Tirupati, March 21 : With the famous Tirumala temple here shut for devotees as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, the temple authorities have decided to distribute over two lakh laddus among its employees free of cost.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the hill shrine, will be distributing 2.4 lakh laddus, among 21,000 regular and contract employees.
Temple officials said 10 laddus would be given to every employee as a gift for 'Ugadi', the Telugu New Year.
Famous as 'Tirupati laddu', the famed sweet is given to millions of pilgrims as 'prasadam' or sacred offering by the temple. It is made with flour, sugar, ghee, oil, cardamom and dry fruits.
The temple authorities prepare lakhs of laddus in advance to meet the daily requirement from thousands of pilgrims. However, with the temple being closed down from Friday in view of coronavirus scare, the laddus which were already prepared could not be distributed.
It is estimated that on an average, around 3 lakh laddus are sold every day in Tirumala. The TTD authorities in January this year started giving a laddu free to every pilgrim. About 80,000 to one lakh pilgrims visit the temple every day. However, many devotees buy the laddus, available for Rs 50 each.