Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams

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TTD Logo: Motto says Srinivasa Vijayate (Victory to Lord Srinivasa)

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD, Telugu: తిరుమల తిరుపతి దేవస్థానములు) is an independent trust which manages the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. The trust oversees the operations and finances of the richest and the most visited religious center in the world.[1] It is also involved in various social, religious, literary and educational activities within Andhra Pradesh and India. TTD employs about 16,000 people[2] to maintain the 12 temples and sub-shrines under its control along with the execution of its social activities.

Establishment and legislative setting[edit]

The Golden Temple of Balaji in Tirumala

TTD was established in 1932 as a result of the TTD Act of 1932. According to the Act, administration of the temple was vested to a committee of seven members and overseen by a paid Commissioner appointed by the Madras Government.Advising the committee were two Advisory councils – one composed of priests and temple administrators to aid the committee with the operations of the Tirumala temple and another composed of farmers for advise on Tirumala's land and estate transactions.The Act was revolutionary in that no specific qualification for temple administration was laid for the Commissioner and the committee members. However, the Act was limited in scope in temple fund generation and usage for religious purposes.[3]

The Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institution and Endowments Act (1969) superseded the 1951 Act with sections 85 to 91 laying the provisions for TTD. The number of Trustees in the Board of Trustees was expanded from five to eleven with compulsory representation from certain communities.Induction of three members from the State legislative assembly, one person belonging to the scheduled castes and one woman-member was made mandatory on the Board and whose term was fixed as three years. The AP government was mandated with the appointment of an Executive Officer(EO) and deputy EO (DEO).Apart from the responsibilities defined in the previous Act, the major addition was that the Devasthanam should promote study of Indian languages, should open and operate Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati,should open and operate Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam. The objectives of Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam was promotion and propagation of Hindu Dharma by research, teaching, training and literature creation. This Act was an improvement because of two reasons – inclusion of minority interests in the Board of trustees as well as broadening the scope of the devasthanams to include study and dissemination of religious practices and knowledge.[3]

Though the previous Act was path-breaking, it ended up making TTD equivalent to smaller temples in the state and the TTD Act (1979) rectified this issue. The rank of EO was defined and additional posts of Financial adviser and Chief Accounts Officer (CAO) were created. The Act further broadened the scope of Sri Venkateswara Sishatachara Vidya Samstha (renamed from Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam) to include promotion of Hindu culture.[3]

The A.P. Charitable & Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act (1987) superseded the 1979 Act.The Board of Trustees membership was expanded from a maximum of eleven to fifteen, while retaining previous minority and legislative representation (Section 96). The most controversial clause in the Act was the abolishment of hereditary rights of temple priests as well as limited right to garner a share of the hundi proceeds.

After increased pressure from the priests over a long period,[4] the AP government made an amendment to the Act in 2006, to discontinue these two controversial clauses. It is mandatory for non-Hindus to sign a declaration form before entering the hill temple, stating that they have faith in the presiding deity, Lord Venkateswara.[5]

Officers[edit]

  • Executive Officer : M.G.GOPAL, IAS
  • JEO Tirumala : K.S.SREENIVASA RAJU, IAS
  • JEO Tirupati :Pola Bhaskar, IAS
  • Dy. EO (Temple) : Chinnamgari Ramana

Facilities[edit]

TTD provides various services for pilgrims to Tirumala and Tirupati. It has arranged for buses between Tirumala and Tirupati with a frequency of every 2 minutes. Also, it has package tours to holy temples and religious sites from Tirumala and Tirupati to nearby places. TTD has free and paid accommodation in Tirumala and Tirupati. It provides free meals, although donors can make a contribution. The canteen has a capacity to feed 20,000 pilgrims a day. It is also providing free mineral water through pipe lines and banned the use of plastic bottles.

It has built the Vaikuntham Queue Complex and recently rolled out the queue management system to ensure smooth movement of pilgrims. It maintains the walkway between Tirupati and Tirumala (Alipiri route) and Kalyana Katta where pilgrims fulfill their vow of tonsure. TTD ensures that the practices of Angapradakshinam, Tulabharam (offering of one's weight in coins or food item) and Niluvudopidi (offering ornaments to Lord) is carried in the temple.

It sells prasadams outside the temple on the north west corner. Laddu (small and big), Vada, rice varieties and dosa are sold. Also, Seva and darshan prasadam are distributed here.Only Laddu and Vada prasadams are sold, rice varieties and dosas are not sold but distributed . It runs Information centres in the major towns and cities of Andhra Pradesh and in major Indian cities including New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkata.

It has constructed 125 Kalyana mandapams (marriage halls) in major towns and cities of Andhra Pradesh. Such Kalyana Mandapams are built and operated even in several foreign countries for benefit of Indians. These are rented to people for Marriage or other major functions. Temples of Balaji are also built abroad by the TTD.

Schemes[edit]

TTD has various schemes where devotees can fund part of the spending on social causes.

