Devotees have become choosy about the Gods in the Rs 3,000-crore faith industry. While the world famous Lord Venkateshwara Swamy of Tirumala continues to attract the maximum number of devotees from all parts of the country and abroad with 50,000 to 70,000 devotees having his darshan daily, there has also been a spurt in visitors to other deities too. The Tirumala temple alone rakes in around Rs 2,000 crore annually while all other major temples together earn a revenue of around Rs 1,000 crore with Durga Malleshwara Swamy of Vijayawada topping the revenues with Rs 68.17 crore last year.
The Endowments Department has revealed that after Lord Venkateshwara Swamy of Tirumala, Brahmarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy of Srisailam Devasthanam in Kurnool district attracts the second highest number of devotees. Last year, the picturesque Srisailam temple received about 1,28,50,000 devotees. Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy of Vemulawada in Karimnagar district stood third with 83,63,105 pilgrims, followed by Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy in Vijayawada with 72,00,000 pilgrims offering prayers at the temple. Some of the temples in are witnessing an increase in number of devotees in the last few years. Chitra Ramachandran, revenue principal secretary, (endowments), attributed this rise to the faith, fulfilment of vows, facilities provided and other factors.