There are 3 places in India where gold has been extensively used for religious shrines and continue to attract thousands of people every day. These include Golden Temple in Amritsar, Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirupati and latest in the list is the "Sripuram Lakshmi Temple" in Vellore.
Vellore was a sleeping town and was known only for Vellore fort and the world famous CMC hospital. This temple suddenly has made the place very popular and a hub of tourist activity. Situated closely to both Bangalore and Chennai, the temple is attracting thousands of people everyday esp Tuesdays and Fridays. (The picture is taken from http://modernbarbarian.blogspot.com/2007/10/golden-temple-near-vellore.html)
Here's the distance chart
Chennai - Vellore about 150 kms (Via Sriperumpudur, Sunkuwar Chathram, Kaveripakkam, Wallajahpet, Ranipet, Arcot, Ratnagari - or Arcot by-pass from Ranipet) - 3 and half hours drive from Chennai.
Bangalore - Vellore (via Hosur) - 220 kms (On national highway routes - NH7 > via - Hosur Road - Electronic City - Attibele(NH7) - Hosur - Kamandoddi - Shoolagiri- Melumalai - Kurubarapalli - Krishnagiri > NH46> - Bargur - Vaniyambadi - Ambur - Pallikondaj - Vellore. - around 4 hours drive)
Kanchipuram - Vellore - 58 kms
Tirupathi - Katpadi - 95 kms
Ranipet - Vellore - 26 kms (via Arcot bypass - highways 22 kms)
Hyderabad - Vellore - 510 kms
Mysore - Vellore - 270 kms
Thiruvannamalai - Vellore - 85 kms
Vellore - Sripuram Sri Mahalakshmi Golden Temple - 8 KM
The salient aspects of the temple include:
1) 100 acres site and the temple periphery is star shaped and devotees have to go through it.
2) Made of 1.5 tonnes of gold.
3) Vimanam and Ardhamandapam have been coated with gold both interior and exterior.
4) About 400 goldsmithas and coppersmiths were involved (many of them from Tirpuati) in making this temple a really grand one.
5) Twelve layers of gold foils have been pasted on copper sheets embossed with the designs of Gods and fixed on the walls.
6) Exnora International has selected Sripuram, housing the Sri Lakshmi Narayani Temple in Thirumalaikkodi near Vellore for the ‘Green Temple Award.’ This is in recognition of its achievement of keeping the temple clean and green, growing thousands of trees on the premises and in the immediate environment, and implementing an Integrated Solid Waste Management (SWM) Project, according to M.B. Nirmal, founder of Exnora International.
The official website is http://www.sripuram.org/
The temple has generated a lot of employment in Vellore and tourism has become a livelihood to them. The temple is highly guarded and well maintained. My personal visit was truly a divine experience. The main "garbhagudi" or the central part of the temple is surrounded by water and it adds richness and grandeur to the glittering gold.