Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tirupati Laddu Turns 300

HYDERABAD: The Tirupati laddu, given away as "prasad" at the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati, has entered its 300th year. Temple officials say the sacred offering was introduced on August 2, 1715. 

No pilgrimage to the world's richest Hindu temple is complete without the laddu, made of flour, sugar, ghee, oil, cardamom and dry fruits. The mouthwatering sweet is the most sought after `prasadam' after prayers to Lord Venkateswara. Although the temple offers various types of `prasadam', the laddu is more popular among pilgrims.

According to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the affairs of the hill shrine, about ninety million laddus were given away to pilgrims in 2014.

The price of a 300-gram laddu is Rs 25. The TTD says that use of quality ingredients makes it costly but it sells laddu at a highly subsidised rate. As a privilege to pilgrims, two laddus are given at a further subsidized rate of Rs 10 each.

The temple authorities issue laddu token to the pilgrims after collecting the money . The sweet is also made in Delhi and some state capitals on special occasions. The sale of `prasadam' is a major source of income for the temple, which had a budget of Rs 2,401 crore for fiscal 2014-15. TTD had projected an income of Rs 190 crore from `prasadam' sale, the same as the income expected from sale of human hair of pilgrims who tonsure their heads. The laddu is in great demand on special occasions.

The authorities sell the `prasadam' round-the-clock during Brahmotsavam. Last year, about 1.8 million laddus were sold in the first seven days of Brahmotsavam, breaking all previous records.

The authorities make elaborate arrangements to ensure uninterrupted supply of laddus to the pilgrims. They have the capacity to produce 300,000 laddus a day but they keep sufficient stocks during Brahmotsavam.

Nearly 620 people, including 270 cooks, work in the laddu and other `pra sadam' making units. The TTD took up modernisation of the temple kitchen last year by installing two escalator belts for laddu and boondi crates.

TTD joint executive officer K S Sree nivasa Raju said that the conveyor systems have the capacity to transfer up to 800,000 laddus every day . The Office of the Registrar of Patents, Trademarks and Geographical Indications in 2014 awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) status to the Tirupati laddu.

TTD officials said they had to enforce GI rights as some small-time traders as well as large businesses involved in making sweets have been using Tirupati tag to sell their laddus. The Madras High Court in 2013 restrained a sweet shop in Chennai from using the brand name "Tirupati laddu".

The TTD had argued that "Tirupati laddu" has its own sanctity as it is offered at the feet of Lord Venkateswara before being made available to devotees. According to TTD, over 22.6 million pilgrims visited the temple during 2014.They offered Rs 831 crore in `Srivari Hundi'.

The temple also earned Rs 655 crore from interest on money deposited in national banks in 2014-15 fiscal.

The temple has deposits of over Rs 12,000 crore besides 32 tonnes of gold ornaments.

Source : TOI

No comments:

Post a Comment