RELIGIOUS TOURISM

YASHWANT KUMAR N.
IHM Chennai- 113.

WHAT IS TOURISM?
Tourism is travel for recreational or leisure purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited". Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2008, there were over 903 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2007. International tourist receipts were USD 856 billion in 2008. Despite the uncertainties in the global economy, arrivals grew at around 5% during the first four months of 2009, almost a similar growth than the same period in 2008.

TOURISM IN INDIA
It is boom time for India's Tourism and hospitality sector which offers almost all types of tourism at one destination. The Indian subcontinent is bounded by the majestic Himalayan ranges in the north and edged by a spectacular coastline surrounded by three seas – Arabian Sea in the West, Bay of Bengal in the East and Indian Ocean in the South, India is a vivid kaleidoscope of landscapes, magnificent historical sites and royal cities, golden beaches, misty mountain retreats, colorful people, rich cultures and festivities. The world’s leading travel and Tourism Journal, “Conde Nast Traveler”, ranked India amongst top 4 preferred holiday destinations in the world! There are number of factors responsible for the growth of Indian tourism at global level. India is a peaceful country without any political disturbance except for few destinations where a tourist is required to get special permission from local authority to enter into that area. There is healthy competition among all the states to attract the tourists from all over the world for speedy economic growth and employment generation. Not only this Ministry of Tourism and Culture has recently launched a campaign called ‘Incredible India!’ in order to encourage different types of tourism in India.

WHAT IS CULTURAL TOURISM ?
Cultural tourism' (or culture tourism) is the subset of tourism concerned with a country or region's culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those peoples, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life. Cultural tourism includes tourism in urban areas, particularly historic or large cities and their cultural facilities such as museums and theatres. It can also include tourism in rural areas showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities (i.e. festivals, rituals), and their values and lifestyle. It is generally agreed that cultural tourists spend substantially more than standard tourists do. This form of tourism is also becoming generally more popular throughout the world, and a recent OECD report has highlighted the role that cultural tourism can play in regional development in different world regions. Cultural tourism has been

defined as 'the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs'.

Destinations
One type of cultural tourism destination is living cultural areas. For an indigenous culture that has stayed largely separated from the surrounding majority, tourism can present both advantages and problems. On the positive side are the unique cultural practices and arts that attract the curiosity of tourists and provide opportunities for tourism and economic development. On the negative side is the issue of how to control tourism so that those same cultural amenities are not destroyed and the people do not feel violated. Other destinations include historical sites, modern urban districts, theme parks and country clubs, coastal or island ecosystems, and inland natural areas.

THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF INDIA
India with its centuries old civilization is perhaps one of the few nations, which has a cultural heritage that is rich, diverse and unique. The richness and diversity of the Indian culture has its roots in its history. The history of India is testimony to the fact that foreign invasions influenced the polity and culture of India. Right from ancient times when Alexander invaded India and brought with him Greek influences till the coming of the British in the 16th century, India was constantly targeted by many invaders. These invasions from outside made India the melting pot of different faiths and cultures. With these invasions came the art and architecture, different beliefs and customs of the invaders to India. The cultural heritage of India is not limited to the art and architecture that we see today in the form of many architectural wonders that dot many Indian cities but it traverses beyond that. Cultural heritage of India is the embodiment of all things beautiful that make one stand and take notice. For example a music concert in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal or a dance festival at the famous Konark Temple leaves visitors enthralled and spellbound.

This is exactly what one feels when on a heritage tour of India. Be it music, dance, fine arts, cuisine, customs or festivals, the cultural heritage of India touches you in more than one way. Experience the age-old customs and traditions followed by Indians on your cultural heritage tour to India. Enjoy the sounds, sights and taste of India with Heritage in India. India colorful and vibrant, a land as diverse as its people. A mosaic of faiths, cultures, customs and languages that blend harmoniously to form a composite whole. One of the world’s oldest living civilizations - which gave to the world - the concept of zero, the primordial sound Aum, Yoga, and Buddhism. Today - the India of the 21st century is carving a niche for itself as an economic superpower. The Maharajas of yore have yielded place to some of the wealthiest tycoons of the world. Our country has achieved remarkable breakthroughs

in missile, aeronautical and space technologies. India has become the hub of Information technology in south Asia, owing to its vast pool of English-knowing technical manpower! Enchanting India…a treasury of art, architecture; philosophy, classical dances and music; the mesmerizing Taj, the eternal Ganges, the Thar desert, the mighty Himalayas, tropical rainforests, the Cape where the waters of three seas mingle…the rich fauna-snakes, peacocks, Royal Bengal Tiger, lions…India is all of these and more … India-perennial, yet young and dynamic; come discover its myriad moods- in the pages of India Heritage-a website whole-heartedly devoted to providing a kaleidoscopic view of this wonderland to the world!

