Golden Temple of Sripuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Image: volunteers transplanting saplings for Sripuram’s agricultural project, ‘Green Sakthi.’

The newly-built Golden Temple of Sripuram, inaugurated in August 2007 and situated on 100 acres of land within the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, involved green awareness from the very beginning. Constructed by Sri Narayani Peedam, and headed by spiritual leader Sri Sakthi Amma, the temple is a model environmental site despite the two tonnes of waste generated every day by its 5,000 daily visitors. The Golden Temple combines tranquillity, greenery and peace
with its terracotta-tiled ceiling providing ample natural light and ventilation. The temple has a zero waste management policy that includes
a biogas plant and Waste Processing Facility. Compost is used as fertiliser on temple grounds or sold with recyclables for Rs. 1 lakh per month (about US$16,000).

The temple has installed rainwater harvesting and residents have
created a small organic farming area as well as herbal gardens, organic paddy fields and tree plantations. They have covered hill and campus with forest and trees and harnessed solar energy. A ghoshala (cow-shed) maintained by the temple management generates three tonnes of cow dung, the raw material for its biogas plant, which produces 50 kgs of biogas daily, and is used for cooking. Biogas, generated from a mixture of cow dung and waste food is used at the temple’s accommodations, hospital and community kitchens. Solar heaters generate hot water for the kitchens, reducing the need for conventional fuel by 80 per cent.

Canals and ponds have been specially created within the temple complex to help recharge groundwater. The temple generates water for its own needs and also supplies some for public use when rainfall is insufficient.

Adapted from ‘The Green Temple Initiative,’ developed by Jayashree Balachander on behalf of the Green Pilgrimage Network. (c) Association of Religions and Conservation 2015.