Practising piety with flowers at Tirumala

The one-kilometre long procession of sacred flowers started from Garden office to Srivari Temple in Tirumala on a cloudy morning, attracting a large number of devotees. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) had cancelled all the special daily paid rituals on Saturday in view of the annual event. Pilgrims join the flower procession and also attend the rituals inside the temple for a token fee Rs 750 per head.

This festival is unique as Lord Malayappa Swamy and his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi receive a colourful floral bath. “Tonnes of flowers specially brought from Bangalore, Chennai and local villages were used for the ceremony,” a senior temple official said. Sources said 18 varieties of flowers, including ornamental and traditional ones like the lily, chrysanthemum, lotus, roses, mogali and green leaves like maruvam and davanam, adorned the deities.

Flowers occupy a dominant place in the Tirumala temple where every day during the annual Brahmotsavam nearly eight tonnes of traditional flowers including two lakh cut flowers worth Rs 26 lakh besides rare flowers imported from Nepal and Bangkok adorn the deity. The flowers are also used for floral decorations inside the temple.

The daily cost of the decoration inside the Srivari temple is around Rs 10-12 lakh, the official said, adding that the TTD had raised flower gardens, spread over 35 acres from which 50 kg of flowers were procured for the temple daily.

“We have plans to raise seven new gardens with technical support from the GMR group with an investment of Rs 60 lakh,” Srinivas, Temple Garden Director said. Sri Sathyanarayana, chairman of the Specified Authority of TTD says that the entire temple and its adjacent region spread over two km will be decorated with flower arches, flower motifs of gods – Dashavataram etc for the benefit of the devotees.

The fragrance of flowers also spread peace and tranquility among nearly one lakh devotees who throng the temple shrine every day, he says.

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