VIJAYAWADA/CHITTOOR/KURNOOL/VISAKHAPATNAM/SRIKAKULAM: Ahead of allowing devotees' entry from June 11 after a nearly 80-day-long lockdown, trial run of darshan began at all major temples in the state on Monday. The overall response from the devotees, who were a mix of temple staff and locals, was satisfactory.
Officials also observed if there were any lapses in the new system put in place to ensure implementation of physical distancing norms and other precautionary measures .In Vijayawada’s Kanaka Durga temple, after performing daily rituals to the presiding deity, temple priests opened the doors of the sanctum sanctorum and welcomed temple executive officer (EO) MV Suresh Babu, Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivasa Rao and temple trust board chairman Paila Sominaidu for darshan.
On the occasion, the minister said elaborate arrangements were made for the two-day trial run starting Monday and, hereafter, devotees will be allowed in limited numbers. "All officials, who are working wearing PPE, are to ensure that the devotees follow safety protocols. Tickets for time-slots have to be booked online and devotees' cooperation with the temple authorities is a must."
It was decided to sanitise the entire premises every two-hour and queue lines every half-an-hour. Explaining the safety measures taken by the temple authorities, Suresh Babu said devotees shall walk through a disinfectant tunnel installed atop Indrakeeladri and follow physical distancing norms while standing in queue lines. "We are using organic sanitiser for the disinfectant tunnel. Also, hand sanitisers are arranged for the devotees at 50 points," said EO Suresh Babu.
Expressing satisfaction over the first day of the trial run, Kanipakam temple executive officer Venkatesh said around 3000 devotees were expected to have darshan everyday from June 10. "Arjita Seva tickets have been limited to 30; there will be no theertham and satari rituals; and packed Laddu Prasadam will be provided. On the first day, people from 14 surrounding villages, who have donated to the temple and the temple staff had darshan. Social distancing was followed strictly," he said.
Similarly, the trial run in Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy temple in Srisailam was conducted successfully. Devotees without face masks were not allowed. Clear markings were made for devotees to stand in queues.
Srikalahasti shrine may open its doors on Friday
Srikalahasti temple officials, who took stock of the situation on Monday, held a meeting with Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivasa Rao through a video link. It is likely that the temple would be opened for the public either on Friday or Saturday, after a trial run is conducted.