The Vijayawada bandh' call, which was withdrawn at the last minute, also had its impact
The poor turnout of devotees at Dasara utsavams at Durga Temple here continued on the second day on Thursday because of general strike in Telangana and political uncertainty.
The ‘Sakala Janula Samme' has cast a shadow on the ongoing Dasara festival at Indrakeeladri. The ‘Vijayawada bandh' call, which was withdrawn at the last minute, also had its impact.
The queue lines, prasadam counter and bathing ghats wore a deserted look. At a point of time, the police and security personnel outnumbered devotees on hill shrine.
According to information, hardly 20,000 people visited the temple on second day and not more than 50,000 devotees on first and second days put together. The temple received an income of Rs. 13.18 lakh on first day as against last year's Rs. 15.47 lakh indicating a huge drop in pilgrims' turnout.
The VIPs visits were also not many. Former minister and TDP leader Somireddi Chandramohan Reddy was one among the VIPs who had darshan. There were no takers for VIP tickets as well. Though the Rs. 250 ticket was introduced two years ago, the VIPs were not purchasing the same. It was implemented in letter and spirit last year.
Last year, more than 1,330 tickets (Rs. 250) were sold on first day as against around 800 tickets this year. Likewise, there is a drop in sale of Rs. 500 tickets also. Only nine tickets were sold on first day, while it was more than 166 last year.
The Rs. 100 tickets sold during last festivities was more than 3,400, and it has hit the rock bottom with sale of just 100 tickets this year.
The goddess was adorned as ‘Sri Gayatri Devi' and the temple was kept open from the wee hours of the day. The temple priests performed Suprabhata seva and other rituals, and temple was thrown open for general public for ‘darshan' from 3 a.m.