International Conference on Temples Management: Historical, Functional and Futuristic Perspectives

Temples have always been hubs of spiritual support to communities, in addition to generating knowledge and contributing to the local economy. How do they manage – their thronging devotees, the daily rituals, maintenance of the architecture and sculptures, and their finances? Throughout history, temples have been administered by stakeholders including royal families, wealthy individual patrons, local communities, and the State. Have they helped or hindered the growth of the temple? There have been Arguments and counterarguments exist regarding who and how temples should be managed. And there are as many thoughts as there are scholars, practitioners and officials. To bring in a structure to the entire discourse and considering the importance of this theme in modern times, Chanakya University took on the onus to host an International Conference on ‘Temples Management: Historical, Functional and Futuristic Perspectives’. 

The 2-day event began with a warm welcome address by the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Chanakya University, Prof. Yashavantha Dongre. Prof. K.V. Raju, Economic Advisor to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Professor Emeritus, Chanakya University, and the visionary behind this conference, provided a detailed outline of the philosophical thought and methodological rigor that was followed to ensure receipt of relevant papers from scholars. The Keynote Address was given by Shri Gauranga Das Prabhu ji, ISKCON on story of temples management through the ages connecting history to current practices. A short function on the release of two books by Shri Sandeep Singh, famous author, followed.  

The Conference presented a mixed approach. It included four plenary sessions comprising talks by well-known scholars and experts and four technical sessions featuring presentations of shortlisted Research Papers by their authors. The themes covered included- social role; architecture, design and conservation; functional management; and governance. Each session evinced lively interactions and discussions between the speakers and the participants. The Conference concluded with very thoughtful speeches by Shri Gurusevadhureena Padmashri V.R. Gowrishankar, Advisor, Shri Shringeri Sharada Peetham and Shri Bhakta Vrinda Dasa of ISKCON providing their perspectives on the possibilities of creating a roadmap towards better temples management.