Tirupathi the sacred land for hindu’s throughout the world is a mysterious place with many unknown aspects. From providing a divine feeling to offering peace for lakhs of pilgrims, it is one of the most visited temples in the whole world. Also, it sure does come with some strange and unique traditions. One such ritual is offering scent to lord Venkateshwara from an Indian Civet (Punugu Pilli)’s sweat.
Yes, it is absolutely true and these civets are also often breed especially for this cause. Going back to the basic lines of conducting rituals in vaishnavite temples, “Any puja or ritual conducted without using the aromatic substances javvadi, kasturi and punugu bears no fruit,” says a verse which defines the importance of this tradition. The `civet cat’ is bred in Sri Venkateswara Dairy Farm to obtain the gel secreted from one of its glands to be used in the temple rituals. The tirumala tirupathi devasthanam is using kasturi, javvadi, punugu(civet) from ancient times. These civets secrete around 10 gms per week combined together. Later, every Friday it is used for abhishekam to swami vaaru.
The real problem now arises as this is an endangered animal living on the verge of extinction. And this age old tradition may also soon die if the animal is not saved. The real problem is that the animals show zero interest in mating under captured conditions and often kills their partner. Hence, the officials have to depend on native tribals and forest officials who in turn hunt them down in the forest. Which is again causing an ecological imbalance in this area, a problem in the long run to the TTD is about the availability of the animal.
We hope that the TTD officials consider this problem as a major threat to the temple as wells as the seshachalam forests and act accordingly. Ultimately, it is TTD’s responsibility to fix this as they have been using it for civet.
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