India “Land of Temples”
India - A land of intense spirituality and religious faith reflected in the profusion of temples present in this subcontinent. Temples are found every where in India from large monumental structures to small stone buildings, each having certain significance and greatly influencing the lives of the people who regard the temple as a place where they could be close to god. Hinduism is the religion followed by the Hindus. The Hindu philosophy has a very strong influence on the people governing various aspects of their lives including their spiritual life. The Hindu temples apart from being religious also play the role of a social, cultural and economic center influencing the lives of the people both in the cities and villages. These wonderful monuments form a part of the Indian cultural heritage.

TEMPLE TOURISM
We as Indians have always had and will continue to have an obsession for Temples. Temples have been a part of the Indian tradition since times Immemorial. The Concept of improving the Tourism in India has always enthralled me and that’s the reason for me to choose Temple Tourism as a Topic for my paper presentation. It is an absolute pleasure to know about the cultural diversity of our country. Any other kind of tourism has to be developed to increase the popularity among people but when it comes to temple tourism the situation is totally different we’ve got the Temples with us, it’s just a question of preserving the temples and promoting the temple tourism among the tourists. India is famous for its temples and that is the reason that among the different kinds of tourism in India, pilgrimage tourism is increasing most rapidly.

Significance of Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage is an important part of spiritual life for many Indians. Indians see life itself as a journey, coming from God and returning to God. The pilgrim seeks to separate himself from the everyday concerns of the world, and to spend time in the presence of God as he travels to a place of special meaning. A pilgrimage is a symbol that is acted out. Back in the middle Ages pilgrimages were very popular. It may have taken many years. The pilgrims would usually travel in groups, and stay in monasteries or inns overnight. But now the situation is totally different the Pilgrims take time out of their busy schedule to keep their mind at peace.

Promoting Temple Tourism
Secular India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other innumerable religious traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith, practiced by over 80% of the population. Besides Hindus, Muslims are the most prominent religious group and are an integral part of Indian society. In fact India has the second largest population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia. Common practices have crept into most religious faiths in India and many of the festivals that mark each year with music, dance and feasting are shared by all communities. So let us now see as to what are the most important tourist destinations in India when it comes to temples. There are Temples in India which fills the heart of tourists with peace and they are truly bewildered at the aspect of the humungous structures of architecture and cultural traits of India.

WORLD FAMOUS TEMPLES OF INDIA
SHORE TEMPLE AT MAHABALIPURAM

It is believed that there were seven magnificent temples what are known as the seven pagodas, built near the sea shore. But the lonely survivor is the shore temples. It was originally constructed during the 7th century and later it was Narasimha Varman II, completed the skilled work in his rule. This is one of the oldest of the south Indian Temples which were structural temples constructed in the nature Dravidian style. This shore temple has gained popularity and tourists gather here because it has been listed among the world heritage sites of the UNESCO. The temple is full of designs made by carvings. There are three temples of which two Shiva Temples face east and west respectively. The other one is the Vishnu Temple. The Vishnu temples were built by Narasimha Varman I and the other two were built by Narasimha Varman II. One can find the beautifully carved twin Dwarka Palaks (gate keepers) at the entrance of the east facing Shiva Temples. On both sides of the temple inside are the marvelous sculptures of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu with their better halves. There are sculptures of Somaskanda - lord Shiva with his better half, Parvati, and his sons, Skanda and Ganesha are found on the near wall. The central shrine is in the form of a rectangle. It has a magnificent statue of lord Vishnu which is known as Sthala Shayana Perumal or Ananthasayana which means sleeping Vishnu. The peculiarity about this particular temple is - Vishnu reclines on the floor listening silently the sounds of names. The figure of Vishnu is found in segments which are to be looked through various doors.

MEENAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE

This is decidedly the oldest city of South India, truly representing Dravidian culture. European scholars have compared it to Athens of Greece. It was in the past the seat of the Tamil Academy (the Tamil Sangam). It is estimated that there are 33 million carvings in the Madurai temple. Gopuram, in South Indian architecture, is the entrance gateway to the Hindu temple enclosure. Relatively small in the earlier period, the gopuras grew in size from the mid12th century until the colossal gateways came to dominate the temple complex, quite surpassing the main sanctum for architectural elaboration.”

