Darshan Curbs Cut Down New Year Rush at Tirumala
By Express News Service | Published: 01st January 2014 08:31 AM |
Probably for the first time in the history of TTD, the New Year rush has come down drastically and officials blame it on TTD’s announcement to allow darshan for only 64,000-odd pilgrims on the first day of the New Year.
Very few devotees turned out for New Year Day darshan and, like never before, Tirumala wore a deserted look on December 31. “Tirumala was never like this a day before New Year Day. Almost all the rooms would have been filled and people used to wait in long queues braving the winter chill,” said a TTD official.
For the TTD, the poor turnout of VIPs and their delegation also came as a rude shock. According to sources, the VIP rush or letters from them to give tickets to their families had come down drastically. Not a single minister had asked for darshan till last reports came in.Allegations were that the TTD curtailed the number of pilgrims to roll out a red carpet to VIPs. The TTD announced issuance of about 25,000 tickets each for free darshan and trekkers and more than 4,000 to VIPs, and had already issued over 4,800 tickets of Rs 50 each.
With the TTD making an open announcement that limited number of devotees will be allowed to have darshan, the impact was clear.
Though the TTD started issuing tokens for darshan two hours earlier than they announced, till 4 pm only 4,000 tickets were issued at the counters at both the pathways. The free darshan queue, which was opened at 5 pm, was also empty. Sources said just a little over 2,500 devotees turned up for the free darshan by 8 pm. Similar is the situation with pathway pilgrims. Nearly 9,000 pilgrims trekked the Alipiri footpath and 4,000 took the Sri Vari Mettu route.