Just ahead of its mega annual celebration – Brahmotsavam 2017 – the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the principal body of the Sri Venkateswara temple sitting atop Tirumala, has received a go ahead from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), regarding the temple’s iconic laddo prasadam that is under the Annaprasadam scheme.
The laddoos were brought under the scanner following an application that was put in by a Bangalore-based RTI activist in December 2016. “The cooks who are in preparation of these laddus in large quantity are found wearing no proper dress. They are barely clad and found sweating due to heavy heat in the kitchen. These cooks are not wearing any hand glove, apron and other safety gear”, read the complainant’s report.
While the TTD initially refused to obey the directive, as it would lead non-Srivaishnavites into the kitchen for inspection, it later conformed to the order and applied for the license only last month.
After a series of serious checks and probes, the FSSAI gave the license to the Tirupati’s laddoo prasadam, which has been synonymous with this place of worship for almost three centuries. Made with flour, sugar, ghee, oil, cardamom and dry fruits, the sacred offering was introduced on 2 August, 1715 and has since been in great demand, making for a chunk of the temple’s annual earnings.
According to a report in The Quint, about 1.8 million laddoos were sold in the first seven days of Brahmotsavam, breaking all previous records, and in 2016, a total of INR 10.46 crore laddoos, were sold as ‘prasadam’. This year, the TTD budget reflects that the prasadam is going to fetch an estimated INR 165 crore!
Feature Image: Wikipedia