Sai Baba brings Puttaparthi into limelight | india | Hindustan Times
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Sai Baba brings Puttaparthi into limelight

Puttaparthi, a non-descript tiny town in backward Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, has shot to international fame thanks to its revered son Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2011 11:07 IST

Puttaparthi, a non-descript tiny town in backward Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, has shot to international fame thanks to its revered son Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Visits by thousands of devotees from various states in the country and from over 100 foreign countries has brought in tremendous economic prosperity to this abode of Sai Baba.

According to rough estimates, the population of the town is 10,000.

However, Puttaparthi now boasts of luxury hotels, resorts, villas, shops that sell Indian handicrafts, clothes, jewellery and mementos like Sai Baba's photographs, music stores, foreign exchange outlets and cyber cafes among others.

There are eateries that serve Italian, French, Tibetan and Chinese food for the convenience of the foreign devotees.

Some shopkeepers also manage to speak foreign languages like French to make conversation with their customers who are not fluent in English.

While it costs about Rs 10 and Rs 20 per hour to use the internet in cities like Hyderabad, the rate ranges from Rs 30 to Rs 40 in Puttaparthi.

Auto drivers here charge Rs 50 for a distance of five or six kilometers and they say that it is the fare decided by the authorities.

"By the grace of Swami (Sathya Sai Baba), people here are leading a decent life by taking up some economic activity," Satyam, a senior citizen, said.

"I borrowed some money from a friend. He gave me foreign currency as he did not have Indian rupees," a local journalist said.

No wonder, the entire town prays for the long life of Sri Sathya Sai Baba who has been undergoing treatment in hospital for illness related to lungs, kidneys and other ailments.