27,000 devotees had darshan in Tirumala on Saturday
There is a surge in pilgrim rush in Tirumala more so during the week ends and consecutive holidays
Tirupati: There is a surge in pilgrim rush in Tirumala more so during the week ends and consecutive holidays.
On Saturday, 27,323 pilgrims had darshan of the Lord which is the highest in the last six months. The TTD in addition to increasing the payment based darshan tickets to be booked in advance online, resumed the issuance of SSD (Time Slotted Sarva Darshan) tokens from 8 of this month resulting in the number of devotees who had darshan increasing in Tirumala temple.
The number of pilgrims, which was about 50,000 daily till April second week, dipped to less than 30,000 due to spike in Covid cases suspended free darshan for common pilgrims i.e. SSD tokens on April 12 and further down from April third week due to TTD slashing the number of Rs 300 special entry tickets and other payment based darshan tickets, with the Covid cases reaching its peak during Covid second wave. The suspension of train and bus services and restrictions on travel saw the devotees rush coming down less than 10,000 and in some days even very less ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 with people also reluctant to travel fearing the virulent Covid second wave attack, in May and June this year.
After the Covid cases started sliding from July, the footfall in Tirumala temple started gradually increasing to 20,000 and on weekends more pilgrims due to TTD increasing of Rs 300 special entry tickets to 8,000 and also Srivani Trust break darshan tickets etc.
The resumption of free darshan with 2,000 SSD tokens pushed the number of darshan to cross the 25,000 mark. However, there was disappointment among the devotees with the TTD confining the issuance of SSD tokens for free darshan to people of Chittoor district and the demand for increasing the SSD tokens to 5,000 daily and extending it to all devotees became louder, keeping in view the government relaxing the Covid restrictions and allowed schools, colleges, malls, cinema halls etc. function normally.