TTD Annadanam Over one lakh devotees daily

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TTD Annadanam Over one lakh devotees daily
TTD Annadanam Over one lakh devotees daily

Tirumala, Sept 18 :

  A week ahead of  Brahmotsavam, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has been feeding  nearly one lakh visitors at Nitya Annadanam complex, Tirumala freely. The Annadanam complex started working from 8 am to facilitate the thousands of pilgrims who had waited in que for over 24 hours from the beginning of the annual festival at Tirumala.


Talking to TNN over phone on Friday, TTD Executive Officer  I Y R Krishna Rao appealed to all devotees to be patient as we are making all arrangements to provide free food, and laddu prasadam and sarva darshan for all. In spite of recession   and   hike in cost of  transport  services,  he said the rush of pilgrims is increasing  day by day and the TTD and the state government officials are gearing up on a war footing to ensure that  everyone got the  benefits of  all the  welfare initiatives of Lord Venkateswara  like  free meals,  free prasadam,  free darshan  and free accommodation.

He said that the TTD proposed to provide free meals to a minimum of one to two lakh devotees every day during the nine days of  Brahmotsavam. The  meal, though simple is appreciated  by  visitors including foreigners, tycoons and  first timers as not only hygiene  but also tasty. “Every one- both rich and poor want to partake meals as prasadam of the deity” say the authorities.

 Sri Venkateswara Nithya Annadanam Trust:

The  Sri Venkateswara Nithya  Annadanam Trust founded  on April  1st, 1994  had    developed   potential and where-with-all to  provide  decent, hygienic and wholesome meals  twice  a day for all pilgrims   who set their foot  on Tirumala irrespective of whether they had  darahsn of the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara  or not.

“What is  important to us in the TTD  is that  everyone who comes to this holy place , by walk or  by  any other transport need not  suffer  out of  exhaustion or hunger and could have darshan of deity at their convenience“ says   I Y R Krishna Rao.

Corpus & popularity keeps ever growing

Smt T Chenchu Lakshmi, who is in charge of the Annadanam scheme  says that  right now  there were nearly 500 donors  who had contributed to the kitty of the Trust  which has undertaken  several  programs  including  Nitya annadanam.

“Earlier we had donors for building guest rooms, Now we have more offering funds for Annadanam” she says that the dining halls of  the annadanam complex are full anytime of the day with pilgrims.  

The donors for the scheme had special benefits in accommodation, laddu prasadam and also darshan of the presiding deity once in a year. Donations could range from any multiplies of Rs.1000.

New Annadanam Complex

A donor from West Godavari district has come forward to construct a state of the art complex to set up hygienic and modern kitchen and dining hall for the Annadanam Trust at Tirumala at a cost of Rs 20 crore . With the new  complex  the  TTD authorities say that they could  feed nearly  4000 pilgrims in one single batch. The ultra modern kitchen will also have capacity to cook rice, dal, sambar  and others  faster  to  facilitate the huge crowds anticipated in the coming years. L & T has been chosen to build the ultra-modern complex including its kitchen and the dining hall for which designs were prepared by global experts.

In the present kitchen 12 huge vessels are steamed to produce rice at the rate of five persons for one kg rice. “But we are geared to cook rice for one to two lakh persons during the Srivari Brahmotsavam at the rate of 400 bags of rice per day”

Free supply in ‘Q’ complexes

Smt Lakshmi says that  besides Annadanam, the TTD  undertook to provide sumptuous feed of  upma, milk, curd rice , butter milk and sambar rice on a  two hours  cycle to the thousands of  devotees  who waited in the Vaikuntam  que  complex for hours.

“We gave them some food items  from early morning hours  of  3.30 am to midnight to ensure that none of the pilgrims who waited in the serpentine  ‘Q’ complexes (30 compartments in Vaikuntam ) suffered of hunger  or  thirst,“ she said.

To mark  Brahmotsavam  from September  21, the  TTD plans  to provide more  amenities  like food packets, water and butter milk  packets to devotees waiting in Vaikuntam complex’s as they anticipate much larger crowds. “We are ready to take on  any number of devotees  as this if the first year of our free meal program and made all arrangements  to ensure that the pilgrims  did not suffer  during the  ten days of the Srivari Brahmotsavam “ says the Executive Officer.

The scheme has already attracted donors in kind and cash. Vegetable growers of Madanapalli, Chittoor, Bangalore  and Chennai are sending vegetables free to the Annadanam trust  daily. “We used to spend nearly Rs.50 lakhs on vegetables in the past “ says Chencu Lakshmi.  But  the TTD spends  hardly  Rs. 15 lakhs  rest are all by donation. As part of Annadanam scheme, food packets are also prepared for distribution for the pilgrims who come by foot in the middle of their journey both at the  Padala Mantapam  or Gali Gopuram.

Clean water:

The TTD has also set in motion a process to provide clean drinking water to pilgrims.  It has now permitted some philanthropists to provide mineral water plants in Tirumala at a cost of Rs 5 crore. “The plant will have capacity to provide  hygienic drinking water at the rate of one lakh liters per day and  the pilgrims will have to just pay Rs One per liter”.

Particularly in view of the growing menace of Swine Flu and Dengue fever, the TTD has also banned use of plastics bottles on Tirumala. Special arrangements were made for setting up water kiosks and clean drinking outlets all over Tirumala during the current Srivari Brahmotsavam.