Breaking away from tradition, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) - the body in charge of the Venkateswara temple in Tirupati, has decided to train non-Brahmins and backward communities in temple rituals and practices.
Around 200 people from dalit and backward communities will be trained in Vedic rituals for three months as part of a pilot project, offering a certificate course.
The initial trainee priests will be selected from Chittoor and West Godavari districts, a report in the Times of India adds.
Though the TTD is reported to have conducted several short training sessions for tribal priests, this is the first full fledged one that earns the participants a certificate.
"We will focus on people living in remote and back ward areas. The endowments department, in association with the TTD, will also build temples in far-flung villages.Once the training session is over, these youths will be handed over the task of daily rituals in those proposed temples,â€œ AP endowments minister P Manikyala Rao told the newspaper.
`Agamas,' which is the traditional doctrine for temple ritual, are categorized into three types. While the highest form of these rituals is practiced by traditional priests, the other two forms can be performed by the general public, the report adds.
However, the TTD will not employ the trained youth.