(Image source from: Thehindu.com)
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) will restrict the darshan of VIPs on January 1 as it expects a large flow of devotees who will visit the Lord Venkateshwara temple atop Tirumala on the first day of 2019.
Due to this, the TTD has made up its mind to open the waiting line for darshan from 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Tirumala in-charge joint executive officer Pola Bhaskar said VIPs and VVIPs will be allowed darshan from 2 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., before the regular devotees, are allowed, following which all such special privileges will be suspended. The TTD also canceled special darshans for the aged and people with physical disabilities.
"We want to give top priority to common devotees, and for that, we have planned to commence the sarva darshan line from 4.30 a.m. itself on January 1," he was quoted as saying.
A review meeting was held on Sunday with all departments of the TTD to guarantee that the temple was ready to tackle the crowd on January 1. Security has been beefed up and the TTD has also deployed more sevaks and guides to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.
One of the affluent Hindu temples in the world, the temple town of Tirumala receives 60,000-80,000 people every day and is managed by hundreds of officials and priests. The figure even crosses a lakh during holidays and on special occasions.
2.68 crore devotees visited the shrine during the financial year 2016-17. The TTD had approved an annual budget of Rs 2,858 crore for 2017-18 and have stated that the temple's earnings during 2018-19 are expected to be around Rs 2,894 crore, of which the offerings in the temple's 'hundi' alone are estimated to amount to Rs 1,156 crore.