Special ‘annadhana’ scheme inaugurated at Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam

“Is it (food) tasty?” enquired Chief Minister Jayalalithaa after serving food to a handful of people at the 1,000-pillar mandapam at Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam on Thursday, marking the inauguration of the special ‘annadhana’ scheme here.

The special scheme ensures supply of free food from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the temple to the devotees.

This is one of the two temples where the scheme is being launched in the State, the other one being Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple in Palani.

The Chief Minister served the food, kept on a mobile trolley, to the first nine persons. Jayashree Muralidaran, District Collector, rushed to the spot to render assistance to the Chief Minister.

Earlier, the Chief Minister was received with temple honours by R. Muralidara Bhattar and S.K. Rangaraja Bhattar. M. Rajaram, Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment, Dhanapal, Additional Commissioner (Renovation), HR and CE, Parasara Tiruvenkata Bhattar, Rotational Trustee of the Srirangam temple, K.M. Srinivasan, Rangachari and T. Kasturi – all members of Board of Trustees of the temple and S. Kalyani, Executive Officer of the temple, received the Chief Minister.

According to official sources, 304 persons were accommodated in the first round of the ‘annadhanam’. The special meal provided today included sweets, ‘appalam’ and ‘vadai’. N. Kumar, from Arusuvai Arasu Caterers, Chennai, said they ensured quality in food.

Sources said from tomorrow, the normal meal would be supplied to the devotees on weekdays, while on Sundays, ‘payasam’ and ‘vadai’ would be provided.

An official source told the media that a proposal to construct a special annadhana mandapam at the sprawling site near the information centre at the temple was under active consideration.

At present 150 persons were being fed at the annadhanam utilising the services of four cooks, but with the expansion of the scheme, an additional 30 cooks would be appointed soon.

It has also been planned to issue a special ‘diamond card’ to those donating Rs.7 lakh for the annadhanam scheme. The donor would be permitted on priority basis to witness ‘darshan’ at all temples along with their family members.

Earlier at a government function, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone for a new annadhanam hall at the temple at an estimated cost of Rs.1.33 crore.

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