Helping devotees to fulfil their wish

Helping devotees to fulfil their wish

The Pongal Bhog offered at Tirupati Balaji temple can now be savoured in Patna too.

Jamuna Prasad, 80, a retired government employee, always wished to make a visit to the
much-revered Tirupati temple, but he could not.

Twenty years after retirement, he has a knee problem, high blood pressure and diabetes. Despite his eagerness to visit Tirumala Hills in Andhra Pradesh, where he wanted to offer Pongal Bhog to Lord Venkateswara, his desire has remained unfulfilled.

Till Mahavir Sansthan Nyas Samiti, which runs the renowned Mahavir Mandir in the state capital, fulfilled his long cherished wish to some extent.

Recently, Mahavir Mandir introduced this special bhog from Tirupati temple, the abode of Tirupati Balaji who is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Tirupati temple is one of the richest in the world.

“We have specially brought in sweet-­makers from Tirupati to prepare Pongal Bhog. These sweet-makers are adept at making the prasad as they have been preparing it for the past several years. A special care has to be taken while preparing this bhog. And these sweet-makers are aware of the technicalities involved in its preparation,” Acharya Kishore Kunal, secretary of the Mahavir Sansthan Nyas Samiti, told Deccan Herald.

Before throwing open this plan for the common man, a function was organised on the Mahavir Mandir premises where around 500 people savoured the bhog.

Made of rice, pulse, jaggery, ghee, cumin seeds, tamarind and some other spices, Pongal Bhog is available in four different forms.

“I am fortunate enough to get a chance to eat Pongal Bhog here itself, as I am not sure when I will get a chance to visit Tirupati,” said Ashish Khemka, who had come to attend the function along with his mother Sumitra.

The septuagenarian woman too was all praise for the different tastes of bhog. “Each item had a different taste. From sweet to spicy to sour, it had all. And all the items were equally delicious,” she said and thanked Kishore Kunal for introducing the bhog for Patnaites.

But Kunal added that the bhog won’t come for free as preparing the prasad is an expensive exercise.

“Any one who wishes to offer Pongal Bhog will have to deposit Rs 1,100. The bhog will be first offered to Lord Hanuman at the temple. Later, it will be handed over to the
devotee who had deposited the money for it,” clarified Kunal.

But no Patnaite is complaining.

“All good things come with a price. And so is this bhog. In fact, the Mahavir Mandir
deserves accolades for introducing it. And I am sure that much like its Naivedyam laddoos, (which are also a popular form of “prasad” at Tirupati temple and prepared here at Mahavir Mandir also), the Pongal Bhog will also become quite popular,” said another devotee Jitendra Sinha.

According to temple management, Mahavir Mandir had been earning around Rs 2 crore through the sale of Naivedyam laddoos, which is more popular than boondi and besan laddoos.

But then this is not the first time that Kunal has looked at south to add more glitter to Mahavir Mandir.

The much-revered temple recently got two kanak kalash (gold pinnacles) installed over the shikhars (spires) at the top of the Mandir’s “Singh Dwar”. The installation of golden pots took place on the auspicious day - Ekadashi.

Chennai-based gold coating company Smart Creation has made these golden pots costing Rs 40 lakh.

“The big kalash, which is 13-foot high and weighs about 118 kg, is the largest gold kalash among such structures in the state. Another kalash which weighs 70 kg is 9 ft high,” said Kunal.

The Mahavir Mandir Trust had assigned the job to Chennai experts.

“It took them three months to complete the task under the guidance of Ravichandran (CEO of the firm) and Md Alauddin, who has about 30 years of experience in handling copper, silver and gold works in over 400 temples across the world,” added Kunal, who is also the administrator of Bihar State Religious Trust Board (BSRTB).

Kunal said the three micron gold coated kalashas were prepared using the finest 18 gauge copper sheets and the work was done by 10 artisans for nearly 90 days.

Soon after their installation, the existing spires were covered with the best quality of red granite brought from Bangalore and white marble from Vietnam.

Mahavir Mandir is the second-highest earner among all the temples in North India.

The Vaishno Devi temple is at the top.

The Mandir, which is run by the Mahavir Mandir Trust, earned more than Rs 6 crore in the last fiscal.

Kunal said that since the Trust had an expenditure of only Rs 89 lakh, the remaining amount is spent on Mahavir Cancer Sansthan, Mahavir Arogya Sansthan, Mahavir
Netralaya and Vatsalya Hospital.

All these hospitals are looked after by the Mahavir Mandir Trust.

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