Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva Praninam Dehamasritaha
Pranapaana Samayuktaha Pachamyannam Chaturvidham”
Tirumala 27/09/16: This is the verse that belongs to Bhagvat geeta preached by Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna. The verse explains about how food is important to all the human beings and also to the other living creatures on the earth.
And according to the Hindu sanathana Dharma, feeding a hungry living thing is the best pooja than any other ritual. That is the reason why annadanam is considered as mahadanam which means it is the greatest donation of all times.
On April 6 1985 that is thirty one year’s till now the TTD – Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam has started the distribution of the free food to all the pilgrims in the name of annaprasadam as this temple administration is also a follower of the Hindu Sanathana Dharam.
Vengamamba Pioneered Annadanam in Tirumala:
In the 18th century the great saint and a great poetess Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba started this annaprasadam.
And the in-charge of the Hatiramji Mutt, Mahant Sri Atmaramdasji had offered Sri Vengamamba a small hut that is thatched which is currently the Rambageecha gardens with the instructions of the divine goddesses Padmavathi Devi. This is mentioned in the legend of the temple.
A tamarind tree which is opposite to the hut is the location where the poetess used to perform penance. And during every Nrisimha Jayanthi which usually comes in the month of May, all the pilgrim’s scores are served by her at around her house for ten days for those who are visiting Tirumala.
In a period of 1785 AD and 1812 AD the devotees have gifted her with Dana Patras on seeing her charitable activities on the Tirumala. And with these patras she used to serve all the pilgrims with annaprasadam till she left her breath. With that charity from that period of time she is called as Matrusri as she used to take care of all the pilgrims as their children.
With her legacy the board of TTD has started this annadanam scheme in the year 1985. In those days initially the food is served to a maximum of 2000 pilgrims per each day. But with the blessings of the god TTD is able to serve more than sixty thousand pilgrims per day and they are all happy to receive this annaprasadam in the adobe of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
New Annadanam Complex is Renamed as Annaprasada Bhavan:
There were many changes in the annaprasadam since thirty years, but the deliciousness in not changes in any of the menu item even the pilgrim count is increasing rapidly. And all the pilgrims are fed with these delicious items every day without failure. The Annaprasadam complex was inaugurated by smt pratibha patil in the year of 2011 on july 7th, is constructed in the same place where Sri Trigonda Vengamamba used to live in her hut. There is a RS.33 crore complex which was named with respect of her as”Matrusri Tarigonda Vengamamba Annaprasadam complex” on the name of the saint poetess.
Buffet Hall A Special Attraction:
In the MTVAC hall there is a seating facility and there is a capacity to feed to a total of 4000 devotees at once in the four spacious halls and this going to be served almost 14hours in a day. Now the fourth hall serves buffet and the pilgrim extol the system a lot which is followed in a systematic service and keeps very hygienic.
Donations Pour in for Annaprasadam Trust:
There are a total ten trusts and among then one is run by the TTD itself, the annaprasadam trust is one of the most important. There are more than 3, 95,438 donors are donating to this since thirty years.
Record Donations for SVAPT:
In the months of April to August there is a record donation of 50.45 crores has been donated to this trust by a philanthropist. This is all in the span of last four months of this financial year. And in the year of 2015-2016 the number of donations reached more than 100 crores and set a record.
Trust Holds FD to the Tune of Over Rs 750 Crores:
The total funds are collectedly about 750 crores and are kept in different nationalized banks and the interest on that money is now used by the department of annaprasadam which is using to feed the coming pilgrims coming each day. When the number of pilgrims are counted, about 1.25 crore pilgrims are served with the food that TTD annaprasadam is serving. This also includes the MVTAC, and the outside lines and the VQC compartments and also the stair route pilgrims.
During this annaprasadam the need of vegetables is being served by the 13 tonnes of white rice and 6 tonns of vegetables are served in the form of meals and curries to all the pilgrims. The rice millers association is selling the rice to TTD and people from different places in the south are donating a high quantity of vegetables and these are all procured from them in the form of donations. These donors come from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The vegetable include Brinjals and Pumpkins and tomatoes and radish and cabbage which form the sum of donation.
Donar Cell Management:
All the donations are made by the donors and these donations are updated in the digital pass books of the donors that are provided by the donor management cell that is started by the TTD. All these donations are updated by the cell within a time of 48 hours. And for any further assistance the SV annaprasadam Trust has displayed their contact numbers 0877-2264375/2264237.
CLEAN AND TASTY FOOD IS THE MAIN MOTTO
The management of TTD including the EO Dr. D. Sambasiva Rao and the JEO of Tirumala Sri KS Sreenivasa Raju and the JEO of Tirupati Sri P Bhaskar and the annapradsadam wing in charge are trying their best efforts to provide the pilgrims that are visiting daily with the best and tasty food. They are making sure that all the food is cooked in best and completely hygienic conditions. This is again carefully supervised by the Special officer of the annaprasadam Smt Chenchu Lakshmi. The catering services are provided by the catering officer Sri GLN Shastry and also Sri T Desaiah and they are from Tirumala and from Tirupati respectively.
Srivari Sevakulu in Annaprasada Seva:
All the volunteers that are participating in serving the pilgrims are offering their free services in serving the annaprasadam. The srivari sevakulu service is started in the early years of 2000 and from that span of time they are serving their lives in distributing the food to all the pilgrims. Once the annaprasadam complexes are started into action then they are also involved into cutting of the vegetables. A total of more than 750 sevakulu of srivaru are involved in the purpose of serving the pilgrims. They are serving in the annaprasadam complex and the VQC complex and the queue lines and also in many other places where there is a need of them. And on the special days like festivals the number of srivari sevakulu will be increases may be doubled. Among the total seven lakh of srivari sevakulu around 2.5 lakh sevaks have played a role only in department of annaprasadam and they are serving for free