during my march 2008 visit to chennai, i heard about this new 'golden temple' in sripuram. i decided to visit this place, and oh boy! it turned out to be a good decision.
sripuram is a tiny village, about 12 kms from vellore town, tamilnadu. its now being made famous by this golden temple with government plying 'golden temple' specials. it is a 3 hour drive from chennai on the chennai-bangalore highway.
all electronics, including cellphones, cameras, ipods are confiscated at the entrance to the temple. also, one can find a huge canteen that resembles a marriage-hall at the entrance. the temple is approximately 1.5 kms from here. seriously!
the walk to the temple is scenic with loads of greenery, and water fountains and flowing water. after a 400m walk, one enters a star shaped corridor that surrounds the temple. as one walks the star, one can fill one's eyes with the beauty of the temple. the corridor leads into a circular corridor that encompasses a pool of water. at the center of this water pool resides the Goddess Lakshmi, called Narayani Devi.
the sanctum-sanctorum is made from pure gold. the yellow metal is used liberally on the temple gopuram, pillars, ceiling and the sides.
the temple is constructed, managed and maintained by 30-odd years old shri narayani amma of sri narayani peedam.
overheard facts : temple is built on 100 acres of land, 600 crores rupees was the expenditure, 1.5 tones of gold used, 400 goldsmiths and copper smiths finished task in 6 years, the temple structure made out of copper structure on which 9 layers of gold was draped.
some tips for the visit : take the 250 Rs route to save on some time and also to get a closer n longer look at the deity, visit temple on a weekday, choose twilight time-frame for the visit ...you get to see the temple in natural light and man-made light under a night sky as well. wheelchairs are available for elderly at the entrance, elderly can use the short cut route to the garbha-graha.
the temple is a man-made beauty. greenery surrounding the temple adds to the beauty. next time you visit chennai, do plan a trip to this place!