A whopping 160,000 people sang in chorus seven keerthanas, or hymns in praise of god, of Telugu saint-poet Thallapaka Annamacharya in Hyderabad on Sunday evening, and broke a 70-year-old world record.
A representative of the Guinness Book of World Records announced that the previous record is broken at the grand spiritual musical event, organised to mark the 601st birth anniversary of Annamacharya.
"I have great pleasure in announcing that more than 70 years later the record has been broken," said Guinness Book representative Raymond Marshal amid thunderous applause at the sprawling Parade Grounds in Secunderabad, Hyderabad's twin city.
He also presented the certificate from Guinness Book of World Records to state Minister for Finance K. Rosaiah.
It was on Aug 2, 1937, that 60,000 people sang the national anthem in Germany to set the world record.
The programme, 'Laksha Gala Sankirthanarchana', was organised jointly by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the Andhra Pradesh state cultural council and Andhra Silicon.
The organisers said 160,000 people sang the keerthanas in one voice.
Renowned Carnatic musician M. Balamurali Krishna, singer Kavitha Krishnamurthy and her husband L. Subramanyam and Garimella Balakrishna Prasad led 160,000 singers, both professionals and amateurs. Telugu actor Nagarjuna, who acted in film "Annamayya", was also present.
Annamacharya, who was born in 1408, composed 32,000 Sankeerthans eulogising Lord Venkateswara.
The TTD, which manages the affairs of the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala, is organising Annamacharya's 601st birth anniversary celebrations on a grand scale.
TTD chairman D.K. Audikesavulu Naidu announced that Tallapaka, the birthplace of Annamacharya in Kadapa district, will be developed as a major spiritual centre.
The TTD is also making efforts to propagate Keerthanas of the first Telugu lyric poet worldwide by organising spiritual programmes, including group rendering of Sankeerthans and lectures on his literary works.