.
Details about Tamil Nadu are provided above.
The advent of Dravidian Parties saw a surge towards the systematic destruction of Hindu Temples in Tamil Nadu.
The overt move was made by the DMK Government by appointing Trustees for the temples, most of them DMK Party Members and Atheists,their Atheism is restricted to only to Hinduism.
MGR, in his later years turned a Theist and tried to restore the Status quo.
When Karunanidhi came to power, he tried his best undermine the sanctity of the Temples by introducing measures to appoint Priests through a Government training Institution, under the impression that the Temples were controlled only by the Brahmins.
DMK men were allotted temple lands on rent at a pittance.
A) In 1979, the HR & CE authorities had proposed to sell 116 grounds of the Kapaleeswarar temple in Madras for Rs.3.5 lakhs and 147 grounds of the Gangadeeswar temple, Purasawalkam, Madras for Rs.4.5 lakhs. This move was opposed by the State Temple Protection Committee.
B) Akshyalingeswar Temple at Kiwalur in Nagapatnam Taluk has 950 acres of land. 300 acress of land are cultivated by the co-operative tenants. The total arrears of rent was 5,000 bags of paddy per year and there was a total arrears of 36,000 bags of paddy in 8 years.
C) At Kodambakkam, Madras a 40 ground plot belonging to a temple was leased out on a rent of Rs.4 per year.
At Saidapet, a 40 ground plot was leased out for a pittance and the occupants had built beautiful houses. But the temple languishes for want of income.
D) With the abolition of minor Inams, the Governmnet took a decision to confer ownership rights to the tenants who were in occupation for 60 years. Later it was decided to reduce this period of enjoyment, to 30 years, with the proviso that rent for 12 years should have been paid. In such a way, 13,825 acres of temple inam lands woth Rs.2.5 crores were distributed to 5,000 persons. The Government should have collected the amount and handed it over to the temples. But the Government took the decision to write off this amount. The Government has not compensated it to the temples. A total of 2,600 religious institutions had suffered because of this decision.
E) King Raja Raja Chola had endowed lands to the Brihadeeshwara temple to fetch 80,000 bags of paddy every year. But the lands are not with the temple’s control now. On October20, 1983 the priests of the Big Temple, Thanjavur stopped performing pujas as they had not been receiving their salary for several months and there was no rice or oil for “Naivedyam”.
F) On 7th April, 1985 the Endowments Minister told a press conference at Madurai that the leader of a political party was occupying premises belonging to Madurai Meenakshi temple which had been sub-let to him by the original lessee. He said that when he visited Thanjavur and Trichi Districts, he found that the archakas and temple staff had not been paid their salary for several months.
G) On 26th November, 1979 the Conference of Temple Employees Association was told that out of 1,87,712 tenants of temple lands only 20% were genuine lessees and the rest were bogus intermediaries. The Association urged the Government of exempt all temple lands from lands laws, Tenancy Acts, particularly from the Fair Rent Act which reduced the temples share from 40% to 25%.
H) Kalpati temple car was sold for Rs.20,000/- to maintain the pujas.
I) On 09-03-1992, addressing a Press Conference the Kanchi Acharya commented on the increasing number of burning of temple cars, murders inside temples and thefts. The Acharya felt that the motive of all these crimials was not merely the lust for money and jewels. A new force seemed to be working from behind to check the growing “bakthi cult” in Tamil Nadu.
The Government led by J.Jayalalithaa, has been trying to correct this, by initiating various measures.
The website http://tnhrce.org/ provides information, though not exhaustively on the Temples in Tamil Nadu.
There is a provision for RTI.
News reports claim that details regarding the Lands of temples are available at the site, though I am unable to find it.
Instead of building new temples, Hindus must concentrate on reclaiming the Lands belonging to the temples, by obtaining the relevant information from the Portal under RTI and move the Courts.
Not only the Rents are ridiculous but the Temple premises are encroached and used for Illegal and Immoral activities.
The lands are being sold ad Plots by the party-men.
The web site url is provided in the post.