Tirupati: After a two-month Covid-19 lockdown ban on devotees’ entry, darshan at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala will begin again from June 8, with a trial run for the first three days.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) announced on Friday that only its employees would be allowed to have darshan on June 8 and 9 while local devotees would be permitted on June 10. The temple would be thrown open for darshan by other devotees on June 11 but with a number of restrictions to avoid overcrowding and ensure social distancing to check the spread of coronavirus.
TTD Trust Board chairman YV Subba Reddy told a news conference that initially only 6,000 to 7,000 devotees would be allowed per day against 60,000 to 70,000 who throng the hill shrine on normal days. About 500 devotees would be accommodated per hour. He announced that darshan would commence at 6.30 am and end at 7.30 pm.
People above 65 years and children below 10 years would not be allowed into the temple. There would also be no entry for people coming from containment zones.
TTD Executive Officer AK Singhal said 3,000 darshan tickets would be sold online every day. Such devotees would be screened at Alipiri, the starting point of the hill route. Online tickets for the entire month of June would be sold on June 8. Another 3,000 offline tickets would be issued at the counters at Alipiri check point every day.
The official said every devotee would be subjected to thermal checking and some would be picked for random Covid-19 tests. It is mandatory for all devotees to wear face masks and maintain six feet physical distance from each other. VIP darshan would be allowed from June 11 for one hour — 6.30 am to 7.30 am.
Vehicles would be sanitised at Alipiri check-point before being allowed on to the hill while barricades to maintain queues would be sanitised once every two hours. The walkway to the hill shrine would remain closed for some days.
The officials requested devotees not to touch hundis (boxes for offerings). The Anna Prasadam (food) section would have a limited number of devotees. Only two persons would be permitted to stay in each guesthouse while private hotels had not been allowed to reopen in Tirumala. No decision had been taken on the tonsuring facility.
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