Hundi collections hit record low in Tirupati temple

Tirupati: Daily hundi collections at the Lord Venkateswara temple at nearby Tirumala has hit a record low of Rs 54 lakh against the usual Rs three crore due to curbs on devotees’ entry for a six-day ritual, a temple official said.

“The hundi (offering box) daily gets cash offerings of Rs three crore or more, besides gold and other offerings. The income saw an unprecedented dip due to restrictions on entry of devotees on account of the ritual,” the official of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which administers the shrine, told PTI.

Earlier on 12 August, the second day of the ritual, the hundi had netted a low of Rs 73 lakh, he said. The ‘Astabandhana Balalaya Maha Samprokshanam‘ ceremony, held once in 12 years, is conducted by the high priests by undertaking minor structural repairs with herbal paste harder than the concrete mix, amid chanting of vedic hymns.

In view of this, TTD had resolved to allow less than 30,000 devotees daily during the ritual, to be regulated during the few hours when the priests temporarily halt their work, he said.

During the mid-August period, usually about one lakh pilgrims visit the temple, which attracts devotees from across the country all through the year.

Earlier, TTD had announced a complete ban on entry of devotees during the 6-day ritual, drawing flak from devotees. Subsequently, it withdrew its decision.