Vaikunta Dwaram opened amidst chanting of Vedic hymns

TIRUMALA: Lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country converged atop the Tirumala temple of Lord Venkateswara on Monday for the auspicious ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ festival which was observed here amidst great religious ecstasy.

The temple doors were thrown open for the public for the darshan of the Lord as per the schedule - soon after the completion of the daily rituals to the presiding deity. The ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ encompassing the inner most sanctum sanctorum of the sacred shrine and which is opened only once in a year on the Ekadasi festival, was also ceremoniously opened amidst chanting of Vedic hymns. Accordingly to mythology, it is strongly believed that one who passes through the Vaikunta Dwaram on this Ekadasi day attains salvation. It is for this reason that the hill temple attracts several lakhs of devotees for the festival every year.

Keeping up its promise, the TTD management had drastically cut down the number of VIP darshan passes issued much to the discomfort of the desirous devotees who expected an early darshan on the recommendation letters and focussed its attention mainly on the ordinary pilgrims. Even though the TTD top brass was subjected to immense pressure for the darshan passes, an undeterred TTD Executive Officer IYR Krishna Rao strictly confined himself to extend the privilege only to those falling under the ‘protocol’ category. The devotees abusing the authorities for their failure in securing the darshan passes was the order of the day. A devotee who claimed himself to be the son-in-law of Chittoor Member of Parliament Siva Prasad, was denied the darshan pass, and threatened the authorities of lodging a complaint with the police alleging that he was abused by caste.

It is for the first time in the past one decade that the ordinary pilgrims were allowed darshan of the Lord as early as at 3.30 a.m. While the ordinary devotees in the Dharma Darshanam queue lines hailed the efforts of the TTD, the pilgrims in the Seeghra Darshan queue lines criticised the management.

‘Special entry’

Some of the dignitaries including the TTD board members who could not secure sufficient number of darshan passes pressurised the TTD officials to arrange for a ‘special entry’ for their men from the Supatham Marg into the Vaikuntam queue complex. Bogging down to the unprecedented pressure, the officials tried to ‘relax’ the restrictions temporarily.