The auction of human hair made as offering by devotees in the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara has fetched Rs. 17.82 crore in July and August this year.
The auction of human hair held in July netted Rs. 11.88 crore while in August Rs. 5.94 crore, said top officials of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which administers the cash-rich temple thronged by lakhs of devotees.
Briefing reporters after a monthly meeting of the TTD Board, its Chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy and Executive Officer Dr D Sambasiva Rao said it had been decided to buy 39.32 lakh litres of toned milk this year at a cost of Rs. 11.28 crore for free distribution to infants of devotees waiting for darshan in massive queue complexes.
The temple management also made a decision to buy 2.25 lakh kgs of cow ghee from Karnal Milk foods Ltd of Haryana at a cost of Rs. 376 per kg, aggregating to Rs. 8.46 crore for use in the making the much sought after 'Tirupati Laddu' and other prasadams for next six months, they said.
TTD Public Relations Officer Dr Talari Ravi later told PTI that the sale of human hair was expected to fetch about Rs. 150 crore in 2016-17 as per the projection made in the Rs. 2,678 crore budget of TTD for 2016-17 fiscal.
Annually, about 10 million devotees, including women and children, get their heads tonsured as fulfilment of vow before entering the more than 2000-year old hill temple, he added.