Lord Balaji temples in Amaravati, Raipur, Gandhinagar

lordbalajiHYDERABAD: The world’s richest endowment body, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, is fanning out to various parts of the country with Lord Balaji temples and Balaji Bhavans. 

The TTD has decided to construct temples dedicated to the presiding deity, Lord Sri Venkateswara (also called Lord Sri Balaji) in Andhra Pradesh’s proposed capital Amaravati, as also Chhattisgarh capital Raipur and Gujarat capital Gandhinagar. The work on Lord Balaji temples is currently underway in Kurushetra, Delhi and Kanyakumari. The TTD, which manages the world’s richest temple in Tirumala, already runs Sri Balaji temples and Balaji Bhavans in Chennai, Bangalore and Hardwar.

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The Chhattisgarh and Gujarat governments have agreed to donate land for the proposed temples while Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have earmarked parcels of land in state capital cities. 

“The TTD has decided to expand its activities to new places. To begin with, we will construct a grand temple in AP’s proposed capital city. The TTD has written to the state government seeking land in or around Amaravati,” TTD executive officer D Sambasiva Rao told TOI. 

He said the TTD will need five to seven acres of land. Once the state government hands over the land, the TTD will take up construction. “The TTD will bear the entire cost of the project,” he added. The new temple in Amaravati will be in addition to the ancient temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara at Ananthavaram village, which falls in the ‘core capital’ area. The TTD controls the Ananthavaram temple, where the Chandrababu Naidu government performed the `bhoomi pooja’ for the capital city earlier this year. 

The proposed Balaji Bhavans to be attached to Sri Balaji temples will take care of the needs of the pilgrims visiting Tirumala. It will have facilities like booking of tickets for darshan of Lord Balaji in Tirumala, and accommodation in the temple town. The TTD will also set up the most popular ‘laddu’ weekend sale counters at the Balaji Bhavans. Specially trained TTD priests will conduct daily pujas and rituals in the attached temples on the lines of those performed at the main temple in Tirumala.

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The TTD’s revenue will go up once the proposed Sri Balaji Bhavans become operational. The TTD gets revenue of about Rs 15 crore from the Chennai Balaji Bhavan. The Bangalore unit earns about Rs 10 crore a year. 

A senior official said the proposed temples will be of great help to the devotees, who cannot make it to Tirumala for the darshan. “People from across the world visit the temple daily. The new temples will benefit the local devotees,” he added. 

About 50,000 pilgrims visit Tirumala daily and it goes up to one lakh during weekends and holidays.

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Meanwhile, the TTD had cancelled the VIP break darshan till October 5, in view of the heavy rush ahead of Durga Puja. “We will allow only protocol VIPs for the darshan. We will not honour recommendation letters during this period,” joint executive officer K Sreenivasa Raju said.

Source: The Times of India