Commercial complexes and Marriage Halls on temple lands proposed across Tamil nadu!!

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department, Tamil Nadu government have whooping 4.75 lakh acres of land and more than 55,000 buildings, including marriage halls, and  shops in the major urban areas of town and cities, besides villages.Constitutionally,  they can only administer the temples and check irregularities in the  administration and has no rights either to interfere in the religious activities or collect  revenue from  temple lands and use it for non-religious purposes. In this respect some ligation is going on between HR&CE and various groups over many issues related to temple lands, temple gold jewelry, hundial collections donated  by the public, financial mismanagement, etc.  

 HR&CE's  monopoly in the control of Hindu temples across the state continues unabated . However, through their sustained efforts  they are recovering  properties worth  several hundreds  crores of rupees for reasons that that were encroached upon for decades and for nonpayment of agreed rent due to the temple. 

The HR&CE  recovered the following temple properties in the state of Tamil Nadu:

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department in 2021 retrieved a total of 79.05 acres of temple lands valued at Rs 590 crore across the State in a short period after DMK took over the government.

In 2021 the  HR&CE officials in Villivakkam, Chennai legally took action by  sealings  24 shops  on the temple  land measuring 9,852 sq. ft. on West Mada Street, Reddy Street, Raja Street and Adhinaidu Street. The land worth Rs.16 crore is owned by the Agastheeswarar temple. Reason: The eviction was done through court orders for   non-payment of rent by the tenants totalling Rs. 1.20 crore. Sub-letting was yet another breach of tenancy act by the main tenants. The two temple properties are worth ₹20 crores.

Above image The 32-ground land parcel recovered was part of a plot lease,Chennai ..................... 

In June 2021 HR & CE took possession of a 32-ground property with a market value Rs 160 crore  on Poonamallee road near Pachaiyappa College, Chennai.The 141 ground spread is owned by Kanchipuram Ekambareswarar temple. It was returned by the Trust the Calavala Cunnan Chetty Charities Trust that ran the school - Kingston House Matriculation Higher Secondary School. In 2010 the trust returned 1.5 acres out of 44.5 acres which they had held. HR & CE are making efforts to recover the remaining parcel of land held by the trust - 96.5 grounds  whose market value is whooping 483 crore.

In September 2021 HR&CE retrieved a big parcel of land worth  Rs 276 crore belonging to the famous Kapaleeswarar temple, Mylapore, Chennai. The property - 46 grounds in the prime area of Mylapore had been used as a playground by P S Higher Secondary School, The 51 year lease taken in 1928 expired in 1079. The monthly rent was  Rs 1,250. After the expiry of the lease the said land was under dispute. In 2012  the temple authorities fenced 30 grounds of the land with a 347 foot long high compound wall.

In 2022  HR&CE took possession of  a building worth Rs. 4 crore with  2,000 sq ft built up area belonging to Adikesavaperumal temple in Kothawalchavady,Chennai  for reasons of non-payment of rent for a long time. 

In March 2022 High Court,  Chennai  ordered  de-sealing of Mylapore Club premises, a non-profit organization  situated on the Kapaleeswarar Temple land - 42 acres of land on lease from 1901 to 2000. presently the club is negotiating with the temple authority for fair rent as it is not a commercial venture. 

In March 2022  HR & CE took back the control of lands worth Rs 50 crore belonging to  Siddeshwara temple in Kancheepuram, temple land worth Rs 12 crore near Oddanchatram in Dindigul District,  temple land valued at Rs 8 crore in Mylapore, Chennai city.

According to the HR & CE “they had   completed surveying 30,000 acres of land and their daily  target was to  survey 500 acres of temple property /land. At the same time efforts are being made by them  to  collect pending rent more than Rs 113 crore from the tenants. Their legal action in the Court of Law of rent recovery  comes under the purview of  the provision of 79 ( c ) of the Revenue Recovery Act with respect to  the defaulters. As for pending rent from the tenants/ leaseholders  totalling Rs. 2390 crore they  plan to collect Rs. 500 crore plus crore first at the earliest and then  recover Rs. 25 crore periodically. They succeeded recovering Rs113 cr so far. 

According to HR & CE' booklet released in the Secretariat  out of 4.78 lakh acres of temple  lands, several hundreds were recovered in  one year period. The recovery of temple owned lands by the state agency began in earnest with the famous Vadapalani Murugan temples, Chennai whose land was worth  Rs 250 crore. The booklet has listed the overall success of the department  with respect to retrieval of temples in a short span of one year.   

The state Hindu religious and charitable endowments  recently recovered several hundreds of land from the encroachers and the Hindu religious heads and groups that are formed to to save the Hindu temples are not happy about the HR&CE's proposal to build commercial complexes and marriage halls worth crores of rupees as part of revenue generation in order to maintain the temple with the income from the proposed complex.  However, for many years till now, there have been many complaints   that the revenue earned from these temples and its properties are not being utilised for the religious purposes.

Justice Mahadevan said that the temple is not only a source of ancient culture but also stands as a symbol of  pride and knowledge of the ancient people in arts, science, sculpture. Temples promote  spiritual knowledge and sustain cultural ethos of our land.  The court also said that HR and CE Department should take steps to start construction of compound walls for the temples lands and should maintain a register with details of regarding  financial aspects of temples and properties. The report should be submitted before an authority at regular intervals, the court said.(


Construction of marriage halls and shopping complexes on temple lands: 

The state Hindu religious and charitable endowments  recently october 2021 and 2022  retrieved big parcels of prime properties worth  1030 crore in the pas  three months alone in 2021 from encroachers, and  said, efforts are being made to build commercial complexes  in order to maintain the temple with the income from them; the initial investment will be Rs.200 crores!

Egmore, Chennai, Srinivasa perumal temple

Plans are afoot to build an integrated commercial complex on the  land belonging to 600 year old Egmore Srinivasa perumal temple. A sum of Rs. 50 crore is allotted for the complex on a plot covering 42000 sq ft on the Poonamallee High road near  Kalpak Metro station.  

Yet another  commercial complex is coming up at an estimated cost of Rs.100 crore on the land  belonging to Kancheepuram Ekambareswarar temple. The market value of the land in the prime location is  about 470 crore. 

Devi Karumariyaman temple,

Devi Karumariyaman temple in Thiruverkadu

On the lands of Devi Karumariyaman temple in Thiruverkadu near Chennai, of Kalikambal temple, Hosur and of Vedapureeswarer temple, Thiruvethipuram  Thiruvannamalai,  HR&CE has a proposal to construct small commercial complex at a cost of Rs. 2 crore.  

HR & CE, a wing of the TN Government has an impressive but colossal  plan to build 22 marriage halls across the state on temple lands and Rs. 53 crore is allocated for this purpose. One such marriage hall will be built  at a cost of Rs 5 crore at Thiruttani on the land owned by the Subramania swamy temple. The officials of HR&CE are of the view that these projects are taken by them on the Hindu temple lands as part of revenue generation  and the income from the complexes will be to maintain the temple and its related religious activities, etc. Responding to the ban on the  sale of the temple lands, in Sep  2021 the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department  sought for a review of a 2021 order of the Tamil Nadu government, which banned sale of landed properties. Dec 2021