With the increase in pilgrim influx, the facilities in terms of accommodation and other amenities have been stretched beyond their limit. (representational Image/ DC)
Tirupati: In view of summer holidays and weekends, the abode of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala is witnessing heavy pilgrim rush with waiting time for darshan of the presiding deity stretching beyond 48 hours, as on Saturday evening.
Tens of thousands of devotees have made their way to the hill shrine since Friday, which reached its peak on Saturday morning, forcing the pilgrims to wait in serpentine lines in the scorching sun. With the increase in pilgrim influx, the facilities in terms of accommodation and other amenities have been stretched beyond their limit.
The Vaikuntam queue complexes – I and II - and other vital points in the temple town have been bustling with heavy pilgrim activity since the wee hours. Though the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has made elaborate arrangements for devotees, the waiting time for darshan has increased to 48 hours as on Saturday evening.
Scores of pilgrims were seen standing in the queue lines, which were stretched to a distance of more than 4-5 km from the queue complex. It was observed that the entry point into the queue line was set at the outer ring road and beyond from where devotees had to take a long walk to reach the Vaikuntam queue complex.
According to the temple officials, about 73,358 devotees had darshan on Friday, whereas the head count of devotees who had darshan up to 6 pm on Saturday came close to 70,000, while over 20,000 devotees lined up in the long-stretched queue lines and compartments which were full to their capacity.
Owing to heavy rush, the TTD cancelled VIP break darshans and limited it only to protocol VIPs alone. Officials informed that the restriction of break darshans would be in place till July 15. TTD executive officer A.V. Dharma Reddy has been monitoring the pilgrim situation at VQC compartments, outside lines at Narayanagiri Gardens, Lepakshi and beyond, along with temple officials. Srivari Sevaks have been pressed into service to serve water and annaprasadam to devotees waiting in the queue lines.