What come to your mind the moment you hear about Tirupati? For sure, it’s not just Lord Balaji who comes to your mind, but also the mouthwatering naivedyam of the hill shrine-Tirupati laddu. Can you imagine a visit to Tirupati Balaji Temple, without the famous laddu prasadam- popularly known as Srivari prasadam. Each devotee who visits the shrine savours the darshan of Venkateswara and his prasadam laddu with divine delight.
Tirupati and laddu are synonymous to the thousands of devotees who throng the divine shrine to have darshan of the lord Venkateswara. The delicious laddu is distributed to the devotees after the Balaji Darshan. What makes Tirupati laddu so special? No doubt, it’s the uncompromising quality and the uniquely delicious taste of the sweet that has remained consistently same for past 300 plus years since it made its debut in 1715.
Its uniqueness and popularity was such that over past decades the sale of laddus and fake laddus in black market sky-rocketed becoming a major concern for the devotees and the Tirumala Tirupati Davastanam Trust management. In order to put an end to the illegal Tirupati laddu racket, the trust applied for the “GI” (Geographical indication) tag for Tirupati Laddu and got it sanctioned on 2008. The GI gives exclusive right of making and selling Tirupati laddus to TTD trust.
The tirupati laddu is prepared by TTD in a special kitchen called “potu” which is located in Sampangi pradakshinam inside the lord Balaji temple in Tirumala, as it is mandatory that any naivedyam offered to the lord should be made within the temple premises.
Laddu pottu is equipped to produce about 8 lakh laddus a day, and currently about 1.5 lakh laddus are made and distributed in the temple daily. The laddu making is a manual process, however its transportation to the counters are automated using conveyor belts. The potu staff first prepares the base material boondi and then later this boondi is rolled in to laddu balls.
The culinary delight of the hill shrine comes in two sizes one big, and another small laddu. Big laddu weighs 700 gm and small laddu weighs 174gm when dry. The chief ingredients of the Srivari laddu is gram flour, Ghee, sugar, sugar candy, oil, cardamom and dry fruits, and the laddu potu uses about 10 tonnes of gram flour, 10 tons of sugar, 700 kg of cashew nuts, 150 kg of cardamom, 300 to 500 litres of ghee, 500 kg of sugar candy and 540 kg of dry fruits to prepare laddus daily.
The aroma of the Tirupati laddu is irresistible and its flavor is liked by young and aged across the world. Although the trust has slightly altered the recipe of the famous laddu six times since its inception, and reduced the size to cater to its increasing demand, its flavour and popularity continues to remain the same.