Tirumulla Nayak commenced a gopura, which, had he lived to complete it, would probably have been the finest edifice of its class in southern India. It measures 174 ft. from north to south, and 107 ft. in depth. The entrance through it is 21 ft. 9 in. wide; and if it be true that its gateposts are 6o ft. (Tripe says 57 ft.) in height, that would have been the height of the opening. Its doorposts alone, whether 57 ft. or 60 ft. in height, are single blocks of granite, carved with the most exquisite scroll patterns of elaborate foliage, and all the other carvings are equally beautiful. The great temple at Madurai possesses all the characteristics of a first-class Dravidian temple, and, as its date is perfectly well known, it forms a landmark of the utmost value in enabling us to fix the relative date of other temples.

GOLDEN TEMPLE

The Golden Temple or Darbar Sahib, situated in Amritsar, Punjab, is the most sacred temple for Sikhs. It is a symbol of the magnificence and strength of the Sikh people all over the world. In the evolution of the Darbar Sahib, is entwined the history and ideology of Sikhism. Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, is named after Hari(God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas

Sri Harmandir Sahib, is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar(tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has a door each on the East, West, North and South. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door frame of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breath. The door panes are decorated with artistic style.. The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide 'Pardakshna. It runs round the main shrine and it leads to the 'Har ki Paure' (steps of God). A regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib is also held there. On the top of this room stands the low fluted 'Gumbaz'(dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the 'Kalash' having a beautiful 'Chhatri' at the end. Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindus way of construction work and this is considered the best architectural specimens of the world. It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.

TIRUPATI BALAJI

The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.It is by the Lord's presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills. The temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara. The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestowed of boons. History There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.

It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

The oldest living city in the world, Varanasi is the ultimate destination of all Hindu pilgrims searching for moksha from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The word 'Kashi' originated from the word 'Kas' which means to shine. Kashi is mentioned repeatedly in the scriptures - the Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Puranas. It is the oldest center of learning and the University here is still widely respected for its Sanskrit, Philosophy, and Arts faculties. Hyuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler visited Varanasi in the 7th century.

Stepped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the 'original ground' created by Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was destroyed in the various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims flock to Varanasi to offer homage and wash away their sins.

KONARAK

Konark Sun Temple is located , in the state of Orissa near the sacred city of Puri. The sun Temple of Konark is dedicated to the sun God or Surya. It is a masterpiece of Orissa's medieval architecture. Sun temple has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

The Konark temple is widely known not only for its architectural grandeur but also for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance. Arka is the Sun God. The Nata Mandir in front of the Jagamohana is also intricately carved. Around the base of the temple, and up the walls and roof, are carvings in the erotic style.

Architecture of the Temple The massive structure of the temple, now in ruins, sits in solitary splendor surrounded by the drifting sands. The entire temple has been designed in the shape of a chariot carrying the Sun God across the heavens. The huge intricate wheels of the chariot, which are carved around the base of the temple, are the major attractions of the temple. The spokes of these wheels serve as sundials, and the shadows formed by these can give the precise time of the day. The pyramidal roof of the temple, made of sandstone, soars over 30 m in height. Like the temples at Khajuraho, the Sun Temple at Konark is also covered with erotic sculptures.

Muslim Mosques

India's religious tolerance has made lots of religion flourish. The religious centers of Islam are not only a place of worship, but a center of learning too. There are tombs such as Taj Mahal that showcases the depth of undying love and Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb, which is considered the most perfectly planned octagonal building in the history of Indian Architecture. Agra and Fatehpur Sikri are not mere rich legacies of Mughal History, they are the finest examples of architecture, which combined both Hindu and Muslim elements in it. The remains of seven cities in Delhi include the remnants of Shahjhanabad and Qutub Minar, which are worth a visit. Lucknow and Hyderabad's Nawabi legacy is still lurking in the monuments such a Bada Imambara and Charminar.

Famous Mosques in India  Jama Masjid, Delhi
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India and the final architectural extravagance of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It's also known as 'Masjid-i-Jahan Numa', 'Jahan' means 'World' and Numa means 'Visible'. A Religious Masterpiece The construction work continued for six years, ending in 1644. The structure was placed on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all the adjoining areas. It's an austere, yet, a beautiful building. Just like other buildings of Shahjahanabad, this one was also built with red sandstone. White marble has also been used extensively, specially in the three domes and has been inlaid with stripes of black.

 Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural splendour at its height.

