M. Malleswara Rao

HYDERABAD: The Lord of the Seven Hills hereafter will be the world's biggest performer of marriages. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has decided to conduct one lakh weddings of the poor in the State annually in His name.

To start with, it will unite 50,000 couples in wedlock, using the treasury of "Vaddikaasulavaadu", as part of its new programme to organise mass marriages. A muhurtham has been fixed on February 22. The next batch of 50,000 couples will be wedded in July. According to TTD chairman B. Karunakar Reddy, they will provide a gold `thali' weighing one gram, a pair of clothes each to the groom and bride, and free meals to the relatives -- all costing Rs 3,000 each.