Planning for some change of direct darshan at Tirumala temple

Rathotsavam at Tirumala drew thousands of devotees. (Photo: DC/File)Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to bring in major changes in Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for the convenience of devotees. One is the cancellation of direct darshan by those who climb up the hill.

This system was introduced 12 years ago when the number of devotees was much smaller. At that time, the number of devotees used to be around 800, but now the figure has increased to around 30,000 on normal days and on Saturdays it is 50,000.
Endowment minister P. Manikyala Rao said, at present, every day around 1,20,000 devotees come to Tirumala and 75,000 are the ones who get darshan. Every day the backlog of devotees is 50,000 and it is increasing by the day.  With the number of devotees walking up to the temple increasing, the devotees, who come through the queue, get delayed and have to wait long hours for darshan.
In such a situation,  it becomes difficult to accommodate all the devotees for darshan. 
The government is planning to introduce advanced booking for general devotees. Mr Rao said in the next two years the number of devotees will increase by 40 per cent, according to an official estimate. 
“After two years, no devotee can have darshan without advanced booking,” he said adding that the advanced booking can be done online too. This will minimise the waiting period of the devotees. 
The state government has already reduced the number of devotees with recommendation letters from 5,000 to 800 per day.  
In future, the state will cancel all VIP darshans as Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is very particular about cancellation of recommendation letters, said Mr Rao adding that the CM will not issue recommendation letters.