Gold plating of the ‘Praharam’ (outer walls) of the sanctum sanctorum of the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala would not hide or damage the inscriptions in the temple, a top official of Tirumala Tirupathi Devastanam (TTD), which manages the temple has said.
These inscriptions would be laminated and everybody could see it. Gold plating of praharas would not hide the inscriptions, temple executive officer IYR Krishna Rao told reporters on Monday, when asked about VHP’s opposition to it.
The VHP had opposed the gold plating saying it was “an interference in the religious nature” of the structures.
“These are invaluable treasures of our tradition and there is history behind these inscriptions...nobody demanded such an action. The total destruction of ancient authentic records by this work is an interference in the religious nature of the structure,” VHP international working president, S Vedantam had said in a letter to TTD Chairman Adhikesavulu.
Late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had launched the first phase of the gold plating project estimated to cost Rs 150 crore during the last ‘Brahmothsavam’ festival.
Mr. Rao said in a bid to reduce the waiting time of devotees who would have to pay for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara, temple administration had proposed a new round the clock system.
The advance booking for tickets to several sevas in the hill shrine had been suspended as the administration had appointed a committee to go into the question of whether these sevas were according to ‘Agamas Shastas’
The trustees of TTD would meet after getting the report of the committee, which was expected in the first week of November, and take a decision on the sevas, Mr. Rao said.
Denying the reports that the temple administration had decided to give up serving of dhal and ghee in the free meals provided to devotees, Mr. Rao said the administration had only suspended serving of these items as there were difficulties in procuring them.
Once the administration had enough stock of these articles, the temple would revive serving them, he said.
“Sikkira Dharshan” (quick dharshan) would be introduced from October 21 for which the ticket would be priced at Rs 300 and no advance booking would be available, Mr. Rao said.
He said the decision to introduce the new ‘seva’, which would replace the present ‘Archanantara seva’, was due to complaints of malpractices and black marketing of the tickets.
Archanantara seva tickets were issued only to over 7,500 devotees daily and the temple administration received complaints that the tickets, priced at Rs 200, were sold at high price.