Tirumala: ‘One free laddu for every devotee’ scheme is going to be employed from tomorrow, January 20 in Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. All categories of devotees who visit the Hill Shrine will be getting a free laddu as Srivari Prasadam from Monday. Hereafter, there will be only two types of Prasadam Laddus available. One is free Laddu after having darshan and the other being available at the Prasadam counters of the TTD at Rs. 50 each. As usual, Chinna laddu or Chakkara Pongal will be distributed to the devotees in the temple.
The laddu Prasadam at the abode of Lord Venkateswara is one of the most popular dishes being offered to the devotees at the hill shrine. Devotees say the distribution of Laddu started on August 2, 1715, for more than 300 years and the devotees think that pilgrimage is not complete without having laddu.
In fact, the Devasthanam is now providing one free laddu to pedestrian pilgrims who trek up to the hills through the twin pedestrian ways and the new plan will enable all devotees to have the Prasadam of Lord Balaji. TTD is now offering 20,000 laddus every day to devotees as part of the free-laddu distribution scheme. Now, the plan of the TTD is to cancel all issuance of laddus being distributed at different subsidized prices to all the devotees of free darshan, Divya darshan, special entry darshan, and VIP category.
More than 25 million devotees from across the world offer prayers at the hill shrine annually and the temple is facing a huge financial burden of more than Rs. 250 Cr per annum for distributing the free laddu to the devotees and this would be relieved because of the new plan by lifting off all kinds of subsidies, according to temple authorities. They can have any number of laddus at the special counters paying at Rs. 50 each additionally. For implementing the scheme effectively, the TTD has arranged 12 additional counters for distributing Laddu Prasadam.