TIRUPATI: After conducting trial run for three days to ensure physical distancing in queue lines, darshan of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala commenced on Thursday. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is allowing devotees to reach Tirumala after conducting thermal screening and random swab collection.
Every devotee who enters Alipiri with a ticket has to invariably undergo thermal scanning, vehicle scanning and hand sanitisation at the Alipiri toll gate. COVID-19 precautionary measures, including six feet distance between each other and wearing of face mask, were strictly followed.
Darshan at the temple commenced at 8 am on Thursday and those who had booked slot through online and from the offline counters in Tirupati were only allowed to enter the hill shrine. The TTD had put 3,000 tickets online and a little over 3,000 tickets offline for the devotees to book their slot for darshan.
Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS), Tirupati has set up a special counter at Alipiri to collect swab samples from devotees randomly and more particularly from the pilgrims who are coming from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and also from Nellore district, which borders Tamil Nadu.
Swabs of at least 200 devotees will be collected for confirmatory tests, officials said. Officials are ensuring that the devotees maintain physical distancing right at the entry and exit points of the temple to contain the spread of COVID-19.
As many as 6,990 devotees had darshan of Lord Venkateswara by 7 pm on Thursday. TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy monitored the queue lines and appreciated the efforts of TTD officials and staff for making elaborate arrangements. Later, he inspected Kalyana Katta and Annaprasadam Complex and enquired with the pilgrims about the facilities provided to them.
COVID-19 precautionary measures
Children aged below 10 years and elderly people above 65 not allowed into the shrine
Hoteliers and shopkeepers at Tirumala were oriented on how to deal with social distancing and other guidelines
PPA kits were distributed to health workers, vigilance, Srivari Sevakulu and Kalyana Katta barbers who have more interfaces with the pilgrims