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 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 17:19 GMT
Indian temple gets insurance cover
Indian special police guard Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar
Militant attacks have opened a new market for insurers

A famous Jain temple in the western Indian Rajasthan state has got an insurance cover against a possible militant assault on its complex.

This is the first time that a well-known temple in the state has taken out such a policy.

We want to ensure risk cover is in place since our temple attracts over 400,000 devotees

Nainmal Jain, temple trustee

A recent attack on a popular Hindu temple in the neighbouring Gujarat state, has opened up a new segment for insurance companies which are competing to offer cover for the country's leading temples.

Following that attack, the Oriental Insurance Company has been in touch with a number of management bodies of famous temples across Rajasthan.

VN Bhargava, the company's regional manager, told the BBC, "our company has offered a year-long risk cover to the custodians of Nakoda temple in Barmer district".

Covering risks

The policy covers the temple's movable and immovable assets.

The ancient Jain temple has been insured for $8.8 million (rupees 440 million) which will also cover the risk of being hit by a natural calamity.

For devotees, the risk cover is close to $800,000 (40 million rupees).

The jewellery adorning the temple's main deities alone is estimated to be worth rupees 45 million ($900,000).

A member of the temple's management trust, Nainmal Jain, told the BBC that it is worthwhile for temple trusts to invest in insurance following the attack on Gujarat's Akshardham temple in October.

"We want to ensure risk cover is in place since our temple attracts over 400,000 devotees from across the country as well as from other countries."

Popular policy

The policy taken out by the Nakoda temple may be setting a trend.

Indian soldiers patrol outside a temple in Bhopal
Police are on high alert around India

Mr Bhargava, the insurer, says negotiations are going on with the management of another of Gujarat's famous temples dedicated to the revered goddess Amba.

He says his company is also in discussion with the custodians of a temple in Nathdwara.

Both temples attract a large number of devotees from Gujarat and Rajasthan.

See also:

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