TIRUMALA: Darshan of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala temple will commence from June 11 with a limited number of devotees allowed, following all safety protocols as instructed by both the state and central governments. However, there will not be any Arjita Sevas or 'utsavams' with pilgrim participation.
Srivari darshan will be allowed from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. only and the first hour -- that is 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. -- is allocated for VIP break darshan. Those coming to Tirumala by walk will be allowed from Alipiri footpath only. Srivari Mettu footpath will remain closed. Alipiri footpath will be opened from 6 a.m to 4 p.m only and those with tickets only will be allowed. Ghat roads will be opened between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Disclosing details to mediapersons in Tirumala on Friday, TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said before Sarva darshan (regular darshan) is resumed on June 11, a trial run for darshan will be organized for three days from June 8.
“On a trial basis, TTD employees in a limited number based on their identity cards will be allowed for darshan on June 8 and 9. It is to observe how many people can be provided darshan while following safety protocols like social distancing (5-6 feet), masks, sanitizer etc. On June 10, local devotees will be allowed for darshan in limited numbers,” he said.
As per the central government’s instructions, devotees aged above 65 years and below 10 years will not be allowed for darshan. People from containment zones (red zones) will not be allowed for darshan.
In all, 3000 darshan tickets will be issued online per day and the same number of tickets will be issued offline in Tirupati and at Alipiri. “Darshan tickets do not entitle devotees to enter the state. It is only for providing darshan once they reach Tirupati. People from other states coming for darshan have to make their own arrangements as regard to permission for entering the state,” TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal clarified.
Issuing of online tickets for the entire month of June will commence from June 8 morning and the tickets at offline counters in Tirupati and Alipiri will be issued one day before. At the same time, Laddu prasadams, which are not being provided in TTD Kalyana mandapams in various cities and towns and other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana, will be discontinued from June 8.
“Every devotee will be thermally screened, physically checked at Alipiri and the vehicles they travel in will be sanitized at Alipri before they are allowed to Tirumala. We request the devotees to cooperate with the TTD administration,” Subba Reddy explained. As a precautionary measure, random samples of 200 people will be collected and tested at a separate testing facility at SVIMS in Tirupati. TTD staff too will be randomly checked from time to time.
Elaborating about the arrangements made for comfortable darshan while following safety protocols, the TTD EO said darshan in Tirumala was discontinued even before the lockdown was announced, so no devotees got stranded in Tirumala or Tirupati. He clarified that every ritual and utsavam in Lord Venkateswara Temple and other temples under TTD were performed in ‘Ekantam’ as per agama.
“As darshans will be resumed from June 11 after a trial run, we have taken every precaution. Only 500 devotees per hour will be allowed. To help those who cannot book online on their own, instructions on how to book darshan tickets online were being provided to village secretariats,” he said.
With regard to accommodation, the TTD EO said it too can be reserved online along with the darshan ticket. There are sufficient number of rooms and only two people per room will be allowed. Rooms will be allocated on odd-even basis for only one day and there will be no extension for a second day.
Requesting devotees to plan their Tirumala trip properly as there will be a limited number of devotees allowed, he said all necessary equipment for thermal screening is ready and medical staff has been deployed. There will be continuous broadcasting of guidelines and precautions to be taken in five different languages.
“Bathing in Pushkarini is not allowed and in Kalyana Katta, a limited number of barbers wearing PPE equipment will tonsure while following social distancing. Sanitizing will be done every two hours. There will be only two entry points, where devotees will be thermally screened and provide sanitizers. Social distancing will be observed in queue lines, which will be monitored by Srivari Sevaks and Vigilance staff wearing PPE kits,” he explained. There will be no waiting time and if there is a gap of 10-15 minutes, only 100 people will be allowed in waiting halls, he added.
In the temple instead of three queue lines, only two will be operated alternatively and devotees will not be allowed for darshan in sub-temples (Valkula Mata, Yoga Narasimha Swamy, and Bashyakarula Sannidi). At Srivari Hundi, devotees will be allowed after using herbal sanitizers.
For now, there will be no prasadam distribution in the temple, no theertham or satari as per the direction of the central government. “As we have enough safety equipment and system in place, we sought the state government’s permission for distribution of prasadam in the temple. We will take a decision once we get permission,” the executive officer said.
Laddu prasadam sales will follow social distancing norms and alternative counters will be operated. At Annadhanam complex, social distancing will be maintained and staff wearing PPE kits will serve food. No other food outlets will be operated in Tirumala for now.
To ensure the smooth resumption of darshan of Lord Venkateswara, senior TTD officials will be deployed in Tirumala for some time.