TTD planning to scrap ticket system at Tirumala

M. L. Melly Maitreyi

HYDERABAD: In a significant initiative to ‘de-commercialise’ the world-famous temple of Lord Venkateshwara and enhance the spiritual experience for devotees, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board is contemplating scrapping of special darshan tickets and some of the ‘Arjita Sevas’ (paid worship).

In tune with the reforms, the Board recently constituted a two-member committee comprising former TTD Executive Officer P.V.R.K. Prasad and former IPS officer C. Anjaneya Reddy to study the feasibility of such an initiative and submit a report.

Mr. Prasad had earlier headed a committee constituted by the government to look into grant of autonomy to Chilkur Balaji temple here. He had recommended autonomy for the Chilkur temple, known for its unique practice of ‘no sale of ticket, VIP darshan or hundi collection.’

The committee would consider the implications of scrapping ‘Arjita Sevas’ as some of them were booked years in advance.

It would also look into the question of continuing ‘sevas’ that were restricted to privileged sections who could afford them as distinct from the time-honoured sevas being conducted in accordance with the ‘agama sastras’.

Mr. Prasad, in an interview, discounted fears of a dip in temple revenue if such paid ‘sevas’ and special ‘darshan’ tickets were dispensed with.