Munshi Ramchand, Retired
| 07 02 2011 09:38:27 +0000
Indian Express:Last Updated : 02 Jul 2011 07:57:59 AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It may be hard to believe; but, you need to. The officials of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, where a treasure estimated to be worth more than ` 50,000 crore has been unearthed, still continue to exploit devotees.
Any devotee who reaches the temple without precautions will have to shed ` 70 to ` 100 for managing an entry into the premises of Lord Padmanabha.
There are not many places in Kerala where one has to pay a price to take a dip in a pond. But, if you wish to take a dip in the Padmatheertham pond before having a ‘darshan’ at the temple, you have to pay ` 5. While taking a dip, if you are moved by the swaying fishes beneath the water and are tempted to feed them, you have to buy another ticket by paying an additional ` 5.
These sums will sound ‘petty’, if you really get to know about some other rates applicable in the temple. For keeping valuables in the cloak room, one has to pay amounts unheard of in other pilgrim centres. Cellphone - ` 15; camera - ` 15; bag - ` 7; shirt - ` 2; pants - ` 2; vests - ` 2; chappal - Re 1 and umbrella - Re 1 are the published rates of the temple management.
After paying all these, one has to borrow ‘mundu’ and shawl from the same counter as pants and shirts are not allowed inside. The rent of a ‘dhoti’ for 15 or 20 minutes is ` 15! If you need a towel or shawl, you have to shed an additional ` 5 or ` 7.
On Friday, when City Express visited the temple premises, we met a team of tourists from Chennai. One of them was waiting in front of East Nada with all their bags and valuables for escaping the daylight looting.
“I was not aware that ‘salwar’ is not permitted inside. To get a ‘dhoti’ from the counter, I paid ` 15 and got an unwashed one, which was used by somebody else. I think levying some ` 2 would be fine to make such an arrangement,” said Gurminder Kaur from Delhi who visited the temple with family on Friday. Her family of four was spared from paying charges for their heavy luggage as they kept it inside the cab.
But, for parking the cab that is full of luggage, she had to pay ` 20.
The parking rates at East Nada, where normally tourists drop in, are exorbitant. For parking a tourist bus, one has to pay ` 80 for a couple of hours and for a mini bus, the rate is ` 60. While small cars need to pay ` 20, big cars will have to shell out ` 25.
Local devotees who are used to this daylight robbery have already found alternative routes to enter the temple.
‘’For years, I have been getting into the temple through the West Nada, where there are no officials to snatch money. As I reside nearby, I can keep my phone in my house and come wearing a ‘dhoti’’’, said S K Sarma, who is a regular visitor to the temple.