With the summer almost coming to an end, the sacred hills of Tirumala witnessed a surge in devotees who thronged the Seven Hills to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
All the compartments were full to the brim and devotees were forced to wait in 2-km-long queue to have darshan. Pilgrim accommodation counters put up no vacancy boards already.
With summer vacations for educational institutions coming to an end, the rush of pilgrims suddenly increased in the past two days.
The huge influx of devotees started two days ago and more and more devotees are still reaching the hill top for darshan.
On Thursday as many as 72,000 people had a glimpse of the Lord and on Friday up to 6 pm nearly 31,000 pilgrims had darshan. Pedestrians who reached Tirumala by foot were waiting in 13 compartments for their turn to have darshan. They have to wait for at least another six hours to have darshan. Each compartment contains maximum 750 pilgrims.
For Sarva Darshan, 32 compartments were filled and the queueline extended for 2 km from the compartments. It will take 17 hours for the pilgrims in there to have darshan.
The sale of Rs 300 Seeghra Darshan tickets was stopped at 11 am after issuing 15,000 tickets. All these people will have darshan before 1.30 am on Saturday. Officials put up no vacancy board in the morning itself at all the accommodation counters.
TTD joint executivew officer K Srinivasa Raju instructed the Annadanam, water works, vigilance and engineering officials to make necessary arrangements. Senior catering officer Sastry and seven teams distributed food, water and butter milk to devotees standing in the queue lines. The Srivari Sevaks assisted them.
Breakfast, lunch, butter milk and milk were supplied to pilgrims who were waiting in Rs 300 queue line and in the queue complex. Chief engineer P Chandrasekhar Reddy, superintendent Ramesh Reddy, Annadanam deputy EO Venugopal and several others were monitoring the queue lines.
TTD chairman K Bapiraju instructed security officer GVG Ashok Kumar to take care of pilgrims who reached Tirumala on foot during the trekking and to issue Divya Darshan tokens. The staff issued 24,295 tickets for darshan on Friday and 6,500 people were issued tokens at Srivari Mettu.