  • Sri Venkateswara Jalanidhi Scheme: "Provide water for pilgrims" usage
  • Sri Venkateswara Pranadana Trust: Provide free medical treatment to poor patients afflicted with life-threatening diseases
  • Sri Venkateswara Nitya Laddu Danam Scheme: Provide free laddu (25 g) to all pilgrims
  • Sri Padmavati Ammavari Nitya Annaprasadam Scheme: Provide free prasadam to pilgrims at Sri Padmavati Temple
  • Sri Venkateswara Vanabhivruddhi Scheme: Protect and maintain ecological balance in Tirumala hills
  • Sri Balaji Institute of Surgery, Research and Rehabilitation for the Disabled (BIRRD) Scheme: Provide medical services at no charge along with distribution of artificial limbs, calipers and aids along with other hospitals and dispensaries like Central Hospital,S V Poor home,Free dispensary,Tiruchanoor and Ashwini Hospital, Tirumala are rendering medical services for the employee working in the same trust and pilgrims visiting the pilgrimage.
  • Sri Balaji Arogyavaraprasadini Scheme: Medical services at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) for poor people
  • Sri Venkateswara Gosamrakshana Trust: Protection of Cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism
  • Sri Venkateshwara Balamandir Trust Scheme: Home for Orphans and destitutes
  • Sri Venkateswara Information Technology Seva Trust: Provide IT enabled services to general public
  • Sri Venkateswara Heritage Preservation Trust: Preservation of temples and religious symbols

Making the Donation: Minimum donation for schemes is Rs. 1000 and multiples thereof. The donation can be made by cheque or demand draft drawn on scheduled bank in the name of 'The Executive Officer, name of scheme '. The cheque/demand draft has to be sent to ' The Secretary, <name of scheme>, Office of the Chief Engineer, TTD, Tirupati 517,501.

Donor benefits[edit]

High value donors are classified under 3 categories and TTD provides uniform privileges to these donors. In addition, there might be privileges specific to each of the above schemes.

  • Rs 1 million and above: 3 Days accommodation in VIP Suite for family (5 or less) and admission for Archananantara Darsanam three times for a family (5 or less) in a year. 20 small laddus, 10 mahaprasadam packets and one vastra bahumanam once a year. One gold coin (5 g) and gold coated silver medallion during the first visit. The privileges apply during the lifetime of the donor or 20 years in case of companies. Income tax benefit is applicable under Indian law for these donations
  • Rs 500,000 to Rs 1 million: 3 Days accommodation for ARP/VIP Suite for family (5 or less) and admission for darshan (Cellar Vaikuntham) three times for a family (5 or less) in a year. 10 small laddus, 5 mahaprasadam packets and one vastra bahumanam once a year. One gold coin (5 g) and gold coated silver medallion during the first visit. The privileges apply during the lifetime of the donor or 20 years in case of companies. Income tax benefit is applicable under Indian law for these donations
  • Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000: 1 Day accommodation for ARP/VIP Suite for family (5 or less) and admission for darshan (Cellar Vaikuntham) for a family (5 or less) once in a year. 6 small laddus and one vastra bahumanam once a year. The privileges apply during the lifetime of the donor or 20 years in case of companies.

Cottages donation[edit]

TTD constructs cottages, guest houses, and choultries in Tirumala and donors can donate for the same. Enquiry needs to be made in Tirumala Information Center about current projects. TTD is accepting donations for building choultries in Tirupati under the Sri Sreenivasam Complex Donation Scheme.

Apart from the common benefits mentioned above for the appropriate sum, the donor can stay for 30 days in a calendar year (not exceeding 10 days at a time). A tablet with the donor's name and place is mentioned in front of the cottage. Donations are not entitled to income tax exemption. The privileges apply during the lifetime of the donor or 20 years in case of companies.

For information related to the schemes, visit the website of TTD.

Tirupati Laddu Prasadam and GI controversy[edit]

The grant of a geographical indication (GI) tag to Tirupati laddu by Indian Patent Office in 2009 raised many eyebrows, as it paves the way for enhanced commercialisation of faith. The patent grant became a controversy soon. R.S. Praveen Raj, a scientist and IPR expert from Kerala filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of GI tag to Tirupati laddu[6] but withdrew the same as a similar public interest petition was filed before the Madras High Court by another person.[7] Later, Madras High Court dismissed the petition[8] on the ground that there already existed an alternate and efficacious remedy, in the form of rectification plea before the registrar of GIs or the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). The scientist, who had earlier filed the PIL in Supreme Court, then petitioned IPAB requesting it to initiate an action on its own will (suo motu) for the cancellation of GI status to the Tiruppathi laddu. IPAB wrote back to him stating that it had no such power to act on its own volition. The scientist has not given up. In October 2010, he registered an application with the GI Registry[9] seeking removal of the entry pertaining to ‘Tirupati Laddu' from the register.

Education and research[edit]

TTD runs separate degree colleges, junior colleges and high schools for boys and girls, in and around Tirupati. It started with the establishment of Hindu High School in Vellore by Hathiramjee Mutt. TTD also runs a prestigious college in India's capital.

