Seven thousand seven hundred couples tied the knot across Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday as part of the "kalyanmastu" programme being conducted by the Tirumala Tirupati Devstaham (TTD).
The kalyanmastu programme is intended to help poor people in the Hindu community, who cannot afford dowry or cannot afford the expenses of marriage and feasts, to get married with the TTD picking up the tab.
The TTD not only organizes the gold mangalasutram for the bride, it buys new clothes for the couple and hosts feast for sixty people on their behalf. The TTD has also announced that six members belonging to the bride and bridegroom family would be provided free darshan at the famed Venkateswara temple at Tirumala.
The couples were united in matrimony between 9.20 am and 9.32 am in Dhanista nakshatram in Vrischika lagnam. The TTD priests performed the ceremony in district headquarters as well as in the state capital.
In Hyderabad, Chief Minister K Rosaiah inaugurated the programme at Lalitha Kala Thoranum and Governor N D Tiwari blessed the newly wedded couples.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister K Rosaiah called upon public representatives and mandal-level officials to propagate the programme and motivate prospective couples.
The Scheme now in its fifth avatar, was the brainwave of former TTD chairman B Karunakar Reddy, who wanted to counter missionary propaganda and also give incentives to poor people.