AMMA termed Annapurnalayam as her Heart and wished that the Bell that rings to invite devotees for taking the meals never stops. And when it is HER wish, how can that stop. The bell is ringing twice a day and every day from 15 th August 1958 when AMMA inaugurated the Kitchen in Jillellamudi.
The devotees who visited Jillellamudi to take a Darshan of AMMA was increasing by the day and it required a full-fledged kitchen to ensure all of them had quality food and on time regularly. That is when AMMA decided to institutionalise it. And ANNAPURNALAYAM is born.
AMMA was walking on a street in Bapatla one evening when the Bell rang in a temple. AMMA then thought that a temple should be built in a village where there is no temple and there should be a common Dining Hall where entry is free to anybody without any discretion. That is when the foundation for ANNAPURNALAYAM was actually laid by her.
In 1940 AMMA pronounced that each devotee should keep a handful of rice separately in a bag daily when they take rice to cook for their family. The rice so collected may be brought to Jillellamudi and used for feeding the poor and needy through ANNAPURNALAYAM.
ON 9 th Aug 1958, AMMA decided to start ANNAPURNALAYAM, the kitchen. Chirala brothers gave Rs 108 each and that was the first donation to ANNAPURNALAYAM. From then on the food was being prepared through ANNAPURNALAYAM for serving to the visiting devotees and other members of the family.
The foundation stone was laid on 15 th August 1958 and the pucca building for The foundation stone was laid on 15 th August 1958 was built. The building was completed and the ANNAPURNALAYAM was inaugurated in the new and pucca building on 13 th January 1963.
From then on, every day and twice a day, the bell rings to invite the devotees and inmates of ANDARILLU to have lunch or dinner. In addition, the Prasadam is distributed to the devotees 24 hours of the day and 365 days.
The food distributed through ANNAPURNALAYAM is taken by the devotees and inmates as HER Prasadam. There are umpteen number of experiences by the devotees where in the chronic illness had disappeared after taking the Prasadam in ANNAPURNALAYAM.
AMMA’s 50 th Birthday was celebrated as SWARNOTHSAVALU on 12 th April 1973. While planning for her 50th Birthday celebrations, AMMA expressed her wish to see One Lakh devotees taking food at a time. And as SHE decided, it happened seamlessly with ease.
More than one lakh devotees who thronged Jillellamudi for her 50 th birthday had lunch. Temporary pandals were erected across the fields surrounding Jillellamudi. All the required infrastructure for cooking were mobilised from the surrounding cities/towns and the cooks have come in hundreds to make preparations. Milk came in tankers and water was stored at multiple locations in tanks for distribution. Government departments came forward to provide Security, Health checks and buses for the devotees to come in.
When finally the first bell rang to commence the serving of food, AMMA wanted to be there and see the happiness and satisfaction of the devotees taking food in such large numbers and at a time. This was never replicated so far anywhere across the Globe. The magnitude and expenditure will be so much that it would not be possible to any human to wish and execute such a mammoth plan.
It happened only because it was the wish of the MOTHER and since she is the ANNAPURNA Avataram. The Government and the World watched in shock and pleasantness when such a large gathering of people were taking food so seamlessly and with such a discipline.
At a point of time, the Cooks and the key officials rushed to AMMA saying that the quantity available may not be sufficient to serve. AMMA closed her eyes for a moment and advised them to serve the food. They all were in utter shock when the contents were enough and more to serve the thousands of people who are coming in and eating and there were none left to eat by evening. They all came back to AMMA and touched her feet and said Mother ANNAPURNA, it is because of you that the contents became AKSHAYAM and continued to come from the vessels as they took out. AMMA smiled and said nothing.
Vajrothsavalu, the 60 th birthday of AMMA was celebrated on 12 th April 1983 and again about 60000 people took food in the pandals erected in about 20 acres of fields spread around Jillellamudi. AMMA was happy to see so many people having food on the occasion of her birthday.
Telephone first arrived in Jillellamudi during the year 1970 and the first phone installed in the Vatsalyalam. AMMA was asked to speak to the Telephone officer in the first call and AMMA answered the phone and asked the officer – Nanna annam thinnava meaning, dear son, have you taken food? That was MOTHER in all her affection and she never allowed any one to leave Jillellamudi without taking food. The first question that she would pose to any visitor would be – Have you taken food? The students and inmates serve the food to the devotees coming to Jillellamudi daily.
A new dining hall was built in the year 2015 and permanent steel chairs were put in for a comfortable sitting and taking food happily. Mother wanted her children to take food first and sumptuously. SVJP focusses on the same and ensures HER wish is fulfilled daily at Jillellamudi.