CHENNAI, INDIA, September 25, 2011 (Bernama): The world-famous Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Temple in south India has auctioned human hair donated by devotees for a whopping US$ 22.2 million.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the temple’s custodian, sold 466 tons of hair in its maiden e-auction last Thursday, where 49 bidders, including foreign buyers, joined in the bid, reported the Hindu newspaper.
The temple draws tens of millions of devotees and tourists annually. Thousands of devotees tonsure their head as penance to Lord Venkateswara — the presiding Deity in the ancient temple. According to local media, about 500 barbers deftly worked round-the-clock to tonsure devotees who travel to the hills on holy pilgrimage.
The flowing long, black and strong Indian hair is in great demand in the global fashion industry, in the production of wigs and artificial eyelashes. India supplies nearly 30 per cent of world’s human hair demand.