The Lord Venkateswara temple reeled under the impact of huge crowds for the third consecutive day on Monday. The mammoth queue complex was filled to capacity even as darshan lines spilled out to over three km on to the road.
The waiting time for darshan, particularly for those who had arrived at the town without darshan tickets, stretched beyond 30 hours.
A posse of Srivari Seva volunteers were pressed into service to ensure uninterrupted supply of free food packets and drinking water to those stranded in the queue lines, besides meeting other requirements.
Both the footpaths leading to the shrine also experienced unprecedented footfalls. According to rough estimates, over one lakh devotees have reportedly trekked along the footpaths in the past three days.
As many as 92,328 pilgrims had the darshan of Lord Venkateswara on Sunday alone, while 52,969 of them had their heads tonsured.
To manage the crowds and to allocate more darshan hours for regular devotees, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) cancelled the ‘VIP break darshan’ system till August 21.
Meanwhile, a patriotic fervour pervaded the temple town. The town, which generally echoes with the chants of Govinda namam and devotional songs, reverberated with slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ on Monday. Many devotees carried national flags along with them in the queue lines and exchanged Independence Day greetings.
TTD Executive Officer A.V. Dharma Reddy in his Independence Day speech at the Gokulam rest house, recalled the sacrifices of the great freedom fighters and exhorted the personnel to rededicate themselves to the service of visiting devotees who he said were arriving from across the country. Service to the devotees is service to the country, he said and spoke about the various developmental activities being taken up for the benefit of the visiting devotees.