Over 5.68 lakh devotees turn up at Lord Venkateswara shrine during Brahmotsavam

Deccan Chronicle.  | AVINASH P SUBRAMANYAM

Nation, Current Affairs

Priority given to common devotees like never before: TTD chairman Subba Reddy

CM Jaganmohan Reddy presented pattu vastrams to Swami Varu, launched environment-friendly electric buses from Tirupati to Tirumala and a new Parakamani Bhavan. — PTI

TIRUPATI: As many as 5,68,527 devotees had darshan of the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara in the sacred hill shrine atop Tirumala during the first eight days of the Srivari Salakatla Brahmotsavam. The events concluded with Dhwajavarohanam on Wednesday.

The number of arrivals was 7,07,737 and 5,90,584 in 2019 and 2018 respectively, when the annual event was observed with full public participation unlike the last two years. Though the number of devotees who had darshan during this year's brahmotsavam was down from the 2019 and 2018 figures, TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy said the temple management gave top priority to common devotees by slashing all the privilege darshans, VIP break, SRIVANI trust and the Rs 300 special entry tickets during all the nine-day annual fete.

“This is the first time in the history of TTD that such a large number of devotees had free darshan during the brahmotsavams. We accorded top priority to facilitate darshan to the common devotees and arranged the elaborate queue line streamlining mechanism, besides implementing efficient crowd-management strategies to ensure that devotees get faster and smooth darshan of both the presiding deity as well as the Vahana Sevas,” the chairman said.

The TTD chairman briefed the media at Tirumala on Wednesday along with TTD executive officer AV Dharma Reddy. He said, on Garuda Seva alone, 81,318 persons had Darshan while over 3 lakh devotees had participated in the Garuda Vahana Seva.

The innovative idea of operating special queues in three corners has helped allow Garuda Seva to more devotees, he claimed.

According to the temple officials, TTD has earned Rs 20.63 crore through Hundi during the first eight days of the annual event (from Sep.27 till Oct.4), as against the Rs 20.40 crore and Rs 20.52 crore collections during the first eight days of the brahmotsavams held in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

About 2,80,933 people tonsured their heads during this brahmotsavam and 1,189 barbers worked round-the-clock in nine kalyankattas. The number stood at 3,23,88 and 2,17,313 in 2019 and 2018.

Around 20.99 lakh people received annaprasadam this year as against 26.16 lakh and 18.09 lakh in 2019 and 2018. On Garuda Seva day alone, 7.87 lakh devotees were served annaprasadam and 3.46lakh given coffee and tea, apart from a distribution of 2 lakh buttermilk packets and drinking water sachets/bottles.

TTD sold 24.89 lakh laddus this year, while in 2019 and 2018, it had sold 34.01 lakh and 24.01 lakh laddus.

Over 45 doctors, 60 paramedics and 12 ambulances were deployed to provide free medical care to devotees. Around 41,000 devotees availed medicare during the present brahmotsavams, as against 57,818 and 42,628 in 2019 and 2018.

About 1360 sanitary workers were deployed for keeping Tirumala clean and shining, and an additional 800 workers were deployed on Garuda Seva day this year.

As part of the cultural shows, 91 teams, comprising 1,906 artists from seven different states, performed at Tirumala, Vahana Sevas and Tirupati.

Around 6,997 people from backward areas of 26 districts in AP were given darshan of Srivari and they were brought in 140 buses to Tirumala. APSRTC transported 3.47lakh people from Tirupati to Tirumala through 12,638 trips and 4.47 lakh from Tirumala to Tirupati via 12,835 trips.

Around 3,750 volunteers participated in the Srivari Seva this year while 3,500 and 3,000 volunteers served during the brahmotsavams held in 2019 and 2018.

As part of the security arrangements, around 2,279 CCTV cameras acted as eyes from vantage points to monitor the devotees’ movement. Some 4635 vigilance and police personnel were deployed for bandobast, who provided security to the pilgrims.