India’s Hindu Temples Rely on Gold Stash to Meet Payroll

Because gold is revered in India, Hindus donate the precious metal to their local temples in honor of deities. As a result, one of the world’s largest private caches of gold belongs to the Hindu temples of India. Collectively, India’s religious temples hold as much as 4,000 tons of gold, approximately 16 percent of the nation’s gold holdings, according to the Reserve Bank of India and the World Gold Council.  

Get in on the gold rush.

The temples have been shuttered for months to limit the spread of COVID-19 in India, which has the world’s second highest number of cases after the United States. This has caused a financial squeeze for the temples. So, to meet their payrolls, Hindu temples are planning to part with some of their gold and hand it over to banks, which, in India, pay interest on gold deposits. A temple association in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which oversees more than 1,200 temples, intends to deposit more than a ton of gold with banks, a controversial step.

“The gold of the temple belongs to the gods,” Prayar Gopalakrishnan, a former president of the Travancore Devaswom Board told Bloomberg News.

But the current president, N. Vasu, says there is no choice. “We took this tough decision because this is one of the toughest periods we have ever faced.”

As a result of coronavirus restrictions, gold has effectively become the reserve currency of India’s Hindu temples. 

Get in on the gold rush.