Special Correspondent

20 lakh laddus sold during the Sivaratri celebrations

HYDERABAD: Endowments Commissioner P. Sundar Kumar has said that a record 20 lakh laddus were sold following an unexpected turnout of pilgrims during the Sivaratri celebrations at Srisailam on Monday.

Talking to this correspondent on the sidelines of a function to mark the laying of foundation stone for archakas at Barkatpura here on Wednesday, Mr. Sundar Kumar said the Srisailam temple authorities could not meet the demand of pilgrims for more laddus even after supplying them four pieces a head at Rs. 5 apiece. The shortfall was on account of the unexpected turnout of pilgrims which was double that of last year.

The Telangana Archaka Samakhya president B. Rama Sarma attributed the heavy turnout of pilgrims not only at Srisailam but other major Siva temples at Srikalahasti, Keesara, Amaravathi, Vemulawada and Kanakadurga shrine at Vijayawada to Sivaratri coinciding with a Monday, considered auspicious. Earlier, Endowments Minister J. Ratnakar Rao said the building for which he laid the foundation stone would have 22 rooms, a meditation hall, kalyana mantap, common facilities and a huge open space.

He said the State government had taken up restoration of 1,000 temples. Students of vedic schools who wanted to pursue professional studies would be provided reimbursement of tuition fee up to Rs. 1 lakh beside the stipend of Rs. 500 that they already got.