Dennis Marcus Mathew

Devaswom Minister promises inquiry into sale by Triveni Megamart

Local people say the sale has been going on for nearly a week at the outlet

Temple authorities say Triveni has bought the ‘prasadam’ in bulk without their knowledge

AMBALAPUZHA: The world-renowned Ambalapuzha Palppayasam, a ‘prasadam’ given to devotees at the centuries-old Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, is becoming the centre of a controversy after Triveni Megamart, a retail outlet of the Consumerfed, began selling glasses of the sacred delicacy over its counter.

The commercial sale of the ‘prasadam’ has angered devotees, members of the Temple Advisory Board and local residents.

The Advisory Board has voiced its protest with the Triveni outlet management on Thursday and is planning to approach the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the Consumerfed top brass and the State government, Board member Saju Parthasarathy told The Hindu. The sale of the ‘prasadam’, according to local residents, has been going on for nearly a week at the Triveni outlet, situated a couple of kilometres off the temple, which is said to have been built in A.D. 790.

However, temple authorities say they were not aware of the sale and that the Triveni authorities had bought the ‘prasadam’ in bulk without their knowledge. The ‘payasam’ thus bought was being sold at prices higher than at what the temple was offering it to devotees, Mr. Parthasarathy alleged.

“When we questioned the Triveni outlet, they said there was an agreement to sell the ‘prasadam’ between the Devaswom Board and the Consumerfed.

The ‘prasadam’ is not a commercial object and such black-marketing of the sacred item is an insult to the temple,” he added.

No government decision

However, Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran told The Hindu that the State government had “never taken such a decision.”

“How can we take such a decision? The Ambalapuzha Palppayasam is not something that can be sold like that. We will certainly inquire into this,” he said.

TDB president C.K. Gupthan too said he was not at all aware of the sale. “I am not aware of such an agreement or the sale of the prasadam,” he said.

The Ambalapuzha Palppayasam was mired in a controversy recently when an Onam food festival at Thiruvananthapuram served the payasam. The temple authorities had then approached the High Court to stop the sale and the case is still in court.

“The payasam has a legend dating back to centuries and is as famous as the Sri Krishna temple where it is served as ‘prasadam’. We cannot allow any commercialisation of it,” Mr. Parthasarathy said.