Tirumala temple to hold ‘trial run of darshan’ with limited devotees

Tirumala temple to hold 'trial run of darshan' with limited devotees

AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh government has given nod to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) to conduct a trial run of ‘darshan’ at the Tirumala temple with TTD employees and local devotees.

On a request by the TTD, which manages the affairs of the world’s richest Hindu temple, the state government accorded the permission with the concurrence of the department of health and family welfare.

In a memo issued by JSV Prasad, Special Chief Secretary to the state government, the TTD will hold a “trial run for TTD employees and local public of Tirumala, with limited number of people duly ensuring physical distance of 6 feet at all times and all points”.

The order was issued on a request made by the Executive Officer of TTD through a letter on May 12. The nod came a day after the Centre began ‘Unlock Phase-I’. Under the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it is proposed to allow places of worship to reopen from June 8.

The Andhra Pradesh government, however, has not yet issued any guidelines to implement Unlock Phase-I. It is still continuing the restrictions on the inter-state movement of people. The nod to TTD, however, indicates that the state government may allow reopening of places of worship from June 8.

TTD Chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy had said on May 20 that resumption of ‘Srivari darshan’ to devotees depends on the central government decision to lift the lockdown. “We have been receiving emails and phones on when we would resume ‘darshan’. But it all depends on the government’s decision on lifting of lockdown,” he had said.

Closed for devotees for ‘darshan’ since March 19, the hill shrine is losing almost Rs 200 crore in revenue every month. With revenues reaching rock bottom, TTD is struggling to pay salaries to its employees and make other payments towards maintenance and security of the temple.

Daily offerings made by devotees in ‘Hundi’ is the main sources of revenue for the temple which attracts 50,000 to one lakh pilgrims every day.