Size of Vinayaka laddu shrinking
KAKINADA: Years ago, it was a great experience preparing big laddus for festivals. A huge laddu the size of over 3000kg had been placed in the Guinness Book of Records till 2015 in connection with the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival. However, the size is shrinking.
The Vinayaka Chaturthi Pandal organisers are no longer giving orders for big-size laddus to sweetmeat traders.
Kakinada and Tapeswaram were famous for big-size laddu manufacturing and these are sent to Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and many districts of Andhra Pradesh.
The reason for laddu getting prominence in this region was that two sweetmeat traders in Tapeswaram made big size laddus and fetched a name for Tapeswaram as well as East Godavari district, (now in Konaseema district) as well as for Andhra Pradesh.
Tapeswaram is known as Folded Kaja after Kakinada Kotaiah Kaja or the tube-shaped Kaja. Tapeswaram Kaja is believed to have been founded by late Polisetty Sathiraju. His son PVVS Mallikarjuna Rao (Mallibabu) has taken the Kaja to Khairatabad Vinayaka from Tapeswaram. He gifted six tonnes of laddu every year to Khairatabad Vinayaka for five years.
But, in 2015, there was a complaint that the laddu got spoiled within three days. From then on, Mallibabu has given up preparation of such huge laddus. “I used to present the huge laddu free of cost as a prasadam.
When Mallibabu was making big laddus, his nephew and competitor in the Tapeswaram Kaja business, Saladi Venkateswara (Srinubabu), began preparing the big laddus and supplied these to Gajuwaka and Visakhapatnam area Vinayaka pandals. Thus, he won a place in the Guinness Book of Records. He died in 2015.
With this, the big-size laddu making was stopped and no one gave orders for the big laddus for the past six years.
Mallibabu said the orders from pandal organisers for laddu during Vinayaka Chaturthi festival are going down as for the past two years, also as the festival could not be celebrated majorly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, pandal organisers are not able to spend much money for the festival, he said.
Sweetmeat trader Nageswara Rao of Kakinada said the size of laddu and the orders for it have shrunk drastically. There was a campaign that only three to five feet of idols should be installed during the festival and big size laddus can’t be placed in the hand of Lord Vinayaka.
He was supplying the laddus to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Uppada etc. The workers are making the laddu in a purely hygienic manner and with devotion They say the laddus will remain in good condition for as long as a fortnight.
Meanwhile, some spiritualists too campaigned against the big size of laddus and idols. They said in their discourses that sincerity in devotion is bigger than the size.