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Hundi in Venkteswara temple. Image source: www.daiwikhotels.com
  • Hundis are drop boxes where worshippers put money as a token of material sacrifice for Lords and Goddesses
  • The significance of Hundi carries a legend behind it. It was by the end of Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga when Vyas wrote Hindu scriptures
  • The money doesn’t reach any God, but it helps to sustain the service of God in his own temples

India is a mystical land of many religions and faiths that work on various beliefs, miracles and legends. India as a secular nation believes in harmonious coexistence of people belonging to multiple sects and religions where religion or one’s faith in God is not just a guiding spirit, but a celebration.
Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma, as argued is the world’s oldest religion. With its own share of legends and stories dating back across yugas has the story of Vishnu and Kuber, which depict the significance of ‘Hundi’ that we find in temples. Hundis are drop boxes where worshippers put money as a token of material sacrifice for Lords and Goddesses.

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The significance of Hundi carries a legend behind it. It was by the end of Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga when Vyas wrote Hindu scriptures. It was in the Kali Yuga when Venkateshwara (the form of Vishnu) took a loan of fourteen lakh Ramamudras from Kubera, the Lord of wealth. He took the loan from Kuber with Lord Shiva and Brahma as the witnesses for his own marriage and agreed to repay him until the end of Kali Yuga. On the seventh day of Vysakha during Kali Yuga, Srinivasa took the credit from Dhaneswara.


Tirupati Balaji. Source: www.tirumala.org

This is stated in Tirupati’s Sthal Purana that as a result of the loan, a ‘Hundi’ was set up by the temple authorities to supposedly help Lord Vishnu repay the debt to Kuber. Later, many temples across the world, especially in South India, installed hundis for the same reason.

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While the story has attracted the faith of many devotees and temples gather huge amounts of funds through the hundis and other donations, they are used as the temple fund for the maintenance and development of the temple, to pay for the staff’s salary and for the sustenance of the chief priests. The money doesn’t reach any God, but it helps to sustain the service of God in his own temples.


Revenue collections at Tirumala Tirupati DevasthanamSource: Telegu Mirchi

Donating money in the hundi to one’s best allowance is considered as a ‘yagna’ in itself- that the individual can give up his material financial gains for serving the lords. Disciples and devotees donate money in large amounts in hundi and the similar ‘trend’ has been followed by other temples as well. It was reported in April this year in 2016, that in the drop box/daan patra of Shirdi’s Sai Baba Mandir were found diamond necklaces worth Rs. 92 lakhs. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has estimated an income of more than ₹ 1,000 crores for the years 2016-2017. On the other hand, there are also temples like Chilkur Balaji temple in Hyderabad that does not have a hundi, and the temple authorities manage their own expenses.

– by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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