Sri Durga Malleswara Swamivarla Devasthanam earned some Rs.1.39 crores through sale of all types of darshan tickets and prasadam during the 10-day Dasara festivities that ended on Monday.
The amount, Rs. 1,39,52,514 precisely, was slightly higher than last year’s income of Rs. 1,21,01,307 under the same heads. The increase in the income was just Rs. 18,51,207.
Though the officials fixed the price of darshan ticket for the VIPs at Rs. 200 per head and made the purchase of it mandatory for all VIPs, the low earnings point to the huge difference in the pilgrim turnout as compared to that of the last year. It was suspected that the swine flu scare was the major reason for the low pilgrim turnout this year.
The actual impact of low turnout of pilgrims on hundi collections would be known in the next couple of days, as the officials are making arrangements to open the hundi on Wednesday.
Even as the Navaratri festivities atop Indrakeeladri concluded on a colourful note with the ‘teppotsavam’ on Monday, the pilgrim rush continued on Tuesday mainly because of the arrival of hundreds of devotees who have taken ‘Bhavani Deeksha’.
Clad in red robes and with the sacred ‘irumudi’ on their head, the devotees began thronging the temple since afternoon and the turnout increased with each passing hour.
The rush began from the bathing ghats, where water became distinctly white due to the bleaching for every couple of hours. The rush later became manifest in the temple.
The authorities of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamivarla Devasthanam, who expected the rush while planning the arrangements for the Dasara festival, decided to continue the same police bandobust and barricading for three more days from Tuesday onwards.
As a result, diversion of vehicular traffic on the national highway abutting the temple remained in force. There was not much of an inconvenience to the devotees, who were able to complete the darshan of the deity in an hour or two.
From tiny tots to septuagenarians, devotees who have taken Bhavani Deeksha arrived from different parts of the State.
Those who began the Deeksha now would continue it for 40 days and relinquish the same in the temple on the 41st day.
Those who had taken the Deeskha 40 days ago were visiting the temple to relinquish it now.