 Ajmer Sharif
The shrine is considered to be a place of wish fulfillment for those who pray with devout and pure hearts. It is said that Emperor Akbar sought blessings for his son at the Dargah.

 Bada Imambara, U.P.
Also called the Asafai Imambara this huge and elegant building is almost built like a fort. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulla built this building in a famine relief program in 1784.

 Chota Imambara, U.P.
The third Nawab of Avadh, Muhammad Ali Shah built this imposing structure of Chota Imambara in 1840. The real name of this structure is Husainabad Imambada.

Christian Pilgrimage

Christianity has had long and glorious relations with India. The advent of Europeans in India from the 15th century onwards led to the mass influx of Christians and subsequent development of Christian worship places. Some of the churches of colonial India are comparable to the best in the world and are as much a part of the heritage of India as its ancient temple.

 Basilica of Bom Jesus - Goa
The church of Bom Jesus, "Good" or "Infant" Jesus, is known principally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. In 1946, it became the first church of India to be elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. One of the richest churches in Goa, it is covered with marble and inlaid with precious stones and paintings depicting the life of St. Francis Xavier. The basilica, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, is the best specimen of baroque architecture in India. St. Francis's body was brought to Goa almost 150 years after his death. It was a gift from Medici, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It now lies in an airtight glass coffin, placed inside a silver casket fashioned by a 17th century Florentine jeweller. The chapel attracts large numbers of visitors every year.

 The Church of St. Cajetan, Goa
The Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on the original design of St. Peter's Church in Rome. The Church of Bom Jesus with its facade decorated with Ionic, Doric and Corinthian pilasters, shows the application of the Classical order. The Se' Cathedral, with its Tuscan exterior, the Corinthian columns at its portals, the raised platform with steps leading to the entrance, the barrel-vault above the nave, is yet another example of Renaissance. The paintings in the churches were done on wooden borders and fixed between panels having floral designs as in the chapels housing the tomb of St. Xavier, the arches above the altars in the transept of the Se' Cathedral and in the nave on either side of the main altar in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi..

 Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral, H.P.
The most prominent building on the famous Mall of Shimla is the yellow Christ Church, reputed to be the second oldest church in northern India. It still has those lovely stained glass windows for which it is so famed.

 Church of the Sacred Heart, Delhi
This Church displays a strong Italianate influence, with a facade of white pillars supporting a canopy set against a dark brick background, and circular arcades turrets rising above the roof to each side of the entrance porch. The lofty interior has a towering curved roof, polished stone floors and broad arches set into smooth walls, presenting a very grand look.

 Santa Cruz Basilica, Kerala
The Santa Cruz Basilica is a historic church that was built by the Portuguese. The church was elevated to a cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558 AD. In 1795 AD, it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Cochin and was demolished. About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887 AD. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

Little Mount, Chennai
Little Mount in Saidapet is where he lived and preached. It is not much of a hill but high enough for the churches on it to be noticed form a distance. The new church, consecrated in 1971 attracts attention by unusual circular shape. However, it is the old church next door, built in 1711 as extension to shrine which the Portuguese had built in 1511 that is thronged by pilgrims. It is not impressive from the outside, but is miniscule interior has an atmosphere not found in many churches. This Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is built against and above the rock cave that was St. Thomas' home.

Strategies to enhance religious tourism through Corporate Market Responsibility (CRP)
Definitely, the marketers would get benefit out of the booming religious tourism as they could find new territories to sell their products and services. They would also take part in developing these Places along with local development authorities.

a) Marketers could participate in providing basic sanitary facilities along with they could promote their products viz. If X company sponsors the Free or Paid Rest room facilities, its products would only be sold. b) Marketers could also participate in constructing rooms for devotees to stay and promote their products c) Marketers could offer free/paid transportation facilities which will carry the promotion of their products/ services d) Pharmaceutical companies could sponsor free medical camps in which their products could be promoted e) Food products companies could set up their outlets to sell products with subsidized /actual prices f) Clothing/Garment companies could set up their stalls to promote their products and services

It clearly shows that there is enough room for marketers to participate in Corporate Market Responsibility which offers the dual benefit of offering services to the society as well to promote their products/services. This would definitely provide a lucrative mind space in potential target group in which would not have done by spending millions on conventional promotion tools.

Hence, it is the marketers and the state and central government could join their hands to concentrate on these locations in order to generate business and employment opportunities as well to promote their products/services. If this done, the government would not worry about offering minimum 100 days employment opportunities, they will take care of themselves. The government could seek help from marketers to offer necessary infrastructure support viz. transportation, water and sanitation, power and other basic facilities which ensure the influx and pleasant stay of pilgrims.

