The four walls surrounding the statue of Shirdi Sai Baba have been adorned with gold sheets weighing 50 kg and embossed with pictures of the 20th century saint. The sheets mounted over the walls, prepared using about 50 kg gold, 50kg bronze and about 250 kg copper, have been donated to the temple’s trust by a Hyderabad-based businessman Adinarayana Reddy, a Sai Sansthan trustee told. Bangalore-based artist Raja Algar who has embossed the sheets with pictures depicting the saint, six in all, has been working on it since the past four months, he said.
Algar has worked on the designs of many temples including the Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, he said. In 2008 Reddy had donated the golden throne on which the Sai Baba now sits, after his wife Sulochana had a dream in which the saint asked her to get it made.
The throne which costs close to Rs 90 crore was made using 100 kg gold. It was also prepared by Algar.
The temple, the second richest in the country after Tirupati Balaji, see 25 per cent increase in the number of devotees each year, the trustee said. Shirdi Sai Baba temple has collected Rs 81 crore in cash, 120 kg of gold and 440 kg of silver in the form of donations during the year 2008, he added.