This sector in India is valued at approx. $40Bn and still growing!
We’re talking about is the temple economy, which is a subset of the travel and tourism sector, and is currently worth ₹3.02 Lakh Crs, or approx. $40Bn (2.32% of India’s GDP).
This only counts the collections at temples around the country, and not the ancillary sectors which benefit from this – eg. flowers, oil lamps, perfumes, etc. This also doesn’t include a large portion of informal labour which helps mobilise the entire economy.
Some other interesting facts about the temple economy include:
– Heavy domestic bias: 87% of all visitors across temples in India are domestic in nature with 13% being overseas travellers
– Cash havens: The top 6 temples collected a total of ₹24,000 Crs in cash just amongst themselves. That equates to $0.5bn each per year!
– Centres for history, diversity & art: Temples have never just been religious hubs. They’re symbols of the history of a particular region of our country, and tell their respective stories through their art, scriptures and other social interactions
– Job creation hubs: The temple economy aids the growth of the areas around the temple for industries such as hotels, transportation, guides, souvenirs, etc. According to data from National Survey Sample Office (NSSO), 55% of people who travel for religious pilgrimages stay in mid-small sized hotels. The overall travel cost is anywhere between ₹1,068 to ₹2,717 per person, depending on the reason for travel. This equates to approx. ₹4.74 Lakh Crs as expenditure on religious travel.
What do you think about the temple economy?