Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple is the world famous temple. Tirupati Laddu or SriVari Laddu is the Laddu sweet offered as Naivedhyam to Lord Sri Venkateswara, at Tirumala Venkateswara Temple of Tirupati in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Laddu will be given as prasadam to devotees after the having the Darshan in the Temple. Mouth watering, delicious and yummy Laddu, which is the mainstay of Tirumala Tirupati.
Devasthanam Prasadam for More Than 300 Years
The Lord has a good appetite not only for fragrant flowers and ornaments but also for delicious food. Lord Sri Venkateswara who loves delicious food, happily shares the same with his devotees in the form of Prasadam.
The taste of Tirumala Laddu is spread all over the world. The mouth-watering Laddu and vadai, the likes of which is not prepared elsewhere in the world. It is a ‘sweet favourite’ for everyone. The Tirumala Laddu has become synonymous with Tirupati.
Can we return home without Tirumala Laddu after having the divine darshan of Lord Venkateswara? Never! There is no satisfaction in doing so. Every devotee returning from Tirupati will distribute ‘Laddu’ as prasadam to his friends and relatives.
The reason for such a popularity of Laddu among pilgrims of Tirumala is its unique flavour, characteristics and never compromising quality of Laddus ever since it all began distributing 300 years ago (though the size of Laddu has reduced over the years.) More importantly Laddu is the favourite naivedhyam of Lord Venkateswara himself. By eating this Srivari Prasadam the devotee forgets all the sorrows and hardships he suffered while reaching the hill top of Seshachalam for the divine darshan of Lord Venkateswara and get back to his destination with a pleasant and joyful heart and soul wishing for a return journey at the earliest.
. The architect of the ‘Laddu Empire’ is Kalyanam Iyengar and was the brain behind making Laddu synonymous with Tirupati.
. He introduced the Mirasidari System to prepare Laddus.
. Those preparing laddus in the kitchen (potu) were called as Gamekar Mirasidars. The Mirasidars enjoyed the privilege to prepare Laddus and get their Share till AD 2001. Out of the each lot of 51 laddus, 11 were given to Mirasi Brahmin families.
The TTD management won a legal battle in the Supreme Court for abolition of Mirasi system. Mirasidari system was abolished in 2001, whereby the Government of Andhra Pradesh put an end to the rights of the hereditary trustees in preparing offerings.
History of the Tirupati Laddu
During the time of Pallavas prasadam was offered to the Presiding deity, Later Devaraya –II made of grant of three villages and gift of 200 panam for certain daily offerings. In addition another officer of the Devaraya-II, Amatya Shekara Mallanna was made arrangements for Naivedyam and Nityadiapam to Lord Vekateswara. He introduced time table for food offering to the Lord.
The remaining food will be distributed for the pilgrims with free of cost. These Prasadam was called as Tiruppongam. Later Sukkiyam,Appam, Manohara Padi, Vada are to be offered to the God.
The Tirumala Temple received liberal patronage under the Vijayanagara rulers. The name given in the inscription is Avasaram the word Avas in Sanskrit is food. This term is noticed also in three previous inscriptions of the year 1554, 1579 and 1616. The inscriptions also made it clear that there was a similar food offering instituted by one Maharaja Sri Shudaji Bhanuji Pantulu.
There seems to be some justification to inform from the inscription that Aliya Ramaraja’s food offerings ceased after the conquest of the country by the Golkonda Kings and that the few who were continuing to do Service in the temple stood in need of some wholesome food like suddhannam (cooked food)10. Gradually there is demand for the Prasadam in Tirumala temple.
The Madras Government identified the problem in AD 1803 started sale of Prasadams. Here the pilgrims demanded more Vadas because, Vada was preserved more days when compare to other Panyarams. The Madras Government started to sell the sweet Bundi that is the initial form of Laddu. In 1940 that was shaped into Laddu.
Now Let’s See Where and How Our Srivari Laddu is Made
The Lord’s kitchen is called as Potu. In this potu, prasadam was prepared with only firewood. From 1984, the use of LPG started as there was a spurt in the number of laddus required every day.
Even though the number increased to one lakh laddus per day only 150 cooks were able to handle the work with the introduction of latest cooking technology. This number of laddus was less than half of the demand from devotees. Another kitchen was added to make another 70,000 laddus.
On special occasions like Ugadi, the staff prepares special laddus and offer them to the God.
Till now, the biggest laddu offered to Lord Venkateswara is 32 kg. It was prepared by special hereditary priests known as archakas in special temple kitchen. Working space has been increased by expanding the Potu. This improved the sanitary and hygienic condition of the Potu. Stainless steel trays are being used to stock the Prasadam.
In Tirumala Temple, Three types of Laddus are Being Prepared as Per Given References.
The difference between these three laddus are:
This is prepared in Special Festive occasions.These can be distributed only to Special Guests like President of India, Prime minister, Presidents, and Prime ministers from other countries. They weighted 750 grams. For this more quantity of Cashew nuts, Almonds, Ghee and saffron flowers were used for the preparation of these Laddus when compare to the allotted Dittam.
The Laddu will be distributed to those who took part in the Kalyanotsavam and Arjitha Seva Grihastas. This is tasty when compare to the small Laddus. Those who want to Kalyanotsavam Laddu they can pay Rs. 100/- for each, there is demand for these Laddus in Tirumala.
This is small Laddu which is distributed to the common pilgrims in Tirumala Temple. Weight of the Laddu is 175grams. According to the TTD records for preparation of each Laddu estimated Rs. 25. But the TTD distributed with subsidised rates for the benefit of the common pilgrims. Pilgrims those who completed their Darshan they can get Two Laddus at
the cost of Rs. 20.
The list of ingredients and the proportion in which they are to be used is called dittam. Changes in dittam were made six times to meet the increasing demand. Recently, the TTD management has decided to stick to the original dittam’s specification as there are many complaints on the falling shelf-life of the laddus.
According to TTD Annual Report 2012-13, The Following Ingredients are Being Used for Preparation of Srivari Laddu in Tirumala Temple:
Ingredient Name in Metric Tons
First Quality Rice 8,000
Cow Ghee 3,400
Sugar candy 160
Raisins (kishmish) 350
Gram flour 3,600
The Tamil Nadu milk co-operative federation and Karnataka State Milk Federation have so for supplied 2,400 tonnes of ghee to Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams for the year.
To prevent black marketing of Tirupati Laddus, in 2008,the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams registered for Geographical indication tag for Tirupati Laddu. In 2009, Tirupati Laddu was registered as Geographical Indications under the category foodstuff under section 2(f) of the GI Act 1999, vide Application number 121. This has prevented others from preparing or naming the sweet with same name. So TTD only has only the right to make and sell Laddus.
Let’s hope TTD succeeds in protecting this delicious Laddu which can be termed as a prasadam that is liked by millions of devotees thronging to the Temple Town of Tirupati from Black market trade in and around the temple. That was the story about Tirumala Laddu and its making.