TTD had cancelled VIP darshan on all Fridays. (Photo:DC)
TIRUPATI: In a move aimed at prioritising darshan for common devotees, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has decided not to entertain recommendation letters for VIP darshan at Tirumala temple on weekends.
Earlier, the TTD had cancelled VIP darshan on all Fridays. Now, the temple body has suspended the same on all Saturdays and Sundays. TTD claimed that the decision was taken in order to facilitate Srivari Darshan for the common devotees.
By reallocating the time slot for VIP darshan, the TTD will be able to save at least two hours on the said days, enabling them to provide darshan to at least 3,000-3,500 additional devotees per day.
"As of now, the TTD has been issuing 30,000 tokens every day and nearly 20,000 special entry tickets costing Rs 300. The move to cancel VIP darshan will provide an additional two hours for common devotees to partake in Srivari Darshanam on weekends," a temple official said.
Meanwhile, after the Covid-19 wave started declining, the TTD has increased the number of offline time-slotted darshan tokens from 10,000 to 15,000 with effect from February 16. Following this, the numbers of pilgrims have increased considerably at the hill shrine. Now, the number of tokens has doubled to 30,000 and the temple is set to witness a surge in the number of devotees.
"On an average, 30,000 to 35,000 pilgrims were having darshan of Lord Venkateswara every day before the increase in the number of tokens. After enhancing the offline quota of tokens, the number of pilgrims has risen to 40,000 on weekdays and is around 45,000-50,000 on weekends.
Apart from free darshan tokens, the TTD is also issuing 20,000 special entry darshan tickets, to be booked in advance online, and are also allowing nearly 5,000 devotees under various categories.
According to the temple management, the number of pilgrims who had darshan at Tirumala temple from February 11 to 17 was 2,45,680 and the number of devotees who had darshan from February 18 to 24 increased to 2,85,012. On Thursday, a total of 53,740 visited the temple.