  • Professional Colleges
    • SV Ayurvedic College, Tirupati
    • SPW Polytechnic, Tirupati
    • SV Yoga Institute, Tirupati
    • SV College of Music and Dance, Tirupati
  • Oriental Colleges
    • SV Oriental College, Tirupati
    • SVVVS College, Secunderabad
  • Degree Colleges
    • Sri Venkateswara College, New Delhi
    • SV Arts college, Tirupati
    • SPW College, Tirupati
    • Sri Govindaraja Swami Arts College, Tirupati
  • Junior Colleges
    • SV Junior College, Tirupati
    • SPW Junior College, Tirupati
  • High Schools
    • SV Higher Secondary School, Vellore
    • SV High School, Tirupati
    • SP Girls High School, Tirupati
    • SGS High School, Tirupati
    • SV Oriental High School, Tirupati
    • SKRS (EM) High School, Tirupati
    • SV High School, Tirumala
  • Elementary Schools
    • SV Elementary School, Tirupati
    • SKS Elementary School, Taatitopu
    • SV Elementary School, Tirumala
    • SV Elementary School, Tirumala

Library and Research Centre[edit]

Sri Venkateswara Central Library and Research Centre (SVCLRC), established by TTD in 1993, houses approximately 40,000 volumes of rare and valuable books, mainly on religion and philosophy. The Research Wing works towards studying and publishing material related to Hindu religion, produce authentic papers on original Sanskrit texts and provide translations of major Hindu works in regional languages, Hindi and English.

Promotion of Hindu religion[edit]

  • Dharma Prachara Parishad: Established to propagate the Hindu dharma. DPP maintains two Veda Patasalas, one at Dharmagiri in Tirumala and the other at Keesaragutta, Ranga Reddy district. DPP distributes selected reading materials and conducts an Epics Study examination for school-going children throughout Andhra Pradesh
  • Annamacharya Project: Established in 1978 with a view to propagate the tatwa and mahatwa of Lord Sri Venkateswara by 3 means: train musicians, research and publication and recording and sale of kirtans.
  • Dasa Sahitya Project: Propagates and popularises the literature of the saint composers of Karnataka, popularly known as Karnataka Haridasas, who enriched Kannada religious literature with their hymns
  • Alwar Divya Prabhanda Project: Started in 1991, the project aims popularise the life and works of the twelve Alwars and other Acharya Purushas who belongs to Srivaishnava Cult.
  • Sri Venkateswara Veda Recording Project: TTD has taken up the gigantic project of recording the rendering of Vedas available today, for posterity as the number of preceptors who can render the different sakhas of the vedas has dwindled.
  • Sri Venkateswara Video Audio Recording Project: Established in 1990, the project supports all TTD activities related to recording.
  • Sri Venkateswara Institute of Traditional Sculpture and Architecture: Preserve and promote the age-old cultural heritage of India, in the areas of traditional sculpture and architecture. The institute offers 2 courses of four years each and has 20 students enrolled into each programme.
  • Temple Renovation and Reconstruction: The Renovation sub-division of TTD was established to restore Hindu sculpture and architecture according to the Silpa Agama Sastra. It safeguards and promotes ancient Hindu architecture.

Financial highlights and Technology Used[edit]

The financial information of the TTD authority is not public and there is no transparency as to how the funds are used. The below are just estimates.

  • Donations given by devotees equal nearly 130 million every month[citation needed]
  • Complex queueing algorithms and emerging technologies have been evaluated and implemented to manage the huge crowds with Tata Consultancy Services designing and implementing the software and hardware infrastructure for queue management along with other companies.[10]
  • Auctions of human hair fetched a revenue of $25 million in 2007,150 crores in 2011,203 crores in 2012 and 108 crores for first six months in 2013.[11]
  • Temple admission ticket sales fetched a revenue of $25 million in 2007[citation needed]
  • Laddu, a confectionery, is offered as Lord's prasadam. TTD has procured machines from MICO BOSCH to automate the manufacture of Laddus.[12] Sale of laddus fetched a revenue of staggering $10 million in 2007[citation needed]
  • TTD approved an unprecedented $500 million budget for the fiscal year 2008 .[13]
  • Significant measures are taken for beautification of the temple town and the musical fountain present in back side of the temple can be one of the key attractions

Further reading[edit]

  • Growth and Development of Tirumala-Tirupati as a Dimension of Indian Civilization, by Talapaneni Subramanyam Naidu, Anthropological survey of India. Published by Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India, 1990.
  • A Study of Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams Educational Institutions: Higher Education, by P. Krishna Murthy. Published by P. Krishna Murthy, 1984.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Darshan of saligrama silas once worshiped by Sri Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan swamy author of famous venkateswara suprabhatam, stotram and prapatti along with rare sivanabha saligrama sila - visit divya salagrama kshetram, vijayawada, andhra pradesh http://maps.google.co.in/maps/place?cid=9813551820446248136&q=divya+salagrama+kshetram&gl=in&view=feature&mcsrc=photo&num=20&start=0