Swiss luxury watchmaker Century Times on Thursday unveiled a limited edition of wrist watches with Lord Venkateswara's image engraved on them, each costing a staggering Rs 27 lakh.
Company officials said only 333 pieces, studded with precious gems, rubies, emeralds and diamonds, are available.
Every piece of the limited edition Lord Venkateswara watch sold globally will contribute a certain percentage of the sale proceeds to Balaji Institute of Surgery, Research and Rehabilitation for the Disabled (BIRRD), Asia's largest charitable orthopaedic hospital. Located in Tirupati, it is run by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).
However, certain sections of society and Lord Venkateswara's devotees have taken exception to the image being used in a commercial venture.
TTD Executive Officer L V Subrahmanyam, who was present at the launch function, said the controversy and apprehensions are needless.
Noting that the Lord's name and image is used by individuals out of devotion and also in commercial ventures, he stressed that TTD will not be associated with things which are profane.
"There is a need for wisdom on the part of an entrepreneur where to use the Lord's name and where not to use the Lord's name. Today, you cannot have a legislation to this account," he said.
Asked how did the company choose Lord Balaji, Philip W A Klingenberg, President and CEO, Century Times Gems Limited, said, "Actually, we did not choose Venkateswara. Venkateswara chose us. He chose us through Prithviraj, who is our importer for Century in India".