Pilgrims apprehensive of visiting Tirumala, in view of the heavy rush of devotees visiting the holy temple during the summer vacation, can now have ‘darshan' of Lord Balaji right here in the city for the next two months!

Wondering what it is? It's a replica of Lord Venkateswara, modelled on the lines of the original idol at Tirumala.

Made of Plaster of Paris and fibre and decked with second quality gold and diamond jewellery, the idol is awe-inspiring to say the least. It took about 25 days for Velu from Chennai and his 500-member team to complete the set.

The set erected at the Andhra University Grounds at Shivajipalem gives devotees a feel of visiting the holy temple.

The impressive entrance with a tall structure depicting the Seven Hills, the high walls around the main temple complex, an imposing statue of Garuda and the winding ‘ghat road' with culverts remind one of a trip to Tirumala, albeit on a smaller scale. There is flowing water for devotees to wash their feet before entering the ‘Maha Dwaram'. Ample space has been provided all around the main temple for devotees to sit have ‘prasad' or meditate for a few minutes before leaving the temple as is the normal practice.

“We are arranging air-conditioners inside the sanctum sanctorum in view of the hot summer. We have appointed three priests for performing pujas throughout the day. At least two of them would be on duty from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on all the days,” exhibition manager S. Ram said.

Exhibition

An industrial exhibition is being organised adjacent to the ‘temple complex'. There are 150 stalls selling textiles, plastic-ware, home appliances, toys, chappals and a wide range of home needs. “We have 25 amusement stalls and the highlight this year is the ‘Snow World' which offers a new experience to people of this region. The Snow World will be opened to the public in a couple of days. In the past we had erected ‘Amarnath' and ‘Vaishno Devi' and they were a big hit with the visitors,” he said.

It's time to have a darshan of Lord Balaji apart from enjoying a cool holiday.

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