Tirumala: Going green seems to be the mantra of the day and now even temples seem to have joined the group. From gardening to cooking, only non-conventional sources of energy are now being used in the temples of Tirupati.
India's richest temple - Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), at Tirumala is relying entirely on clean energy to feed over 70,000 people everyday. The temple has installed solar powered lights, solar cooking system, windmills and a water recycling station.
"The basic principle is conversion of water into steam energy. We're converting the solar energy into steam energy. The water flows through the pipes and the solar dishes concentrate the solar energy to the concentrators. In the concentrators the water is converted into steam and that steam is utilised for cooking," says Deputy Executive Engineer (Mechanical) KV Raman Rao.
It cost just Rs 1 crore 8 years ago to set up the system of 106 solar dishes that use solar energy to convert water into steam, which is then used for all the cooking. It saves Tirupati 1.2 lakh litres of diesel every year.
Nearly 50,000 kilos of rice along with sambhar and rasam are cooked in the kitchens of Tirumala every day of the year without using conventional gas.
Instead it's the steam produced by the non-conventional solar cooking system that reaches the kitchen through the pipes that's used for cooking. The chefs say that it takes less than 20 minutes to cook an entire meal. No wonder that this system is the chefs’ favourite
"Since we started using this system, our work is easier and quicker. It's much better than gas which took much longer. We've been using this for more than 8-9 years and we are really comfortable with it," says Tirumala chef Goravaiyya Rao.
It is not just the sun alone as Tirumala uses wind and water effectively too. The windmills one the hill ensure that the temple town is able to meet a some part of the power requirement by itself.
"From the wind energy, I'm getting around 140 lakh units. TTD's requirements per year are 350 lakh units. That means that 40-45 per cent of the energy required by TTD is coming from its non-conventional sources," points out Divisional Engineer (Electrical) M Ravishankar Reddy.
Tirumala also has a water recycling station that purifies all waste water which is then re-used in the temple city's gardens. Even the street lamps going up the Tirumala hill are solar powered. With even the temples now going green perhaps it is time for humans to follow.