Staff Reporter

TIRUMALA:The famous temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala is witnessing heavy rush for the past two days. The influx of pilgrims which started swelling since Friday evening, reached its zenith on Sunday. Both the queue complexes were full and the queue lines spilled over to roads and stretched to several furlongs. Devotees with their kin were forced to take shelter in the open spaces of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD)’s establishments and gardens due to non-availability of the accommodation.

The worst-hit was the reception department. The staff manning various allotment counters disappeared from their seats, fearing the ire of the pilgrims.

Though officials attributed the reasons for the non-availability of rooms to pilgrims already occupying the cottages not vacating them, the middle-men had a field day as they made a fast buck by assuring the pilgrims accommodation for a high price.

In an attempt to ease out the pilgrim rush, the TTD management initiated the Maha Laghu darshan system inside the sanctum sanctorum. To provide more darshan timings to ordinary pilgrims in the Sarvadarshan queue lines, the management also suspended the issuance of the cellar darshan tickets and the VIP break darshan.

Free food packets were distributed to all pilgrims waiting in the darshan queue lines in both the complexes.