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Devotees rush swells in Tirumala
- 44,177 devotees had darshan on Wednesday
- Rush to continue till Jan 3, the last day of Vaikunta Dwara Darshan
- Temple sources says in December this year about 11 lakh pilgrims had darshan while the TTD netted an income of Rs 80 crore through Hundi offerings this month
Tirupati: The pilgrims rush in Tirumala temple is swelling with more devotees thronging for the rare Vaikunta Dwara Darshanm in the shrine while the devotees rush is expected to continue till January 3, the last day of the 10-day Vaikunta Dwara Darshanm which began on December 25 on the auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi Day. Temple sources said that 44,177 pilgrims had darshan on Wednesday which is the highest after the shrine was thrown open for darshan following the Centre relaxing the Covid restrictions on June 11. The temple remained shut for darshan due to the nationwide lockdown from March 22 hitting hard the revenue of the famed Tirumala temple.
In an effort to cope with the heavy demand from the pilgrims for Vaikunta Dwara Darshan, the TTD management provided daily 20,000 special entry tickets (Rs 300) and also 10,000 offline SSD tokens free of cost which was only to locals and also 2,000 SRIVANI Trust darshan tickets against donation (Rs 10,000 for each ticket) totalling 32,000. In addition, TTD decided to allow donors, employees, the holders of Arjitha Seva tickets like Kalyanotsavam and also break darshan taking the total to about 40,000 daily.
With the temple management responding to TTD employees request allowing five persons referred by the employees for Dwara darshan till January 3 saw the number of pilgrims being allowed for darshan daily in the shrine going up further. There are about 8,000 regular (permanent) employees working in TTD.
This year, in a path breaking move, the TTD management introduced ten day Vaikunta Dwara Darshan which was hitherto only for two days on Vaikunta Ekadasi and Dwadasi which saw more number of pilgrims get the rare opportunity of the much sought after Dwara Darshan in Sri Venkateswara temple, Tirumala. It is expected that about 4 lakhs will have the Vaikunta Dwara Darshan, this year despite the fear of Covid still lingering, before the closure of Dwara Darshan on January 3.
It is needless to say that, the TTD increasing the number of payment based various types darshan including special entry tickets, Arjita seva, break darshan and SRIVANI trust enabled TTD increase its revenue substantially which is expected to be Rs 35- 40 crore (for ten days) apart from the cash offerings in the Hundi, sources said.
Meanwhile, temple sources said that, in December this year about 11 lakh pilgrims had darshan while the TTD netted an income of Rs 80 crore through Hundi offerings this month while a total number of 67 lakh pilgrims had darshan and the Hundi cash offerings was about Rs 500 crore crore this year.
There was a big dent both in the pilgrim number and also in the Hundi income due to Covid effect coupled with total lock down for nearly 90 days forcing the closure of the shrine for darshan.