Fire broke out in the famous hill shrine of Tirumala (Tirupathi) in Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of thursday, creating panic among thousands of devotees who were queued up for darshan.

Special Correspondent

The fire erupted in the ‘potu’ (kitchen) of the temple that is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, where the famous Tirupathi laddus are made.

Located on the north side of the sanctum sanctorum within the complex, the kitchens are run by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD), the temple authority.

TTD executive officer Sambasiva Rao, joint executive officer Srinivasa Raju, and chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy reached the location to take stock of the situation.

“The total loss is estimated to be around Rs 20 lakh. The mishap seems to have occurred due to overheat,” Rao said.

As cooks rushed out of the kitchens, three fire tenders were rushed to the spot to control the flames.

The TTD has temporarily halted laddu-making, Rao said.

He further said the kitchen will be modernised to avoid such an accident in the future.