Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×

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 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 Devasthanam (TTD), which manages 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.

The TTD took up modernisation of the temple kitchen last year with the installation of two escalator belts for laddus and boondi crates.

TTD Joint Executive Officer, K.S. Sreenivasa 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 miscreants as well as large known sweet outlets have been selling laddus with names similar to ‘Tirupati laddu’.

The Madras High Court in 2013 restrained a sweet stall 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 fiscal 2014-15.

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

(IANS)


Popular

File

Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities

By- Salil Gewali

If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.

Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!

Keep Reading Show less
File

The Aruba villa has great interiors, an outdoor facility, amazing bedrooms, clean bathrooms and huge living space.

By- Your Service

Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Flickr

Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


Keep reading... Show less