The famed hill shrine will start letting devotees back in slowly.
The management of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is all set to reopen the doors to the famed Tirumala hill shrine after the temple was shut down for almost 80 days - since March 20 - due to the coronavirus restrictions.
The temple would reopen on June 8, Monday, on an experimental basis, said TTD Trust Board Chairman Y V Subba Reddy.
The TTD Board chief, along with TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal, Additional EO A V Dharma Reddy and Tirupati JEO P Basant Kumar, elaborated on the arrangements and the measures being taken up by the TTD in view of the recommencement of the darsan from Monday, during a media conference that lasted over an hour at Annamaiah Bhavan in Tirumala today.
Initially, on June 8 & 9, on a trial basis, darsan will be between 6:30 am and 7:30 am, with just 500 pilgrims allowed - and these, too, only employees of the TTD and their families, who can book darsan slots using the intranet facility. For this, the employees have to book their darsan slots on June 6 and 7. Following the guidelines by the GOI, those aged above 65 and below 10 are barred from darsan.
On June 10, time slot tokens will be issued to Tirumala locals - 500 tokens will be issued for every hour in the Time Slot Token Counters at Tirumala.
For darsan from June 11, 3,000 Rs 300 darsan tickets will be issued to devotees online. The online quota for this booking will be available from June 8.
Those who are coming from rural areas will also need to book darsan ticket online. However, the Gram volunteers will be trained on simple steps to book the tickets so as to be able to assist the villagers to book darsan tickets. The TTD is already negotiating with the Collectors of all the districts and the Commissioners of the Panchayat Raj to orient the Gram Volunteers.
Similarly, 3,000 Sarva Darsan tickets per day will be issued at the SSD counters located in Tirupati.
The VIP break darsan will commence from June 11, and will be between 6:30 am and 7:30 am. It will be given to only Self-Protocol VIPs, and no recommendation letters will be entertained.
Keeping in view the safety of the pilgrims, the Alipiri walkers' path will remain open only from 6 am to 4 pm, and the Srivari Mettu will remain closed.
Both the Ghat Roads will remain open from 5 am to 8 pm as the Covid-19 curfew is being observed between 9 pm and 5 am.
Darsan of only the main deity will be allowed. Sub-temples including those of Vakulamata and Yoganarasimha Swamy, and the Bhasyakarula Sannidhi, will stay closed for the time being.
Devotees will not be allowed to enter the Swamy Pushkarini as per the existing Covid guidelines. No Theertham and Shatari will be given.
Devotees will be provided with herbal hand sanitizers near the Srivari Hundi to prevent the spread of the virus through the hundi cloth. And every devotee who enters Alipiri with a darsan ticket has to invariably undergo thermal scanning, vehicle scanning and hand sanitization at the Alipiri toll gate.
Accommodation in Tirumala will be organised on an alternate (odd-odd, even-even) mode to the pilgrims, and only two persons will be allowed to stay per room in Tirumala, and only for 24 hours. A 12-hour gap for reallotment of rooms will be maintained, and sanitization of rooms will be carried out every two hours.
Room allotment in Tirupati will also be on the same lines.
Hoteliers and shopkeepers in Tirumala will be oriented on how to enforce social distancing and other guidelines. PPA kits have already been readied for health and vigilance workers, the Srivari Sevakulu and the Kalyanakatta barbers who have most interfaces with the pilgrims.
Devotees located in containment zones have been advised to not book any online darsan tickets.