TTD metal ladder move at Balaji temple raises hackles of pandits
The TTD’s move to find a remedy for stampedes frequently reported at the shrine of Lord Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple here by making way for a hassle-free passage of devotees through a metal ladder raises the hackles of scholars in Agama Sastra.
Tirumala: The TTD’s move to find a remedy for stampedes frequently reported at the shrine of Lord Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple here by making way for a hassle-free passage of devotees through a metal ladder raises the hackles of scholars in Agama Sastra.
It is proposed to erect a ladder with metal steps in a bow-shape over the temple’s first ‘prakaram’ as an alternative exit route for the pilgrims near ‘Vendi Vaakili’. Building any structure over the prakaram is against the tenets of Agama Sastra, says Prof Chakravarthula Raghavan from the Department of Vasistadvaita, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeta (RSVP).
His views are endorsed by Aagama Sastra pundits engaged at the temple by the TTD. A senior Aagama advisor to TTD on condition of anonymity told The Hans India that any artificial structure adjacent to the Narasimha Swamy temple located close to Vendi Vaakili is against the principles of Aagama Sastra. He urged the TTD top brass to withdraw the move and uphold the religious practices in the temple.
Thousands of devotees enter the temple pass through the ‘vendi vaakikli’ for a darshan of the deity and also exit from the same point, leading to stampedes at times of heavy rush on auspicious days.
The TTD authorities ensure exit and entry of pilgrims in different through a single passage in spells on a rotation basis each spanning 15 minutes. The flow of pilgrims waiting for their turn to have darshan will be stopped at one point to facilitate the exit of crowds after darshan as per the present practice. In the process, children, aged and women are subjected to stampedes, it is complained.
The ladder is proposed to be built at a height of 15-20ft over the prakaram for diversion of pilgrims. TTD EO Anil Kumar Singhal, after receiving complaints from several quarters over the problem, decided to find a solution in consultation with the officials from the TTD’s Engineering department.
Close on the heels, the proposal for a metal ladder came up for implementation. It is a long-pending issue and several EOs in the past received complaints of stampede and the proposal for an alternative way out saw light of the day only now.
Even as the TTD is claiming to have taken up the initiative to ensure safety of pilgrims, the pundits emphasized the need to honour Agama Sastra which is regarded as a guiding principle to perform rituals at the shrine.