Tirumala temple organizes 7,000 marriages

March 9th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, March 9 (IANS) About 7,000 couples tied the knot Sunday during the third phase of mass marriages organised by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD), which manages India’s richest Hindu temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. Between 9.20 a.m. and 9.35 a.m., the auspicious time fixed by the priests, couples entered the wedlock at functions held at ‘kalyanamandaps’ across the state with ministers and other elected representatives blessing them.

Over 10,000 couples were married in the first two phases of the programme, whose objective is to strengthen the Hindu marriage system and to help the poor among the Hindus perform the marriages of their children in accordance with Hindu traditions.

The first phase of the programme was held Feb 22 while the second phase was organized August 26, both last year.

The mass marriage functions Sunday were organised in all the 294 assembly constituencies, a TTD official said.

Clad in traditional white dress, hundreds of bridegrooms tied the ‘mangalsutra thali’, the Hindu symbol of marriage, to the brides as the priests performed the rituals in the presence of their relatives and eminent people.

Governor N.D. Tiwari, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and TTD Chairman B. Karunakar Reddy blessed 158 couples who got married at a function in the state capital.

The TTD authorities gifted 1.28 gram of gold each to make the ‘mangalsutra thali’, toe rings for the brides, wedding clothes for the couples and also arranged food for the relatives.

The governor and the chief minister blessed the couples and handed over ‘mangalsutra thali’ to them as the priests performed the marriages chanting Vedic hymns. Telugu film actor Rajasekhar presented clothes to the newly-weds.

The TTD officials said the mass marriages would also help in ending child marriages and spreading Hindu traditions without any discrimination.

The TTD officials said the mass marriages were also aimed at creating awareness among Hindus to curb wasteful expenditure.

The mass marriages were also held in the temple town of Tirupati with TTD authorities promising to bear the expenses for the honeymoon of the couples at any place in the state.

But, tragedy struck a function at a village in East Godavari district when two people were electrocuted as they came in contact with a live high-tension wire while installing a board near the venue of mass marriages.

One of the richest shrines in the world and often compared with the Vatican City, the 16th century Lord Venkateswara temple on Tirumala hills draws more than 50,000 devotees every day. The number crosses 100,000 during annual rituals and important occasions.

The temple earns Rs.5 billion annually through daily offerings by devotees. It funds a university besides other institutions.

The TTD Trust had last month approved a budget of Rs.19.25 billion for the fiscal 2008-09. The temple is expected to earn Rs.1 billion from the sale of human hair alone.

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