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Tirupati temple laddu in its 300th year

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  6 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Hyderabad, August 5: 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 from flour, sugar, ghee, oil, cardamom and dry fruits. The mouth-watering sweet is the most sought after prasad after prayers to Lord Venkateswara. Although the temple offers various types of ‘prasad’, the laddu is more popular among pilgrims. According to the Tirumala Tirupati Devastham (TTD), which mages the affairs of the hill shrine, about ninety million laddus were given away to pilgrims in 2014. The normal 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 issued 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 prasad 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 prasad 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 prasad 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 prasad making units. (IANS)

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