TIRUPATI: Chief Priest of Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala AV Ramana Deekshithulu and three other head priests --Srinivasa Deekshithulu, Narayana Deekshithulu, and Narasimha Deeshithulu - who are from the hereditary priests' families were served the retirement orders and asked not to attend duties with immediate effect.
The orders were handed over to the priests at 12 midnight on Thursday and the priests were told that orders were issued as per the decision, that was taken in the TTD Board of Trustees meeting held on Wednesday.
TTD Board has decided to fix 65 years as the age of retirement for the temple priests and has sought a legal opinion with regard to the decision. According to sources, TTD officials held a meeting on Thursday night after 10:30 pm following the directive from the Chief Minister's Office and Endowment Department asking them to implement the TTD Board decision and serve the retirement orders to the four head priests, how have crossed 65 years of age.
Chief Priest AV Ramana Deekshithulu, who was supposed to attend the morning rituals in the temple, did not attend the duty following the orders from TTD. The rituals were carried out by other priests. Meanwhile, TTD appointed Venugopala Deekshithulu as the new head priest.