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The sacred offering ‘Tirupati laddu’ that was introduced on 2 August 1715, has entered its 300th year this month. Tirupati laddu, made of ghee, oil, flour, sugar, cardamom and dry fruits is distributed as ‘Prasad’ at the world's richest Hindu temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati, Andra Pradesh, India.
After offering prayers to Lord Venkateswara, the mouthwatering sweet is offered to pilgrims as Prasad, without which the pilgrimage is believed to be incomplete. In 2014, around ninety million laddus were distributed to pilgrims, revealed the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) management.
Tirupati laddu - cost and profit
A laddu weighed 300-gram costs Rs 25 and the quality of ingredients used in its preparation make it costly, according to TTD. Two laddus are given to pilgrims at a much less subsidized rate of Rs 10 as their privilege. 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 major source of income for TTD is through the sale of laddu Prasad. Around Rs 190 crore income was projected by TTD from the sale of prasadam. It is same as the income projected from the sale of human hair of pilgrims. The prasadam has a huge demand during special occasions like Brahmotsavam, during which the management sells it round the clock. About 1.8 million laddus were sold last year during the first seven days of Brahmotsavam.
Tirupati laddu - preparation
In Tirupathi prasadam making units, around 620 people, including 270 cooks work daily. The temple kitchen was modernized as TTD installed two escalator belts for laddu and boondi crates last year.
According to K S Sreenivasa Raju, TTD joint executive officer, the capacity of the conveyor systems is up to 800,000 laddu transfers each day. The Tirupati laddu was awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2014 by the Office of the Registrar of Patents, Trademarks and Geographical Indications.