Tirupati Laddus are popular across the country with devotees arriving to pray at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, taking these laddus in abundance. Also known as the SriVari Laddu, this laddu is offered as Naivedhyam to Lord Venkateswara.
While this practice first began on August 2, 1715, it is still continued. Although the country's richest Hindu temple offers various types of 'prasad', the Tirupati laddu is more popular among pilgrims.
Around 1,50,000 laddus are prepared in the Laddu Potu (The kitchen where Tirupati Laddus are prepared) every day by 200 cooks. While TTD spends about Rs 15-20 per laddu, in order to prevent black marketing of Tirupati Laddus, a Geographical Indication tag was obtained in 2009 with TTD officially becoming the eligible one to sell these laddus.
In order to prepare the Tirupati Laddus, close to 10 tonnes of besan flour, 10 tonnes of sugar, 700 kgs of cashews, 540 kg of raisins, 500 kg of sugar candy, 150 kg of cardamom and 300-500 litres of ghee are used every day.
Ghee can be termed as the secret ingredient in the laddu with many diary firms bidding to bag the contract with TTD every year.
To prepare the laddu, the supply of ghee is procured via tenders twice a year, with each tender valid for a period of six months. A co-operative milk union, Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) which is known to be the second largest in the country after Amul had been supplying to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) until 2015 after which it lost the tender to a company from Maharashtra.
This year, Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd, known as Aavin has bagged the contract with the TTD. Famously known as the 'Aavin' ghee in Tamil Nadu, the Tirupati temple will get the prasad prepared in the Aavin ghee after 15 years.
With the TTD contract approving supply of 7 lakh 24 thousand kilogram ghee for preparing the laddu, the consignment is expected to earn Aavin, a revenue of around Rs 23 crore.
The dairy firm procures nearly 32 lakh litre milk from village dairy farmers on a daily basis and sells about 23 lakh 50 thousand litres of milk in packaged form. The remaining milk is utilized in the manufacture of other dairy items such as khoya, ghee, milkshake, sweets etc, which are even exported to countries like Hong Kong, Qatar etc.
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