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Golden chariot gets stuck twice.

Golden chariot gets stuck twice.
Highlights

Golden chariot gets stuck twice.The 29-tonne new golden chariot, made at a cost of Rs 24-crore specifically for carrying processional idols of the Lord during the ‘Brahmotsavam’ from October 5 to 13, got stuck twice on its trial run here on Monday.

The trial run of the new dazzling golden chariot of Lord Venkateswara Swamy which was conducted in Tirumala on Monday, was not entirely successful as the unpaved roads could not withstand the chariot weighing over 28 tonnes. The vehicle sank twice.

• Trying moments during trial run

• Lord creating obstacles for haughty TTD officials, say devotees

• Pilgrims made to wait for hours

• Officials blame it on weight of the vehicle

• Next trial run on October 3rd

The 29-tonne new golden chariot, made at a cost of Rs 24-crore specifically for carrying processional idols of the Lord during the ‘Brahmotsavam’ from October 5 to 13, got stuck twice on its trial run here on Monday.
The first incident took place when its two front wheels sank in the unpaved road at the museum’s main entrance. Members of the TTD and Vigilance staff lifted them, with the right wheel requiring tremendous efforts. Thereafter, even as the TTD staff continued pulling the chariot carefully, the wheels got stuck once again in a drainage canal. This time the staff had to put in enormous efforts and also use a crane to lift and then move the heavy chariot to the ‘mandapam’ located in front of the temple.
The gargantuan exercise, which began at 9-00 am, took more than eight hours. Adding to the misery of officials, the metal rim around the two front wheels unraveled, while the chariot’s axel broke down. The officials had to immediately press into service a welding machine to repair the damage. Some devotees were heard commenting that it was the Lord who was creating obstacles to teach a lesson to the haughty TTD officials. Meanwhile, OSD ‘Dollar’ Sheshadri caused consternation among devotees by standing on the chariot holding flags much before the Lord’s idol was placed on the chariot. No TTD archaka attended the chariot’s puja. Deviating from the normal practice of placing on the chariot idols of Sridevi and Bhudevi, Lord Venkateswara’s consorts, this time TTD officials put up a portrait of Goddess Padmavati.The officials also used elephants, traditional music and torches during the trial run.
The animals were made to wait from 8 am without feed and water, due to which mahouts had a tough time in handling them. This surprised both devotees and onlookers.Amidst all this, devotees were made to wait for hours on end by TTD officials, as they did not want to take chances during the trial run with possibility of the chariot’s hydraulic brakes failing to perform.K S Srinivasa Raju, TTD joint executive officer, attributed the problems to the chariot’s weight, which had touched 30 tonnes -- double that of the previous one. He offered to take remedial action to prevent recurrence of such incidents during ‘Brahmotsavam’. This is not the first time that the TTD has had a bad experience with the Lord’s chariot. The TTD officials incurred the wrath of devotees in 2010 after failing in the upkeep of a golden chariot that was donated by a devotee from Tamil Nadu in 1990. Besides, they had got it coloured in gold, rendering it a colossal waste. This forced the TTD to go in for a fresh golden chariot.
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