TIRUPATI: Only 20,000 people will be allowed divya darshan of Lord Venkateswara at the hill shrine of Tirumala per day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, there will be no such provision at all for the remaining days of the week, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) decided on Sunday after two weeks of trial.
Divya darshan pilgrims -- those who trek to the hill shrine from Alipiri and Srinivasa Mangapuram -- are offered free darshan, prasad, tonsuring and accommodation in th e Pilgrim Amenities Complex (PAC) of Tirumala. Since pedestrian pilgrims were getting darshan quicker than the others, divya darshan rose in popularity since its introduction five years ago.
After the numbers spiked, pressuring officials to provide darshan to pilgrims in time under the sarva darshan (general darshan) and seegra darshan (Rs 300 ticket), the TTD decided to cancel divya darshan in toto.
However, after receiving negative feedback from the public on the proposal it announced a month ago, the TTD confined the cancellation of divya darshan to three days of the week -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine is at its peak. Before the implementation of the decision, the number of pilgrims availing divya darshan was on an average 30,000 a day, with the highest being on Saturday.
Several pilgrims are now requesting the TTD to restore divya darshan on Saturdays. “Since it is an auspicious day, we come to Tirumala trekking and now have to opt for either general darshan or paid darshan instead of divya darshan. We urge the TTD to reconsider its decision and revert to the old system of divya darshan on all days,” Venkata Subbaiah and some other pilgrims from Karnataka said.
Agreeing with Subbaiah, a group of pilgrims from different parts of Andhra Pradesh waiting for darshan wondered why the TTD cancelled a well established and popular form of darshan. “Why did they introduce it in the first place if they wanted to cancel it?” Satay Athamma, a pilgrim from East Godavari district, said.
Meanwhile, the TTD has made all arrangements for regulated divya darshan on weekdays starting Monday. Issuance of tickets will commence on Sunday midnight. At Alipiri footpath, 14,000 tickets will be issued on a first-cum-first-served basis using biometric system. Similarly, 6,000 tickets will be issued at Srivari Metlu in Srinivasa Mangapuram. Pilgrims have to produce Aadhaar card as proof of identity as in the case of seeking any other darshan.