Finally, pilgrims can celebrate as the much-anticipated reopening has been made official and Lord Venkateswara darshan in Tirupati will soon be a reality. The Tirupati Balaji Temple has now announced that it will be reopening for devotees from June 11 onwards and online ticket sales will start from June 8. However, all sub-temples will remain closed, which means that only the main deity’s darshan will be allowed. However, there are strict guidelines to be followed as only a limited number of pilgrims will be permitted daily, the Tirupati Balaji Temple officials have stated.
Every pilgrim will have to undergo thermal scanning, hand sanitization, and vehicle scanning at the Alipir toll gate itself. They will also be asked to sign a declaration form that they would adhere to the Centre and state guidelines in case they test positive for COVID-19. Also, given that the marriage season is in the offing, only 50 persons will be allowed to conduct marriages in any of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams marriage hall subject to clearance and approval from the Health Officer.
Guidelines to be followed for pilgrims from containment zones
Pilgrims coming from containment zones are recommended to not come for darshan as they can be turned away even if they have darshan tickets. This is applicable for devotees from other states as well who book their darshan tickets online. Darshan tickets are not an entitlement to enter the state, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams official statement categorically says. Random testing will be conducted on devotees and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams employees and officials.
Number of devotees to be allowed per day
Further, only 6,000 devotees would be allowed to enter the shrine for darshan as compared to the normal rush of over 60,000 pilgrims. On an hourly basis, around 500 devotees will be accommodated, keeping social distancing guidelines in mind. While public darshan will begin from June 11, the temple officials and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams employees will be permitted to have darshan for three days starting from June 8, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Trust Board Chairman YV Subba Reddy informed reporters during a media briefing.
Timings to be followed
According to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Board’s official media briefing, the temple darshan timings will be from 6.30 AM and 7.30 AM with around 500 pilgrims allowed for darshan every hour. It may be noted that senior citizens and children below ten years of age will not be allowed for public darshan keeping in adherence to the safety guidelines issued by the government. VIP break darshan will begin from June 11 between 6.30 AM and 7.30 AM.
It will be issued to self-protocol VIPs only. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has made it clear that no recommendation letters will be entertained in this regard. Employees of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams and their families shall be able to book their darshan slot through the Intranet facility on June 8 and June 9.
All accommodation in Tirumala and Tirupati will be given on Odd-Odd and Even-Even basis to pilgrims. Only two people will be allowed to stay for 24 hours and no extension is allowable. Sanitization of rooms will be conducted every 2 hours.