Temple EO, however, says decision taken in line with the wishes of devotees

Authorities of the Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam embarked on the sale of ‘mutyala talambralu’ (mixture of pearls and rice mixed with turmeric and saffron) at the temple complex on Friday and a special counter has been set up for this purpose.

The sale, believed to be the first of its kind in the history of the temple, evoked criticism from a section of devotees.

On the other hand, the temple authorities said the decision was in deference to devotees’ wishes. “The decision has been taken in view of the huge demand from the devotees for Mutyala Talambralu,” said Executive Officer M. Raghunath.

The packets containing talambralu with one pearl are priced at Rs 5 each and those consisting of two are priced at Rs. 10 each.

Talambralu without pearls were being distributed free of cost at the temple complex.

The practice of the sale of ‘mutyala talambralu’ along with “Rama mada” made of copper in small boxes was not new, he said.

“Sale of mutyala talambralu more than a week after the celestial wedding has exposed the narrow outlook of the officials concerned and their commercial bent of mind,” alleged B Sudhakar Rao, a devotee of Lord Rama.

“Ordinary devotees were put to severe hardships on Sri Rama Navami day. Some employees doled out bags of talambralu to their near and dear ones on that particular day,” he said.

Devotees should have been consulted first, contended Shiva, a resident of Bhadrachalam.

Temple EO, however, says decision taken in line with the wishes of devotees