A devotee on Tuesday offered seven gifts, totalling Rs 1.5 crore, to the presiding deity at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) temple, the richest Hindu shrine in the world.
Balbir Singh Uppal, a Chandigarh-based industrialist and the CMD of Lakshmi Energy and Foods, donated the items to the deputy executive officer of the temple, G Balaramaiah. Uppal, who had gone for a darshan, handed over the gifts in the morning, apparently in fulfillment of a vow he had made earlier to Lord Venkateswaram, the presiding deity.
The seven-piece ensemble comprised a sankanidhi, padmanidhi and eka harathi, two nakshatra harathis and a sankham — each made of gold — and a dhoopa harathi.
"In terms of gold, this could be the biggest ever one-time contribution made to the temple by a single devotee," said TTD chairman B Karunakar Reddy.
Temple officials added that the items would be used during the daily rituals of the Lord.
This is the second Rs one crore-plus donation that the temple has received over the past three days. On Sunday, K Surya Rao, a Bangalore-based businessman, had donated over Rs 1 crore to TTD with the request that Rs 50 lakh each be spent on the Annadanam and Pranadanam schemes.
While TTD, under the Annadanam Trust, provides free meals to ten thousand people everyday, the Pranadanam Trust funds free medical care to impoverished people suffering from life-threatening diseases that involve expensive treatment.
There, in fact, was another big — and high profile — donation this year. Amitabh Bachchan, Amar Singh and Anil Ambani had donated Rs 50 lakh each when they had visited the temple to seek blessings for Abhisek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai after their marriage.
However, senior temple officials add that much bigger cash donations are regularly made in the temple, but the donors often prefer remaining anonymous for reasons either spiritual or temporal (such as hiding the details of the donation from the income tax department).
Balbir Singh Uppal is the Chairman and Managing Director of Chandigarh-based Laxmi Group of Industries. The group has also set up its factories in Khamanu and Ludhiana.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Baldir Singh Uppal said, “I and my family had a wish to have grandson which has been completed. That’s why we went to Tiruputi and gave our offerings. We also conducted pooja there".
It may be mentioned here that Baldir Singh Uppal used be commission agent in the grain Market in Amritsar nearly 40 years ago. Then he entered into business of rice in the year 1970. The group recorded total business of Rs 700 crore and net profit of around 80 crore in the
financial year 2006-07”.