Lord Balajis Prasadam ( Laddu ) - THE HINDU PORTAL - Spiritual heritage Rituals and Practices

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In previous days rice prasadam was offered Lord Venkateswara as Naivedyam. It was called as ’Manoharam’. Rice powder and jaggery’s juice was mixed and prasadam was made. There was much patronage from devotees for this prasadam. There was much patronage from devotees for this prasadam. The preparation of kondantha (just like hill) laddu started in a funny way. In 1940 the puja , Lord Venkateswara’s Nithya kalyanam started. As per Hindu custom Laddu will be served in marriage lunch / dinner in ever body’s house. As per the custom , Tirupathi Tirumala Devasthanam(TTD) management Laddus were prepared with sugar and offered to Swamy . From 1943 the laddus were offered as prasadam for those participated in Kalyanothsavam. The laddus were prepared of cashew, Elachi etc. The prasadam was distributed once to devotees who visited the temple the temple on Saturdays. Later the management of the temple felt that it was not fair to distribute the same type of laddus to both participating in Kalyanamahotsavam and for those in Dharma Darsanam. Big size laddus were given to those participated in Kalyanamahotsavam. There was demand from devotees that should be offered for sale Due to this demand sale of laddus started daily. From that time Lord Venkateswara’s laddus are getting unprecedented liking from devotees. Though there was change in sizes and tastes of laddus no difference in sales is observed. That is the staunch belief of devotees.

Mirasi System in the starting : In the initial starting for preparation and supervision of laddu prasadams the Mirasi’s system was there. Those who were preparing laddus in the kitchen (Potu) were called as Gamekar Mirasis.Out of the lot of 51 laddus 11 laddus were given to Mirasi Brahmin families. TTD management went to courts upto supreme court on Mirasi system and after a long fight succeeded. Mirasi system was abolished. The total rights on laddus were achieved by TTD.

In the kitchen Prasadams were prepared using fire wood. From 1984 consumption of gas was started . During Mirasi period 200 to 300 people were working. At present the staff of TTD kitchen (Potu) are only about150 . Previously only 65000 to 75000 laddus were prepared. This number of laddus was less than half of the demand from devotees. Another kitchen was started by floating tenders. There also another 65000 to 70000 laddus are prepared and the demand from devotees is met. On special occasions like UGADI the staff of kitchen (Potu) prepare special laddus and offer to God. Till now the biggest laddu offered to Lord Venkateswara was of 32 Kgs weight.

The list of ingredients and the proportion in which they are to be used is called Dittam. six times changes were made in Dittam. At present the cost of preparation of each laddu is 13 Rs. Though many modern methods were implemented in the speedy and quality preparation of laddus ,they have not yielded good results. Some old techniques are also still followed. Problem of storing laddus: Apart from preparation of laddus ,storage of laddus is a real problem. As Tirumala is a cold place , the humidity in air is high . Laddu can not be stored for long time. Due to heavy demand laddus are sent to sales counters immediately after preparation. In the kitchen of old times built in the temple laddus preparation is going on till now. This is also causing inconvenience. TTD is studying the feasibility of shifting the kitchen and changes to improve the quality. Whatever may be the actions of managing committee of TTD , people want tasty laddus. The important responsibility of TTD is to tasty laddu with quality that remains as a sweet memory to Devotees. Laddu, or Ladoo, is one of the most important offering and prasadam given to devotees at the Tirumala Tirupati Lord Venkateswara Temple. Tirupati Laddu is a spherical-shaped sweet made of flour and sugar. In fact, Tirupati and the huge laddus are synonymous. It is a customary duty of a devotee returning from Tirupati Balaji Temple to distribute ‘laddu’ as prasadam to his neighbors, friends and relatives.

          Some quick facts about Tirupati Laddu
 Around 150,000 laddus are made daily.
 One laddu is given free to each devotee; the number of daily devotees that visit the temple 
   is around 50,000.
 A devotee can buy extra two laddus – a laddu costs 5 rupees.
 The revenue from the sale of laddu annually is more than 11 million rupees.
 Each laddu weighs around 100gms and is huge when compared with the normal laddu 
   found in shops.
 There is a super huge Tirupati Laddu known as Kalyana Laddu and it weighs around
   500gms – ½ a kilogram.
 Single largest laddu made is said to have weighed 32 kg.
 The tradition of Tirupati Laddu is nearly 300 years old.
 It is prepared by special hereditary priests known as archakas in special temple kitchen
   known as ‘potu’.
 Ingredients used in Tirupati Laddu are Besan flour (kadalai mavu), Sugar, Cashew nuts,
   Cardamom, Ghee, Oil, Sugar candy, Raisins and Almonds.
 On a day around 5000 kg of Besan flour is used.
 Sugar around 10000 kg.
 Cashew nuts around 600 kg.
 Cardamom 150 kg
 Ghee 300 liters
 Sugar candy 400 kg
 Raisins 540 kg

The ingredients are bought at the auction at the Commodities and Spices Exchange in Kochi.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTDs) the administrating body of the temple is planning to patent the Tirupati Laddu to stop counterfeits.

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