There are more than two million temples in India. It’s an incredible achievement for the country, but sadly, it also means that caring for and restoring each one is a tricky task — so difficult that most people and organizations would prefer to ignore it. Instead, these temples are being demolished, damaged, or even sold off illegally.
But that wasn’t enough to stop Behind Every Temple from trying to rescue as many of them as possible. Let’s take a look at the story behind the organization and what it’s achieved so far.
From spiritual awakening to purpose
Behind Every Temple’s founder Ananda didn’t simply wake up one day deciding his calling in life was to restore India’s sacred temples — he went through a spiritual journey of his own first.
After studying Hinduism, heading on various pilgrimages, and even meeting his Tamil wife (Sugi), Ananda’s appreciation of Indian temples & the Vedic tradition grew. But his passion only transformed into a concrete plan after meeting someone very special: Kannan.
The two men met while Ananda and Sugi were on one of their pilgrimages in Tamil Nadu. Ananda was inspired to learn about Kannan’s journey and how he gave up success in the corporate world to renovate more than 50 temples across Tamil Nadu.
After that, nothing was the same.
Making a difference
In 2020, Behind Every Temple became a registered 501c3 nonprofit, and Kannan joined the board of directors.
Fast forward to today, and Ananda, Sugi, and Kannan are working together to restore and renovate as many of India’s dilapidated ancient temples as possible. The organization focuses on South India’s Tamil Nadu region, where more than 5,000 temples need repairing.
It’s easy to see the temples as statistics, but each one has its own unique contribution to culture, history, and our understanding of the Sanatana Dharma. Without them, future generations could be left with a huge knowledge gap about their own cultural heritage.
Restoring them is no easy task — temple architecture requires an in-depth understanding of both spirituality and science — but Behind Every Temple only recruits the most highly-trained and skilled individuals (sthapatis). Currently, the team just launched a new campaign to renovate an ancient Vishnu temple that is more than 1,000 years old.
To make the project even more complex, temples face threats from the government, who would prefer to tear down (or “relocate”) temples on a whim because they’re too inconvenient to maintain. And sadly, since the government is the official owner of the temples, it also controls all donations and there is an immense amount of misappropriated funds.
That’s why Behind Every Temple’s mission is so important.
We need your help
As a 501c3 nonprofit, Behind Every Temple, relies on donations to keep going. But the organization does things a little differently. Unlike most charities, which spend a huge portion of their donations on overheads like staff costs and marketing, Behind Every Temple allocates 10
0% of donations directly to the renovation projects. All overhead and marketing expenses are paid for directly by the board of directors.
To allow the mission to continue, please consider contributing. We’re currently trying to get 1008 donors contributing $20 a month so we can reach our goals.