The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has stirred hornet’s nest by resolving to provide 5,000 special darshan tickets on January 1 to VIPs visiting the hill temple for darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
Anticipating a virtual deluge of pilgrims on the New Year Day, the TTD authorities dispensed with the Rs.300 and Rs.50 special entry darshan tickets, privileged darshan for the senior citizens, physically challenged and parents with infants. Against this backdrop, the decision to issue VIP darshan tickets in such large numbers has raised many eyebrows.
What has caused anger among the common pilgrims is the decision of the authorities to allot four hours for VIP darshan.
Statistics reveal that over 60,000 pilgrims have darshan of the deity on an average on normal days and at best over 80,000 pilgrims on special days. Only on a couple of instances during the year, over 85,000 pilgrims were cleared.
The temple administration generally allots 20 hours for the visiting crowd of pilgrims on special occasions.
The fact that the management will be forced to clear a massive crowd of common pilgrims on January 1 which, even according to minimum expectations is likely to cross the one lakh mark in just 16 hours, suggests the daunting task which it will face after allocating four hours for the VIPs.