Despite demonetisation, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the Sri Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala, is continuing to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in its hundi from pilgrims.
Reporting that a second box was recently opened to facilitate such donations, The Hindu quoted TTD Board member J Sekhar as saying, "Pilgrims offer whatever they can and want. There is no specific instruction on the demonetised currency...this is not a point of debate since the hundi offerings are voluntary and cannot be treated as a transaction."
However, other donations and payments for pujas, accommodation and worship are only being validated by the new currency notes.
Other reports added that the temple board had set up debit and credit card machines and provided free food to pilgrims stranded without money.
However, it was earlier reported that many shopkeepers and restaurant owners in the temple town fleeced the devotees, as many charged a 'commission' of Rs 50 or Rs 100 to exchange a Rs 500 note.
On Thursday, a Finance Ministry official said that the cash deposited by temples from the offerings placed by devotees in donation boxes or 'hundis' will not come under the tax scanner.
"For temples, there is an exemption that if the money is from the donation boxes, we will not ask questions. There is no limit on that (deposits)," Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told IANS.
He added that charitable trusts of temples will, however, will not be exempted as they have to maintain records of devotees giving donations.
"In temples there are trusts. One is charitable trusts... For them, there is restriction that if any donation is taken in cash, they have to show the name and address of the person. This is true for all charitable trusts," he stated.