Tirumala: Sacred Foods of God
Roli Books recently released their new title Tirumala: Sacred Foods of God. As the name suggests, the book is about food offered to the Gods at the Tirumala Temple, Andhra Pradesh, which is then distributed among the devotees as prasadam.
In some religions it is believed that God is in a human form and possesses the power to give the devotee whatever he or she desires with devotion, from finding a job to qualifying in an examination or getting married. Similarly, at the Lord Venkateshwara Temple at Tirumala, it is believed that the Lord appears in the Temple every day, and therefore it is our duty to offer prayers and food to Him. The ritual of offering food goes back to the enturies-old science ‘Agama Shastra’, which prescribes the performance of these rituals. It provides detailed descriptions of the various kinds of food offerings made, with specifications about the quantity, ingredients, preparation, variety of food, and particular times when they should be served.
There are various aspects of this book that make it unique and special. First of all, it has been co-authored by the head priest at the Tirumala Temple, AV Ramana Dikshitulu, himself. It includes, for the first time, recipes of prasadams given at the Temple. It also highlights the significance and nutritional value of every ingredient used, and the reason why it is offered to God. It has illustrations of the various rituals and foods offered, with some rare and never-before-seen images from inside the Temple. It gives a history of rituals followed at the Temple dating as far back as 830 AD – till today these rituals are practiced as per the instructions given in the Agama Shastra.
Through numerous photographs, Tirumala: Sacred Foods of God gives you a rare inside view of the Temple, thus making you participate in all the ancient rituals in the comfort of your home. The exquisite cover of the book, a Tanjore-like painting of Lord Venkateshwara, is a beautiful contribution to your own temple at home.
Snapna Thirumanjanam, the bathing ritual on the first day of the spring festival, Vasanta Utsavam
Dhwajarohanam, or hoisting the flag of Garuda as an inaugural ritual at the Brahmotsavam
Prasadam varieties kept ready in gangalams for distribution to devotees coming out after darshan
Tiruppavada Seva, food offering to the Lord on Thursdays in the golden courtyard
Prasadam being taken to be distributed to the devotees after being offered to the deities
Medium-sized laddus being shaped by hand by the designated cooks in the kitchen before being offered