Tirupati: The extended four-day weekend saw nearly one lakh devotees turn up for darshan at the Tirumala Balaji temple, with the waiting time stretching to 24 hours.
A total of 90,623 devotees had darshan on Saturday and till 6 pm on Sunday 66,645. Another 20,000 devotees are lined up in long queue lines and the compartments were full to capacity. Devotees offered Rs 3.17 crore in the hundis from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.
The pilgrims’ waiting complexes, Vaikuntam-I and II, along with other vital points at the temple town were bustling with pilgrim activity, as scores of pilgrims from different parts of the country converged here to offer prayers to the Lord Balaji.
The huge influx of devotees to the temple town continued to rise sharply from Friday and the waiting time for darshan which is usually 4 to 6 hours began rising to touch the 24-hour mark on Saturday and the trend continued on Sunday. Pilg-rims were seen standing patiently in the 3-km que-ue line to enter the Vaik-untam queue complex.
Accommodation counters remained closed with all hotels and choultries recording cent per cent occupancy. Devotees who didn’t get accommodation were seen resting on the footpaths and parks. The pilgrim’s amenities complexes were full and all lockers were occupied.
The TTD roped in additional staff, Srivari Sevakulu and scouts to regulate pilgrims at the Srivari temple, Kalyana Katta, Annaprasadam, water distribution and reception etc. Besides snacks, anna prasadam, drinking water, buttermilk and milk for children were made available in all queue lines, compartments etc.
In view of the rush, the TTD cancelled VIP break darshan on Monday and Tuesday. The temple adm-inistration has restricted darshans strictly to protocol VIPs. As Monday is a public holiday for Bakrid, the rush is expected to continue till Tuesday.
Special Officer of Tirumala A.V. Dharma Reddy is personally monitoring the situation. It was learnt that, the officials imposed the restrictions on referral letters for availing accommodation and was said to be giving top priority for common devotees....