The Tirupati Balaji Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, is now an investor in the country’s stock market.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which oversees the temple, opened a demat account that would allow it to hold stocks and securities, making it the first such body to do so.
Devotees will now be able to donate shares and stocks in the name of Balaji directly into the demat account. A demat account allows holding of shares and stocks in electronic format instead of physical possession.
PS Reddy, managing director and CEO of Central Depositories Service, a Mumbai-based depository of securities, told Economic Times:
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“TTD has been receiving physical share certificates as donations by devotees in its open Hundi, which indicates that devotees are interested in donating shares.TTD viewed that enabling devotees to use the demat account for donations helps both.”
By many accounts, the Tirupati temple is the world’s richest place of worship. It is, however, not the only one in the business of investments.
Quartz reports that Mumbai’s Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, the Jagganath Temple in Puri, Odisha, and the Vaishnodevi Temple trust in Jammu and Kashmir have invested in mutual fund schemes.
Since gold is the metal that forms a huge percentage of any temple’s wealth, the Indian government is looking at ways to make temples invest their gold in deposits. The temples are, however, not ready to part with the yellow metal yet.