Traditional temple

Tirupati Balaji: What is the history of hair donation at the temple?


Woman shaving her hair at Tirupati Balaji Temple

Strong points

  • Thousands of devotees visiting Tirupati Balaji temple donate their hair in service of the lord
  • Donated hair is auctioned online and sold in international markets
  • It is the belief that shaving your hair helps get rid of sins and ego

Devotees flock to the Tirupati Balaji Temple all year round. The holy place holds great significance in various cultures and it is a custom to donate one’s hair to the temple as a form of worship. It is believed that devotees donate their hair to Tirupati Temple once their wish is granted or to get rid of sins and ego. Let us know why the hair is donated to Tirupati temple by devotees of the lord and what happens to it.

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The spiritual meaning of hair donation

The reason for the hair donation is that Lord Venkateshwara is repaying his loan taken from Lord Kuber. It is believed that God gives you 10 times more value in the form of money than what devotees give hair at Tirupati Balaji temple. It is said that he who gives his hair is blessed by Goddess Lakshmi. Here, not only men, but also women donate their hair after the wish has been fulfilled.

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According to another popular belief, once in ancient times, a mountain of ants formed on the deity of Lord Balaji. A cow used to visit here and go to the ant mountain to give the milk. Seeing this, the owner of the cow got very angry and hit the cow’s head with an axe. Balaji was injured by this blow and some of his hair also fell out. Goddess Neela Devi cut her hair and placed it on Balaji’s wound. As soon as Neela Devi put her hair on the wound, her wound was healed. Satisfied with this, Narayan said that hair is the most important part of body beauty and seeing the goddess sacrificing her hair really impressed him. It is the belief that whoever gives their hair, their wishes will be granted. Due to this belief, there is a tradition of hair donation in Balaji Temple.

What happens to donated hair?

Every year, thousands of kilos of hair are donated to the Tirupati Balaji Temple. About 500 to 600 tons of human hair are donated to Tirupati Temple every year by devotees from all over the world. As per routine procedure, and to make it hygienic, the cut hair is boiled, rinsed, dried and stored in special godowns at controlled temperatures. They are then discounted on the site according to the categories. An online auction of tonsured hair is conducted by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Millions of rupees are being fetched through an online auction of donated hair.

How is donated hair used?

Hair donated to Tirupati Balaji Temple is sold in international markets. The most popular way to use them is to make hair wigs which are in great demand in the markets of Europe, America, China, Africa and other places.

Hair donation in Tirupati

At the Tirupati Balaji temple, no less than 600 people are employed to help devotees shave their hair. Every day, as many as 20,000 people visiting the Temple donate their hair by choice.