The Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department has done away with the system of issuing special passes for temple festivals in the State.

Apart from free darshan, tickets would be made available. “For the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival that is to be held on Monday, major Vaishnavite temples throughout the State including the Sri Ranganathar Temple in Srirangam will only issue passes to designated persons. There will not be any passes designated for VIPs or VVIPs,” HR & CE Minister M.S.M. Anandan said at a press conference here on Monday.

The system has already been tried out in temples including the Annamalai Temple in Tiruvannamalai and the Subramaniaswami Temple in Tiruchendur during the Karthikai deepam and Skandasashti festivals.

“We want to concentrate on providing excellent facilities to devotees coming for the free darshan during festivals,” he said, adding that around 4 lakh devotees are expected to visit Sri Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane for the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival and most of them would be those opting for free darshan.

“Last year, the festival witnessed around three lakh devotees and every year, there has been an increase of about 40 per cent. We will ensure that clean drinking water and toilet facilities are provided. Additional security would be provided and fire tenders and ambulances would be available in case of emergencies,” Mr. Anandan explained.

Tickets priced Rs. 300 and Rs. 100 would be made available from Friday at the temple counters. All devotees would be given a laddu, tulasi and kumkumam on that day. HR & CE Commissioner P. Dhanapal was also present at the press conference.

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