Saffron Hindutva preacher Baba aka Sudhir Makkar, undertaking his 25th Kanwar Yatra this year, is said to be wearing gold jewellery weighing around 20 kgs, which at today’s market price would be worth approximately Rs 6 crore.
With each yatra, Makkar’s gold acquisitions have gone up, in 2016 he was sporting 12kgs of gold.
Last year, he was wearing about 14.5kgs of gold jewellery which included a collection of 21 gold chains, 21 lockets of deities, armlets and even a gold jacket that he wore sometimes during the yatra sitting atop his SUV.
“The new chain weighs two kgs and has a locket of Shiva. I am not wearing much gold on this journey as its weight has affected my nerves at the neck and also affected vision of one eye. This is my penultimate Kanwar Yatra and 2018 will be last ending with a silver jubilee,” Baba had told media in 2017.
Known to travel in a cavalcade of several vehicle, Makkar is well-known throughout the 200km yatra route from Hardwar to Delhi.
Apart from his fetish for gold, Baba also wears a Rolex watch worth Rs 27 lakh and owns a BMW, three Fortuners, two Audi and two Innova vehicles which are part of his cavalcade.
On several occasions, he has taken cars such as Hummer, Jaguar and Land Rover on rent for his trip to Haridwar.
“The love for gold and cars will not die. I remember it was in 1972-73 when gold price was Rs 200 per tola (10 grams). I started wearing gold items and had nearly four tolas that time. Gradually, the gold increased. I will keep the gold with me till I die. It will be handed over to my favourite disciple when I leave the world,” Makkar had media.
Before moving to spiritualism, Makkar ran a cloth and property business from the Gandhi Nagar market in Delhi. He now has a luxurious flat at a high-rise in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.
The initial years of life were, however, difficult for him. He went to a gurukul at the age of six and went to Haridwar in search of livelihood. He sold rosary beads and cloth on pavements.
“Later, my business flourished with the grace of lord Shiva. I sold jeans, shirts and jackets with the brand name Bittu. Even the property business flourished as I got completely devoted to Shiva,” he told media last year.
Hindu saint growth and the source of Income is whether subjected to tax is unknown claims local residents proximity to him.
Gold Baba is a popular figure in the annual pilgrimage. Children, women and youngster wait eagerly for his cavalcade to arrive. They make his videos, click selfies with him and even touch his feet for blessings.