The famous hill temple of Lord Venkateswara is wobbling under the impact of swarming devotees that poured in the sacred town.
With both the auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi festival and the New Year Day occurring on Thursday, the sacred town buzzed with pilgrim activity since the break of dawn on Wednesday. The second Vaikuntam queue complex was full to its capacity and the darshan lines spilled out to over three km outside the massive structure. All the routes leading to the Vaikuntam queue complex remained choked and the unheralded crowd at one stage also threatened to dislodge the arrangements made by the temple management.
To bring a kind of orderliness, the TTD staff intermittently allowed the devotees in batches into the darshan lines. Baffled over the move, the confused devotees resorted to a mild protest at the Sankhumitta area and also raised slogans against the TTD.
Taken aback by the unforeseen development, TTD’s Executive Officer D. Sambasiva Rao immediately rushed to the spot abruptly winding up his media briefing and personally monitored the happenings along with the Tirupati (Urban) SP Gopinath Jatti.Entry point shifted
To bring the things under control, the TTD not only shifted the entry point (for joining the darshan lines) to Lepakshi circle about one mile away from the originally declared spot but also repeatedly appealed to the devotees through its well-knit broadcasting system not to join the darshan lines for Thursday’s darshan.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is also learnt to have inquired about the happenings and asked the authorities to ensure a blissful darshan of the deity on the eve of the Vaikunta Ekadasi and the New Year Day.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sambasiva Rao said the management had ensured an uninterrupted supply of food, snacks, drinking water and tea for all those waiting in the compartments as well as in the darshan lines. Eleven temporary shelters had been constructed to protect the devout from the intemperate climate in addition to the already existing eight massive shelters.
Over 1,500 Vigilance and security personnel have been pressed into service along with 3,200 Sri Vari Seva volunteers. A buffer stock of over six lakh laddus is also maintained to meet any kind of eventuality arising out of the demand from the pilgrim fraternity.