Role of Religious Tourism in Balanced Economic Growth
In India, religious tourism plays a vital role in narrowing economic imbalance. Most of the places, especially rural areas and the areas which have no core competence or business, survive due to religious tourism. It provides business and employment opportunities to local population helps to take care of their requirements. For instance, 'Sulli Karadu' a small dry rural area near Coimbatore, TamilNadu, India, well known for a rural deity which is very powerful, ought to be worshipped by offering Camphor in big quantities which is available in nearby shops. Devotees stand in mile long queue to offer their offerings. It provides livelihood to local population who sell camphor to the devotees which is supplied by camphor manufacturers. Also, it was interpreted that the whole exercise was orchestrated by the camphor manufacturers to sell their products which has been banned by TamilNadu Endowment Board to camphor in temples, by quoting the reason that would spoil the environment. How ever, this is a classical example on the religious tourism which fed the whole village. Also, a place called "Thadi Kombu" near Madurai, well known for a deity viz. "Shorna Bairavar" which is very powerful to collect the bad debts, it is the believe that if a pilgrim visit the place for 8 times in a particular day of the month, his/her prayers would be answered. This generates employment opportunities in the sleeping semi-urban small town, also generated business for bus owners who take devotees for charter trips on that particular day from far off places. These are all the examples of small places which generates business and employment opportunities for the local population, let alone, many famous places like "Palani", Madurai, Rameswaram, Kanyakumar, etc. in Tamil Nadu, and well known, "Sabari Malai" in kerala, which generates millions and provides employment opportunities to many. The whole kerala belt has been benefiting from lakhs for devotees visit sabari malai during particular seasons. These provide tremendous opportunities for marketers to focus on these locations to market their products and services. It is the dual benefit of catering location population as well to promote the products/services.

PROTECTING TEMPLES
It must be understood that all objects, whether natural or manmade have their lifespan. But by doing proper, periodical maintenance & protecting them from vandals, the possibility of providing extended lifespan to these inanimate structures always remain. When these places of interest are not maintained, the chances are that they’ll fail to live up to their 'intended' life span is dim. So, proper maintenance not only preserves them for their entire life period, but also gives them a "Bonus" lifetime.

When a person thinks about India, he can either think about the well-built, well-maintained Delhi Metro, which is one of the best in Asia. The Delhi Metro has world class infrastructure, security & service & wears the look of a corporate major. But on the other end lies the poorly maintained, poorly equipped, sub-standard Indian Railways. Though the largest employer in the world & the most profitable government company, the railways leaves much to be desired when it comes to safety, standard, infrastructure etc.,

Though both are owned & operated by the govt., there is a contrasting difference between these two. The government is treating our ancient monuments too with the same attention it gives to the railways! The Archaeological Survey of India, responsible for the exploration & maintenance of these monuments is dangerously under-staffed & poorly funded. So, the ASI devoted most of its manpower & money power to the high-end monuments such as Taj Mahal, Red Fort etc., starving our antique Indian temples of any funds

Though India is a Hindu dominated country, it doesn't mean that our temples should be preserved well! In Tamilnadu for instance, temples are maintained by the 'Hindu Aranilaya Thurai' which is shredded by politics. Even the world's most revenue-rich temple, in Tripathi does not offer any better prospects. People who pay a high some of money to "see" the God are allowed a closer peep, whereas the freely serviced poor people are forced to wait in their queue's for several hours, if not days! The housing & lodging facilities there are very poor. Transportation is bleak, but collection is great!

Many temples in India refuse to receive any funding from the governments & solely rely on philanthropists. They do not want to rely on governments claiming to be secular! So, with very little funding, poor knowledge of history & its greatness from the part of the temple boards, which priorities the religious aspect of the temple more than its cultural & historical value will do anything, but improve the status of these "iconic" symbols of the world's oldest religion.

There needs to be an effective co-ordination between the government, a well-funded ASI, the temple authorities & of course the devotees. The government should rein in on "illegal" roadside temples & encourage historically significant temples. The temple board should also allow non-Hindu & foreign visitors to come in & visit the temple by charging them a fee & diverting it to welfare works. By allowing tourists, the historical significance of the temple & its image will be defeated.

So if these great monuments have to be maintained properly and if the Temples have to viewed by tourists and great tourist destinations it is up to the People and Government of India to Protect these Architectural Masterpieces by Educating the general public about their importance and Proper funding to maintain them.