ANNAPRASADAM-INEXHAUSTIBLE FOOD SERVICE PROGRAMME OF TTD
“Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva Praninam Dehamasritaha
Pranapaana Samayuktaha Pachamyannam Chaturvidham”
Tirumala, 27 September,2016: This verse is taken from Bhagavat Gita preached by Lord Krishna the importance food to the entire humanity as well to the living creatures across the globe.
As per Hindu Sanatana Dharma, “There is no better puja or ritual than feeding a hungry living being. Annadanam is Mahadanam or the greatest donation and is a part of our tradition.
Being the custodian of Hindu Sanatana Dharma, the temple administration of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTDs) has began distribution of free food in the name of Annaprasadam about 31 years ago in the year 1985 on April 6.
VENGAMAMBA PIONEERED ANNADANAM IN TIRUMALA:
However it was Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba, the great saint poetess who pioneered the concept in 18th Century itself.
As per temple legend, on the divine instructions of Goddess Padamavathi Devi, the then In-charge of Hathiramji Mutt, Mahant Sri Atmaramdasji offered a small thatched hut in the present Rambhageecha gardens to Vengamamba.
The Saint Poetess used to perform penance under a tamarind tree present opposite her hut. During every Nrisimha Jayanthi (which usually falls in the month of May) she used to serve scores of pilgrims who visit Tirumala during this period in the premises of her residence for ten days.
Seeing her charitable activity some devotees have given her “Dana Patras” (donations) between 1785 AD and 1812 AD with which she carried out her Annaprasada Vitarana till her last breath. Since then she became popular with the title “Matrusri” since she took care of the visiting pilgrims as a mother.
Following her legacy, TTD has begun Annadana scheme in 1985. In the initial days, food is being served to just 2000 pilgrims on a day. But today, it has increased by many folds and on an average every day not less than 60thousand pilgrims are relishing the “Annaprasadam” in the abode of Lord Venkateswara.
NEW ANNADANAM COMPLEX RENAMED AS “ANNAPRASADA” BHAVAN:
Annaprasdam underwent many changes in the past thirty years, but however the quality of food, the items and menu that are being served to the multitude of pilgrims remained delicious in spite of the abnormal increase of pilgrim crowd.
Another interesting feature is the mammoth Annaprasadam Complex which was inaugurated in 2011 on July 7, by the then Hon’ble President of India, Smt Pratibha Patil was constructed in the area where Tarigonda Vengamamba’s thatched roof hut existed. Hence, the massive Rs.33crore complex was named in honour of her as “Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba Annaprasadam Complex” (MTVAC) which is a befitting tribute to the saint poetess.
BUFFET HALL – A SPECIAL ATTRACTION
The entire MTVAC has a seating capacity to feed 4000 devotees at one go in its four spacious halls which operate for almost 14hours in a day. Today the fourth hall serves as buffet and the pilgrims admire the system a lot which is ideal for hygienic and systematic service.
DONATIONS POUR IN FOR ANNAPRASDAM TRUST:
Among the nine trusts and one scheme run by TTD, Annaprasadam Trust is considered to be one of the most important ones. In the last three decades donations have poured in and have been pouring as so far 3,95,438 donors proved their largesse.
RECORD DONATIONS FOR SVAPT
In the last four months span in this financial year, starting from April to August over 50.45crores have been donated to this Turst by philanthropists. While in the year 2015-16, a new record has been set up where in the donations crosses 100 crore magic figure!
TRUST HOLDS FD TO THE TUNE OF OVER Rs.750CRORES
So far the trust holds Rs.752.60cr in the form of fixed deposits in different nationalised banks and the interest on this amount is used by the Annaprasdam department to serve food to unlimited number of pilgrims every day. In a year, on an average about 1.25cr pilgrims will be served food by TTD Annaprasdam, which includes MVTAC, outside lines, VQC compartments, foot path routes etc.
Every day about 13 tonnes of rice and 6tonnes of vegetables are being utilised to prepare Annaprasdams to visiting pilgrims. While TTD purchases rice from Rice Millers Association, major quantity of vegetables are procured in the form of donations from Donors hailing from the states of AP, Telengana, Orissa, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Brinjals, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Cabbage, raddish form a major portion of the donations.
DONOR CELL MANAGEMENT
To enable more convenient services to Donors, TTD has recently commenced donor management system with which the donors can get digital pass book for the donations (over one lakh) they have made to the trust within 48 hours. For further information, the contact No. of SV Annaprasadam Trust: 0877-2264375/2264237
CLEAN AND TASTY FOOD IS PRIME MOTTO
Under the instructions of TTD EO Dr D Samba Siva Rao and in the able guidance of Tirumala JEO Sri KS Sreenivasa Raju and Tirupati JEO Sri P Bhaskar, the Annaprasdam wing of TTD is carrying out the massive task of providing free tasty food to the tens of thousands of visiting pilgrims every day with ease, in a clean environment in the able supervision of its Special Officer Smt Chenchu Lakshmi and under the catering expertise of Catering Officers Sri GLN Shastry and Sri T Desaiah both at Tirumala and Tirupati respectively.
SRIVARI SEVAKULU IN ANNAPRASADA SEVA
Srivari Seva volunteers, who are sanctifying their lives in the fellow pilgrim service, are further blessed for their impeccable free services in Annaprasadam. The free services of Srivari Sevakulu began in the year 2000 and since then they have been offering food distribution services. Later with the advent of annaprasdam complex, their services are extended to vegetable cutting also. Every day not less than 750 Srivari Sevakulu are deputed to render services in the Annaprasadam complex, queue lines, VQCs and other areas wherever their services are required. During festival days and special occasions this figure doubles. Out of seven lakh srivari sevakulu who have rendered free services so far in various departments of TTD in the last 16 years, almost 2.5 lakhs have rendered services exclusively in Annaprasadam department.
ISSUED BY THE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER TTDs, TIRUPATI