Tirupati: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which reopened the world-renowned temple of Lord Balaji at Tirumala, also resumed the sale of the ‘Srivari Laddu’ or ‘Tirupati Laddu’, which is the most sought after prasadam at the hill shrine.
Devotees visiting the Lord Venkateswara temple consider the ‘Srivari Laddu’ as something that they absolutely must take back home from Tirumala. Keeping in view the demand for it, the TTD produces and distributes three different kinds of laddus - the Big laddu, Small laddu and the prasadam or mini laddu.
TTD produces around 3.75 lakh laddus on any day, and easily sells approximately 3.28 crore laddus per quarter in a year. Sales from the Tirupati laddu swells the temple’s treasury by `300 crore or more a year.
After the temple was closed to pilgrims due to the nationwide lockdown, the TTD stopped selling the laddu prasadam since March 20. Uncertain when the lockdown would end, the TTD commenced distribution of the Tirupati laddu prasadam at various places in Andhra Pradesh and other states on May 25, at a subsidised price of `25 per laddu (the actual cost is `50).
Sale of laddus at other places has stopped with the opening of the temple on Monday. The TTD has commenced sale of the laddu at Tirumala itself and TTD employees, who were allowed to have darshan of the Lord on the first day of reopening, on Monday, flocked to the counters to buy laddus.
The Centre and state governments have issued detailed guidelines for places of worship and distributing prasadam and sprinkling of holy water or touching of idols and holy books at places of worship has been discouraged. Following this, the TTD has cancelled the distribution of Prasadam laddu or Mini Laddu and other anna prasadams inside the main temple but the laddu prasadams are available at the counters outside the temple.
TTD chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy said instructions have been issued that laddu counters will operate for every two hours alternatively and will be sanitized every two hours along with the temple and queue complexes. TTD staff working in proximity to devotees has been given PPE kits.
Against the usual capacity of 1,000 persons per dining hall in the massive Annaprasadam complex at Tirumala, the capacity per hall will be restricted to 200 only, Mr Subba Reddy said. Anna prasadam distribution will be resumed only after approval from the government, he added.